Rage and the mindfulness to control it

(What Islam says about anger?)

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Source: Sahih Al Bukhari)

To combat anger and channelize it in the right direction one needs to first acknowledge the fact that they need to work on this aspect of their personality. Anger isn’t a characteristic trait that simply disappears without any work or effort. It is a part of a person, sometimes a big one that determines many aspects of their life. Anger effects different people in different way. Some might be too vulnerable to it while some have a longer sustaining ability.

Either way, the aim should be to minimize and finally eradicate it. This, for the comfort and peace of one’s own mind and heart and for the well-being of others. In trying to combat anger personally, I have noticed a certain pattern that can help and solve this problem.

  • Identify trigger points – The most effective way of combating anger is by first realizing and accepting that one is suffering from it. By addressing a problem, a person gets a hold on themself and can plan a path which will help eradicate the issue. For example, new parents generally face sudden anger bursts. If they understand and accept that they lack the patience to deal with children and must work on it, they can plan better what needs to be done. Similarly, people get angry when work pressure increases. However, if they address this aspect and sort ways to calm themselves, they can prevent hurting themself and others. So, the key is to identify, address and highlight the times and situations when a person gets angry. When this is done, a person will always be ready before anger strikes. This helps to prevent sudden outbursts.
  • Planning appropriate solutions – Out of all options that I have come across to manage anger, ‘zikr’ has worked out best for me. The morning and evening remembrance coupled with the last three chapters of the Quran protects one from sudden burst of anger. Apart from this, continuous ‘zikr’ keeps all kind of evil away. Another solution can be merely staying away from reasons that anger a person. Additionally, if staying away isn’t possible, one can try and figure out how they should react when a certain trigger point starts building up. For example, when work pressure increases, I mentally stay prepared to face it and make it a point not to carry the burden into my family time. When I am with my family, I need to feel relaxed and not carry the weight of my work into family time, which will ultimately disturb it.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent.” (Source: Al Musnad)

  • Do not compromise on Mental well-being – Mental well-being is as important as physical well-being. It is well known that anger affects health adversely. Anger as a feeling is a psychological state that results from inner agitation. And when this agitation becomes violent, it intensifies. It has negative effects on those who allow it to control them. It affects one’s mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, guilt, frustration, and isolation. Not only mental health, but it also has a great impact on a person’s physical health as well, which includes headaches, eye strains, upset stomach, and heart problems etc.Moreover, it affects family and society. When a person becomes angry and he acts upon it, he intensifies hatred amongst himself and people around him, and as a result, people cut off ties with him. Worst can lead to killing and bloodshed.

Hence, one needs to understand that apart from exercising and eating right, maintaining a positive and calm state of mind is necessary to continue leading a happy and healthy life.

  • Gain Allah’s pleasure – There are many reasons – like the ones mentioned above – which forces a person to consider and combat the negativity of anger. However, if one decides to do so to please Allah(swt), this entire process turns into worship and along with a positive change one receives great reward for it. If a person doesn’t try to control anger, he / she ends up displeasing Allah (swt) and chooses to walk away from the right path, for which they must face consequences. However, working on it and eradicating it will lead a person towards Allah’s forgiveness and His infinite mercy.

“Who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.” (Surah Al Imran, Verse 134)