Anger management in light of the Quran and Sunnah (I)

“….O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in public, and I ask You to make me speak the truth in times of contentment and of anger…. (Saheeh Al-Jaami, 3039)”.
Anger is a psychological state that results from inner agitation and desire for revenge. And when this agitation becomes violent, it intensifies the fire of anger. A violent commotion engulfs one’s brain on account of which the mind and intellect loses control and becomes powerless. It is for this reason that such a person becomes blind and deaf to etiquettes and guidance.
Anger is a weakness but people think of it as strength. In fact, it’s a spark that sets you on fire and then you burn others. So that fire not only hurts you, but hurts others as well. Imam Baqir (a) said: “Indeed, this anger is a spark lit by Satan in the heart of the son of Adam (Al-Kulayni, Al kafi, Vol. 2, page 304, hadith no. 12)’’.

The Devastating Effects of Anger
Although anger is a natural feeling, it has negative effects on those who allow it to control them. It affects one’s mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, guilt, frustration and isolation. Not only mental health, but it also has a great impact on a person’s physical health as well, which includes headaches, eye strains, upset stomach, and heart problems etc.
Moreover it affects family and society as a whole. When a person becomes angry and he acts upon it, he intensifies hatred amongst himself and people around him, and as a result, people cut off ties with him. Worst can lead to killing and bloodshed. Above all, that person displeases Allah and chooses to walk away from the right path, for which he face consequences until he seeks forgiveness and mercy from Allah.
As humans we go through many emotions that we feel unable to control. Anger is one of them and the strongest one too. Fortunately, for us, Allah has told us in the Quran how to deal with it. That is why the Quran is a source of information that will help us lead an Islamic life. Allah has advised us to repress our anger in all situations, no matter how testing they are. He has mentioned this specifically in the Quran when He says:
Those who spend (in Allah’s cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger and who pardon men, verily, Allah loves Al-muhsinoon (all good doers).”
[Surah Al-e-Imran, 133-134]
What greater achievement can we have than the love of Allah and as they say, being in His good books? Repressing anger kills the situation that can get ugly very soon, and that is why Allah has prescribed it for us. Allah has mentioned repressing anger and forgiving again and again in the Holy Quran by giving examples of His prophets as well. Allah says in Quran:
Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) father said to him: ‘I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolong time.’ He (PBUH) responded: ‘peace be upon you’”.
[Surah Maryam, Ayah 47]
As always, if a person is unsure about how to act in any situation, he needs only to consult the Holy Quran and seek Allah’s guidance and look to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) or our righteous predecessors to find the best way to act.
Another such incident about controlling anger is mentioned in the life if the Holy Prophet (PBUH) when a man went to him with the killer of his relative. The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Pardon him’ but the man refused. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Take the blood money’ but the man refused again. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Go and kill him, for you are like him.’ At this the man let him go.
In other places, anger management has been mentioned in the Quran, and along with it there is also mention on how much a person who controls his anger is loved by Allah. It is said:
So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with God (paradise) is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. And those who avoid the greater sins, and illegal sexual intercourse, and when they are angry, they forgive.”
[Surah Shurah, Ayah 36-37]
Controlling anger is a sign of righteousness. A righteous person is promised paradise. So let us restrain our anger and not utter anything which cannot be taken back. It is said: “Yet forgive and overlook, till God bring His command (Surah Al-Baqarah)”. Surely the one who controls his anger pleases Allah and keeps the characteristics of the righteous believer. 
Anger is one of the evil whispers of shaytan which leads to many evils, of which Allah knows their full extent. For this, Islam has a great deal to say about this bad characteristic and the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) described cures for this disease and ways to limit its effects among which are the following:

  1. Seeking refuge with Allah from the shaytaan
    Sulayman Ibn Sard said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (PBUH) and the two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins of his neck were standing out. The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘I know a word, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away: ‘I seek refuge with Allah from shaytaan’’ what he feels (anger) would go away.’ (Reported by Al-Bukhari, book. 054, hadith no. 502)”.