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Social problems are the constant concern of the Qur’an and it sets about addressing them. One of these kinds of problems is anger—a phenomenon which is in evidence in every society. In fact, wherever there are two persons, there must also be provocation and anger. On this subject, the Qur’an gives a piece of guidance in the chapter Al-‘Imran (The Family of Imran). Its translation is as follows: For those who spend, both in prosperity and adversity, who restrain their anger and are forgiving towards their fellow men—God loves those who do good works. (3:134)

In this verse the Qur’an does not say that a true believer is devoid of anger; it says instead that a true believer is one who is able to restrain his anger. So, the definition of a true believer is not one who is free of anger, but one whose faith is so powerful that he is able to control his temper whenever the fire of anger begins to smolder in his heart. Anger is a negative reaction. But a true believer is one who has the ability to give a positive response at that time. Anger is not evil. It is a part of human nature. In fact,  anger is a negative expression of a healthy aspect of human nature. Man is a sensitive animal endowed with intuition and, by his intuition, he knows what is good and what is bad. So, it is but natural that when he sees some unprincipled behavior or an immoral act, he becomes disturbed.

But in such a situation, there are two options: to show a negative reaction or give a positive response. Anger is a negative reaction. But a true believer is one who has the ability to give a positive response at that time. A negative response arises out of hate, whereas a positive response flows from love and compassion. A true believer must develop compassion in that situation. He must try to reform his bad habits. He must try to de-condition his conditioning. The message of the Qur’anic verse is: Do not give a hateful reaction but try rather give a compassionate response.

Anger is generally the result of provocation and provocation is a test of your capacity to exercise self-control. It helps to view provocation simply as a challenge to your imperturbability. So at the time of provocation, prove to be a person who can maintain his equilibrium and rise above all irritants. Be the master of your negative sentiments. This upholds the true dignity of human beings, both men and women.

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