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Beneficial Anger

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  • Beneficial Anger


    Beneficial Anger


    There are basically four reasons people get angry. One is related to primal needs, such as food, shelter, and life. When these are threatened, a normal person feels vulnerable and responds with anger. If someone threatens one's life or family, the person needs to respond. This anger is not blameworthy. If humans were incapable of a response, we would have a society indifferent to crime and transgression. This would spell doom for human civilization. This is part of the wisdom behind the Quranic commandment to enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil.


    The second reason is related to position, dignity, and protecting one's honor. Human beings are born with sensors that detect when others try to belittle them or when they are the object of contempt and scorn. The other side of this is when people view themselves with hubris and manufacture delusions of grandeur. They grow angry when they interpret normal and acceptable behavior towards them as beneath their dignity.


    The third cause of anger is related to specific people and their particular sense of values. If, for example, a scholar sees that a book is being abused, he will become angry. An illiterate farmhand may not be vexed about the abuse of a book, though he may curse a man who breaks a pitchfork.


    Finally, the fourth cause is ghira, commonly translated as jealousy. God has placed jealousy as part of human nature. If men did not have jealousy for their women, relationships would fall into dissolution. It is natural for a man to have this protective sense of jealousy regarding his wife, as long as it is not expressed in the form of oppressing her, which unfortunately happens frequently.
    With regard to these causes of anger, Imam al-Ghazali says the first one (related to material needs) is healthy if it is not taken to an extreme, in which case a person steals from others in order to secure his food and shelter. The second one (related to dignity) is also healthy, with the similar caveat of avoiding two extremes, haughtiness and abject humiliation. The Prophet said, "The believer does not humiliate himself." [Ibn Majah]

    One should not grow angry when there is no benefit in doing so. The Prophet praised a man named Abu Damdam who never became angry when people spoke ill of him, for when one speaks ill of another, the speaker not only acquires misdeeds, but his own good deeds transfer to the account of the victim.


    Compiled From:

    "Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf
    "Closer and closer to mankind comes their Reckoning: yet they heed not and they turn away" (21:1)

    " How can the one who chooses a hour of Haraam pleasure, above the eternal pleasure of Jannah, ever be considered as sane? "
    -Ibn Al Qayyim


    Beneficial Database of Islamic Books and Media: www.Islamhouse.com
    Interested in Islam : www.islamreligion.com ; www.islam-guide.com

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