On Restraining Anger
(1) It is related by Abu ZarrGhifari that the Apostle of God said: “When anyone of you is roused to anger, he should sit down if he is standing. If the anger subsides (as a result of it), well and good, and if it does not. he should lie down”.
– MusnadAhmad and Tirmizi
The holy Prophet has suggested a psychological remedy, in it, for the control of one’s feelings when aroused, and there is no doubt about its efficacy. Another advantage of it is that by sitting down firmly at a place, or, still more, by lying down, the possibility of many nasty and harmful things a man, generally, does in anger is reduced.
(2) It is related by Abdullah bin Abbas that the Apostle of God said: “Instruct the people in Religion; teach Religion; and make the education easy. Do not make it difficult. And when anyone of you is feeling angry, he should keep quiet”. (The narrator adds that the Prophet said the last thing thrice).
– MusnadAhmad and Tabrani
(3) It is related by Atya bin Orwah that the Apostle of God said: “Anger is roused under the influence of Satan, (one goes beyond the limits laid down by God under the influence of the Devil), and Satan has been created from fire, and fire is put out with water. So, when anyone of you is seized with anger, let him perform Wuzu .”
– Abu Dawood
It tells of an excellent method of controlling one’s temper which is more effective than all the other methods. If a person can remember this Tradition when his anger is aroused and get up and perform the Wuzu thoroughly and well, his temper will cool down immediately, and he will feel that the water used in it was falling directly on the flames of indignation.
(4) It is related by Abdullah bin Omar that the Apostle of God said: “No one drank a draught superior, in the sight of God, to the draught of anger that was drunk with the intention of earning His good pleasure.”
To ‘drink’ anger is an idiom in the Arabic language, as it is in Urdu, and, perhaps, it bas been borrowed in Urdu from Arabic. What the above Tradition seeks to convey is that though there are many things which people drink and it is pleasing to the Lord when they do so, nothing gives Him greater pleasure than that a person ‘drank’ anger for His sake.
In the words of the Qur’an, one of the distinguishing qualities of the virtuous bond men for whom Paradise has been laid, is that “they control their wrath, and are forgiving towards mankind.” (III:134)
(5) It is related by Sahl bin M’uad, on the authority of his father, M’uad, that the Apostle of God said: “Whoever drinks his anger when he is in a position to quench it, i.e.,suppresses anger, solely for the sake of God, although he can give vent to his feelings, and refrains from visiting his wrath upon the person who incurs it, the Lord will call him to Himself, in the presence of everyone, on the Day of Resurrection, and tell him to choose whichever bride he liked from among the brides of Heaven.”
– Tirmzi and Abu Dawood
As we all know, when a man is enraged, his foremost desire is to give expression to his anger. Thus, anyone who will control his feelings and forgive the person or persons who have angered him, for the sake of God, and in spite of having the power to punish them, his reward, in the Hereafter, will be that the Almighty will summon him to His presence, before the whole creation, and tell him to select, in return for the sacrifice, whoever he liked from among the brides of Paradise.
(6) IbnAbbas relates that the Apostle of God said to Ashajj, leader of the tribe of AbdilQais, that “there are two habits of yours that are pleasing to the Lord: one is forbearance, i.e., not to be overcome with anger, and the other is not to act in a hurry.”
Once a deputation of the tribe of AbdilQais had come to meet the holy Prophet in Medina, and, it so happened, that all the members of it jumped down from their mounts and rushed to the place where the Prophet was sitting except their leader, Munzir, who was, also, known as Ashajj. Instead of showing impatience, Ashajj calmly collected luggage, and put it at a safe place, and, then, took a bath and changed his clothes, before going to meet the Apostle. The Prophet appreciated his cool and dignified way of doing things and showed it by making the remark we have seen above.
(7) It is related by Sahl bin S’aadSa’idi that the Apostle of God said: “To act in a calm and collected manner is from the side of God, while to act in haste is from the side of Devil.”
