Dealing with Anger– the Islamic Way

We all experience anger from time to time. Maybe your spouse did something to upset you… the children are misbehaving… someone cut you off in traffic… your boss is being unreasonable. We share this world with many people of many different personalities. It is inevitable that we will feel anger or frustration from time to time. While the feelings are inevitable, angry reactions are not.

In fact, the teachings of Islam are very clear on this: it is haram (forbidden) to lash out in anger. The Koran says:

“O ye who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil doers.” (Al-Hujurat: 11)

This verse says quite plainly that we are not allowed to insult, belittle, put down, or curse others. Several hadiths from various sources go on to say that the Prophet (PBUH) reported that it is our mouths or tongues which will lead us to Hell. In other words, the words we say will lead us to sin and, consequently, punishment. Words said in anger will definitely be among those!

In addition to insults and name-calling, we should also avoid yelling, screaming, and physical violence.

The Prophet (PBUH) frequently advised his followers to refrain from anger. He would often say that the best among men are the ones who treat their wives and families the best and those who control their anger.

[h]Islamic Recipe for Calm[/h]
As mentioned before, feelings of anger are bound to occur. We live in a high-stress, fast-paced world, and it is unrealistic to think that things will always go as planned or that people will always act in ways that please us. So, what should we do when something upsets us? As in most areas of life, Allah sent us some guidelines in dealing with negative feelings.

Several hadiths instruct Muslims to sit down or lie down at the onset of anger. This helps to slow the breathing and the heart rate and should lead to calmer feelings. This also gives you a chance to step away from the situation and explore your options. Usually, this time-out will allow you to censor your response and find something appropriate.

If sitting does not restore your calm, you should make wudu (clean for prayer). Make a dua (supplication to Allah), saying, “Oh, Allah. I seek refuge from the accursed Shaitan (Satan).” It is also a good idea to ask for Allah’s forgiveness for your anger, anything you did to contribute to the confrontation, and anything you did or said in anger. Now, pray two rakahs.

Many people find peace and comfort in reading the Koran. If possible, take the Koran to a quiet place and read Allah’s words. Most people find that it is impossible to truly connect with Allah and feel anger at the same time. The two feelings are mutually exclusive!

Once you have restored your inner calm, you can look at the issue in a new and more constructive light. You might find it is really a nonissue, and doesn’t require a reaction at all. Or, you might find that it does need to be dealt with. In that case, you should now be equipped to deal with the situation in a calmer, more mature way… en sha Allah!

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