THE EMOTION OF ANGER
Convert Your Weakness to Strength
The angry man always thinks he can do more than he can.
—Albetano, ancient Roman philosopher
WHEN a man is intoxicated with alcohol, he is not in control of himself. He may even go so far as to bang his head on a stone, unmindful of the fact that it may not be the stone that breaks but his own head. This is because, in his besotted state, he wrongly gauges his own abilities and proceeds to do things which can have unfavourable consequences.
The same is true of the angry man. In a towering rage, a man is not in control of himself. He overestimates his own capabilities, as a result of which he involves himself in activities which are beyond his powers of control. He realizes his foolishness only when his temper has cooled.
But, by that time, the wrong step has been taken and destruction has followed in its wake. It is now too late for regrets: he is unable to save himself from his own wrong action.
Anger is one of the major things that could cause a relationship to go sour. Anger stokes a quarrel, which if pursued, leads to personal dislike, and finally, to full-fledged hatred. Hatred eventually leads to evil. In any relationship, trouble is exacerbated by anger. Anger is a natural phenomenon, and the only solution is to control it.
Anger in itself is not an evil. It becomes evil when it is allowed to spin out of control and affect people’s lives.
Anger in itself is not an evil. It becomes evil when it is allowed to spin out of control and affect people’s lives. Rage is an undesirable reaction to a temporary provocation. It is much like a fire that flares up for a short while and then dies down for lack of fuel. If we understand this, anger will not result in any serious disharmony.
An unpleasant word or experience can make the fire in our mind suddenly flare up, but it only lasts for a short while. When we are angry, we should remain quiet, and try to calm ourselves before returning to dealing with the issue. It would not be wise to confront any adverse situation in anger.
Once a person came to the Prophet of Islam. He asked, “O Prophet, give me a master advice by which I may be able to manage all the affairs of my life.” The Prophet replied, “Do not be angry.” It means, don’t get angry even when provoked. Respond positively even in negative situations. Always adopt positive thinking.
In the face of problems, anger further deteriorates the situation. On the other hand, by controlling anger we can develop the capability of responding positively in negative situations; of taking the right decisions under difficult conditions; of discovering practical solutions to all problems. The moment of anger is a high moment in the life of a person.
Anger is not just anger, it also creates brainstorming. Anger releases high energy in the angry person. It is a 'high' moment for the individual concerned. If at this moment, he is able to divert this “anger energy” to the positive side, it will lead him towards healthy activities from negative activities. Anger is energy, and anger energy cannot be released in normal situations. An abnormal situation is required for unleashing it, for example when one becomes angry due to provocation.
Silence is a positive response when dealing with anger. The Prophet’s teachings contain the importance of silence. Here are the exact words of a Hadith: ‘When you are angry, keep silence.’ (Musnad Ahmad)
By controlling anger we can develop the capability of responding positively in negative situations; of taking the right decisions under difficult conditions; of discovering practical solutions to all problems.
How does silence help? When you become angry due to some provocation, you should remain silent. Maintaining this silence will help in bringing about a change in the thinking process of the mind. This can be understood with the following analogy. There is a term used in driving called “shift time”. It refers to the time interval between gear changes. Shift time changes the speed and direction of your car. So is the role of silence. Silence at the time of anger shifts the direction of your thinking from negativity to positivity.
At the time of anger, keeping silence is like changing gears of the mind. When a person is angry and he instantly becomes silent, the mind then takes a new pace. Instead of running to the negative side, it starts running in the positive direction and the result will be a well thought out action instead of a rash harmful reaction.
Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. There was some disagreement between the two and Cain became so angry that he could not forgive his brother. In this rage he killed his younger brother. This was the first murder in human history. It is a reminder for humankind that everyone must control their anger. If they fail in the test of anger control, they will go astray and commit blunders and consequently, will lose Paradise forever.
As recorded in the scriptures, this is an eye opener in human history. It gives a great lesson to all human beings. They must be much cautious regarding the weakness of anger. The principle of success in regard to anger is to suppress it. Those who develop their minds sufficiently to save themselves from the evil of anger will achieve eternal success.