Friday, 20 July 2007

Spiritual Discussions For The Treatment of Anger - Part 1 of 3

Allah SWT has explained three qualities of his special servants in the Qur'an:

1. Those who swallow their anger;

2. They forgive the mistakes of Our Servants; and

3. They not only forgive, but do an act of kindness upon them.

Allah SWT loves such people.

Anger is not a bad thing, but to use it in a wrong place is bad. If anger is annihilated, then how will one make Jihad with the Kuffar? Therefore, we must use anger in the right place. When at such times during Jihad, someone comes and says: "I humbly present myself in front of you" - then it will be forbidden to treat him with humility; but rather say, "Is there anyone to confront me?"

However, when anger is concerning oneself, then the following verse will apply to him:

"Men of Allah are those who swallow their anger and control themselves." (Al-Qur'an)

Many times, people request for some prayers whereby evil thoughts, inspirations and feelings do not occur to them. This is childishness. Actually, perfection and intelligence is to trample the evil inspirations, not to act upon them, just for the pleasure of Allah. Anyone who goes through a lot of difficulties and suffering for your sake, will you not think him to be your very best friend?

Therefore, one has to escape from or overpower these demands, for if you cannot do this, then it is proof enough that you do not want to go through difficulties for the sake of Allah. How then can this be a claim of love?

One of the rights of love is that one goes through all difficulties for the pleasure of the beloved. Therefore, these demands and urges must remain, otherwise how will one fulfil his wife's rights in a permitted manner, which means not using one's urges in the wrong manner. The intention is not to destroy bad habits, but to channel them in the correct direction.

For example, a man has anger in him which is a bad habit. Before his reformation he used it for himself, i.e. if someone told him something unbecoming, or he was harmed by someone, he immediately lost control and let out his anger. But after he reformed, the direction of his anger changed. Now he gets angry on witnessing the disobedience of Allah and his enmity is now directed towards the enemies of Allah.


If after reformation, the Nafs (Self) encourages towards sin, then he lets out his anger on it, saying he will not allow it to sin! So anger is there, but its direction is now changed, which is praiseworthy and a commendable action. Now, what is the meaning of "Kazm" and for what was is it used by the Arabs? The Qur'an has been revealed in the Arabic language.

Allamah Alusi As-Sayyid Mahmud RA, who was once the Mufti of Baghdad has explained this in his commentary of "Ruhul Ma'ani", that "Kazm" means to fasten a string around the mouth of a water bag which is filled to the brim.

Thus Allah SWT states that when anger surges up in you, before you begin to talk vulgarly, or swear and speak anything harmful, immediately tie your mouth up with the string of "Kazm".

Now, let us see what is the difference of "Ghaiz" and "Ghadhab".

Sometimes, the workers in the office speak amongst themselves that "today the boss is fuming with rage, perhaps he had a fight with his wife."

Allamah Alusi RA has explained that the meaning of "Ghaiz" is that when one is angered, he controls himself and holds back his frustration. In "Ghadhab", one intends to take revenge. "Ghaiz" can be used only for the creation and not for the Creator (Allah) while "Ghadhab" can be used for both, the creation and the Creator.

Allamah Alusi RA has explained four Ahadith concerning this verse; for only the one on whom the Qur'an was revealed can explain the commentary of the above verse.


The first Hadith is:

"One who controls his anger inspite of having strength to enforce it, Allah will fill his heart with Iman and peace."

This means that a person has full strength to enforce his anger and there is no obstacle preventing him from doing so, yet he swallows his anger and forgives the person only out of the fear of Allah. Allah will then bless such a person with the above reward. What a great reward for controlling one's anger! Our scholarly elders have explained that one who swallows the bitter sip of anger which means that he controls it, Allah will change all that anger into Nur.

Together with this, another commentary is given: That anger which takes place for Allah or for the affairs of Deen is an exceptional type of anger, as Rasulullah SAW also got angry when witnessing the disobedience towards Allah. His blessed face would turn extremely red. Therefore, one should get angry on the disobedience of Allah.

The second Hadith is:

"One who controlled his anger, though he was able to enforce it, on the day of Qiyamah, Allah will call him in front of all the creation and allow him to choose any Hurr he pleases to have."

The Hurrs are the damsels of Paradise. This is the second reward of controlling one's anger.

The third Hadith is:

"On the day of Qiyamah, Allah will call out:

"Stand up, whoever has a right upon Me."

No one will stand up, except that person who forgave another's mistakes in the world.

Whoever, earned this wealth and did actions of forgiveness only he will stand up to take his rewards from Allah on that Day."

The fourth Hadith is:

"Anyone who wants high palaces and high stages in Jannah, should forgive the one oppressing him, he should give to the one who deprives him, and he should keep up relations and communication with one who severes ties."

