A person may complain: “I get very angry very quickly. If there is the slightest provocation, I quickly explode and start to break things, swear, curse and issue threats of divorce. This problem has caused me so much embarrassment, and has made most people hate me, even my wife and children and closest friends. What can I do to rid myself of this awful disease and extinguish this devilish fire?”
Anger is a tendency that comes from the Shaytaan. Only Allaah knows how much evil and sin results from it. Hence Islam has a great deal to say about this negative characteristic and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described remedies for ridding oneself of this problem and limiting its effects. These include the following:
Seeking refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan. Sulaymaan ibn Sard said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and there were two men swearing at one another. One of them was red in the face and the veins of his neck were standing out.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘I know a word which, if only he would say it, this [anger] would leave him. If he said, “A’oodhu billaahi min al-shaytaan (I seek refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan),”, this [anger] would leave him.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/377). He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “If a man gets angry and says ‘A’oodhu billaah (I seek refuge with Allaah),’ his anger will cease.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 695).
Keeping quiet. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you gets angry, let him keep quiet.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/239; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 693, 4027). Anger usually makes a person lose control, often to the extent that he may utter words of kufr (Allaah forbid), or curses, or the word of divorce (talaaq) which will destroy his family, or foul language that will earn him the enmity of others. Keeping quiet is the way to avoid all of these evils.
Keeping still. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you gets angry, let him sit down if he is standing. If his anger goes away, (that is good), otherwise let him lie down.”
The narrator of this hadeeth was Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him), who told the following story: he was watering his animals at a trough, when some other people came along. He said, “Who among you will help Abu Dharr to water his animals and ....?” A man said, “I will,” but he broke the trough. Abu Dharr was standing, so he sat down, then he lay down. Someone asked him, “O Abu Dharr, why did you sit down then lie down?” He said, “Because the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said … [and quoted the hadeeth].” (The hadeeth with the whole story is reported in Musnad Ahmad, 5/152. See also Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 694).
According to another report, Abu Dharr was watering his animals at a trough when another man made him angry, so he sat down… (Fayd al-Qadeer al-Mannaawi, 1/408).
One of the benefits of this Prophetic teaching is that it prevents the angry person from doing something crazy and out of control. An angry person could inflict harm or even kill – as we shall see shortly – or he could destroy property and so on. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will explode in this fashion, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something reckless or harmful. Al-‘Allaamah al-Khattaabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on Abu Dawood: “The one who is standing is ready to move and destroy things. The one who is sitting is less likely to do so, and the one who is lying is not able to do anything of the sort. It seems that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded the angry person to sit down or lie down in order to prevent him from doing anything that he would later regret. And Allaah knows best.” (Sunan Abi Dawood wa ma’ahu ma’aalim al-sunan, 5/141)
Remembering the advice of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “Advise me.” He said: “Do not become angry.” The man repeated his request several times, and each time the response was, “Do not become angry.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, 10/465).
According to another report, the man said, “I thought about what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had said, and I realized that anger is the source of all evil.” (Musnad Ahmad, 5/373).
“Do not get angry, and Paradise will be yours.” (A saheeh hadeeth. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7374. Ibn Hajar attributed it.
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