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Is anger an appropriate emotion to express?

Ideally, anger should not be expressed just because our ego is offended, or for any other purely personal reason. The example of the Holy Prophet sas is that:

He sas was never angered for anything materialistic or by anything that had to do with this world, but if someone exceeded the limits in religious matter or against the truth, he sas became so angry that no one could endure his sas anger, and he sas could not rest until it was redressed. He sas never became angry for his own sake nor demanded redress for his own self.

(Shama’il Muhammadiyah, Book 34; Hadiqatus-Salihin, p. 47)

Anger can be such an intense and sometimes confusing emotion, how do we know if it is for the sake of Allah? One way to tell is asking ourselves if we are being just; this means not taking sides just because we are related to someone. We can use this verse of the Holy Quran as a gauge of our intentions:

O ye who believe! Be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred.

(Surah an-Nisa’, 4:136)

If someone has wronged our sibling and we become angry at them,  we should ask ourselves, if our sibling did the same thing to someone else, would we be as angry at our sibling? If our anger is for the sake of God, it won’t differentiate between a relative and a stranger. This basic teaching of justice prevents individual fights from expanding into family feuds. Also, Islam does not allow us to cut off relations with one another. The Holy Prophet sas said:

Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days.

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 78, Hadith 95)

Before getting angry with anyone, we have to think twice, because taking the easy way out by venting our frustration and then never talking to them again is not an option. Anger is for reformation, and reformation is never the easy way out.

Updated on February 2, 2019

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