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Problems and Solutions

English Translation
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

 


Contents

Introduction

Sleeping and missing salaat al-fajr

Excessive laughter

Waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan)

Staying up late

Short temper

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides, no one can mislead, and whomever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

"O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah." [Aal ‘Imraan 3:102 – interpretation of the meaning]

"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." [al-Nisaa’ 4:1 – interpretation of the meaning]

"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds, and will forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement." [al-Ahzaab 33:70 – interpretation of the meaning]

Some brothers have asked me questions in various talks and lectures, including questions about a number of problems, "diseases of the heart" (spiritual problems) and very real obstacles that they are facing. I answered these questions and enquiries in a series of studies entitled Shakaawaa wa Hulool (Problems and solutions).

This series has been reviewed for publication, and I now present it to my brothers in the hope that this action may be included in those referred to in the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): "Whoever relieves a believer of some of the distress of this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Judgement… Allah will help His slave so long as the slave is helping his brother." (Saheeh Muslim) I ask Allah to give my brothers and me the strength to do good deeds and to avoid evil, and to save us on the Day of Regrets, for He is the Best of those who are asked, and He is Able to do all things.

 

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Sleeping and missing salaat al-fajr

A brother complained: "I miss salaat al-Fajr on most days, and I hardly ever pray it at the right time. Usually I do not wake up until after the sun has risen, or at best I wake up after the time for praying fajr in jamaa’ah. I have tried to wake up at the right time, with no success. What is the solution to this problem?"

All praise be to Allah. The solution to this problem, like others, has two aspects: theoretical and practical.

The theoretical aspect may be further broken down into two points:

(1) The Muslim should know the great status of salaat al-fajr in the sight of Allah, may He be glorified. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever prays the dawn prayer in congregation, it is as if he had prayed the whole night long." (Muslim, p. 454, no. 656; al-Tirmidhi, 221).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: "The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are salaat al-’isha’ and salaat al-fajr, but if they only knew what they contain, they would come even if they had to crawl." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 2/424; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 133).

"Whoever prays fajr is under the protection of Allah. Do not put yourselves in a situation where Allah has to call you to account for your negligence." (Reported by al-Tabaraani, 7/267; Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 6344).

"Angels come to you in shifts by night and by day. They meet at salaat al-fajr and salaat al-‘asr, then those who had stayed with you at night ascend, and are asked by the One Who knows better than they: ‘How did you find My servants?’ They say, ‘We left them when they were praying, and we came to them when they were praying.’" (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 2/33).

"The best of prayers in the sight of Allah is the dawn prayer on Friday, in congregation." (Reported by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah, 7/207, and in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1566).

According to a saheeh hadeeth: "Whoever prays al-Bardayn will enter Paradise." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 2/52). Al-Bardayn are fajr and ‘asr.

 

(2) The Muslim should understand the seriousness of missing salaat al-fajr. This is explained by the hadeeth already quoted:

"The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are salaat al-’isha’ and salaat al-Fajr…"

In al-Saheeh, it is reported that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "If we did not see a person at fajr and ‘isha’ prayers, we would think badly of him." (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 12/271. Al-Haythami said, the men of al-Tabaraani are muwaththaqoon (trustworthy). al-Majma’, 2/40). They thought badly of a person who was absent from these two prayers because regular performance of them is an indication of a person’s faith and a measure of his sincerity. Other prayers may be easier to do because they are more convenient to a person’s circumstances and fit in with his work and his sleep, but only those who are determined and sincere, people whom one hopes are good people, will be able to pray fajr and ‘isha’ regularly in congregation.

Another hadeeth which indicates the seriousness of missing salaat al-fajr is: "Whoever prays fajr is under the protection of Allah. Do not put yourselves in a situation where Allah has to call you to account for your negligence, because whoever finds himself in this situation will be sorted out and then thrown on his face in the Fire of Hell." (Reported by Muslim, p. 454).

