There are obvious harms of anger which generally encourage people with a short temper to try and change; this may include loss of mental clarity at the time of anger or the later regret for the actions and words spoken whilst angry. The effect of wrath on the heart is hatred, envy, to be happy over
an enemy’s misfortune and upset over their fortunes. Aside from this, there are many other harms, of which I will list three.
- It destroys faith – The Prophet said “Anger destroys faith as condiment destroys honey.” He also said “If a man gets angry, he roams near Hell.”
- It is an element of infidelity – Wahab-b-Monsabbah said: There are four elements of infidelity: Anger, passion, greed and foolishness.
- It leads to evil – Jafar-b- Muhammad said: Anger is the key to every evil. A certain Ansar said: Anger is the root of foolishness and its guide.
What is Anger?
Know, O dear readers, that the Merciful God gave animals weapons so that they could protect themselves from danger; one of these weapons is anger.
God created the passion of anger from fire and the birth place of anger is the heart. Whenever something goes against a person’s wishes, the blood of heart spreads through all of his veins and as a result his eyes become red and his face reddish; but if the anger comes to a person who is superior to him, this creates a feeling of fear and hopelessness, it generates a restriction of blood, turning it into grief. If the anger is with an equal, the blood alternates between constriction and flow, paling one moment and reddening the next, confusing him.
People are divided into three categories according to their level of anger:
1) one class have got no anger,
2) one class have got extreme anger and
3) one class have got moderate anger.
1) This class of people isn’t good because they don’t have anger. Imam Shafi said “He whose anger cannot be aroused is a donkey.” If anger concerns any matter of the next world, it is called wisdom and patience, and if it concerns any matter of this world, it is called deceit, because the people say that anger is the enemy of intellect and anger is a danger.
2) Excessive anger is also harmful. If a person gets extremely angry, they go out of intellect, religion and divine service. They then lose their sense of right and wrong, the power of good thinking, and then their freedom. A wise man once said “Wisdom does not remain safe at the time of anger, just as life does not remain safe in a burning fire.” There are people who remain naturally prepared to get angry soon. They have got a sense of anger in their nature. Others have excessive anger out of habit. They say they won’t tolerate any harm and the people around them will magnify a small issue until the person becomes extremely angry. This cycle will then repeat itself until the person has a habit of becoming excessively angry.
3) The best way is to keep anger on the line of moderation. God encourages people to stand on this border line. The Prophet said “The middle way is the best of all actions.” So the two extremes must be avoided. This is the straight path. God says “Let not kindness hold you back in the religion of God. He who has got no wrath is unable to bear hardships for the progress of soul. Anger which rises at the hint of intellect and religion is good. Intellect arouses anger where it is necessary and appeases anger where patience is necessary.”
Although it may not be possible to remove anger completely, it can be reduced through several methods. These are a mixture of knowledge and action.
There are six relating to knowledge:
1) Knowing the reward of suppressing anger. The Prophet said “God lifts punishment from one who appeases anger.”
2) Fearing the punishment of God and knowing that He is more powerful than you. God said “O son of Adam, when you get angry, remember Me. When I get angry, I will not include you among those whom I will destroy.”
3) Understanding that even if you take revenge on someone, they also have the ability to take revenge against you, in this world and the next
4) Remembering the face of someone who is very angry; would you rather look like an angry wild beast or a wise and learned person?
5) Knowing that when you are angry, the devil says to you “You are weak if you don’t get angry” – don’t listen to him, he is your enemy
6) Remember that whatever God Wills will occur, what reason do you have to get angry? Especially in relation to something that is out of your control
Cures based on action include:
1) Recite Ta’awwuz – I seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan the rejected one
2) When Ayesha got angry, the Prophet said “O dear Ayesha, say: O God, you are the Lord of my Prophet Muhammad, forgive my sins and remove the anger of my heart and save me from misguidance.”
3) Sit down if you are standing, lie down if you are sitting and come near earth, as you have been created of earth. Thus make yourself calm like the earth.
4) The Prophet said: When anyone of you gets angry, let him make ablution with water as anger arises out of fire.” Alternatively, drink water or take a shower.
Hilm and its Virtues
Hilm is an intelligence that, in our terms, allows someone to control their anger, even if their anger is justified. It allows you to, when you are justifiably angry, control it and not manifest it. Hilm is better than suppression of anger and is a sign of perfection of intellect. Hilm is gained through practising control and suppressing anger until it becomes a part of your nature.
The Prophet said “Earnestly seek Honour and Rank with God.” The companions asked, “And what is that, O Messenger of God?” He said, “Go to the one who shuns you, and give to the one who deprives you, and tolerate the one who displays ignorance towards you.”
He also said, “Should a person mock you for what is truly in you, do not mock him for what is in him.”