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How Can I Control My Anger?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 14, 2018

Question

Assalamu Alykum. Could you please help me on how to control my anger? When I'm angry, I forget everything. I am unable to control it.

Counselor

Answer


How Can I Control My Anger?

In this counseling answer:

Thus, when we are angry we are to seek refuge in Allah and be silent.

Do dhkir, remain silent and if needed count to 10, imagine a red stop sign in your head, take a walk, or remove yourself from the situation.

When feeling angry, ask yourself: is this something that is really worth the time and investments of anger and response?


As salam Alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us with your most important concern.

Anger is an issue for a lot of people. It is often hard to control one’s anger. Anger is possibly one of our greatest test in this life. It is such a test that our beloved Prophet spoke about many times. In these hadiths we can learn much about anger:

“Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The person who is strong is not strong because he can knock people down. The person who is strong is the one who controls himself when he is angry.”

“Ibn ‘Umar said, “There is nothing that is swallowed greater with Allah in reward than a slave of Allah who swallows and contains his rancor out of a desire for the pleasure of Allah.”

Aslam said, ” ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “Do not let your love be a total infatuation. Do not let your anger be destruction.’ I asked, ‘How is that?’ He replied, ‘When you love, you are infatuated like a child. When you hate, you desire destruction for your companion.”   (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

From these hadith, we can see how destructive anger is. We can also see how much our beloved Prophet detested anger. In fact, the Prophet advised us to seek refuge with Allah from anger. 

“Sulayman ibn Surad said, “Two men abused one another in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and one of them began to get angry and his face got red. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, looked at him and said, ‘I know some words that, if he says them, will remove this from him. They are: “I seek refuge with Allah from the Accursed Shaytan.”‘ The man went to that man and said, ‘Do you know what he said? He said, “I seek refuge with Allah from the Accursed Shaytan.”‘ The man retorted. ‘Do you think me mad?'” and “Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘ Teach and make it easy. Teach and make it easy.’ three times. He went on, ‘When you are angry, be silent’ twice.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

Thus, when we are angry we are to seek refuge in Allah and be silent. Being silent is much like the advice of today which tells people who are angry to count to 10.  While counting (or remaining silent) our anger tends to dissipate.  We should also know that by refraining from acting out or becoming angry, that we are pleasing Allah swt.  In the Qur’an it states “ 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;” (3:134) (2).  Just knowing that we are pleasing Allah when we restrain our anger should be a cause in itself, but as we are human we are prone to weaknesses.

Anger; a Worldwide Problem

Anger is a problem is a lot of societies. In fact, anger seems to be a worldwide problem that has caused wars, deaths, divorces, abuses as well as misunderstandings. Anger has been the cause of much hurt, confusion, as well as self-destructiveness. It is so rampant that often times communities and organizations offer anger management classes along with other interventions.


Check out this counseling video:


I would kindly suggest that to contain anger, you seek Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. When you feel anger come upon you, insha’Allah seek refuge in Allah. Do dhkir, remain silent and if needed count to 10, imagine a red stop sign in your head, take a walk, or remove yourself from the situation. You may also wish to analyze what it is that is at the root of your anger.  Perhaps it is not what the person said or did-maybe it is pent-up frustrations that have not been dealt with.  Look inward to see if you need to reflect upon what is causing so much anger. Often times anger is a deep pain and sadness that has turned into rage.  Try to see where your anger is coming from.

Pick your Battles

While we should not literally beat “battle” in our everyday lives, we can pick and chose what it is that we will react strongly too.  When feeling angry, ask yourself: is this something that is really worth the time and investments of anger and response? There are so many things in life which are truly worthy of such responses (such as seeing a child get harmed; witnessing a brutal injustice and so on), but there are ways in which we are advised to handle these truly emotion provoking incidents.

Anger is not Strength

I would kindly suggest that you think real hard about what it is that you respond to and why.

Also, look at other ways which are not destructive to get your feelings across. When in volatile situations, learning to communicate and react in more calm and peaceful mannerisms is an art and a sign of strength. Begin to look at yourself as a strong person; one who is respected for their ability to handle emotions and communicate effectively.

Psychology Today offers some good tips on how to get to this point (how to manage anger) from stress reduction, using humor to cognitive restructuring. These tips are not new, however, and lead us back to how we are taught as Muslims to handle anger.

I hope some of this has helped, if not please do see an anger management therapist who can provide a more in-depth one on one guidance for regaining control over your anger.

We wish you the best,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

What Is Anger & How to Control It?

3 Tips to Control Anger

Dealing with Anger in a Marriage




About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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