These two points are sufficient to guarantee that the Muslim’s heart will burn with the concern to ensure that he does not miss fajr. The first motivates him to strive to earn the reward for fajr, and the second acts as a warning that will deter him from committing the sin of negligence.

The practical aspect of dealing with this problem includes a number of steps which the Muslim can take in order to get used to performing salaat al-fajr regularly in congregation. These steps include:

The kind of talk that is disliked after ‘isha’, as the commentators explain, is that in which there is no clear benefit, but if there is some benefit – such as studying and gaining knowledge, learning stories of righteous people, speaking to a guest, spending time with one’s wife and family, speaking to travellers and taking care of them and their luggage, or any other permissible reason – then there is nothing wrong with it. This has no connection with the reasons for which many people stay up late nowadays, to do wrong and commit sin! So the Muslim should sleep early, so that he can wake up refreshed to pray fajr and avoid the kind of late nights that make him too tired to get up and pray fajr in congregation.
"… Help you one another in al-birr and al-taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety)…" [al-Maa’idah 5:2]
"By al-‘asr (time). Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience." [al-‘Asr 103:1-3]
One can also arrange to receive alarm calls from the telephone company, and no Muslim should think that it is too much to pay for this service if he needs it, because this is spending in the way of Allah, and waking up to obey the command of Allah cannot be measured in terms of worldly wealth.
Throwing water in a person’s face is one of the means of waking a person for prayer that is prescribed by sharee’ah. In fact it is quite refreshing and energizing. Some people may become enraged when woken in this manner, and they may shout and swear and issue threats, so the person who is seeking to wake another should employ wisdom and patience, and remember that the pens are lifted from the record of one who is sleeping (i.e., his deeds are not being recorded while he is asleep) – so he should put up with any bad treatment, and not let this put him off trying to wake people up for prayer.

 

This sincerity and devotion may cause some very enthusiastic people to find unusual ways to help themselves to wake up to pray, which is a sign of their eagerness and keenness. One of them may set a number of alarm clocks to wake him up, setting each one a few minutes later than the other, so that if he turns the first one off, the next one will wake him a few moments later, and so on. Another may tie a string to his wrist, with the other end dangling from his window, so that when one of his friends passes by on his way to the mosque, he can pull on the string and wake him for fajr prayer.

 

See what can be achieved with sincerity and determination, may Allah guide you! But the bitter truth is that weakness of faith and lack of sincerity are widespread among people nowadays, as we can see from the small numbers of people to be found praying in the mosques at fajr, despite the fact that there are so many people living around the mosques in many neighbourhoods.

 

But no doubt there are people who sleep so heavily that it is almost like an illness, and they may be excused, because the matter is beyond their control. People in this situation should turn to Allah for help, and do everything that they possibly can, and visit the doctor, to try to find a cure.

 

Finally, a word about a well known phenomenon: some people claim that there is a hadeeth which says that the person who wants to get up for fajr should recite the last part of Soorat al-Kahf before sleeping, and have the intention in his heart to get up at a certain hour, and this will make him get up at that time. They claim that this is a tried and tested method. Our response is that there is no such saheeh hadeeth, and this carries no weight whatsoever. The best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

 

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Excessive laughter

This is a problem that is widespread, especially among the youth. Someone asked:

"Our gatherings with friends and colleagues are filled with too much laughter, and it goes to extremes. This phenomenon is becoming ever more widespread. What is the solution?"

In response, the solution to this problem has two aspects: theoretical and practical. The theoretical aspect may be further broken down into two points:

Firstly, we should know how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) conducted himself when it came to laughter, and he is the best example in this as in all other things.

It is reported in a saheeh hadeeth that his laughter was never more than a smile. (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/97; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4861). According to another hadeeth, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to remain silent for long periods, and laugh little. (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/86; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4822). ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) laughing so heartily that his back teeth showed; he would only smile." (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 5098).

According to a saheeh hadeeth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Do not laugh too much, for excessive laughter kills the heart (i.e., spiritually)." (Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 4193; Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 506). According to another report, he said: "… too much laughter corrupts the heart." After knowing this, if a Muslim laughs to excess it is as if he is undertaking a journey that he knows will lead to his doom.

