Repressing a Rage – Lessons from the Sunnah

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Eman Al Obaid conducts classes on Quranic exegesis (Tafseer), Hadeeth, Fiqh and other Islamic themes at AlHuda Sisters, Dubai.

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Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that a man said to the Prophet (sa): “Advise me!” The Prophet (sa) replied: “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (sa) said in each case: “Do not become angry and furious.” (Bukhari)

Consider this: Why did Prophet Muhammad (sa) repeat this advice? It was for effect. Our hearts are like a valley; it needs lots water in order to clean it. Repetition is good for your ‘Yaqeen’, and for your heart. Repetition of key information will provide you with a firm base upon which you can accordingly alter your conduct.

Now let’s analyze the meaning of the Hadeeth: The core phrase is ‘La Tagdab’ – don’t be angry. Why? This is because anger is like Shaitan throwing fire in the heart of the son of Adam. We usually say the phrase: “My blood is boiling.” The heart of an angry person is considered to be boiling. We also say: “My face turned red with rage.” This is because an angry person gets red-faced and thus, anger becomes visible to others.

Why do you get angry? Here’s a checklist:

  • When I am humiliated by someone
  • When I feel that I am losing control                                                              .
  • When I feel threatened
  • When I encounter difficulty in dealing with people
  • When things don’t go the way I had planned
  • When something disrupts my schedule
  • When people around me behave inconsiderately
  • When people deal with me in a way that is unacceptable
  • My pride/ego is hurt/bruised

What accompanies anger?

  • You are angry about one particular thing but you will end up picking a fight with everyone around you on some other petty issues.
  • You will suddenly remember all your old peeves and problems. Shaytan will make you recall these bad memories – this happens especially between spouses.
  • You perceive everything negatively. An angry person always tries to harm the people most beloved to them – with actions and with words.
  • Regret. When you calm down, you are filled with remorse. To apologize is very difficult.
  • Extreme anger can be dangerous, especially if it leads to speeding on the road, for example.
  • Anger leads to numerous diseases.

Points to remember

  1. Not being able to accept a negative situation negates your Tawakkul (trust in Allah (swt)) and your belief in Allah (swt)’s Name: al-Wakeel.
  2. Don’t assume everybody knows the same as you do, or thinks the same as you do. When things happen against your expectations, you get angry and frustrated. In life, deal with Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will give you more than you expect. Surely, Jannah is more than our expectations. When things go wrong again and again, this is nurturing from Allah (swt).
  3. Don’t react when you are angry. How? Turn to Allah (swt): Ya Rabbi, you keep me firm. People think their power manifests itself with anger, when they yell, scream, hit or throw things. In contrast, the Prophet (sa) said: “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Bukhari)
  4. Recall the rewards of suppressing your rage. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Whoever suppresses his rage, while he is able to exact it, Allah (swt) will call him before all of creation (on the Day of Judgement) so that he can choose whichever of the Hoor he wishes.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The key to deal with the anger

  1. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Turn a deaf ear. Don’t take everything personally.
  2. Remember the Sunnah: Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said to us: “If one of you is angry when he is standing, let him sit down so that the anger will leave him; otherwise, let him lie down.” (Abu Dawood)
  3. Make Wudhu if you are still angry.
  4. Leave the room. Walk away from the situation. Resolve to deal with it when you are calm.
  5. Remember that the Prophet (sa) only got angry for the sake of Allah (swt).

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