Here is a step-by-step guide of controlling one’s anger:
1. Admit your temper
Do not be in denial, and do not run from it. Hiding it may be an option – although it may make you look like a total idiot, it helps not to make the situation worse. Make sure some of your close relatives or friends know that you are trying your very best to control your anger, so that they know what to do just in case you feel like exploding.
At first, you may feel like you’re a hypocrite – as you’re hiding something bad from others. But the good news is that you have agreed you needed a change. Change, in turn, comes with a lot of sacrifice. You are going to cry a river when you’re alone with Allah, asking Him to grant you strength to overcome this challenge. Look at the bright side though, you have helped yourself from the torment of Hellfire – that is the most sincere thing to do.
2. Shut up
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to utter a single word in anger. Being silent helps you think clearly. This is hard, because I find it so difficult to just sit back and relax as if it is nothing when it is definitely not so. But being silent helps a lot. Maybe you might seem like a loser, but in His eyes, you’re a winner. Anyone can bomb the towers, but no one can calm an exploding volcano. Hence, convince yourself to win this battle.
Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) narrated, the Messenger SAW said, “And when you get angry, keep silent.” (Ahmad, Ibn Abi Dunya, Al-Tabarani, and Al-Bayhaqi)
“Those who spend [in Allâh’s Cause – deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allâh loves Al-Muhsinûn (the gooddoers).”
(Surah Al-Imran 3:134)
“It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou (If you were) severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (Their faults), and ask for (Allah)’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).”
(Surah Al-Imran 3:159)
I have often thought of doing what those criminals in CSI, Bones and Mentalist do – but I’m a coward, I’m scared of His punishment, so, no, they’re imaginations I wish to let go. My mind is a vast canvas with many weird thoughts. I used to think I have Multiple Personality Disorder – but, no, they’re just my imagination.
3. Zip your mind
Zipping your mouth can be a tough job, but, believe me, zipping your mind is way harder. Thrash all negative thoughts about the person who made you angry. No matter how angry we are, always remember that Allah is Most Gentle with His servants. Yes, it is hard. But there is no harm trying. Try, as hard as you can.
For those with a hot temper, being easily angry is actually a test from Allah. Other hot-tempered people may have their own ways to deal with anger, but the best way to deal with it is already told in the Quran;
“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous,-
Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good;-
And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah? And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done.
For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath,- an eternal dwelling: How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!”
This is what I usually do. I’m not sure if it is proper, and being the black sheep among others around me, this is often misunderstood. Sometimes people leave not because they despise that person – honestly, I try not to despise others – but, on the contrary, because they do not want to despise or let any kind of hatred grow between them and the person involved.
The Prophet Muhammad SAW said: “He who gave up disputing while he is right, a palace of high rank in Paradise will be built for him. He who gave up disputing while he is a fabricator, a palace in the center of Paradise will be built for him.” (Al-Tirmidhi who declared it as hasan)
5. Ablution (Wudhu’)
After the four steps above have worked (or even if they don’t) ablution helps to rinse off the dirt contaminating your heart.
AbuWa’il al-Qass said: We entered upon Urwah ibn Muhammad ibn as-Sa’di. A man spoke to him and made him angry. So he stood and performed ablution; he then returned and performed ablution, and said: My father told me on the authority of my grandfather Atiyyah who reported the Apostle of Allah SAW as saying: Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution. (Abu Dawood, Narrated Atiyyah as-Sa’di, r.a.)
6. Distract yourself
With ablution, make a two-rakaat prayer, or read the Quran, or both. Try not to remember the reason why you become mad. Be in the remembrance of Allah, for He knows what you’re going through. And Allah SWT alone is sufficient for us.
Sometimes, the thought of others saying this and that often make us feel provoked – even when they say nothing, your mind is still thinking it. The harder you try to let go of the thought, the more it sticks to you.
Your anger would also become uncontrollable when you see someone behaving exactly like you did, but not getting the hatred as much as you got – and to make things worse, he or she is more loved for behaving that way.
Life can be so tiring, so always keep in mind the real rest is in Paradise. Hold on. Some might say, “Dream on with Paradise – you’ve got no chance to even smell it.” Some may even keep a distance and try not to be close to you. Let them go. Do it for Allah.
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated, “The Messenger SAW said, ‘The strong person is not he who has physical strength but the person is strong if he can control his anger.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)