This is the theoretical response to this problem, in brief.

Before we turn to the practical aspects, we must point out that laughter is not haraam, and the Muslim is not expected to be dour-faced and stern and rigid. Laughter is something which is quite natural, and indeed Allah says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): "And … it is He (Allah) Who makes (whom He wills) laugh, and makes (whom He wills) weep" [al-Najm 53:43] But the problem which we are discussing here – excessive laughter – has a number of bad effects, including the following:

It makes gatherings explode with guffaws and echo with raucous laughter.
The believer’s heart is spiritually corrupted by too much laughter, and he opens his mouth too wide, instead of being serious and of sound character.
It leads to daa’iyahs (Islamic workers) making people laugh as a means of winning them over and having an influence on them, or so they claim. What they do not realize is that people gather around them only for the sake of laughter, and they do not benefit from them at all.

The problem is that some people use laughter as a safety valve or release from their stress and worries, resorting to an inferior means rather than what is better. I remember a young man who one day was suffering anxiety because he was behind in his studies, and was going through some family problems, and had other troubles as well. He went out of his house and bumped into a friend on the way, who asked him, "Where are you going?" He said: "I am worried and stressed out, so I’m going to see So-and-so, so he can make me laugh and forget my problems…" He did not realize that his friend’s ability to make him laugh was like a drug which makes people forget while they are under its influence, but when it wears off, everything is still as it was before.

The Muslim should know better, and should treat worries and stress in the way prescribed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When something was troubling him, he would pray (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4703), and if something distressed him, he would say, "Ya Hayyu ya Qayyoom, bi rahmatika astagheeth (O Ever-Living, O Eternal One, by Your mercy I seek Your help)." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4777). According to another saheeh hadeeth, when he was overtaken by worries and distress, he would say, "Ya Hayyu ya Qayyoom, bi rahmatika astagheeth. Allahu rabbee wa la ushriku bihi shay’an (O Ever-Living, O Eternal One, by Your mercy I seek Your help. Allah is my Lord, and I do not associate anything with Him)." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4791).

In the famous du’aa’ to relieve stress and anxiety, he said: "Allahumma inni ‘abduka, wa’bnu ‘adbdika wa’bnu amatika… (O Allah, I am Your slave, the son of Your slave, the son of Your maidservant…)."


This is a concept which has to be understood properly before we move on to a discussion of the practical ways of dealing with the problem of excessive laughter, which can be dealt with in the following ways:

 

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Waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan)

A person may ask: "I am suffering from many insinuating thoughts (waswaas) about the nature of Allah, may He be glorified. There are thoughts going around in my mind that I cannot utter because they are not befitting to Allah, and they keep coming back to me, when I am praying and at other times. It is so bad that I doubt my faith, and wonder if I am even a Muslim or not. What is the cure for this problem?"

A number of ahaadeeth have been reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which contain the answer to this problem, Al-hamdu Lillah.

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The Shaytaan may come to any one of you and say, ‘Who created Allah?’ If any one of you experiences this, let him say, ‘Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih (I believe in Allah and His Messenger),’ and that will drive him away." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1657). The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The Shaytaan may come to any one of you and ask, ‘Who created the heaven?’ and he will say, ‘Allah.’ The Shaytaan will say, ‘Who created the earth?’ and he will say, ‘Allah.’ Then the Shaytaan will say, ‘Who created Allah?’ If any one of you experiences this, let him say, ‘Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih.’" (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1656).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever experiences anything of this waswaas, let him say three times, ‘‘Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih,’ and that will drive (the Shaytaan) away." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6587).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The Shaytaan may come to any one of you, and say, ‘Who created such-and-such? Who created such-and-such?’ until he asks, ‘Who created your Lord?’ If this happens to anyone, let him seek refuge with Allah and let him stop these thoughts." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7993).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The people will nearly ask too many questions, so that one of them may say, ‘Allah created all of creation, but who created Allah?’ If they say this, then say: ‘Allah is the One, Allah is the Self-Sufficient Master. He begets not, nor was He begotten; and there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him’ [al-Ikhlaas 112:1-4, interpretation of the meaning], and spit (dryly) to your left three times, and seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 8182).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Think about the signs of Allah, do not think about Allah (Himself)." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2975) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Think about the creation of Allah, do not think about Allah (Himself)." (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2976)

From these texts we may summarize the following six ways of overcoming these insinuating thoughts:

 

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Staying up late

We have received so many questions about this problem that we know it is crying out for a solution. So many people are wasting so much time in staying up late at night.

