Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim,
It’s so easy to say to others, “Don’t be angry,” but not quite so easy to control yourself when your own anger is provoked.
There are ways prescribed by the Prophet of controlling one’s anger, including seeking refuge in Allah from Shaytan, doing wudu and changing one’s physical position.
How to neutralize your own anger though self-counseling
Generally, the source of our anger towards others is some form of injustice done to us by that person– some hurtful words uttered, some action done that harmed us, not giving us our rights, or any other form of physical or mental injury. As Muslims, it is our duty to assume good about others. Only Allah knows who is a person belonging to Paradise and who belongs to the Hellfire. We can’t use a person’s unjust deed as proof that he or she himself is bad in essence. We can only prove from his or her act that the deed itself is bad. Realizing this will to some extent neutralizes our outrage, our question of “How could they do that to me?” or “How could they not give me that right which Allah made obligatory upon him?”
Provided the above, let’s next look at what the cause of that person’s committing that particular deed is. Assuming the person is a Muslim, it could be either of two reasons, or both:
1. Weakness of faith or lack of taqwa
2. Influence of shaytan
As for point#1, we are not able to judge what’s in a person’s heart. In fact we’re not permitted to do so. Once a Sahabi, in the battle field, killed an enemy soldier who, at the point of sword, had uttered the shahadah. You or I would probably assume, like the Sahabi, Usamah ibn Zayd, that he was lying to avoid execution. But the Prophet said to him:
Did you tear his heart so that you learnt whether he actually uttered it for this or not? Who will support you against ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah’?
Usama said: He kept on repeating this till I wished I would have embraced Islam on that day. [Abu Dawud]
As for point#2, it is true that Shaytan can take over one if he is weak, but it is also true that Shaytan snatches those rare moments of weakness of the best of people, because after all we’re all human.
Provided the above, the only one we can justly blame and be angry about causing us any harm or discomfiture is Shaytan.
Anger management tip #1
When a person hurts you, try to remember this simple formula: don’t blame the person— blame Shaytan! Get as angry as you possibly can, get red in the face, lose your temper– at Shaytan. Remember how much he hates you, and hate him back!
Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. [35:6]
Make Shaytan cry
When a son of Adam recites a Sajdah* and prostrates, Satan withdraws weeping, saying: ‘Woe is me! The son of Adam was commanded to prostrate and he prostrated, and Paradise will be his; I was commanded to prostrate and I refused, so I am doomed to Hell.’ [ibn Majah]
When you say, ‘Bismillah,’ Satan will become as small as a fly. [Ahmad]
When we see non-Muslims committing acts of disbelief, we can’t force them to give them up and accept Islam. Allah says (translation):
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. [2:256]
We can invite the person to Islam, and not force him. We feel sorry for them, not hate them. What we hate is the act of kufr.
If that is the case, how about a Muslim committing lesser crimes? Even in case of qisas (legal retribution for injustice), one usually is supposed to go to a court and lodge one’s complaint, and not take it into one’s own hands.
Anger management tip #2
Remember that we can’t force anyone act rightly by us. Everyone acts by his own free will according to what he thinks is right. Feel towards them as you would towards a disbeliever who is committing shirk, hating the act and not the person, and trying to gently guide them towards the Straight Path.
In the Quran, Allah has mentioned in some places some special groups of people. He has given these groups names, and discussed their characteristics. Some of these are:
Ibadur Rahman [Servants of the Most Merciful]
This group of people is linked with one of the greatest and most beautiful names of Allah – ar Rahman. They therefore receive a special rahmah from Allah. Who are these people? Allah mentions their first characteristic as:
Those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say ‘peace’. [25:63]
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 (Muhsinoon); [3:134]
Anger management tip #3
At the point of anger, try to remember that you can get enrolled into the ranks of Ibadur Rahman and Muhsinoon just by controlling your anger.