The Prophet (peace be upon him) said;
“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”
[Sahih Al Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book of Good Manners, Hadith. No. 6114]
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt uncontrollable rage, which then led you to raise your voice at someone? Did you ever regret it afterwards, and wish you had handled the situation differently?
As humans, we all tend to get angry once in awhile, and in my opinion, it can be one of the most difficult emotions to control. “Once a man approached the Prophet (pbuh) and asked: ‘Give me advice.’ The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Do not get angry.’ The man asked repeatedly and the Prophet answered each time, ‘Do not get angry.’”
It is important for us as Muslims to try to control our anger and frustration at times, even though it may not be our fault. I like to think of anger as an emotion Allah (SWT) gave us in order to test our strength in dealing with it. One method that helps me turn my anger into a state of calmness is actually a really simple method. I just pause and think to myself: “What would the Prophet (pbuh) do in this situation?” SubhanAllah, it has helped me in so many situations.
An example of a time when this method worked for me occurred a couple of weeks ago. I had just ordered a pair of Aldo shoes online from the store’s website. When it arrived, I opened the box and could not believe what I saw. They sent me a pair of worn shoes with a broken strap! I was really angry because I waited so long for them to arrive. I could not wait to call the store and express how frustrated and angry I was. However, right when I made the call, I suddenly started thinking about the Prophet (pbuh). How would he act if he was in a similar situation? Would he raise his voice at the representative on the other line who was not even responsible for the situation? He most likely would not. After having this thought, I remained calm on the phone. I handled the situation by kindly asking for an exchange, and that was the end of my shoe crisis. If I had expressed my anger to the sales representative like I initially wanted to, I would probably be complaining on the phone for an unnecessarily long period of time only to achieve the same outcome.
This may not be the best example, but hopefully it gets my point across. Controlling our anger not only benefits ourselves, but also those around us. I try to ask myself “What would the Prophet (pbuh) do?” frequently, and as a result, I find myself pausing and thinking before making any drastic decisions and/or actions. (I have also taught this method to my brother, and every time I am mad at him, he takes advantage and says: “Michelle, what would the Prophet do?”
Of course, there will still be times when we will still express anger (like I do with my brother); none of us are perfect. However, we can still constantly strive to improve our character. Here is a challenge for everyone, think about what the Prophet (pbuh) would do next time you are faced with an undesired situation. Just try it next time when someone cuts you off on the road, and I guarantee it will help! May Allah (SWT) help us all achieve good character, ameen.