But the truth of the matter is that this phenomenon is not homogenous. There are three kinds of staying up late:

(1) Staying up late to worship Allah

This is the worthy kind of staying up. It includes staying up for reasons that are of benefit to the Muslims in general, such as engaging in jihaad and guarding the borders of Islam, as well as staying up to pray (qiyaam al-layl) and read Qur’aan. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord and praying, with fear and hope]." [al-Dhaariyaat 51:17].

We should not forget, in this context, the great Sahaabi who was guarding the Muslims at night, and spent his time on guard duty praying. He was struck by an arrow fired by the mushrikeen, and his blood began to flow, but he kept on praying, enjoying his contact with his Lord.

It is reported that some of the scholars used to discuss hadeeth until the sun came up. Some of the sincere da’iyahs (callers, Islamic workers) still stay up at night discussing matters that keep those who care about the ummah awake. An example of this is what happened with Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hameed ibn Baadees and Shaykh al-Basheer al-Ibraaheemi, the founders of the Muslim scholars’ organization (Jam’iyat al-‘Ulama’ al-Muslimeen) in Algeria. During their time in Madeenah, they used to stay up all night, until fajr time, discussing the state of the Muslim ummah and the bid’ah, myths and backwardness in which it had ended up, and planning how they would rescue Algerian society from this sorry state.

This kind of staying up is entirely worthy, so long as it does not lead to the neglect of something more important or more obligatory. Some people may stay up for a legitimate purpose, then miss fajr prayers. This is a mistake.

 

(2) Staying up for a permissible reason

This is fine, as long as it does not lead to the neglect of something obligatory. This includes, for example, travellers staying up to talk to one another, in order to relieve the tedium of travel. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would stay up to talk to one of his wives and keep her company, when they were on a journey.

This also includes talking to one’s guests and keeping them company. Also included is the staying up involved in modern-day shift work, created by the demands of materialistic circumstances. No doubt some of the interests of the Muslims demand the work of people at night, such as those who work in the security forces, in hospitals and airports, in supplying electricity, and so on.

 

(3) Staying up to commit sin, such as staying up to watch movies, to play haraam games such as cards, or to consume the flesh of others by gossiping and backbiting and slandering, and other kinds of sin.

This kind of staying up is haraam, and those who do it are sinners who deserve the punishment of Allah. Their number has increased in modern times, for the reasons mentioned by the poet:
"Youth, idleness and good health, corrupt man in such a bad way!"

It is important to distinguish between one type of staying up and the other.

The habit of staying up late at night has become widespread in our times for a number of reasons, including the following:

Having examined the types of staying up late, and explained the reasons for it, we may now turn to ways of treating this widespread problem.

 

 

Treatment from the theoretical point of view

We should think about the physical harm that may be caused by staying up late and its detrimental effect on many of our interests, such as:

"And [We] have made the night as a covering [through its darkness], and have made the day for livelihood." [al-Naba’ 78:10-11]
"Say: ‘Tell me! If Allah made night continuous for you till the Day of Resurrection, who is an ilaah [a god] besides Allah who could bring you light?…’" [al-Qasas 28:71]
"Say: ‘Tell me! If Allah made day continuous for you till the Day of Resurrection, who is an ilaah [a god] besides Allah who could bring you night wherein you rest? …" [al-Qasas 28:71]
So we find people who have gone astray and gone against their innate nature (fitrah) suffering from ill health. One hour of sleep at night is worth twice as many at any other time, as is well known from experience.

