What Does Islam Say about Being Good-tempered?

A feature that is being propagated by different types of media about Muslims and Islam is an angry and aggressive face. This is while Islam has a lot of direct commands and recommendations about controlling anger and being good-tempered. A narration from Imam Sadiq (AS) defines good-temper very well: “Good temper is to soften your attitude and clear your speech and meet your brother with kindness.” [1]

In this text, we will study the viewpoint of Islam on being good-tempered.

Direct recommendations from the Quran

There are many verses of the Quran that teaches us how to interact with others. The Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) was sent as a role model: 
“There is certainly a good exemplar for you in the Apostle of Allah—for those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much.” (33:21) 

This exemplar is defined in different verses of the Quran, not only by admiring the number of his prayers but with his excellent manners. Allah admires his apostle by saying: 

“And indeed, you possess a great character.” (68: 4)

Therefore, when Allah tells us: 

“Obey Allah and the Apostle so that you may be granted [His] mercy” (3: 132), He means that by following the characteristics of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), one can achieve success and prosperity. One of his most important features was his good-temper. 

The effects of being good-tempered on achieving success

One may think that many people are not good-tempered and yet have very successful lives. However, the Quran introduces being soft and kind to people as a means of reaching goals. 
Almighty Allah says to His Apostle: 

“It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; had you been harsh and hardhearted, they would have surely scattered from around you. So excuse them and plead for forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs, and once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah. Indeed Allah loves those who trust in Him.” (3: 159)

As it is mentioned in the above verse, Allah introduces being good-mannered and good-tempered as the essential element that made the Prophet (PBUH&HP) successful in guiding people. Also, some of the features of a good-tempered person are mentioned in this verse:

1.To be forgiving towards people’s faults and mistakes in our social or family life (Excuse them). 

2.To ask Allah to forgive other people for their sins and mistakes (plead for forgiveness for them). Having this manner helps us feel real compassion towards others, and therefore, it allows us to interact with them with kindness and a good temper. 

3. To give credit and respect to other people by asking their ideas even if we know better than they do (consult them in the affairs). 
Imagine that if in our daily life, we try to consider these three crucial hints, how peaceful our life will become, and how influential we can become in our relations and communications.

With Whom should we be good-tempered?

Should we be soft and gentle to everyone? Or are there groups of people to whom we should be harsh and demanding? 

Two verses in the Quran explain how Muslims should behave towards different groups of people. This verse of the Quran: “Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves,” (48: 29) indicates that Muslims should be kind and merciful to other Muslims and harsh on those who deny the existence of Allah and the hereafter. However, when Allah orders prophet Moses (PBUH) and Aaron to go to Pharaoh to invite him to monotheism, He orders them: 

“Both of you go to Pharaoh, for he has indeed rebelled. Speak to him in a gentle manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear.” (20: 43-44)

Again, in this verse, Allah introduces the importance of soft and gentle speech as an essential means of reaching goals.

The effects of being good-tempered in our life

Experience shows that by being good-tempered, one can become popular among others and can make his/her own life as well as others peaceful. 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: 

“being good-tempered sustains friendship.” [2]

Imam Al-Sadiq (AS) says: 

“Charity and being good-tempered flourish lands and increase lifetime.” [3]

And in the words of Imam Ali (AS): 

“The treasures of the provision are in being good-tempered and affability.” [4]

These verses of the Quran clearly show that if people wish to have a good life in this world and the hereafter, they need to work on themselves to control their anger and to be good-tempered in their relationships.  


[1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 389
[2] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 389
[3] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 395
[4] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 53