Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Is Anger Sinful?
Answer:In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said repeatedly to the one who asked him for advice,
“Do not get angry.” [Bukhari, from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him)]
In his commentary on Imam Malik’s Muwatta’, Imam Suyuti quotes Imam Baji as saying,
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) gathered all good for this man in one short expression, because anger causes great harm to both religion and worldly life as a result of what one says or does when angry.
“‘Do not get angry’ means: do not act in accordance with what your anger makes you incline towards, and restrain yourself. As for anger itself, a human can’t prevent it; rather, what they can prevent is acting in according to what anger calls one to do….” [Suyuti, Tanwir al-Hawalik, 1.212]
Imam Ayni said in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari that,
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Do not get angry,’ because he had direct knowledge (kashf) of the states of people and would thus command them to do what was best in their state. It may well have been that this person was given to anger, so he (Allah bless him and give him peace) counseled him to leave it.
Baydawi said, ‘It may well be because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw that all harm that occurs to a human only occurs because of their passions and anger…. Thus, if one controls one’s anger, one has overcome one’s strongest enemy—and this is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) counseled him to control it.’
Khattabi said, ‘The meaning of ‘Do not get angry’ is: don’t fall into those matters that cause anger and those matters that stir one’s anger—because anger itself is an intrinsic human trait and one can’t get rid of it…’” [Ayni, Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, 22.164]
Imam Ibn Rajab said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)’s words, “Do not get angry,” can mean one of two things:
“First, that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was calling to the means of acquiring good character, such as benevolence, generosity, forbearance, modesty, humility, bearing the harm of others, not harming others, overlooking, forgiving, restraining one’s anger, cheerfulness, smiling, and the like of these beautiful traits. This is because if one characterizes themselves with these traits and they become one’s habit, then this results in warding off anger when its causes are found.
Second, that the meaning is not to act according to what anger entails… Rather, that one strive against one’s lower self by not acting on one’s inclinations call to….” [Ibn Rajab, Jami` al-Ulum wa’l Hikam, 1.145]
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Forbearance (hilm) is the best of traits.” Forbearance is for one not to be moved by one’s anger and emotions; rather, one acts in accordance with the dictates of Revelation and reason.
And Allah alone gives success.