When the wise person realizes the kinds of harm that result from staying up late, and the great loss that befalls him as a result, no doubt he will try his utmost to reform himself and make up for what he has missed. Thus he will take the first step towards solving the problem.

There follow a number of practical steps which can be followed by anyone who wants to solve this problem:

These are a few of the practical measures which one can take to combat the problem of staying up late. And Allah is the One Who guides to the Straight Path.

 

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Short temper

A person may complain: "I get very angry very quickly. If there is the slightest provocation, I quickly explode and start to break things, swear, curse and issue threats of divorce. This problem has caused me so much embarrassment, and has made most people hate me, even my wife and children and closest friends. What can I do to rid myself of this awful disease and extinguish this devilish fire?"

Anger is a tendency that comes from the Shaytaan. Only Allah knows how much evil and sin results from it. Hence Islam has a great deal to say about this negative characteristic and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described remedies for ridding oneself of this problem and limiting its effects. These include the following:

  1. Seeking refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan. Sulaymaan ibn Sard said: "I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there were two men swearing at one another. One of them was red in the face and the veins of his neck were standing out. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘I know a word which, if only he would say it, this [anger] would leave him. If he said, "A’oodhu billaahi min al-shaytaan (I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan),", this [anger] would leave him.’" (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/377). He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: "If a man gets angry and says ‘A’oodhu billaah (I seek refuge with Allah),’ his anger will cease." (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 695).
  2. Keeping quiet. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "If any one of you gets angry, let him keep quiet." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/239; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 693, 4027). Anger usually makes a person lose control, often to the extent that he may utter words of kufr (Allah forbid), or curses, or the word of divorce (talaaq) which will destroy his family, or foul language that will earn him the enmity of others. Keeping quiet is the way to avoid all of these evils.
  3. Keeping still. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "If any one of you gets angry, let him sit down if he is standing. If his anger goes away, (that is good), otherwise let him lie down."
  4. The narrator of this hadeeth was Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), who told the following story: he was watering his animals at a trough, when some other people came along. He said, "Who among you will help Abu Dharr to water his animals and ....?" A man said, "I will," but he broke the trough. Abu Dharr was standing, so he sat down, then he lay down. Someone asked him, "O Abu Dharr, why did you sit down then lie down?" He said, "Because the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said … [and quoted the hadeeth]." (The hadeeth with the whole story is reported in Musnad Ahmad, 5/152. See also Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 694).
    According to another report, Abu Dharr was watering his animals at a trough when another man made him angry, so he sat down… (Fayd al-Qadeer al-Mannaawi, 1/408).
    One of the benefits of this Prophetic teaching is that it prevents the angry person from doing something crazy and out of control. An angry person could inflict harm or even kill – as we shall see shortly – or he could destroy property and so on. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will explode in this fashion, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something reckless or harmful. Al-‘Allaamah al-Khattaabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on Abu Dawood: "The one who is standing is ready to move and destroy things. The one who is sitting is less likely to do so, and the one who is lying is not able to do anything of the sort. It seems that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded the angry person to sit down or lie down in order to prevent him from doing anything that he would later regret. And Allah knows best." (Sunan Abi Dawood wa ma’ahu ma’aalim al-sunan, 5/141)
  5. Remembering the advice of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: "Advise me." He said: "Do not become angry." The man repeated his request several times, and each time the response was, "Do not become angry." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, 10/465).
  6. According to another report, the man said, "I thought about what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had said, and I realized that anger is the source of all evil." (Musnad Ahmad, 5/373).
    "Do not get angry, and Paradise will be yours." (A saheeh hadeeth. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7374. Ibn Hajar attributed it to al-Tabaraani. See al-Fath, 4/465).