Certain blood relatives are such that even if one does a million kindnesses to them, they do not do so in return. The rule for them is that even if they keep severing ties, one should keep maintaining ties with them and forgive them.

We learn from the above Hadith that Allah has promised beautiful mansions and high ranks for the person who practises the above. If a relative is troubling and harming one to such an extent that it is unbearable and through which one's world and Hereafter is being harmed, one should take advice from the Pious Ulama, because for such a person, different rules will apply.

The fifth Hadith is:

"Anger destroys Iman in the same manner that aloes spoil honey."

Aloes are so bitter, that if stamped at a distance, the throat of another person becomes bitter. If a small pinch of aloe is put into a whole mound of honey, all the honey will become bitter. Similarly, anger makes the sweetness of Iman bitter which means an angry person does not enjoy the love of Allah, and neither His Ibadah i.e. Solat, Zikr, Tilawat, Du'a etc. because his anger has spoilt the perfection and Nur of his Iman.

The sixth Hadith is:

"One who holds back his anger, Allah will hold back His punishment from him."

It is devious that one will have to tolerate difficulty in controlling one's anger, and this is tolerated for the pleasure of Allah alone, then upon this one will be blessed with this great reward. This training of tolerance can only be made easy by the blessings of the company of the Pious.

Once a person wrote to Hakimul Ummat Sheikh Ashraf Ali Thanwi RA that he has anger in him and that some treatment should be prescribed. Sheikh Thanwi RA replied that he should go to Sheikh Muhammed Hasan RA who was the owner of a Book Depot.

After some time, this person wrote back to Sheikh Thanwi RA saying (mafhum):

"My anger is gone. I keep going in the presence of Sheikh Muhammad Hasan RA and he never tells me anything concerning my anger, yet how is it that I have benefitted so much?"

Sheikh Thanwi RA replied (mafhum):

"Because Sheikh Muhammad Hasan RA has a tolerant nature, he has within him the faculty of patience and tolerance, and this quality of his heart has been transferred to your heart."

The seventh Hadith is narrated by the Companion of Rasulullah SAW - Abu Mas'ud RA:

Oonce he was beating his slave when he heard a voice from behind him saying:

"Abu Mas'ud! Allah has more power over you than what you have over him (the slave)."

This was the voice of Rasulullah SAW.

The Sahabah RA hearts would come alive hearing this voice and diseases would be cured. Allah blessed them with guidance through the Companionship of Prophethood. Through the companionship of saintly people, a power and strength is created within us to act on piety.


A poet by the name of Abdul Hafiz used to drink wine and shave his beard. On being informed that one truly becomes reformed at a place called Thana Bowan, he set out and on his way his beard grew a little. On reaching the Khanqah (the centre for reformation) of Sheikh Thanwi RA, he shaved off all the stubble of his beard and requested Sheikh Thanwi RA to allow him to take the "Bai'at" (Pledge).

Sheikh Thanwi RA responded: (mafhum)

"When you came here, you had a little Nur on your face. Now you have even removed that. Why did you do this when you had the intention of taking the pledge?"

Abdul Hafiz replied: (mafhum)

"Sir, you are the doctor of the Ummat and I am the most sick of the Ummat. The patient should present his illness fully to the physician, so that the illness can be treated fully. I will never touch the razor again InshaAllah."

Although this was not permissible for Abdul Hafiz, but because his intention was to reform, Sheikh Thanwi RA accepted his sincerity and kept quiet. One year after this incident had taken place, Sheikh Thanwi RA went to a place for a lecture. There, he saw an old man with the Sunnah beard. On enquiry about this man, he was informed that he was that very person who had come to Thana Bowan for reformation. Hadhrat was overjoyed on seeing him with a beard. His end was a very beautiful one. For three days, Abdul Hafiz cried with the Fear of Allah, tossing restlessly from one side of the room to the other, and in this condition he met his end. So, truly blessed is that servant who connects himself to the Pious. When Allah sees that a person has become the friend of His friend, then He, through His grace, makes him His own. One's destiny changes by the company of the people of Allah.


Rasulullah SAW is reported to have said:

"One who sits in the company of the accepted servants of Allah, can never remain wretched. Allah changes his wretchedness into auspiciousness."

There is a lengthy Hadith, a part of which it is mentioned that a person was passing by the gathering of Allah's people - he had not come specially for the gathering, but just decided to sit down. Although Allah knows everything, He asked the Angels what those people were engaged in. At the end of this Hadith it is mentioned that Allah calls the Malaikat to bear witness and Allah says:

"I have forgiven all of them, even the one who sat in the gathering just as he was passing by, because I do not deprive even those who sit near My accepted servants."

Subhanallah brothers and sister ! If the result of the companionship with the friends of Allah is such that wretchedness changes into piety, and one develops a powerful strength to do good deeds, then what must be the condition of one's Imaan after the companionship of Prophethood?

