Becoming Angry when Hardships Occur? – Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen

Fatwaa: Becoming Angry When Hardships Occur
فتاوى أركان اإلسال )سOriginal Title: )46
Original Author: Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen
Translated by: Abu az-Zubayr Harrison – authentic-translations.com

Taken from Fataawaa Arkaan Al-Islaam (no. 64) by Shaykh Ibn Al-‘Uthaymeen.

Question: What’s the ruling of someone who becomes angry when a hardship or affliction befalls him?

Answer: People, during circumstances of affliction or difficulties, are at four levels:

The First Level – Becoming Angry

This can be in different ways:

The first way: The anger is by the heart as if he’s angry at his Lord. So, he gets angry with what Allaah has decreed for him, and this (level) is not permissible. It’s possible that it could even lead to disbelief. Allaah (عزّ وجلّ) says:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انْقَلَبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَاآلخِرَةَ

And among mankind is he who worships Allaah as it were, upon the very edge (i.e. in doubt); if good befalls him, he’s content therewith, but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islaam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter. [Soorah Al-Hajj, 22:11]

The second type: The anger is by the tongue like making praying and supplicating for destruction or ruin or by similar statements, and this is also impermissible.

The third type: The anger is by the limbs like slapping the cheeks, ripping the clothes, pulling out hair (some Arab cultural reactions of Jaahiliyyah), and similar actions. And none of this is allowed; it’s in contradiction to having patience which is required.

The Second Level – Remaining Patient

It’s just like a poet said, “Patience, like its name, is bitter in taste, yet its outcomes are sweeter than honey.”

Such a person sees this thing (the affliction, problem) as weighing down heavily on him, But he bears it although he dislikes that it happened. His faith bears it patiently and prevents him from being angry. So, the times of affliction and times without are not the same to him. This (level) is obligatory because Allaah (عزّ وجلّ) commanded the people to be patient, saying:

وَاصْبِرُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

And be patient. Certainly, Allaah is with the patient ones.[Soorah Al-Anfaal 8:46]

The Third Level – Being Pleased with the Affliction

In such a way, the person is pleased with the affliction. It’s the same to him whether it happened or not; it’s not difficult upon him and he doesn’t bear it as if it is something weighing heavily on him. This (level) is preferred but not an obligation according to the most correct opinions. The difference between this level and the one before it is apparent because the affliction happening or not happening (in this third level) is the same due to the fact that the person at this level is actually content and pleased. As for the level before it, the affliction is hard upon him, yet he still remains patient over it.

The Fourth Level – Being Thankful

Actually being grateful is the highest level. This is the state when a person thanks Allaah for the affliction that has befallen him. He knows that such a difficulty is a means of expiation for his sins and perhaps a cause for an increase in his good deeds. The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) said:

There’s no affliction that strikes a Muslim except that Allaah expiates with it (his sins), even with a thorn that may poke him.”

[Recorded by Al-Bukhaaree (no. 5640) and Muslim (no. 2572)]

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