  7. Remembering what Allah has promised to those who avoid the causes of anger and strive to control themselves is the best way to extinguish the flames of anger. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has told us about this great reward: "Whoever suppresses his anger at the time when he could express it openly, Allah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Resurrection." (Reported by al-Tabaraani, 12/453; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 176).
  8. Another immense reward is described in the hadeeth: "Whoever suppresses his anger when he is able to vent it, Allah will call him before all the people on the Day of Resurrection and let him choose whoever of the hoor al-‘iyn he wishes." (Reported by Abu Dawood, 4777, and others. Classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6518).
  9. Knowing the high rank and distinction that is bestowed upon the one who controls himself. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "The strong man is not the one who can wrestle another to the ground; the strong man is the one who can control himself when he is angry." (Reported by Ahmad, 2/236. The hadeeth is agreed upon). The more angry a person gets, the more highly valued is his self-control. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The real strong man is the one who gets intensely angry, so that his face reddens and his hair stands on end, but he suppresses his anger." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 5/367; classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3859).
  10. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used an incident that took place in front of his Sahaabah as an opportunity to reinforce this lesson. Anas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by some people who were wrestling, and asked, "What is this?" They told him, "So-and-so is a strong man. No one challenges him but he beats them at wrestling." The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Shall I not tell you who is stronger than him? A man who is mistreated by another, but suppresses his anger, has defeated his own shaytaan and the shaytaan of the one who mistreated him." (Reported by al-Bazzaar. Ibn Hajar said that its isnaad is hasan. Al-Fath, 10/519).
  11. Following the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with regard to anger.
  12. He is our example, and his attitude towards anger is clearly demonstrated in many ahaadeeth, of which one of the most famous was reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: "I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a stiff collar. He was accosted by a Bedouin who pulled his cloak roughly. I looked at the Prophet’s neck and saw the marks left by the collar. The Bedouin said: ‘O Muhammad, give me some of the wealth of Allah that you have!’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned to him and smiled, and ordered that he should be given something." (Reported by al-Bazzaar. Ibn Hajar said that its isnaad is hasan).
  13. Another way in which we may follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is by making our anger for the sake of Allah, when the limits set by Allah are violated. This is the worthy kind of anger. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) became angry when he was told about the imaam who was putting people off praying because his recitation was too long. He became angry when he saw a curtain decorated with pictures of animate creatures in ‘Aa’ishah’s house. He became angry when Usaamah spoke to him about the Makhzoomi woman who was guilty of theft, and said to him, "Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?" He became angry when he was asked questions he disliked. His anger was only for the sake of Allah.
  14. Knowing that suppressing anger is one of the signs of taqwa (piety). Allah has praised certain people in His Book, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) highly commended them. There have been prepared for them Gardens as wide as the heavens and the earth. One of their characteristics is that they "… spend (in Allah’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, [they] repress anger, and pardon men; verily, Allah loves al-muhsinoon (the good-doers)" [Aal ‘Imraan 3:134 – interpretation of the meaning]. These are the people whose good qualities Allah has mentioned, people whom others admire and want to catch up with. Another of their characteristics is that "when they are angry, they forgive" [al-Shoora 42:37 – interpretation of the meaning].
  15. Paying attention when one is reminded. Anger is something natural, with regard to which people differ. It may be very hard for a person not to get angry, but a sincere person, if he becomes angry and is reminded about Allah, will remember Him and will stay within the limits that He has prescribed. Some examples of this follow.
  16. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) reported that a man asked permission to see ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), and permission was given. The man said, "O son of al-Khattaab, by Allah, you are not giving us much, and you are not ruling us fairly!" ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) became so angry that he was about to hit the man, but al-Hirr ibn Qays (who was among the people sitting with ‘Umar) said, "O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, Allah said to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): ‘Show forgiveness, enjoin what isgood, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don’t punish them)’ [al-A’raaf 7:199 – interpretation of the meaning], and this man is one of the foolish." By Allah, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) did not take the matter any further when this was recited to him. He adhered to the words of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 8/304). This is how the Muslim should be, not like the evil hypocrite who, when he got angry and was told about the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and was advised by one of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan, said, "Do you think there is something wrong with me? Do you think I am crazy? Go away!" (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/465). We seek refuge with Allah from failure.
