Anger Management: An Islamic perspective: Part one

How many times have you shouted at your parents? How many times have you felt so angry that you were just about to hit someone? Does this happen a lot? You're not the only one.

Many people now are unable to control themselves and end up arguing with others, often the ones that they love - their parents, their brothers, their sisters, their husbands or wives. Here we're listing some reasons that stir people's anger and ways given from the Qur'an and Sunnah to overcome this anger and control yourself.

When first God created humanity, He created many emotions and desires within each person, which we call human instincts. These include positive qualities such as recognizing truth and expressing it, love and compassion, pure physiological desires such as being thirsty, hungry and in need of sex.

Then there are some negative qualities such as hate and anger, with resultant violence and dejection.

Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And when your Lord said to the angles, "I am creating successors on the earth." They said, "Will You create on it those who will spread corruption and spill blood, although we celebrate Your praise and extol Your Holiness?" He said," I know what you do not know." (Qur'an 2:30)

Also Allah instilled some protective mechanisms for fighting these negative instincts.

Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"Man was created weak."

During the moment of weakness, we succumb to the designs of our enemy, that is, the devil, who "will attack us from front, from behind, from the side," in order to divert us from God consciousness and return to our animistic nature. Thus anger by itself is not unnatural; it is the expression of anger which is done wrongfully, can lead to problems. The difference between the wild beasts and wild humans is the difference of free will.

When a lion or a wolf is angry, he does not think. When a man becomes angry as a result of provocation, he has a choice to control his anger or to respond to it as he has learned from the Qur'an and from Prophet Mohammad's teachings, or forget all that and become a wild animal. Thus anger takes place when we are not in control of ourselves, but the devil is controlling us. Anger in itself is a natural feeling, Allah has put such feeling inside us to react against what's harming us, for instance to protect our lives, our properties, and our families. Yet we shouldn't over do that. Meaning it is ok to feel angry, but it is dangerous and forbidden by Allah to surrender to your anger and follow it to as far as it takes you (for it might drive you to killing somebody).

Anger is a de stabilizing thought. It is the most dividing emotion between friends; it takes away judgment, leads to depression, madness and wrong actions that we would repent later on when we are not angry. But why do we get angry to begin with? It is either an unexpected provocation or unexpected situation which leads to frustration and an angry response.

During anger, one can physically or verbally abuse a person that he or she loves, hurt another living being like an animal, or during the dejection phase of anger, one can even hurt him- or herself and even commit suicide. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) gave us the medicine for that saying:

"Shake hands and rancor will disappear. Give gifts to each other and love each other and enmity will disappear".

Also Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

"A strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground. A strong person is the one who contains himself when he is angry".

The point is that the natural fulfillment of normal desires, whether in terms of food or sex, is a prerequisite for prevention of anger. There are many chemicals and hormones which affect our moods and behavior. It is well known that hypoglycemia and hyperthyroidism precipitate irritability when feeling angry. We must keep our hormones in balance in addition to facilitate our spiritual well-being.


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