Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Being angry: Action and reaction|
|08/26/01 at 05:46:17|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]Being angry: Action and reaction
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
When someone is offended by an insult or aggressive behavior, he experiences a feeling of hostility toward the offender and a desire for retaliation. That is what we may term as "irritation" which is a feeling that stimulates the body to attack the aggressor and take revenge. Thus, the heartbeats become faster, blood pressure rises, the eyes are enlarged and muscles become tense with an increased blood flow so that they can perform better.
The feeling of irritation bears heavily on a person because it wants to break away from being merely a feeling concealed within oneself and to transform itself into action with practical results and consequences.
An irritated person makes a very quick calculation to see whether the situation allows that his irritation may translate itself into a verbal or practical reaction. If he considers that the situation allows, then anger becomes apparent in a person's looks, his voice and pitch. His body becomes even more tense, and he is ready to attack. When a person feels that the consequences are tolerable, he may let his anger loose, raising his voice, shouting verbal abuse, etc. He may go even further than that and become violent. That leads to a physical fight or some other form of retaliatory action.
On the other hand, if the irritated person feels that the situation does not allow him to show his anger, and that if he does, he may find himself in more serious trouble, then he controls himself and restrains his action. Thus his irritation does not lead to action.
Irritation is a spontaneous reaction to an offense or an insult suffered by an aggrieved person. But it is that person's estimation of the situation and likely consequences that determines whether to keep his irritation under control or allow it to surface in some form of action. As long as irritation remains a feeling, then a person's judgment of the likely consequences determines the extent to which he is affected by it.
Anger, on the other hand is a behavior that expresses feelings. It may be limited to words, but it may also involve action. Since it is a behavior, then it is subject to personal will.
Hence, when a person requested the Prophet to admonish him, he said to him: "Do not be angry." The man repeated his request several times, but the Prophet kept repeating the same admonition: "Do not be angry." (Related by Al-Bukhari). It is important to note that the Prophet did not say to the man: "Do not be irritated." This shows clearly that the Prophet was aware that anger is a behavior controlled by one's will, which means that a person may willingly leave it to have its effect or may restrain himself.
Irritation, on the other hand, is a spontaneous reaction. The Prophet encourages us to suppress it. He says: "Whoever suppresses irritation when he is able to express it will, on the Day of Judgment, be called by God to come forward in front of all creatures. He will let him choose whoever he wishes to be his companions in heaven from among maidens described as pure an having most beautiful eyes." (Related by Abu Dawood and At-Tirmithi). [i]Irritation is controlled by suppression.[/i] Restraint and self control are exercised in a situation of anger. That is because control is needed in matters of behavior. The Prophet says: "A strong person is not the one who overpowers others. Strong indeed is he who controls himself when angry." (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
When a believer suppresses his irritation, he remains cool and in full control. He does not show others any hostile feeling or desire to retaliate, even when they have wronged him. This is highly conducive to the promotion of peace, love and compassion within the community of believers.
When a person is in a flight of anger, he may offend others so badly that the offense will not be forgotten for a long time. An angry person may retaliate too strongly so as to become in the wrong after having been the one who is wronged. He may well repent, but that may well be too late. But the one who suppresses his irritation will remain in control of himself. He has nothing to regret. On the contrary, he will be happy and content because he has been able to elevate himself and to show love and compassion in a difficult situation. This sort of behavior is the one that fits in well with faith.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 21 August 2000[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with 2 f's)
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