  17. Knowing the bad effects of anger. The bad effects of anger are many, harming both the self and others. A person may swear and utter obscenities, and may hit others, lashing out with no control. It may even lead to killing. The following story contains a lesson.
  18. ‘Alqamah ibn Waa’il reported that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) told him: "I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when a man came along, leading another by a twisted rope. He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, this man killed my brother.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked, ‘Did you kill him?’ He said, ‘Yes, I killed him.’ He asked, ‘How did you kill him?’ He said, ‘He and I were hitting trees to make the leaves fall (so we could use them for animal fodder). He swore at me, so I got angry and hit him on the side of the head with an axe, and I killed him.’…" (Reported by Muslim in al-Saheeh, 1307).
    Even if anger does not go as far as this, there may still be broken bones and injuries. If the person with whom a man is angry runs away, he may turn his anger upon himself, tearing his clothes, slapping his cheeks, falling unconscious, or breaking dishes and furniture.
    One of the worst things that result from anger and cause social ills and family breakdown is talaaq (divorce). Ask many of those who have divorced their wives how and when it happened, and they will tell you, "It was in a moment of anger." Lives are shattered and children are lost as a result. Feelings of regret and failure haunt people’s minds, and life becomes bitter – all because of anger. If only they had remembered Allah and come back to their senses, restrained their anger and sought refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan, what happened would not have happened. Going against sharee’ah only ever results in loss.
    The physical harm that results from anger is very serious, as the doctors describe, such as thrombosis, high blood pressure, fatal heart attacks, diabetes, etc. We ask Allah for good health.
  19. The angry person should think about himself at the time of anger. If the angry person could see himself in the mirror at the time of anger, he would despise himself and how he looks when his colour changes, he shakes uncontrollably, his face reddens, the veins of his neck stand out and he behaves like a crazy person. He would be put off by his own appearance, but it is well known that the ugliness that exists inside a person is even worse than any that may appear on the outside. How happy the Shaytaan must be when someone is in this state! We seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan and from failure.
  20. Du’aa’. This is the believer’s constant weapon. He asks his Lord to rid him of evils, problems and bad characteristics, and he seeks refuge with Allah from falling into the pit of kufr and wrongdoing caused by anger, because one of the three qualities which will save a person from Hellfire is being just and fair both at times of contentment and at times of anger. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3039). One of the du’aa’s of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was:
"Allahumma bi ‘ilmika’l-ghaybi wa qudratika ‘ala’l-khalqi aheeni ma ‘alimta’l-hayaata khayran li, wa tawaffani idha ‘alimta’l-wafaata khayran li. Allahumma wa as’aluka khashyataka fi’l-ghaybi wa’l-shahaadah, wa as’aluka kalimat al-ikhlaasi fi’l-ridaa wa’l-ghadab, wa as’aluka’l-qasda fi’l-faqri wa’l-ghinaa, wa as’aluka na’eeman la yanfad, wa qurrata ‘aynin la tanqati’, wa as’aluka’l-ridaa bi’l-qadaa’, wa as’aluka bard al-‘aysh ba’d al-mawt, wa as’aluka ladhdhat al-nadhr ila wajhika wa’l-shawqa ilaa liqaa’ik, fi ghayri darraa’ mudirrah wa laa fitnati mudillah. Allahumma zayyinnaa bi zeenati’l-eemaan wa’j’alnaa hudaatan muhtadeen
(O Allah, by Your knowledge of the Unseen and Your power over all creation, keep me alive so long as You know life is good for me, and bring about my death when you know death is good for me. O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in the open, I ask You to make me speak sincerely at times of contentment and at times of anger, I ask You to make me be moderate in poverty and in wealth, I ask You for a blessing that does not end, contentment that never ceases, and for acceptance of Your decree. I ask You for a good life after death, and I ask You for the joy of looking upon Your face and the longing to meet You, with no harmful adversity or misleading trial (fitnah). O Allah, adorn us with the beauty of faith, guide us and let us be a means of guidance for others)." (Reported by al-Nisaa’i in al-Sunan, 3/55; and by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1301).
 

~* Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds *~




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