Allah will grant the one who swallows his anger (Part 1)
The Messenger of Allah (A.S) has said, “O' ‘Ali! I advise you (in regards to something) with a piece of advice, so then safe-guard this as you shall never be devoid of goodness as long as you have safe-guarded my recommendation. O' ‘Ali! Allah will grant the one who swallows his anger - while he is able to act out his rage - with protection and faith on the Day of Judgment whose pleasure the person will taste.”
In this piece of advice from the Messenger of Allah, there is only one thing which he advised us. In this tradition, he stated that if a person has the ability to do something (take revenge) and refrains from it, Allah will grant that person a blessing in the transient world and the next life. The blessing of the next life is the protection from the hell-fire, while the blessing in this world is that of true faith which the person shall be able to taste.
The word “كظم” which has been mentioned in this tradition has numerous meanings; however its original meaning is to tightly seal the top of a flask. It is also used in the meaning of swallowing one's anger since when a person becomes upset, it is said that his anger 'spills out of him.'
At this point, we must explain some issues:
1. Anger is one of the things which lead to sin
The sins that one commits in a state of anger are many, for example: insulting and harming a fellow believer; polluting the tongue with speaking impermissible things, and many other sins. In addition, sometimes a person performs such a sin that he is not able to control himself, or due to his anger, performs something that he would never be able to compensate for during the course of his entire life! He may murder a pious or innocent soul, wreck the lives of creatures of God, destroy a family, or reveal the secrets of others tearing up the veils that cover them. There is no limit to such cruel and oppressive acts that a person can commit at the time of outbreak of faith”‘consuming fire of anger which can also destroy many homes.
As to the moral hazards, it may cause malice towards creatures of God, leading sometimes even to the enmity not only of prophets and awliya’, but also of the Holy Essence of God, the Nourisher. It may also give rise to other vices, such as jealousy, hidden enmity and provokes revenge.
The similitude of anger in this world is the fire of Divine Wrath in the hereafter. In the same way as anger emanates from the heart, perhaps the fire of Divine Wrath that is the abode of one’s anger will also emanate from the inner depths of the heart and spread over the external being, and its tormenting flames will emerge from the external sense organs such as the eyes, the ears, and the tongue.
If anger becomes permanently part of one’s nature, it is more catastrophic. It deadens ones heart and affects the faculty of wisdom. The form that such a state shall acquire in the barzakh and on the Day of Resurrection will be a beastly form that has no match in this world; for the brutality of the person in this state cannot be compared with any of the ferocious beasts. In addition, from the aspect of his moral degeneration and meanness and his leaning towards perverseness, such a person cannot be compared with any other creature
It is reported from Imam Baqir (A.S): “It is recorded in the Torah regarding which God Almighty confided to Moses (A.S), saying: “O Moses, control your anger towards those over whom I have given you authority, so that I may spare you from My Wrath.” [Al”‘Kulayni, al”‘Kafi, vol. 2, p. 302, hadith # 7]
Imam Ali (A.S) said: “Protect yourself from anger for its beginning is insanity and its end is remorse.” [Al-Amidi, Ghorar ul-Hikam wa Dorar ul-Kalim, hadith # 2635]
It is for this reason that most of the decisions which are taken in a state of anger are always followed by regret and remorse.
Thus, a person must remind himself that he should only make decisions in his life after coming out of the state of anger since while angry, a person's thoughts are not balanced and do not work properly. In addition, in such a state, one does not have the ability to discern his best interests and it is for this reason that the scholars have stated that, “While in a state of anger, no decision can be made, nothing can be ordered (to be done), nor can any punishment given.” In other words, in such a mental state, no important action can be undertaken.
Rather, what is important is that a person does not make any decision and in this time period, tries to control himself. Of course, to control ones' self while in a state of anger is also difficult to do, however one of the things which is beneficial is to bring about the agents within the self which would result in a change in the mental state.
For example, the person should leave that area where he is, in order to control his emotions; if he has become upset while inside his house, then he should step outside. It has even been stated that if a person is standing then he should sit down or if he is sitting down then he should stand up or even drink some water to change his mood and control himself!
Imam Baqir (A.S) said “….whosoever is angry with someone let him sit down immediately if he is standing; for, indeed, it would repel from him the uncleanliness of Satan. And whoever gets angry with his kinsmen let him approach him and pat him; for the feeling of consanguinity, when stimulated by touch, induces calmness.” [Al”‘Kulayni, al”‘Kafi, vol. 2, p 302, hadith # 2]
Imam Ali (A.S) said “When a person gets angry, and if he is standing, he should immediately lie down (sit down) on earth for a while as this removes the filth of Satan from him at that time.” [Al-Rayshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith # 15059]
Thus in whatever way possible, one must change the state one is in and even if one is able to change the state for a brief period of time, this too would be beneficial. To accomplish this, one could for example, sprinkle some water on one's face or recite a Surah from the Qur`an.
Sometimes a person goes into such a fit of anger that in order for it to subside, he has no other choice but to punch the wall so as to remove the pressure building up in him, thus preventing his anger from manifesting itself on others!
Truthfully, anger is a flame from the fire of Satan and is one of the most important tools which he makes use of.
The Prophet (PBUH) of God said: “Anger is from Satan and Satan is created from fire. As fire is extinguished with water, whenever someone of you gets angry he should perform wudhu (minor ablution) at that time.” [Ibid, hadith # 15061]
The key point to note is that anger takes a person out of his natural state of mind. We have seen people who, while in their 'regular mental state', are very good and down to earth people. However, when they enter into a state of anger, then everything around them begins to fly around the house (whatever they see they begin to throw), in this state, they cannot be considered as a normal human being since many changes come about within them. The most important thing which can be stated in regards to the person in such a state is that he does not have any religious excuse which he can use such that he could, for example, say that “I was in a state of anger and thus I did so and so…”
We also see that, perhaps a majority of people murdered, are killed when the killer was in a fit of anger and rage since no one would take a knife and slit someone's throat when he is cool and collected!
A person given to anger behaves unreasonably like a lunatic without rationally considering the consequences of his actions, and commits ugly and indecent acts. His tongue, limbs, and other parts of the body go out of his control. But the behaviour of a courageous person is based on reason and tranquillity of soul. He gets angry on the proper occasion and is patient and restrained. His anger is to the proper extent and he uses his reason. He knows well as to whom he should forgive and what to overlook and ignore. In the state of anger, he does not lose control of his reason, and he never makes use of indecent language nor acts indiscreetly. All his acts are based on rational considerations and are in accordance with the norms of justice and Divine law. He always acts in such a manner so as not to regret later on.
Imam Ali (A.S) said: “The most powerful person is the one who is victorious over his anger with his forbearance.” [Rayshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith # 15027]
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (A.S) said: “One who retains his anger (on someone), God will cover his secrets.” [Al-Majlisi, Bihar ul-Anwar vol. 73, p. 264 hadith # 11]
Imam Baqir (A.S) said: “One who restrains his anger in spite of having power to do so, God on the Day of Judgement will fill his heart with tranquillity and faith.” [Al-Majlisi, Bihar ul-Anwar vol. 7, p. 303 hadith # 62]
BY: Saffia Reza and Shaykh Nasir Makarim Shirazi
The Definition of a Greater Sin
Greater Sin from viewpoint of the traditions (Part 1)
Greater Sin from viewpoint of the traditions (Part 2)
Greater Sin from viewpoint of the traditions (Part 3)
Backbiting= Eating the flesh of your dead brother