Thursday, July 4, 2013

Anger Management in Ramadan

We all welcome Ramadan and look forward to it; it’s a chance to purify our hearts, minds and bodies and get closer to Allah (subHana wa Ta`ala). It’s also a more social time; the time when family and friends get together to do good deeds, break fast and meet up for Tarawih Prayer.

But it’s also a testing time for patience, as we’re being tested by hunger and thirst, lack of sleep due to night prayers and getting up for Sahur, our desire to balance our responsibilities to our families and communities with extra worship and also by our tolerance - or lack of it - of others. So sometimes it’s difficult to remain patient.

How many times have you heard sisters saying: “I can’t stand going to Tarawih because it’s too noisy when the mum’s bring their kids” or “I avoid going to Iftar or to `Itikaf ... because the sisters are...” or "I know the Satans are locked up, but I still can't help losing my temper with..." Have you ever caught yourself saying something like that? So many sisters miss out on the Barakah of breaking their fast with others or the chance to feel the beauty of Tarawih in the mosque, and end up feeling guilty because they can’t be patient with others. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all get extra rewards for controlling our anger in Ramadan this year as well?

We’ve all heard the Hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, a person observing fasting should avoid sexual relations and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, 'I am fasting." (Muslim)

So anger management is something that's important, as it’s mentioned along with other major aspects of fasting. If you’re a sister who has difficulty controlling your anger, especially in Ramadan, I’ve compiled a few tips that I hope will help you get through this blessed month and gain the extra reward for your patience.

1. Seeking Refuge from Satan

If you get into a situation where you feel your anger rising, try to catch it before it gets full-blown and seek refuge in Allah from Satan:

The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) said: "If a man gets angry and says, ‘A`udhu billahi min ash-shaytan ir rajim (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan),’ his anger will go away." (Sahih al-Jami’)

Saying this will make it easier to control your anger, as it will remind you that it’s being increased by Satan’s whisperings and that he is rubbing his hands with glee at your rising temper!

2. Get Closer to the Ground

The worst position to be angry in is when you’re standing up. In this position you feel strong and powerful and ready for flight or fight. So if you get angry while you’re standing, follow the Prophet's advice:

"When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down." (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

When you’re either sitting or lying, you’re more relaxed and in less of an aggressive position, so it will be easier for you to control your anger.

3. Remember Allah and the Day of Judgement

We’re told in Hadith Jibra’il, that Ihsan is: "to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet — truly He sees you." (Al-Bukhari)

Strive to develop your Iman to the level of Ihsan, so that each moment you live, you’re conscious of Allah watching every little thing you do. Would you like Allah to see you losing your temper and getting angry with someone, just because you feel offended or you weren’t able to be patient with someone? How will you answer Him on the Day of Judgement for your actions? Ramadan is a great time to get closer to Allah, to gain peace through increasing your worship. Make the most of this precious time!

4. Look in the Mirror

Have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror when you’re angry? You know how other people look, they get tense, their faces get flushed, their brow muscles move inward and downward, they stare fixedly, their nostrils flare and the jaw clenches. Not a pretty sight! Try to avoid people seeing you like that.

Further the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Beware of anger, for it is a live coal on the heart of the descendant of Adam. Do you not notice the swelling of the veins of his neck and the redness of his eyes? So when anyone experiences anything of that nature he should lie down and cleave to the earth" (Al-Tirmidhi)

5. Take Wudu’

If you still feel your temper rising and don’t feel able to control it, a great piece of advice is to take Wudu’. And then do two Rak'ahs of prayer if you can. As well as taking you out of the situation, it helps you to think of Allah and it also cools you down.
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when any of you is angry, he should perform Wudu'" (Abu Dawud)

6. Learn How to Relax

Anger often erupts when people are feeling stressed and tense. If that’s how you’re feeling, stress management would help to reduce the likelihood of you letting your anger go. There are a number of things that you could do to relax yourself, a few of them are:
  • Take your time over your prayers, don't rush them, and doing extra Dua`
  • Listen to recitations of the Qur’an by your favourite Qari’
  • Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; making the exhalation twice as long as the inhalation. And think calming thoughts while you’re doing it
  • Using imagery can be a very powerful tool for many different reasons. Imagine yourself getting angry over something that often trips you up and then image yourself controlling your anger.
If you practice these techniques on a regular basis, you’ll be able to use them automatically when you start getting angry.

7. Be Silent or Speak Wisely

Anger is an instinctive normal emotion that Allah implanted in all of us and it can be aroused for a number of reasons, i.e. when a person feels that they have been offended, when they feel that other people have been offended or when they feel that Allah and His Messenger have been offended. There are times when anger needs to be expressed, but it has to be done in an effective and wise manner, and not just to relieve personal tension, as that can be so destructive.

The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) said: "If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent." (Ahmad)

But the he (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) also told us to speak up when we see something evil, so we need to follow each of these Hadith in their proper context and learn when to speak and when to be silent. So if you’re in a situation where you need to speak up, don’t just say the first thing that comes to your head. Take time to think through your response and what effect your words may have on the other person. What might they be thinking and feeling now? How might they perceive the situation? Will they actually listen to what you’re saying and accept it from you?

Before you say anything, make this Dua’: "O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in public, and I ask You to make me speak the truth in times of contentment and of anger. “
Work out how to express yourself clearly and calmly and really listen to the response you get. Avoid emotive exaggerations; just state the facts and what you would like to be done and try to come to a win-win result where both of you gain.

Tags: anger, ramadan, ramzan
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