Got anger problem? Volatile temper? Blinded by rage makes you do something you regret later? Look none other than these Islam-based solutions!
By Fatima Ariadne
In my teen age, I used to have an anger problem. My temper was volatile I could burst in rage for a seemingly innocent snide remark. I could yell, shouting foul words, punching table, and didn’t give a darn about anyone around. Maybe the only “good” thing about it was I rarely direct my anger to people – mostly to myself.
Now alhamdulillah, after quite a struggling, I’m not the same hot-tempered girl as I was 8 years ago. But looking back, though venting out feels good, in the end after reflecting back – how does anger make things better ? What have I gained? The high feeling during the anger only gives the false sense of security that we are in control to “fix things out”. But actually, it just projects our insecurities and frailties to the outside world. Not just we shamed ourselves when we’re angry, we also hurt other people, and most likely spoiling the ukhuwah (brotherhood) bond between us and our object of anger – if not breaking it.
No wonder that The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) messaged : “Verily, anger corrupts the matter just like vinegar spoils the honey” (Hadith Tabarani, hasan)
1. Next time you’re angry, acknowledge the state
There is so much wisdom in the infamous hadith “A strong person is not the one who run down others in wrestling. A strong person is the one who able to control himself when he’s angry” (Bukhari). And there’s another wise saying of Imam Ja’far Al Saadiq to ponder upon : “The one who doesn’t control his anger will lose his reason”.
Indirectly, the hadith messaged us that we should be the master of our minds and emotions, not vice versa. So, the key here is being in control and conscious with our state. Our emotion should be our puppet, not otherwise. And hey, someone in the back there, you want to ask question? Speak up, bro!
“Hey Ariadne, how could we remember to control ourselves while anger clouded our reason?”
This method is known in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) as “pattern interrupt”. Simple example is this. Let’s say you’re having an intense conversation with your friend, until suddenly this stranger showing up in the middle, interrupting your conversation by asking, “hey guys, do you know where the bathroom is?”. Most likely, when this stranger has gone and you try to get back to former conversation, you’ll be like, “now, where was I?”. What the stranger did to your current state was pattern interrupt.
The first thing you should do is, when you’re angry, acknowledge this state. So when you find yourself in an incessant loop of fury, ready to spout fire and poison to your opponent, hurry pause yourself with questions :
“HOLD ON…. Why am I so angry? Is this anger necessary? Should I be angry for this problem?”
So let’s say your ego screamed, “of course, man! He has wronged you! Now teach him some lessons and show him who’s boss!”
Then you could continue, “Can anger REALLY solve this problem? Is there any other solution? Sure there must be a better way!”
Most likely, your logic will now show up in the surface and answered “yes, there is a better way”.
Now addressing the question : how to remember doing this when you’re angry, while anger itself clouded your reason?
You must set up an intention to yourself when you are NOT angry. “Next time I’m angry I will pause myself and ask these questions”. It’s basically to prepare yourself out. Repeat this statement when you’re in a cool state, whenever you remember it.
I’ve tried this method myself for many times, and it works like a charm. Go try it!
2. Sunnah-based Pattern Interrupt
Several hadiths from Rasulullah (peace be upon him) recorded some methods that works almost-like a pattern interrupt to disrupt anger. Here goes :
a. Reciting ta’awooz
“Two people abused each other (in fury) in the presence of Rasulullah (pbuh), and the eyes of one of them became red like embers and the veins of his neck were swelling. So Rasulullah (pbuh) said, “Verily, I know the words he could say to calm himself : ‘a’udhoobillahi minas shaytaani rajeem’ (I seek refuge in Allah from the cursed shaytan)” (Sahih Muslim)
“Verily, anger comes from shaytan and shaytan was created from fire; and fire is extinguished with water, so if you become angry then perform ablution with water.” (Abu Dawud)
c. Sit down or lie down
“If one of you is angry when he is standing, let him sit down so that the anger will leave him; otherwise, let him lie down.” (Abu Dawud)
3. Silence Saves the Day
I really wish I knew these hadiths earlier. I had to learn this simple truth in a hard way!
“When one of you is angry, he should remains silent” (Sahih Ahmad)
“He who keeps silent saves himself” (Tirmidhi)
When you’re silent, you don’t hurt other people and you don’t say or act foolishly which you will regret later. This method might be most unpleasant, but it saves you greatly from the pain of remorse :
“One moment of patience in one moment of anger, will later save you from thousand moments of regret” (Ali ibn Abi Thalib)
Many so-called self help “gurus” make an impression as if self-affirmation is a fast food solution to emotional problems. They would say something like, if you’re angry for example, then chant a mantra to yourself “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m calm” and SHAZAM….the anger will magically vanish like Alibaba’s jinn. In a self help forum I once joined, people complained “self affirmation doesn’t work! It’s a big fat lie the self help industries created, don’t buy into it!”
Nothing could be further from truth.
Self-affirmation takes time, and must be repeated over and over, until it seeps very well into your subsconscious mind.
However, what I’ve done and about to share to you, is a little modification to the classical self-affirmation. If I have to credit something that eliminates 80% of my anger problem in less than a year, this method is certainly my personal ticket.
Here goes :
Remember the last time you feel calm, serene, in a loving mood, that not even a hurricane can break your interior. Remember too the moments you should be angry, but instead you’re patient and calmly face the situation with a big heart.
How does it feel? What did you think that time? How was your speaking tone?
Now record very well these moments, these feelings, into your memory. Then say to yourself while holding this picture in your mind : “I am calm, kind, and serene” or any phrases which has the best effect on you.
This should be a repetitive thing. Your subconscious mind needs a repetition to recognize a new self-programming.
If you have well installed this affirmation, whenever something upsets you, you will realize that being hot-tempered is not your nature. Your basic nature is calm, patient, and serene.
But it does takes time. It took me over 8 months to get this thing work, but it works. So, be persistent.
5. Remember the Great Reward from Allah
Allah doesn’t overlook even your smallest good deed, and that includes controlling your anger bomb from exploding. This verse and hadith might help motivating you :
“And hasten to earn forgiveness of your Lord and a Paradise as wide as heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous who spend both in prosperity and in adversity, for those who curb their anger, and those who forgive” (Suraa Ali Imran 133 – 134)
“Whoever swallows his anger, Allah will conceal his faults. And whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart in the Day of Resurrection” (Hadith Tabarani, graded good)
Abu Ad-Darda reported: I said, “O Rasulullah, please tell me a deed that will enter me into Paradise.” Rasulullah (pbuh), said, “Do not get angry and you will enter Paradise.” (Hadith Tabarani, authentic)
What works for me, doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to work for you. I’m not an expert or professional psychologist. Do test the water and see yourself. And last but not least, supplicate to Allah to ask His assistance in helping you get out of anger problem. I hope you will succeed!