[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Anger causes a person to be rude, abusive, harsh and ruthless, even towards his family; wife, children and parents as well. Islam encourages its followers to swallow their anger. Whenever the Quran mentions about good Akhlaq (character), it also mentions controlling of anger as a good trait:
“Those who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good”(Surah Al e Imran, verse 134)
“And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive”(Surah Shura, verse 37)
Anger is a part of human nature. Although you cannot avoid it, yet you should control it so that it does not overpower you, or implicate you. Anger ruins a person’s image and destroys the relations of the person with others.
Why did the Prophet ﷺ advise - Do not get angry
A companion came to the Prophet ﷺ and requested for a concise yet significant advice. He said, “Do not get angry.” The man was not satisfied because he had expected some unique advice, different from what was given to others. He went to the Prophet ﷺ the next day, hoping he would get some weighty advice. He came and requested for a short but important advice. He said, “Do not get angry.” The man was still not satisfied as he was looking for a unique advice. So he came again, thinking that the Prophet ﷺ might have forgotten about the previous advice and this time he would get a new one. So he again requested for a short but powerful advice. He said, “Do not get angry.”
Now this companion started pondering why the Prophet ﷺ repeated the same advice every time he visited and asked him for one. He said that he started an introspection and reviewed the causes and consequences of the issues concerning him, his family, his neighbours and society in general, for over an year. He also started observing people around him, many of whom were victims of anger. After an year had passed, he concluded that the root cause of all the issues, was anger.
Strength lies in overpowering yourself and not others
Once Prophet Mohammed ﷺ announced, “Do you know who is a strong person?” The people said, “ One who overpowers others in wrestling?” He said, “No, One who controls his own anger is the one who is the strongest.”
It implies that the one who defeats his own anger and does not allow the anger to overpower him is the strongest of all. It means that taking revenge is not a sign of being strong, but reining your anger is. He also said that among the most bitter sip is to gulp up anger.
Two types of people who swallow their anger
- Those who are not strong enough to take revenge: They have to suppress their anger because their opponent is stronger and more powerful.
- Those who are powerful enough to take revenge and vent their anger but they swallow their anger and pardon. This pardoning is a trait of excellent Akhlaq (character).
“He swallows his anger for the sake of Allah and to please Him” the Prophet ﷺ said.
Ibn Abbas narrated a story. In the court of Umar ibn Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) there used to be an elite class of people who were educated, were well mannered and had sound knowledge in Deen. One of them was Hur bin Qais. He had an uncle who was very harsh, rude and blunt in speech. This man always insisted that his nephew introduce him to Umar Bin Al Khattab. But Hurf bin Al Qais was reluctant because he feared his uncle’s rude nature could displeasure the Caliph. He felt that it would be a very embarrassing situation for him , if that happened.
One day, on the persistent insistance of his uncle, nephew took him to the court of Caliph and introduced him.The moment the introduction took place, the old man started criticizing the Caliph harshly. He accused him of incompetence, injustice and corruption. This made Umar bin Al Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) very angry. Hurf bin Qais says that he could notice the signs of anger on the face of the Caliph and was sure that his uncle would get a bashing by him. Suddenly, the caliph stood up with a stick in his hand.
The moment he stood up, Hurf bin Qais said, “O Ameerul Mo’mineen! Allah has instructed his Prophet ﷺ to ignore the ignorants and pardon them and my uncle is one of the ignorants.” He then recited the verse from Surah Al Araf. (REF)
Umar Bin Khattab cooled immediately. He responded to the words of the Quran. He knew the virtues of pardoning people so he pardoned.
Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “Whenever he got angry, the Caliph used to cool down upon hearing those Qur’anic verses.”
Such pardoning is considered to be a trait of an excellent Akhlaq (character) and the believers of Qur’an are expected to possess such traits.