By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan Rimalwi
Islamic ethics emphasize in both the Quran and the prophet’s traditions that man should learn and practice how to enable his mind to study any matter in a cold and objective manner so as not to be driven by his impulses and drives.
A man should not take any action before he considers all its results and consequences, for he will be held responsible for what he does or says in the hereafter.
“On the day every soul will speak for itself” (16:111); When you stand before God, you ought to be able to justify what you have done.
In this context, Islam talks about rage or even anger, which many daily incidents at home, work or in the community might cause even on a daily basis. When a believer faces anything that raises his temper he has to fight against himself and calm down. He should develop a will power that would enable him to treat what might normally make him furious as an objective obstacle that needs to be studied and solved. Being emotional does not solve the problem; it only aggravates it, and creates additional problems.
Today, I would like to talk about some of the Messenger’s and Imams’ traditions regarding this Issue.
Imam Abu Abdullah, Jaa'farAs-Sadiq quotes the Messenger as saying: “Anger contaminates belief in the same way vinegar contaminates honey”. For anger makes man loses his balance and paves the way for his passions to take over.
In another story, a man came to the Prophet and asked him for advice .The prophet said: Go and do not get angry. And the man said: This is enough for me. He went back to his tribe and found them preparing for a war against another tribe.
As a first reaction, the man went to get his arms and go with them. Then he started to think it over. He went to the other tribe and told them that he would pay them what they had thought to be their right from his own money. The people accepted his proposal because they knew he was not talking out of weakness but of a genuine wish for peace and they even decided to forego their claims.
This is the method we ought to resort to in our homes, our work places and our social and political spheres so as to avoid bigger problems.
Imam Jaa’far As-Sadiq considers rage to be the road to all evils. Such a judgment is especially true in our community, which acts on the basis of sectarianism and partisanship and in which each individual behaves as a member of a group that he believes to be always in the right.
Imam Muhammad bin Ali Al-Baqir says: “There is nothing worse than rage”. A man or a woman might get angry enough to kill a fellow human or to accuse a chaste woman of adultery.
Imam Jaa’far As-Sadiq says: God veils the shortcomings of those who restrain their anger”. When a man gets angry and loses his temper all his shortcomings will be revealed.
Imam Al-Baqiralso said that God told Moses: “If you restrain your anger against those you have authority over in your house or your community -if you are a political leader- I will withhold my anger against you.
God has promised that those who control and withhold their temper will end up in Heaven:" Be quick to seek the forgiveness from your Lord, and for a garden whose width is that of the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous. Those who spend freely whether in prosperity or in adversity, who restrain anger and pardon all men ". (3:133-134). Therefore Heaven is not necessarily guaranteed. It needs a lot of effort and struggle, as well as awareness and good reasoning. Thus, when we deal with the community we have to be reasonable, because an individual could tolerate the community’s actions, but the community cannot tolerate his anger and emotional reactions. Therefore, remember that you will responsible for everything you do or say on the Day of Judgment, and try to control your anger lest you lose your temper and become driven by your passions, and liable to commit sins that you would not have committed had you learned how to control your temper.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.