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Thursday 26th of May 2022
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Wrath a blameworthy habit

One of those destructive charactristics that brings about evil consequences is the power of wrath. Imam sajjad (a) in the 8th invocation of Sahifeh Sajjadieh also reproaches this charactristic. In his exposition on Sahifeh Sajjadieh , “ The land of lovers” Professor Hossein Ansarian interprets this issue. 

Wrath is a power which the kind Allah has deposited in man's nature to defend himself against mischievousness. This power should be employed in defending righteousness and suppressing the enemy's aggression and the satanic acts.

This power is a fire which should set fire on to the existence of the adversaries of facts. It is compulsory that we pay heed to keep it under severe control in our relations with our relatives, our parents, or with our brethren.

We should face the errors of our fellow human-beings, of the believers, and our relatives calmly and should remind them of the gravity of their mistakes and should ask them to repent for what wrong they have committed. In other words, we should engage in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. We should ask them to ask for God's pardons and make Him satisfied.

Restraining one's anger, in accordance with the Holy Quran, is a sign of the pious people.

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنْ النَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ  [1]

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden, the extensiveness of which is as the heaven and the earth, it is prepared for those who guard against evil. Those who spend benevolently in ease as well as in straitness, and those who restrain their anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good to others.

The enactment of wrath and anger is a kind of Allah's way of testing people; however, its extinguishing is a human and ethical task. Man is surrounded with all sorts of factors of joy, pleasure, pain and hatred. And people are tested for their endurance. This will demonstrate their sincerity is their faith and conviction.

As it was mentioned above, the power of anger is a divine asset deposited in man's nature. When man stands on the threshold of agitation, this instinct is set afire.

Man is created from dust, which is a symbol of tranquility and dignity. But Shaitan is made of fire, which is always in a state of agitation. If man misuses anger, he has neared himself to the satanic ethics and has distanced himself from God and has, in this way, diverted from his dignity and grandeur.

Those who are in control of their anger are God's men and those who indulge in anger are the slaves of Shaitan. Man is not allowed to get involved in anger whenever or wherever he wishes so. The time and place for using this instinct is pre-determined: its proper use is a kind of worship, and its improper use is a sin.

لَيْسَ الشَّدِيدُ بِالصَّرْعَةِ, إنَّما الشَّدِيْدُ الَّذي يَمْلِكُ نَفْسَهُ عِنْدَ الْغَضَبِ. [2]

A hero or a strong man is not measured through his wrestling. Rather, a hero is the one who has his rage and wrath under his close control at the time of its agitation.

One of the consequences of the mis-placed anger is jealousy and hatred. Man under such influences is drawn towards disease and disturbances in his nature. Thus, the state of the explosion of anger should be pre-determined so that man could get rid of its forbidden aspects and try to treat them. Man should also become aware of the virtue of the extinguishing anger. Regarding this, there are numerous guidelines in the Holy Quran and the Islamic sublime narrations. This will be dealt with in the following sections.

Allah deposited anger in man's nature so that it could guard man against destruction; in the formation of man the opposite factors of heat and humidity are used. Heat continuously degenerates humidity and makes it evaporate. If man were not exposed to continuous feeding to provide him with the needed humidity, he would readily get non-existent. Therefore, God provided man with proper food compatible with his composition. God deposited the instinct of appetite in man's nature.

But, outside man's nature, the function of anger is to protect man when he is exposed to dire disaster. Man's anger acts as a reaction against the aggression of the hazardous factors against man's well-being.

The heat of the fire of anger is well attested on the countenance of the angry man: his eyes and cheeks become as red as the fire.

Vengeance is the motor for the excitement of anger. Man becomes satisfied when he indulges in anger. Vengeance pacifies an angry man. It is only the religious one who makes an apology to the wrong-doer and pardons him.

وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ  [3]

“[And those who shun the great sins and intendancies,] and whenever they are angry they forgive.”

Too much restrain in acting out anger, too, indicates man's impotency and is regarded as man's weak-point.

A certain scholar has stated, “One who should get angry, but refrains from such engagement is but an animal.” This is because the lack of the instinct of anger in man is considered as a mental disadvantage. This is because God has stated:

أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ 

[Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah,] and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves.

جَاهِدْ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ[4]

O prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be hard against them.

However, over-indulgence in anger causes one to go beyond the limits of wisdom, and religion. Under severe wrath, man does not have options in his behavior. Anger will dominate his reactions and severity would be the result and the reign of the despotic soul would prevail. All these states lead one to the revengeful behavior.

Some unwise individuals regard an excessiveness in anger as a sign of bravery and praise it a lot. For instance, this kind of remarks is very common: “I would not be patient with anybody; I would tolerate nobody.”

The announcer of such a remark lacks wisdom, patience and perseverance.

ألا إنّ الْغَضَبَ جَمْرَةٌ تُوقَدُ في جَوْفِ ابْنِ آدَمَ، ألا تَرَونَ إلى حُمْرَةِ عَيْنِهِ وَانْتِفاخِ أوْداجِهِ؟ فَإذا وَجَدَ أحَدُكُمْ شَيْئاً مِنْ ذلِكَ فَالأرْضَ الأرْضَ. ألا إنَّ خَيْرَ الرِّجالِ مَنْ كانَ بَطئَ الْغَضَبِ، سَرِيعَ الرِّضا، وَشَرَّ الرَّجُلِ مَنْ كانَ سَرِيعَ الْغَضَبِ، بَطئَ الرِّضا. [5]

Be aware that rage is a lump of fire which kindles in one's heart. In order to realize this, we could look at the red eyes and the swollen veins of an angry man. Under such conditions, an angry one should sit down. Be aware that the best men among you are those who do not undergo pre-mature rage and who are slow in getting involved in rage, but are swift in pleasing others.

The observable behaviors manifested in rage are swearing, aggression and assaulting others. The angry one might inflict severe blows over others and crimes might be the unavoidable result.

If the angry one is unable to release his pent-up emotions over the victim, he might injure himself both physically and mentally. As a whole, he would get involved in foolish acts.

إنَّ الْغَضَبَ مِنَ الشَّيْطانِ، وَإنَّ الشَّيْطانَ خُلِقَ مِنَ النّارِ، وإنَّما يُطْفِئُ النّارَ الماءُ، فَإذا غَضِبَ أحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَتَوَضَّأ. [6]

Anger stems from Shaitan, and Shaitan is created out of fire. Since water extinguishes fire, therefore anger could be extinguished by water. It is best, then, to carry out ablution.

The effects of anger over one's heart manifest themselves in creating jealousy and hatred towards others. Under the influence of anger, one might get involved in reproaching, hurting and betraying and ridiculing others. That is why the Great Prophet(s) has said:

لا يَحْكُمُ أحَدٌ بَيْنَ اثْنَينِ وَهُوَ غَضْبانٌ. [7]

“Never engage in arbitration between two persons while you are angry.”

If anger and rage are not used in the defense of one's security and that of the Islamic principles or against the infidels, then hazardous consequences are inevitable. One such consequence would be the engagement in major sins.

If anger is employed in defending oneself, and the genuine believers, especially if it is used in defending the Holy Quran and Islam, it will take a divine characteristic and its consequences would be splendid. A desirable anger is the one which is accompanied by the guidance of wisdom and is in harmony with religion.

 



[1] Quran 3:133-134.

[2] Jame'ol Saqir, Vol.2, P 135, Chapter on "Lais".

[3] Quran 42:37.

[4] Quran 66:9.

[5] The Islamic psychology, P 162.

[6] Mahjatol Beiza, Vol.5, P 308.

[7] Health Hygiene in Islam, P 163.


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