Just by Rasulullah SAW's sight falling on a person, that person becomes a Sahabi RA, and the world's greatest Saint can never reach the status of any Sahabi RA.

It was thus through the blessing of the company of Rasulullah SAW that Abu Mas'ud RA realised this and said:

"Ya Rasulullah SAW, I free this slave for the sake of Allah in lieu of beating him."

Rasulullah SAW replied:

"If you would not have shown mercy to the slave, the fire of Jahannam would have burnt you to ashes."

Which oppressor can say that he performs Tahajjud, performs Zikr and is a Saint, so he will not be punished for his anger? Let us think and ponder over this fact. We think that just because we perform worship, we have all the right to trouble and oppress our fellow Muslims, our brothers, sisters, wives etc. We think there is no law and order for us.

Let us just contemplate, a Companion of Rasulullah SAW - Abu Mas'ud RA is being warned that had he not shown mercy to his slave, the fire of Jahannam would have been wrapped around him on the Day of Qiyamah. Can we be greater than the Sahabi - Abu Mas'ud RA?

If we say that our anger is not harming us, then we are also indirectly claiming that our stage is higher than the Sahabah RA, Nau'udzubillah !

Brothers and sisters,

In fact, many people say, "we do not need spiritual guides," yet, imagine, even a Companion like Abu Mas'ud RA needs a trainer and guide! When Saiyidina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq RA - who is the most virtuous amongst mankind after the Ambiya AS - was in need of a guide, he needed a guardian, then who are we to say that we do not need to be guided and reformed.


Once Saiyidina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq RA became angry with a relative and said:

"By Allah! I will not do kindness to you anymore."

However, this relative had earned Allah's acceptance because of his participation in the Battle of Badr and Allah Most High Himself then interceded on his behalf thus:

"O Siddiq! Would you not like to forgive this servant of Mine who has taken part in the Battle of Badr so that I may forgive you on the Day of Qiyamah?"

When this Verse was revealed, Saiyidina Abu Bakr RA broke his oath, paid compensation for it and took another oath:

"By Allah! I love that Allah forgives me, so I too forgive my relative and now I will do more kindness to him than even before."

These are Allah's special servants, who forgive people's mistakes and thereafter even do acts of kindness to them for Allâh loves those who are kind.

In support of this commentary, Allamah Alusi RA has narrated an incident about Saiyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib RA's grandson - Ali bin Husain RA. His slave girl was once helping him to make wudhu when the water can slipped from her hand, fell on his head and wounded him. Ali bin Husain RA looked at her angrily. The slave girl, being a Hafizah of the Qur'an, immediately started reciting the verse from the Qur'an which says:

"Allah's special servants are those who swallow their anger."

Ali bin Husain RA immediately replied:

"I have swallowed my anger."

His immediate action was because of his acceptance of the word of Allah.

It was not important to him who had recited it. He did not think that it is only a slave girl reciting, and so why he should accept it, but rather when the talks of The Great Being are spoken by "small" people, that is the words of Allah Most High, it does not matter he speaks it.

The slave girl then proceeded to recite the verse which says:

"And those who forgive people."

Ali bin Husain RA responded: "I forgive your mistake.

She then continued:

"And Allah loves those who are kind."

Ali bin Husain RA then replied:

"Go, I free you for the sake of Allah."

Such is the piety of our Pious Predecessors my brothers and sisters. It is easy for us to sit and read sensational stories while appreciating its contents as a form of drama; but within the bounds of reality and life, to act spontaneously, impulsively in the lines of superior piety in unprepared situations can be done only by those who have been chosen by Allah SWT. Allah SWT chooses such people among those who make effort and sacrifice their time, wealth and health for Deen.

Another story is worth narrating here about two individuals, among the greatest Ulama of the 20th Century: Sheikhul Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya Khandalwi RA and his uncle - Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Khandalwi RA.

Once Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas RA happened to be at at a place where Sheikhul Hadith RA had become angry with an attendant and was scolding him. The attendant was asking for forgiveness, saying that he made a mistake and that he was after all human. Sheikhul Hadith RA replied that if he had done it once or twice it would have been understood, but he had committed this mistake a dozen times. How much more must he tolerate it?

Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas RA then told him in his ears:

"Maulana! Tolerate as much as you would want to be tolerated." - meaning, forgive as much as you would want to be forgiven; so do not say how much you must tolerate, but forgive as much as possible.

Sometimes a person in anger says:

"This person never does anything right, he is always making mistakes."

So what? Brothers. Sisters. Some people have less intelligence than others! Sheikh Thanwi RA says that if perfect intelligence is 98 degrees, then Allah has given some people only 97.5 degrees and these types are simple and childish! If your own child was like this, what would you have done? Surely, you will overlook his weakness with softness. Therefore, check and take stock of one with less intelligence accordingly. Do not compare one of 97 degrees with one with 98 degrees.

