Do you find your temper on a short fuse when confronting your teenage child? Do you get mad when somebody cuts you off while driving? Don’t these make you clench your jaws, have a rapid heart rate, sweat or tremble?
We all have experienced these physical reactions to anger. In fact, anger is a normal healthy emotion. But when out of control, it can turn destructive and lead to many problems. This article will help us learn how to keep our anger under control and to act more appropriately to lessen the impact it has on our daily life.
As defined in Cambridge dictionary anger is “a strong feeling that makes you want to hurt someone or be unpleasant because of something unfair or unkind that has happened” . It is typical of a human’s behavior to get angry when he/ she is deceived, irritated, attacked or mistreated. If used correctly, anger can be profitable in helping us distinguish between right and wrong.
It can also motivate us to make a change and speak up for ourselves. In some cases, however, it becomes really difficult to manage our anger. This will most probably affect our relationships and lead us to say or do things that we later regret.
That is why the religion of Islam attaches so much importance to controlling this natural human behavior. Imam Sadiq (AS) says in a narration that the one who has no control over his/her anger has no control over his reason .
Sometimes you get so angry that you cannot think straight and are unable to make sound decisions. That’s when anger could be a breeding ground for many evils. As Imam Sadiq (AS) puts: “(uncontrolled) anger is the key (that opens the door) to all kinds of vices” 
Based on vast scientific studies, anger can determine various mental or physical diseases and many other deadly risks. This includes the increase in the number of road accidents, violent crimes, etc.:
“Chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function by changing the heart’s electrical stability, hastening atherosclerosis, and increasing systemic inflammation”  “Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours” . Studies have linked anger to mental health problems like depression, loneliness, anxiety, eating and sleep disorders, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behavior as well. 
Since this emotional behavior is hard to control and sometimes makes us commit irrational deeds, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) introduces the most courageous person as the one who does not let these negative feelings take over and can overcome his/her anger . Such a person is virtuous in the eyes of Allah:
“those who spend in ease and adversity, and suppress their anger, and excuse [the faults of] the people, and Allah loves the virtuous” (3:134)
Fortunately, Islam recommends some ways to control and overcome anger in our life:
When you find something annoying, you can either choose to vent your frustrations or cool down and take a minute to think twice about the negative consequences that inevitably follow the expression of anger. Why don’t you find some way to put yourself in other people’s shoes? Don’t you want to give yourself a chance to turn that anger to love?
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “the best people are those who do not get angry easily and get satisfied (calm down) quickly.”
Saying the prayer or any other act of worship can help you tame your anger. Pray for yourself and the person or the situation that has made you angry. Remember Allah and ask Him to soften your heart and help you in forgiving others.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) has said: “Anger comes from Satan, and Satan was created from fire. Fire is put out by water; so when you become angry, perform ablution (Wudu) with water” .
Nowadays scientists have proven how changing your posture can affect your mood, your energy level as well as the ability to generate positive and negative thoughts. “According to one study from Texans A&M University, lying down can reduce feelings of anger and hostility” .
It has also been reported from Imam Baqir (AS) that: “Verily, anger is a spark ignited by the Devil in the human heart. Indeed, when anyone of you gets angry, his eyes become red, the veins of his neck become swollen, and Satan enters them. Therefore, whosoever among you is concerned about himself on account of it; he should lie down for a while so that the filth of Satan may be removed from him at the time” .
A Chinese proverb says If you are patient in the moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. So, it is not wise to be swift in seeking revenge. It has also been narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that the best revenge at the time of anger is to show forbearance . When you are fuming over something, before any reaction, ask yourself if you want to live a life filled with vengeful and angry thoughts or a peaceful and decent life in which you try to forgive patiently. Which one would you choose?
Imam Ali (AS) says: “Anger is a very bad companion, it reveals your flaws, brings the evil near and distances the good” .
It is narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that the most powerful people in recognition of the right are the ones who do not get angry .
Imam Ali (AS) introduces anger management as a way of developing wisdom . Since a wise person would never do anything regrettable at the time of anger.
Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “If someone got angry with you three times but did not insult you, then choose him/her as a friend” . In another narration, Imam Ali (AS) says making your friend angry will lead to separation from her/him .
Imam Ali (AS) has advised us to keep silent at the time of anger: “Protect yourself from anger for its beginning is insanity and its end is remorse” .
Anger management will also make you close to the holy infallible Imams and follow in their footsteps. Then you will become a dignified person who deserves to be saved from Allah’s wrath both in this world and the hereafter.
“Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves” (48:29)
As stated above anger can be constructive too. When managed well, anger has no or very few detrimental consequences. Instead, it is a warning sign of corruption or an evil action; that something around you is not right. It then motives you to take action to correct the wrong. In such cases, Muslims are recommended to express anger for the right, to defend the good, and only to gain Allah’s satisfaction.
Yet, how you end up handling the anger is of great importance, too. As Muslims, we are not allowed to violate anyone’s right or act indecently at the time of anger. All our actions should be based on rational considerations and the Divine laws. Imam Sadiq (AS) says in this regard: “A believer is a person who when angered, his/her anger does not lead him away from that which is true” .
- al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 305, no. 13
- al‑Kafi, vol. 2, p. 303, hadith 3
- happiness stress heart disease
- emotional wellness
- harmfull effects of holding anger
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 549, hadith 1872
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 286, hadith 660
- movement can feel you better
- Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, Vol. III.
- Tasnif ghurar al-hikam wa-durar al-kalim, p. 285, hadith 6400
- ibid, p. 302, hadith 6893
- ibid, p246, hadith 5062
- ibid, p. 242, hadith 4919
- Ma’dan al-Jawahir, p. 34
- Naj al-Balaqa (Sobhi Salih), p. 559, hadith 480
- Al-Amidi, Gharar ul-Hikam wa darar ul-Kalim, hadith 2635
- Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 186, hadith 11
- anger in islam
Ramadan is the time when Muslims are required to fast. But we might wonder: Is our fasting accepted? Do we really observe the conditions that are essential for fasting? After all, what are these conditions? Can the fast (Sawm) of those who do not perform the prayer (Salat), talk behind other people’s back, drink Alcohol, etc. be accepted? Does it bring all the benefits of fasting on body and soul, in its real sense of the word?
Or even sometimes, some non-Muslims show interest in performing fasting (Sawm). They might want to know what it feels like to fast. To know why Muslims are so enthusiastic about this act, or as they say to put themselves in Muslims' shoes. Indeed they are welcomed to take part in this beautiful ritual. Yet, they should note that Islam has specified some conditions for fasting (Swam) to be accepted.
What Are the Conditions that Make Fasting Meaningful and Pleasurable?
Converting to Islam
Having faith in the pillars of Islam
Being in sound mind and Not being unconscious [i]
Having the intention (Niyyah) of fasting
Avoiding whatever renders fasting void
Also, the one who is traveling, a menstruating woman, and the person who would receive harm by fasting are not required to fast.
As stated earlier, fasting is not the mere act of not eating and drinking. Rather it is a multi-dimensional practice. Aside from being a bodily endeavor, fasting is the spiritual effort of Muslims to elevate their souls and reach Allah’s satisfaction. So, not eating and drinking will not necessarily bring about the many spiritual and psychological effects of fasting. It is a process that influences the manner and the soul of the person, with the passage of time.
It is a whole series of actions that are accepted only when one has embraced Islam previously, believes in the Oneness of Allah and performs other practical principles of Islam such as prayer (Salat) as well.
In other words, if there were no spiritual and divine side to this action, it would not be called fasting (Sawm) anymore. As Imam Ali (AS) puts: “It is possible that a person who fasts, does not receive any benefit from his/her fasting other than hunger and thirst” . Why would anyone want to bear hunger and thirst just for the sake of it? There must be something to motivate one going through such a challenging practice.
Intentions are the driving forces for actions, which determine their value and their expected effects. This is true for fasting as well, same as any other obligatory practice in Islam.
Fasting is first and foremost an act of worship and not a mere physical practice. Thus the first prerequisite for this act is to be done with the intention of serving Allah. There may be someone who is only interested in the health effects and physical benefits of fasting. Yet without a divine intention, his/her practice cannot be called fasting in Islam. This does not mean that you need to perform a special ritual before fasting; you should only be aware of your own will to fast and the reason why you fast.
Muslims believe that they fast for Allah [ii]. And what they have for breaking their fast is given by Allah, as a manifestation of His infinite mercy [iii]. With this in mind, Muslims feel inner joy and bliss after a long day of fasting with all its hardships. Since they find a meaning for their efforts. Then, they ask Allah to accept their act of worship [iv], regardless of its physical benefits or any other worldly attitude. At last, they whisper their needs and wishes to Allah, knowing that He is “all-hearing and all-knowing” .
