Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|The futility of anger|
|08/27/01 at 00:49:08|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]The futility of anger
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
A mistaken notion held mainly by some people in the West suggests that a person feeling irritation should allow himself to let his anger loose, so that his irritation is not bottled up which could lead to some internal disorder.
This mistaken notion may be the result of a wrong interpretation of the advice given by some psychologists to their patients to express whatever irritation they feel toward those with whom they have some sort of relationship. However, they make it clear that such expression must never lead to any violence or aggression. The aim of such expression of irritation is to make the other person aware of the situation so that he or she does not make the same mistake again, or they may rectify their action.
This expression of irritation, without violence or aggression, does not conflict with the suppression encouraged by God and the Prophet. Suppression of irritation means that we must not carry it further so as to lead to angry behavior that may involve violence, whether verbal or practical. [color=Blue]It is certainly important not to let hostility be apparent in our words or facial expression. In a nutshell, suppression of irritation means to refrain from becoming angry.[/color] It does not mean that we should not inform the one who caused our irritation that we have been irritated by what he has said or done. Certainly such expression of our feelings is necessary for successful communication between two people who wish to maintain their relationship in good shape. Suppression of irritation does not cause any physical or psychological harm. How could it do when the Prophet says: "Whoever suppresses his irritation when he is able to let it on the loose, God will give him his fill of peace and faith." (Related by Abu Dawood).
The fact is that allowing irritation to develop into anger that appears in facial expression, verbal abuse and other behavior causes both physical and psychological harm. Recent medial studies have shown that suppression of irritation reduces the risk of heart disease. It has been shown that hot-tempered, impulsive and often angry people are more at risk of having cardiac infarction.
Many patients with such characteristics, who have had heart attacks, were given psychological treatment and counseling. The idea was to train them to suppress their irritation and to control their repeated anger and their hostile attitude and to be less impulsive in their daily life. The aim of this training is to prevent further heart attacks.
It may be that the Prophet's companion who received the Prophet's repeated advice not to be angry was an easily angered person who may be in an outrage over trivial matters. The Prophet's advice serves as a kind of psychotherapy.
Some people may rush into a flight of temper very easily when they do not get what they want, or if they cannot enforce their wishes, forcing their colleagues at work or family members at home to do their bidding or to overlook their mistakes. Should they get their way, and their colleagues and relatives yield to them in order to avoid their anger, they consider that showing their anger is an effective way to get what they want. They will resort to it on future occasions.
On the other hand, if people around an angry person refuse to yield to his anger or to unfairly give in to him, if they punish his bad behavior even by ignoring him, and if this is repeated time after time, he will realize that his anger serves no purpose. He will eventually reduce it or even stop it altogether.
Anger and aggression are not acts of human instinct in the sense that man's tension will be reduced when he allows his anger to run loose. Indeed anger is the type of behavior which gets worse when rewarded and improves when punished.
Anger is a rebellion that shakes the foundation of personal stability. Hence it is not surprising that repeated anger could cause cardiac infarction, or hypertension or brain hemorrhage.
The secret of human strength and well-being is in personal security and stability. If a young man can tolerate the effects of anger and outrage, the same person will not be able to tolerate them in old age, when he will inevitably be weaker of constitution.
The best course to follow, then, is to suppress irritation. A believer who does that will be placed with the best of God's servants: "True servants of the Most Compassionate are they who walk gently on Earth, and who, whenever the foolish address them, reply with (words of) peace." (25: 63)
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 28 August 2000[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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