Yet, knowing all this, some people say in anger:

"He knows everything. He is doing this just to trouble me."

This foolish thinking is instigated in the mind by Shaytaan.


Another important point is that an angry person thinks himself/herself to be very great. Pride is hidden in the folds of his/her anger. When that person is angry at someone, the intention is to degrade that person and prove his own greatness. When anger arises in him/her, look at his/her face or put a mirror in front of him/her and tell that person to see what he/she sees in the mirror; or record his/her angered voice on a tape and let him/her listen to it.

A human being almost never realises his spiritual illness. It may be that the person says that such anger was for the sake of Allah, but this assumption can never be reliable. He/she should have it tested by a spiritual guide who has far sightedness, and will tell as to whether that anger was right or wrong, but that person who always claim being right, is in fact the wrong one.

Even in many families, there are many mistakes and much anger resulting. How would we like our son-in-law to treat our daughter if she makes a mistake? Would we not like that he should forgive her? When the son-in-law troubles our daughter, we get all panicky and ask spiritual mentors for advice and du'as. Similarly, our wives are also someone else's daughters. Must we not show mercy to them? We argue and fight so much with them that they cry inside and have no one to complain to in the in-law's house. Their sighs and laments too will surely catch up with you one day! When the rains of knowledge stop falling on the heart of the revivalist (Mujadid) and reformer of the time, because of harm caused to animals, then what will one's condition be for troubling human beings? In the same manner too, rebelious and temperamental wives must forgive their husbands; and know that obedience and mild-mannerness to the husband is the key to Paradise for them!

One day Sheikh Thanwi RA's wife had to go out for some duties, so she told him to unlock the chicken pen and to put corn and water for the fowls. After that, Sheikh Thanwi RA completely forgot about ithis chore and then sat down to do his writing and replying of letters. However, all the Nur of knowledge and topics on "recognition" closed on him and he could not reply even one letter nor write his commentary of Bayanul Qur'an.

Upon this Sheikh Thanwi RA made Du'a to Allah, that Allah should open upon him the secret, for perhaps he has made some mistake as a result of which this has happened to him.

Allah SWT put it in his heart that:

"Our creation (fowls) are locked up without food and water, how can We bestow you with topics when Our creation is suffering?"

Sheikh Thanwi RA immediately opened the chicken pen, gave them food and water, and just then his heart opened up and knowledge started flowing in.


Rasulullah SAW is reported to have said:

"Do not make the animal's back your pulpits."

This means, if you need to talk to someone, get off the animal and talk, for animals are not for this purpose. Islam enjoins great mercy to animals. If it is forbidden to trouble animals, then, my friends, those who trouble their wives, how much punishment are they not inviting upon themselves for their action?

Rasulullah SAW is reported to have said:

"Those with the most perfect Iman are the ones whose character is the best. And the best amongst you is the one who treats his wife well."

We learn from this that the highest standard of best character is good treatment to the wife.

However, Muslim wives must not take this for granted.

Allamah Alusi RA has related a narration in Tafsir Ruhul Ma'ani that Rasulullah SAW said:

"Those husbands who are merciful, their wives overpower them."

This means they start speaking sharply, they become playful towards the husband and do coquetry.
Rasulullah SAW is reported to have said:

"O A'ishah, when you are angry with me, I come to know of it, because then you say: "By the Lord of Ibrahim (AS); and when you are happy with me, then you say, "By the Lord of Muhammad."

So women do have a right of getting upset. Shari'ah has scope for it.

The Hadith says:

"These women overpower men who are kind, but men that are ill tempered and possess bad character, shout, beat and fight with their wives and overpower them."

It is said that in certain places of the world, husbands beat their wives on the first night to create a fear in their hearts for them. Astaghfirullah! What oppression and ignorance! May Allah give us Hidayat.

Rasulullah SAW said:

"I prefer to be suppressed but kind (with regard to my wives). I do not want to be ill-tempered and overpower them."

A narration comes to us from Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet Muhammad SAW is reported to have said:

"Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely."

Women are from a crooked rib. Look! Although they are crooked, are we not benefitting from them? Therefore, your treatment towards them should be one of love, kindness and mercy, then life will become enjoyable.

Sheikh Thanwi RA used to say that those people who reject Allah's intercession of "And treat them kindly", are shameless. If some great person commands us to protect and look after the wife, we will take pains in fulfilling the order of such an important personality.

Here Allah Most High is commanding us to treat our wives well, then how much more importance should be given to this order. Let us ponder deeply over what is to be done and what we are doing. Coming back to the subject of anger, to swallow anger is a great training of the Nafs, because anger is fire and to control it is very difficult. So, rewards upon it are also very great and one attains experience according to one's training.

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