What it tells is that to perform one’s duties in a steady and composed. manner is a commendable quality and a Divine gift, whereas unseemly haste is a bad habit and bears the stamp of the Devil.
Gentleness of Speech
Gentleness of speech is among the attributes highest in social significance and can have far-reaching effects. The holy Prophet, as such, has urged upon his followers to speak politely and gently and warned them against the use of intemperate language, to the extent that he did not even like them to return abuse with abuse.
(8) Ayesha related to us, saying that (once) some Jews called on the Apostle of God, and (out of viciousness), they greeted him with As-saam-o-Alaikum (death be with you) instead of As-Salaam-o-Alaikum(peace be with you). On realizing the meaning and intention of their salutation, she retorted, “May it be with you, and the curse of God!” Upon it, the Apostle of God observed: “(No, Ayesha, No). Control your tongue, and be polite, and guard yourself against foulness of speech.”
(9) It is related by Abdullah bin Masud that the Apostle of God said: “A faithful believer neither attacks with his tongue nor utters a curse nor speaks ill of anyone nor calls names.”
It shows that to indulge in indecent language is below the dignity of a true Believer. To revile and resort to coarse and insulting speech at the time of a dispute is the quality of a Hypocrite.
(10) Ayesha related to us, saying that “(once), a man asked the Apostle of God for permission to come in. The Prophet said to us that he was a bad son (or member) of histribe, and, then, told us to let him come. When he came, the Prophet spoke to him very politely. (After he had gone), I said to the Apostle of God: ‘You spoke to him cheerfully although earlier you had expressed a poor opinion of him-that he was a bad representative of his tribe’, ‘The Prophet replied: ‘In the judgement of God, the worst man, on the Day of Resurrection, (and) from the point of view of rank, will be whom people may leave, i.e., avoid meeting on account of his rudeness’.”
– Bukhari and Muslim
The sum and substance of the above Tradition is that even if a man is not good, we should speak to him with politeness, otherwise people may begin to avoid our company on ‘account of our incivility, and such a man is worthless in the sight of God, and he will be in great loss in the Hereafter.
A few points are worth elaborating in this context.
(A) The holy Prophet had, probably, wanted to tell those who were with him, at that time, about the man who wanted to come in that he was an undesirable person, and, therefore, they should take care not to say or do anything that was not to be said or done in the presence of such a man. To warn, with such an intention, against the wickedness or depravity of anyone does, of course, not amount to back-biting. On the other hand, it is our duty to do so, as the following Tradition denotes: “Tell people of the evil that may be present in a corrupt and unprincipled person so that they took care to protect themselves from his mischief,” (Kanzul `Ummal).
(B) We should talk gently even to those about whom we know that they are not good people, In another account of the same incident, mentioned in Bukhari, it is, distinctly, stated that the holy Prophet received the man with a smile and talked to him pleasantly, It goes to show how wrong they are who suppose that one should not behave decently with men who are, bad or vicious in ones judgement, Imam Bukhari, further, has quoted it directly from Hazrat Abu Darda, a celebrated Companion of the Prophet, that “we meet and speak to many people in a pleasant and courteous manner whom we curse in our hearts on account of their deeds and character.”
If at any time, however, the expression of severity and displeasure is necessary or expedient, it will be proper to disregard the advice given above.
(C) In yet another version of the Tradition under discussion, it is stated, on the authority of Hazrat Abu Darda, that when Hazrat Ayesha inquired from the sacred Prophet why he had met and spoken so politely to the man about whom he had said that he was not good, the Apostle of God replied: God does not hold him dear who uses foul or hurtful language.” Meaning, how could the Prophet be discourteous and impolite when it was apparent that a vulgar or bitter tongue deprived a man of the love of God.
(11) It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of God said: “To speak gently is (a kind of) charity.”
This saying is a part of a long narrative. Imam Bukhari has reproduced the whole of the report while, at one place, he has quoted only this one sentence. The meaning is obvious. To talk to anyone in a polite and pleasing manner is to bring joy to his heart which, evidently, is an act of virtue.