Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Lessons from Hadith #6–Anger


عن أبي هريرة . ( أن رجلاً قال للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أوصني ، قال : لا تغضب ، فردد مراراً ، قال : لا تغضب ) رواه البخاري

Hazrat Abu Hurayrah radiallahu anhu relates that a man said to Rasulullah salalallahu alayhi wasallam, “Counsel me.” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Do not get angry!” The man repeated this again and Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Do not get angry!” (Bukhari)


This hadith shows how enthusiastic the Sahabah radiallahu anhum were on receiving knowledge and advice in order to better themselves. In this hadith, a man has openly gone in the company of Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam and has highlighted that he would like to be counselled. This shows us that we too should seek advice from our elders and should get out of this mentality of being independent on one’s own analysis. Almost always, the advice given by pious, trustworthy and knowledgeable people will be of great benefit.


First and foremost, it is important to understand what anger is. Sheikh Sulaiman ibn Muhammad al Humaydee in his Sharh of Arba’een Nawawi explains that “Anger is that poison that Shaytaan puts into the heart of a human being so that it (the heart) boils up.” Meaning Shaytaan khabees looks to provoke a reaction from the human being so that it triggers rage which will lead to much wrong.


Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam is forbidding us from getting angry but anger is a disease from within and for every disease there is a cure. Sheikh Sulaiman al Humaydee continues to explain how one can treat such a spiritual ailment. He says (from here on my words will be written in red italics):


1. Seek refuge from Allah Ta’ala from Shaytaan. It is related in a hadith narrated by Sulaiman ibn Sard radiallahu anhu that two men were swearing at each other in front of Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam. One of them got so angry that his face began to turn red. Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “I know such a phrase that if you were to recite them, the thing which has taken you (anger) will go away. (The words are) A’uzoo billahi min ash-shaytaanir rajeem (I seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan the accursed.) (Just on a side note, in the narration mentioned in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, the man got up and said to Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam, “What did you say? Do you see me as being mad?!” Hafiz ibn Hajar Al Asqalani rahimahullah says that he does not know who these two men were but Imam Nawawi rahimahullah mentions in Sharh Muslim that this man who got up must have been a Munafiq (hypocrite) due to his behaviour. The sahabah radiallahu anhum would always accept advice and the Munafiqeen wouldn’t).


2. Change your position – It is related by Abu Darr radiallahu anhu that Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “When one of you is angry then he should sit down and the anger will go away from him, if this is not the case then he should lie down.” (Abu Dawud) (The reason for this is that when a person is standing up, he is more likely to hit somebody and create hungama. When a person is lying down, he is less bothered.)


3. Perform wudhu – Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Indeed anger is from Shaytaan and Shaytaan has been created from fire. Fire is extinguished by water so whenever of you gets angry, let him perform wudhu.” (Abu Dawud)


4. Remain Silent – Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhuma relates that Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Teach and spread glad tidings, and whenever one of you gets angry then let him remain silent, let him remain silent, let him remain silent.” (Abu Dawud) (When a person is angry he can break people’s hearts and say things which can destroy friendships. With the tongue a husband can be sweet and say ‘I love you’ a thousand times but in the state of anger, he only needs to utter ‘Talaaq’ once and he has destroyed an entire marriage! This is why the poem is mentioned in Kashful Baari, “The wound which is made by a spear will heal but the wound which is made by the tongue won’t.” In one hadith, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Whomsoever believes in Allah and in the last day, let him speak good or remain silent!” this can translate into the modern day language as, “If you haven’t got anything good to say then keep strum (silent)!”


5. Whomsoever supresses his anger, he will be granted Jannah – this is in the hadith related by Tabrani, “Do not get angry and you will receive Jannah.”


6. Understand the virtue Allah Ta’ala has given to those who supress anger – Allah Ta’ala says, “Those who supress their anger and forgive people. Verily, Allah loves those who do good.” (Surah Aale Imran) Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam has said, “The strong person is not he who is a wrestler but the strong person is he who controls himself when is angry.” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam also said, “A slave does not swallow anything more virtuous in the eyes of Allah Ta’ala than swallowing his anger and suppresses it for the please of Allah Tabaraka wa Ta’ala.”


Thus anger is of two types;

1. Disgraceful – this anger is for worldly things and it is what Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam has warned us against.

2. This is praiseworthy and it is for the truth and for Allah Ta’ala. Aishah radiallahu anha relates that Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam never took retribution for himself except when someone transgressed the rights of Allah.” (This shows that anger is permissible in the correct situation. Allah Ta’ala has given us this anger so that we can protect ourselves and our family. It should not be the case that somebody is trying to hurt our dear ones and we sit their like a laloo panjoo and do nothing.)


It has been related that Ali radiallahu anhu had a slave girl who once came back with hot water in a container and she dropped it on his head by accident. He was harmed by this and he looked up at her angrily. She said, “Allah Ta’ala says, ‘.Those who suppress their anger…” so Ali radiallahu anhu said, “I have suppressed my anger.” So she said, “Allah Ta’ala says, ‘…Those who forgive people...’ so Ali radiallahu anhu said, “I have forgiven you.” his slave girl said, “…Indeed, Allah loves those who do good. (Surah Aale Imran)” so Ali radiallahu anhu said, “Go, for you are now free for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala (i.e. I have freed you from being a slave).” (This is the end of Humaydee’s dialogue).


Lastly, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam had repeated the words “Do not get angry!” The question arises that why did he repeat this? It is mentioned in Fathul Bari that this was done for emphasis. The man who asked Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam the question was quite angry and so Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said this to keep him calm.


Allama Khattabi mentions that this is to highlight to a person that he should not go towards those things which take a person towards anger. If a person knows he is going to get angry due to something, he should not hang around and wait for it to happen but rather, he should move away from that place. (Kashful Baari).

On a side note, the Sheikh Sulaiman ibn Muhammad Al Humaydee’s Sharhul Arba’een An Nawawiyah is an excellent book for those who are learned in Arabic. It is detailed, straight to the point and well set out.


May Allah Ta’ala give us the ability to act upon what we write and give us the ability to control our anger. Ameen.

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