Sun Tzu & Muslim Rage Control!


Unchecked anger (called rage) is detrimental for us as individuals as well as for those around us.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) asked of his Ummah to check and control their anger. Anger, however unconscious, does makes us vulnerable. Deep within ourselves anger builds a foundation for how we connect with our lives outside of us and makes us communicate with others on a more inauthentic level.

When we are hurting we should acknowledge that pain to ourselves at least – maybe write down why we are hurting? Maybe find a loved one to talk to or a friend. It is easier for many to express their anger and frustration rather than to admit they are in pain. We should be there for others but also remember not to be drawn into others problems – its their life not ours, show compassion yes but this is their fight not yours.

Expressing vulnerability is painful and many feel powerful expressing their anger and denying their weakness.  This anger inhibits their authenticity in how they communicate with others whether family, friends, enemies or at work. Understanding ones own anger helps to recognise ones own feelings and needs.

Sun Tzu says that  – The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – here anger is that enemy within oneself and war is to acknowledge it, understand it and subdue it.

I hope the following few lines suggestions can help you to help a loved one or someone you know who maybe angry:

1. Seek Refuge Dua/Prayer – Allahu Akbar

Allahu Akbar – means Allah is greater than everything else not just in your life but the entire existence. Translated as God is Great.

Many look for help from others when they are in pain and are suffering or they are being targeted by someone. Sun Tzu said that – “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Our war remains within ourselves and to have victory outside of us – we must first deal with the enemy within and remain mindful that God remains the greatest whether we fight or lose, whether its the enemy within or the enemy outside of us.

The following Dua I find helpful, this is a Dua I have been using after Jummah (Friday afternoon) prayers and use a few times a week to centre me and my thoughts/feelings and helps me focus on the greatest enemy – myself:

 

O Most Merciful!: Grant me – for I am your slave made of dust – protection from what I know and what I do not know within the darkness that seeks to challenge me for I will return to that dust only on your command as will all your Creations made of dust. O Allah Grant Me Courage! You Are The Most Merciful & Most Powerful.

O Most Gracious!: Guide me – for I am your slave made of dust – with your light and fire as you have guided Your Prophets and Servants on their paths. For I acknowledge that all Creation will return to you at its chosen time – both Humankind and Jinn. O Allah Guide Me With Your Wisdom! You Are The Most Gracious & Most Wise. 

O Most Holy!: Give me – for I am your slave made of dust – your permission to awaken that which lies dormant within me and only you know of so I may glorify you. I acknowledge that You Alone are the originator and Creator of all creatures of Dust, Fire, Light and that which lies beyond our understanding.

O Allah!: Creator & Lord of – Gibreel, Mikael, Israfeel, Hafaza, Kiraman Katibin, Mu’aqqibat, Jundullah, Hamalat al-‘Arsh, Artiya’il, Munkar and Nakir, Nāzi’āt and Nāshiṭāt, Darda’il, Maalik, Ridwan, Harut and Marut, Hamalat al-Arsh, O Most High Creator of The Heavens and Earth, O Knower & Creator of that is unseen and the seen, I acknowledge that You are the Majestic Judge of all matters in which Your slaves and creatures of Dust, Fire & Light differ; Guide me on this path, Grant me the the wisdom, Give me the power. by Your permission, for it is You who guides whomever You will to the straight path.

Ameen 

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2. Be Calm, Be Silent, Be The Observer – Subhanallah

Subhanallah – The Meaning is that Allah is perfect in an absolute sense without any defects or imperfections of any kind. Translated as Glory be to God.

Sun Tzu said “Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.” This isn’t about being superior to the other party – but rather humbling oneself to the level of what the other party is experiencing, looking through his/her point of view and through his/her words/actions will show how best to deal with the issue or issues the party is going through.

So keep your emotions in check and acknowledge that others have emotions also. When angry people lose control they are likely to say things they will regret. The best course of action is to stay calm and be silent and as others speak their anger, observe them – look at how they are suffering and understand but do not attach yourself to their suffering. Think about who you are, where you are and what you are and what you are about to do or say in response if anything. Centre yourself.  The words to remember here are what The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent”.

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3. Express Gratitude – Alhamdullilah

Alhamdulillah – The Meaning is all praise and thanks belong to Allah alone because He is the originator of everything. To praise or thank something is indirectly praising and thanking Allah because He is its true Creator. Translated as Praise be to God.

Sun Tzu said “Great results, can be achieved with small forces.” this means when someone uses a lever, they exert a force around a central point to move big object. So small things happen around us – small pushes and pulls that give way to anger within us where someone who sought to get a reaction out of us did so. Here we need to be mindful of others behaviours however small they look to get a reaction out of us. We can use the same techniques on them to gently guide them to change their behaviour not just towards us but also themselves.

Allah promises that the grateful will be given more:

And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favor; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.  Quran Ch 14, Verse 7

As we begin to understand the causes of anger and struggle within ourselves and others we need to acknowledge the good things in our lives and how we can learn from what caused us or others this anger. Being grateful and angry at the same time is difficult. Some have a gratitude journal — jotting down what they are thankful for which can be helpful when they are feeling down.

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4.Remember the effects of anger – La ilaha illaAllah

La ilaha illaAllah – The Meaning here is that There is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone without any partners in any way or form. Translated as There is no god except God.

Anger is a poison.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: “The strong man is not the one who wrestles others; rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself at times of anger.” [Sahih Muslim]

When we see people suppress their anger when dealing with those they consider their superiors and then express that anger on those they consider weaker than them this shows an overall weak person. Such a weak person carry’s his/her frustrations out on their family, or a partner or children, or an elder – or frustrations against other groups, racial, religious or nationalities. In expressing this anger on another being (or beings) is a crime against ones own soul as well as the victim(s) of this anger – Of course it is okay to feel anger in situations but one should control the expression of this anger.

Imam Ali (RA) said: “A moment of patience in a moment of anger prevents a thousand moments of regret.”

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5. Allah is mightier than you – Astaghfirullah

Astaghfirullah – Muslims say this when they are aware of committing a sin or when they remember a sin they’ve committed before the meaning is May God forgive me.

Sun Tzu said – “The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

Our own anger is the problem and we must remain mindful that nothing is greater or mightier than Allah and that when another being attacks or insults us – its usually to see what kind of reaction they are going to get. This is a ‘power game’ for the other party so they can ‘feel’ powerful by angering you. Simple as that.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The strong person is not the one that can knock people down. The truly strong person is the one that maintains his self-control when he is angry.

Our greatest enemy is our willingness to be easily angered, and this anger unchecked leads to being manipulated one way or another – by those who want us to buy something from them, or use us to be their followers, servants, slaves…

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Anger is an emotion that will destroy relationships, careers and so forth – We must remain conscious of what leads to anger within us and also others and ask forgiveness from God as unchecked anger leads to sin.

Look forward to writing more soon, hope you enjoyed this article and found it of use – please share, tweet etc and you can contact/keep in touch in the following ways 🙂

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Mohammed Abbasi

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2 thoughts on “Sun Tzu & Muslim Rage Control!

  1. Hello,

    I would like to thank you for writing this post.
    Although I am not a muslim nor religious in any way, I find all you’ve mentioned and touched on in regards to anger is relatable and true, whether a person is a believer or not.
    The things you mentioned are certainly a great way to deal with and overcome it!
    I may not succeed at it at all times, but I shall try forevermore!
    Thank you!

    1. Many thanks for the beautiful message Samantha, a believer is not necessary a religious person but one who understands that there is more in life than fear or anger 🙂 – May God bless you and give you more strength and success x

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