We are born free, and Allah has endowed us with the power of choice. We choose to refrain from eating and drinking consciously. We choose to secure our tongue, eye, and ear from any vices. We choose to surrender to the will of Allah, and we choose to get closer to our divine Creator.
If our power of choice is undermined by any circumstances (e.g., not being mentally sound, being unconscious, not having the intention for fasting), fasting loses its meaning and necessary function. That is to emphasize human being's free will to be better, to go forward and prove his/her value.
[i] i.e., one must be aware of what he/she is doing, or be in control of his/her actions.
[ii] A Hadith from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) .
[iii] اللّهُمَّ لَكَ صُمْنَا: “O Allah: For You have we fasted” 
[iv] وَعَلَى رِزْقِكَ أَفْطَرْنَا :“and with Your sustenance have we broken our fasting” 
[v] فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا : “so, (please) accept form us” .
- Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.1, p.18-17.
- Nahj al-Balaghah, Wisdom no. 145.
- Dua after breaking the fast (Iftar)
As we all know, human life is on an extremely fast pace of progress that is made possible by human expeditions and exploration. But no one can say for sure that all the achievements of this progress have been used on the righteous path. Some of these explorations are known as a forward leap in human history just like dynamite that has been used to ease miner’s jobs. But the same invention has also been used as a deadly weapon against thousands of innocent humans. Obviously, Islam did not miss this point about human life and gave advice to all Muslims in this regard: “Islam forbids eating, drinking and consuming things that are harmful to human health. The more harmful it is, the more severe the prohibition of its cause and effect, to the extent that it reaches the level of sanctity.” (1)
Now, we are going to talk about narcotics, the basis of all of the soothing medicine that are used as one of the essential materials in the ancient times surgery but is also used by heedless people for entertainment at the expense of decomposing their body and brain.
Narcotics are the most common cause of death and disability in the world that exacerbates many diseases, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, infectious diseases, cancer, bone diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, hearing problems, and oral diseases. In every 8 seconds, one person in the world dies of diseases caused by narcotics; fortunately, with the advancement of science and technology and optimal information, the level of awareness of people about the effects of narcotics on their health has increased. We will see what advice Islam gave us on the issue of using narcotics for mortal pleasure.
As we said before, Islam forbids consuming materials that are harmful to human health to the extent that even on some occasions it reaches the level of taboo. Imam Khomeini, the first leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran said: "Eating something that is harmful to human beings is forbidden."(1) It is obvious that the criterion for being haram (forbidden) is to have harmed, and it does not matter whether this harm goes through eating or in some other way. Drugs is one of the things that harm human health, but is it harmful to the extent that makes it forbidden to use?
Many physicians and practitioners are following the opinion that narcotics has significant harms and have written numerous books on the dangers and diseases caused by narcotics, especially smoking. Therefore, it can at least be claimed that the harmful effects of smoking to human health vary based on the person and the situation. On this basis, some jurists have considered the extent of the forbiddance of narcotics to the level of absolute religious prohibition. Some other leaders have not seen the extent of the damage to the extent that could lead to an absolute ban on smoking. For example, if a person has heart disease and his doctor strictly forbids him from smoking, smoking is forbidden for him. (2)
Not only Imam Khomeini, but also Ayatollah* Makarem Shirazi said: It is forbidden to eat or drink something that is significantly harmful to human beings. Smoking cigarettes and other types of tobacco is also haram if it has significant harm, but the use of narcotics is absolutely haram (3), whether in the form of injection or smoking or eating or in any other ways; also the production, sale and assistance in spreading it, is forbidden. (3)
Grand Ayatollah Sistani gave guidance to Muslims in this matter: If smoking and tobacco -though in the future- causes significant harm to the body to the amount that is feared by the wise person, it is haram for being safe from the major harm caused by it. There is no problem with moderate smoking, however. (4)
As we think about this matter reasonably, we surely would understand an important point:
1. Why should we harm ourselves for a little mortal entertainment?
2. What price should we pay for this kind of entertainment?
Just think and you will see how important abstaining from narcotics is. Live safely in the light of the Quran.
- Majma Al-Masayel (third volume – page 65)
- Islamic Laws (Second volume – page 600)
- Jame Al-Masayel (First volume – page 578)
- Islamic Laws (Second volume – page 600)
- The official site of Ayatollah Sistani
* Ayatollah is an honorific title for high-ranking Twelver Shia clergy in Iran and Iraq that came into widespread usage in the 20th century.