How To Deal With Anger
Anger is one of the evil whispers of Shaytaan, which leads to so many evils and tragedies, of which only Allah knows their full extent. For this reason Islam has a great deal to say about this bad characteristic, and the Prophet (SAW) described cures for this “disease” and ways to limit its effects, among which are the following:
(1) Seeking refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan:
Sulayman ibn Sard said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (SAW), and two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins on his neck were standing out. The Prophet (SAW) said, `I know a word which, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away. If he said “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan,” what he feels (i.e., his anger) would go away.'” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/337)
The Prophet (SAW) said: “If a man gets angry and says, `I seek refuge with Allah,’ his anger will go away.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 695)
(2) Keeping silent:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/329; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 693, 4027).
This is because in most cases, the angry person loses self control and could utter words of kufr (from which we seek refuge with Allah), or curses, or the word of divorce (talaaq) which would destroy his home, or words of slander which would bring him the enmity and hatred of others. So, in short, keeping silent is the solution which helps one to avoid all that.
(3) Not moving:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “If any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down, so his anger will go away; if it does not go away, let him lie down.” Musnad Ahmad, 5/152; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 694).
The benefits of this advice given by the Prophet (SAW) is the fact that it prevents the angry person from going out of control, because he could strike out and injure someone, he could kill or even destroy possessions. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will become overexcited, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something crazy or harmful.
(4) Following the advice of the Prophet (SAW):
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that a man said to the Prophet (SAW), “Advise me.” He said, “Do not become angry.” The man repeated his request several times, and each time the Prophet (SAW) told him, “Do not become angry.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Bari, 10/456)
(6) Knowing the high status and advantages offered to those who control themselves:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The strong man is not the one who can overpower others (in wrestling); rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself when he gets angry.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/236)
(7) Following the Prophet’s example in the case of anger:
The Prophet (SAW) is our leader and has set the highest example in this matter, as is recorded in a number of Hadeet. One of the most famous was reported by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (SAW), and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a rough collar. A Bedouin came and seized him roughly by the edge of his cloak, and I saw the marks left on his neck by the collar. Then the Bedouin ordered him to give him some of the wealth of Allah that he had. The Prophet (SAW) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he should be given something.” (Fath al-Baari, 10/375)
(8) Knowing the bad effects of anger:
The negative effects of anger are many; in short they cause damage to one’s own self and to others. The angry person may utter words of slander and obscenity, he may attack others (physically) in an uncontrolled manner, even to the point of killing.
The damage to health that results from anger can only be described by doctors, such as thrombosis, high blood pressure, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat) and hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing), which can lead to fatal heart attacks, diabetes, etc.
(9) The angry person should think about himself during moments of anger:
If the angry person could see himself in the mirror when he is angry, he would hate himself and the way he looks. If he could see the way he changes, and the way his body and limbs shake, how his eyes glare and how out of control and crazy his behaviour is, he would despise himself and be revolted by his own appearance. It is well-known that inner ugliness is even worse than outer ugliness; how happy the Shaytaan must be when a person is in this state! We seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan and from failure.
(10) Du’aa’ (Prayer):
Du’aa’ is always the weapon of the believer, whereby he asks Allah to protect him from evil, trouble and bad behaviour and seeks refuge with Him from falling into the pit of kufr or wrongdoing because of anger. One of the three things that can help save him is: being fair at times of contentment and of anger (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3039). One of the du’aa’s of the Prophet (SAW) was:
“O Allah, by Your knowledge of the Unseen and Your power over Your creation, keep me alive for as long as You know life is good for me, and cause me to die when You know death is good for me. O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in public, and I ask You to make me speak the truth in times of contentment and of anger. I ask You not to let me be extravagant in poverty or in prosperity. I ask You for continuous blessings, and for contentment that does not end. I ask You to let me accept Your decree, and for a good life after death. I ask You for the joy of seeing Your face and for the longing to meet You, without going through diseases and misguiding fitnah (trials). O Allah, adorn us with the adornment of faith and make us among those who are guided. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” Ameen!