Islam Came to Teach People Good Character
Islam came to teach people good character, as it fights bad character. The worst character is to be angry as it opens the door to all bad characters. He who cannot stop his anger cannot keep his iman nor his good works as it destroys all good things, and no good can stay when anger is present.
Therefore, our Prophet ﷺ ordered his nation to keep away from anger. He said, “'The most powerful wrestler is he who can stop his anger!” Whoever is conquered by his anger cannot be a servant of Allah Almighty, because when he is angry he leaves goodness for his anger. It means he is under the command of his ego and he cannot obey his Lord. O People! Think on it.
We must always practice leaving anger. Once we were sitting with our Grandshaykh and his servant, who was an old man. While we sat, a fly came up and bit the servant and quickly he became angry and killed the fly. Our Grandshaykh looked at him and told me, “Tell him, Nazim Effendi, that he must get up and renew his wudu as now it is no good, it went away with his anger." To kill a flea in anger is a criminal action, a sin!
Anger is the worst character. All governments are fighting for anger, and all people also. Anger grows and is like an ocean for all bad characters; if you can dry up that ocean then no more bad characters can live in it, finished. This is a very, very good manner. You must use this, for it is the order of Allah ﷻ, His Prophet ﷺ and all Awliya.
Our Grandshaykh is a great doctor for the illnesses of the ego. Here is his prescription for us when we are angry:
If you are angry go make wudu, because anger is fire and fire goes away with water; therefore, do wudu. Anger is permitted only for our egos, so if you must be angry, be angry at your Nafs that is leading you away from your Lord! I shall tell you a story, also from our Grandshaykh, on that point:
A 'majdhub' is someone who is 'crazy' for Allah Almighty, and he is above ordinary people, on a different level from them. There was a majdhub living in a certain town. One day he was walking along when he came upon a group of children playing. Now, children know when a man is on an extraordinary level, and they like to run after them and make trouble for them. And so it happened that a boy threw a stone at the majdhub, and hit him on the head.
As soon as the stone hit him, the majdhub began to slap himself, saying, “Go to your homeland! Go to your home!” As the startled children watched, the majdhub continued down the street in that way, striking himself and saying over an over, “Go to your home! Go to your home!"
What is the meaning of that story? Our Grandshaykh says the majdhub was teaching us about our egos. When he said, “Go to your home, go to your home!" what he meant was, "O ego! If you were alright, then these children wouldn't be throwing stones at you. You must return to your home, to the promise that you made to your Lord on the Day of Promises, before you came into this world, your Lord asked, 'Am I your Lord?' and you answered, 'Yes, you are my Lord!'
When you return to that promise, nothing gives you trouble. When that boy hit you with that stone, O ego, it was to call attention to the fact that you must be careful with your promise to your Lord. You must, therefore, go to your homeland, return to your Lord!”
This story means you have no right to be angry with another person, you must turn your anger to your own ego! You must think, "If I am alright, then all things will be alright with me. If I am not alright, then people will not be alright with me."
O People! With such thinking, we will be angry and fighting our egos only.
Our Grandshaykh said anger is of two kinds. The first kind is the anger of ordinary people on behalf of their egos, not for Allah Almighty. You may say, "How? If a man sees a wrong thing, mustn't he get angry?" Yes, I agree with you.
But first I would say to you, why are you not angry with your self, your nafs? If you are seeing wrong things and getting angry, you should look first to your self, your ego! Be angry with it! Punish it for your wrongdoings, for bad speaking, for looking at haram. Why are you not punishing yourself?
It is easy to punish another, too easy. It is easy to kill others, but instead, kill your ego! When you are angry make a new wudu, and say three times the Shahada and seventy times "Astaghfirullah", and say, "O ego, this is your punishment!
[Anxious to punish their egos, murids asked Mawlana Shaykh Nazim questions.]
[Sayyidi, is it alright to fast on the light days of the week? We've been fasting every Monday and Thursday since Ramadan.]
Mawlana: No need. You may fast from haram looking, you may fast from anger, you may fast from bad words! Not eating or drinking, that fast I don't want. It is too easy to go without eating, I don't want that. No bad speaking, no bad looking, no anger, that is difficult! So many people are fasting, yet they are angry seventy times until Maghrib! They say, "We are fasting!" but how can you fast if you are angry?
The second kind of anger is for Allah Almighty. This is only for those who have killed their egos. We are too far from that! [Question from a murid: What about children who misbehave? Sometimes they can make one very angry.]
You may give them tarbiyya, which is to educate them with good manners. Also taqlib, to make them fear your speaking. It is like acting: you use a fierce voice, but inside you are not angry. Anger is prohibited.
Anger is for Allah! Our Grandshaykh told a story on that point: "Once during jihad in the time of Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi was sallim), Sayyidina Ali (karam Allahu wajha) fought an enemy in a fierce battle, a huge, powerful wrestler, and it was a difficult fight. Suddenly, Ali managed to disarm his opponent, flung him to the ground and raised his sword to kill the man. Just as his sword was about to strike, the enemy spat in his face! Sayyidina Ali lowered his sword and said, 'Get up, I cannot kill you.'
The enemy soldier was dumbfounded and asked, "Why are you not killing me? Why are you leaving me like this? Am I not your enemy?" Sayyidina Ali (karam Allah wajha) said, "I became filled with my ego's anger, so I cannot kill you! Before you spat in my face I fought you for the sake of Allah, but when you spat on me I became angry for the sake of my ego; therefore, I cannot kill you, you may go."
These words reached the fallen man's heart. "O, Ali!" he cried, "You are on the right way! Please take me to your Prophet (peace be upon him)!" He entered Islam at the Prophet's hand."
If your anger is like this, if you are like Sayyidina Ali (karam Allah wajha) then you too may be angry. If your character is not like that, you must keep it to yourself!
Sultan al-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil an-Naqshbandi