The man was filled with rage... While yelling with full force at the person before him, his face became red and his jugular vein became more and more pronounced. While the flames of anger reflected on his face, his insolence reverberated in his voice. When this state of his caught the attention of the Prophet of Mercy, the latter turned to those around him and, with his calm and soothing voice, said:
“I know such a word that if this person were to utter it, this state of anger they are in would dissipate.” If this person were to say, “I seek refuge in God from the accursed devil” then this state of anger would dissipate.” The Companions hearing this immediately approaching the angered man told him to seek refuge in God from Satan thus; however, the man refused to dos so, saying, “Am I crazy to do such a thing?” (Bukhari, Beginning of Creation, 11)
Of course, the man was not crazy. And Prophet Muhammad knew also that he was not crazy. However, his anger had as though brought him to a state of insanity. He had reached the point when he was unable to control himself and think soundly, thus losing his ability to prevent Satan from misleading him. Due to the Prophet’s having seen this man’s powerless state, he wanted the man to seek refuge in God’s infinite mercy, distance himself from Satan and hoped to prevent the angry from taking steps, in such a state, that he would later come to regret.
Stating, ““Anger comes from Satan and Satan was created of fire. Water puts out fire, thus when one of you is angry, they should take wudu (ritual ablution),” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 3), Prophet Muhammad draws attention to the point that anger is related to Satan. Weakening a person’s willpower, anger causes them to become vulnerable to all kinds of negative influence. This state, described via the Turkish adage, “When anger comes, reason goes,” is surely in Satan’s interests.
In actual fact, anger is a natural emotion. It is an instinctual feeling that functions as a force in a human being’s protecting themselves from danger and defending themselves when faced with an assault on either their self or their values. A person who feels anger when they sense a threat to their body, possessions, beliefs, honor, and their loved ones attempts to ward off the threat in question by means of simultaneously mobilizing their physical, emotional and mental powers. However, the fact that anger innately exists in human beings does not automatically mean that it is entirely innocent. We all know that anger is an emotion which must be controlled and which, when exceeding the limits, is extremely destructive for both the person who becomes angry and those in their presence. In short, just as the Prophet has stated, anger is like fire; human beings are in need of it, but when it becomes excessive and reaches the point where it can no longer be controlled, it consumes, destroys, and completely ruins the human being…
This world of trial presents itself to human beings with different troubles at each step. When a person is faced with a problem, finds themselves in the middle of conflict, experiences difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings despite all their efforts, and when their expectations are not realized, they feel anger, even though they may be a tiny infant. Whereas, what is expected from human beings as possessors of reason and as beings granted, through God’s infinite grace, the honor of being the most exalted beings on earth, is not to allow their anger to cloud their reason. While they may at times be successful with anger displayed at the right time and in the right way, they must not forget that anger is in hand like dynamite ready to explode at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
They say that anger is sweeter than honey. It seems all too easy for a person to fall victim to anger and drift about in aimlessness. However, when a mature person of sound mind feels a potentially destructive anger, they must be patient and level-headed, allaying it in the shortest time possible. None of us have the luxury of letting ourselves go in the maelstrom of anger only to dump our negative energy on those we encounter, and then hiding behind the excuse of having fallen victim to our rage. Overcoming and monitoring one's anger is the responsibility of everyone, regardless of their age, gender and social status. If, as the Turkish saying goes, "Those who rise with anger will sit with injury," then mother, father, teacher, administrator, businessman or workman – everyone is obligated to protect themselves and their environment from harm.
To a person wanting advice from him, Prophet Muhammad said, “Do not become angry!” and repeated this thrice (Bukhari, Adab, 76). Surely, overcoming one's anger, reminiscent of a fireball, is no easy task. However, as the Prophet states, "The strong person is not one who throws their adversaries to the ground. A strong person is one who contains themselves when they are angry" (Muslim, Good Character, 106). In other words, talent lies not in wrestling or crushing one’s opponent, but in learning how to struggle against our anger. There are matchless examples of this practice in the life of Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet, who was not shy to express his anger in the face of injustice, remained very calm, level-headed and reasonable otherwise, and instilled mildness, mercy, and compassion to the people of the Age of Ignorance taken captive by anger. For instance, distributing the spoils of war appropriated during the battle of Hunayn, the Prophet gave extra spoils to those whose hearts he was trying to warm to Islam. One of the natives of Madina, unable to contain his anger said, “By Allah, in this distribution justice has not been observed, nor has Allah's Pleasure been aimed at." Informed of this, the Prophet became angry enough that the color of his face changed and said: "If Allah and His Apostle did not act justly, who else would act justly. May Allah be merciful to Moses, for he was harmed with more than this, yet he kept patient." (Bukhari, Khumus, 19).
Rushing to the aid of his community in matters of anger management, Prophet Muhammad said, “If one of you becomes angered, then let them sit down. If they their anger subsides (upon sitting) then this is good. If it does not however, let them sit down,” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 3) and advised that one who is angered to remain silent so that they do not hurt others (Ibn Hanbal, I, 239). He once changed the name of a man called Baghiz (meaning angry/hateful) to Habib (endearing/beloved), not content with anger being seen as acceptable or taking root in one’s character. The Prophet himself feared momentary lapses stemming from anger and asked of God for the following: “Oh Allah! Muhammad is but a man. He becomes angered just like everyone else. If I unjustly curse upon a Muslim, or wish them harm, allow for this become a means of cleansing them (of their sins) and a source of mercy.” (Muslim, Birr and Sila, 89).
The son of ‘Umar, Abdullah says, "There is nothing that is swallowed greater with God in reward than a slave of God who swallows and contains his rancor out of desire for the pleasure of God" (Bukhari, Abad-al Mufrad, pg. 446). The Prophet spoke of the reward of the servant in the Afterlife who overcomes their anger and restrains themselves, despite having the power to take on their associate, so as not to hurt the person (Tirmidhi, Sifat ul Qiyama, 48). After all, is not the issue standing, as a believing servant of God, even before the flames of fire for the sake of God and becoming one of those praised in the Qur’an: “They spend (out of what God has provided for them,) both in ease and hardship, ever-restraining their rage (even when provoked and able to retaliate), and pardoning people (their offenses)... Such are the ones whose reward is forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens through which rivers flow, to abide therein. How excellent is the reward of those who always do good deeds! (Al-'Imran, 134; 136).