Patience and the Possibility of Anger
patience semantically means prevention and confinement. it is a quality that can only be obtained by highly motivated people with pure spirits. anger is an inner rebellion that makes the person imbalanced. it leads him to misjudgment and the inability to differentiate between right and wrong. anger is a negative trait except when it is for the sake of allah as the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do. he did not get angry for something personal and never avenged for himself. he only got angry when sanctities of allah were violated.
the relation between what we said above about patience and education is the necessity of patience quality for the teacher. he deals with students of different natures and thoughts, some of them are good and others are bad. other missions of the teacher also include preparation of lessons, assessing and correcting tests and teaching during most of the daily classes, in addition to many other duties that are demanded from the teacher. all what was mentioned require patience and tolerance from the teacher. this patience is not easy to be attained as a quality, as it needs much practice till it becomes a second nature in the teacher. impatience of the teacher leads to facing a critical situation and embarrassment especially if it happens during teaching. the teacher deals with different mentalities in terms of perception, recognition, understanding and response etc. for example, the instructor can be teaching for a long time, and then a student may ask him trivial or irrelevant questions. he can even be in a situation when one of his students is sleeping or smiling while he is delivering the lesson. it can even be more shocking to the teacher when some of his students utter an offending or bad word to him. this is not strange or unexpected as students are different in nature, understanding and perception etc.
holding and controlling anger is a point of strength in the character of the teacher. it is not a sign of weakness at all, especially if the teacher is able and has the capacity to do what he wants to. abu huraira reported that the prophet muhammad (bpuh) said in this regard: "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." (sahih al-bukhary, the book of good manners, hadith number: 6182, narrated by: abu-huraira). this kind of strength is reflected in the actions and sayings of the prophet muhammad (pbuh). he was the strongest human for he was the best controller of anger.
narrated by anas bin malik: “while i was walking with the prophet who was wearing a najrani outer garment with a thick hem, a bedouin came upon the prophet and pulled his garment so violently that i could recognize the impress of the hem of the garment on his shoulder, caused by the violence of his pull. then the bedouin said, "order for me something from allah's fortune which you have." the prophet turned to him and smiled, and ordered that a gift be given to him.” (sahih al-bukhary, the book of one-fifth of war booty, hadith number: 3185, narrated by: anas ibn-malik).
imam nuri commented on the hadith saying: it teaches to be patient with the ignorant and to avoid dealing with him in the same attitude, rather to respond to the bad manner with good manner. as for me i would say that no matter how bad the manners of a student to the teacher, it would certainly be a lot lesser than that of the bedouin to the prophet (pbuh)!!
- narrated by ibn mas'ud (may allah be pleased with him): once allah's apostle divided and distributed (the war booty). a man from al ansar said, "by allah! muhammad, by this distribution, did not intend to please allah." so i came to allah's apostle and informed him about it whereupon his face became changed with anger and he said, "may allah bestow his mercy on moses for he was hurt with more than this, yet he remained patient." (sahih al-bukhary, the book of good manners, hadith number: 6128, narrated by: abdullah ibn-mas'oud).
as for the effect of anger on the body, tongue, organs and heart, imam ghazali says in his major work “ihya 'ulum al-din” (the revival of religious sciences):
“some of the outer signs of anger are change of color, trembling limbs, unorganized reactions, disturbed movement and incoherent talking. this becomes clear in the face of the angry person. if an angry person sees his look while he is furious, he would have calmed down because of embarrassment. the effect of anger on the tongue is uttering obscene offending words which make any reasonable person ashamed when he relaxes and frees himself from anger. the mad person may also express the bad language in a disordered stammering manner. the effect of anger on organs is hitting, attacking, tearing, murdering and wounding when the angry person is under the influence of wrath. as for the effect of it on the heart, it causes animosity, envy, evil plotting, exulting over the opponent when he faces a plight or turmoil.
to heal anger we should resort to the divine and prophetic cure: the divine cure is remembering allah’s reward and praise on those who repress their anger, but not in resentment but rather in contentment to the degree of forgiving the wrongdoer angry person. almighty allah says: “those who spend [in allah's cause - deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, allah loves al-muhsinun (the good-doers)”(surat ali imran: 134)
as for the prophetic cure, the prophet muhammad (pbuh) treated anger in many ways, he teaches muslims to:
1) say “i seek refuge in allah from the cursed satan”
2) be silent and not to talk, as talking may lead the angry person to more wrath which would definitely make him err.
3) if the angry person is standing he should sit, and if he is still angry he should lay down.
4) to make wudu (ablution) like when he does for prayers, as water extinguishs anger like it does with fire.
ali ibn-thabit said:
the mind becomes ruined by self-admiration and anger
the money runs out by wastefulness and stealing
of all the enemies i have experienced
i have never seen a worse enemy than anger
- patience is a strong element for the teacher’s success.
- anger is an inner rebellion, imbalance and lack of recognition. the consequences of anger are destructive.
- the skillfulness of the teacher lies in absorbing, repressing anger and controlling his nerves.
- progression and practice grants the teacher strength and capacity to repress anger.
- taking the initiative by curing anger when it occurs, the best healing is following the heavenly and prophetic cure.