15 Nov Defusing Hatred and Animosity.Part1
- Harboring rancor and animosity means looking for revenge and retribution. The heart of one who is envious or rapacious has been darkened and their mental facilities are taken over by vengeance. This feeling of vengeance grows until it pushes out all the love and faith in a person, and they begin to put revenge before everything, even obedience to God.
- By contrast, freeing the heart of rancor and enmity quickly brings a psychological balance and harmony between the heart and mind, the physical and the spiritual. A person who can keep their temper under control will be of greater benefit to society and able to cultivate their higher emotions to their full potential.
In the Qur’an God tells us that the rancor and enmity harbored by people have a dangerous potential to trigger injustice:
O you who believe! Be upholders and standard-bearers of right for God’s sake, being witnesses for (the establishment of) absolute justice. And by no means let your detestation for a people (or their detestation for you) move you to (commit the sin of) deviating from justice. Be just: this is nearer and more suited to righteousness and piety. Seek righteousness and piety and always act in reverence for God. Surely God is fully aware of all that you do. (Maeda 5:8)
Every type of anger and vexation gives rise to mental problems and physical illnesses. Without sincere forgiveness, without “letting go,” total recovery is impossible. Hatred, animosity, rage, wanting to “get even” or see others punished, even criticism and reproach, all pollute the mind, weaken the soul, and eventually ruin a person’s health. It could be said that overcoming anger can be achieved if one nurtures a desire to help others and trains one’s thoughts along these lines, as well as trying to seek to live a life that is more “behind the scenes” rather than striving to be the center of attention. In the Qur’an God says,
They spend (out of what God has provided for them,) both in ease and hardship, everrestraining their rage (even when provoked and able to retaliate), and pardoning people (their offenses). God loves (such) people who are devoted to doing good, aware that God is seeing them. (Al Imran 3:134)
Human nature is created in such a way that a person can fluctuate between good and bad. Knowing this, it is necessary to know how to deal with one’s own ego, keeping in mind that good comes from God while evil comes from the ego and leads to ultimate destruction. A person who knows that they are prone to vacillating between good and bad actions must expend extra energy to ensure that they refrain from major sins and to avoid situations that could lead to doing wrong: “
Those who avoid the major sins and indecent, shameful deeds (which are indeed to be counted among majorsins), and when they become angry, even then they forgive (rather than retaliate in kind)” (Shura 42:37).
Furthermore, in order to avoid anger or antipathy, we have been given several strong mainstays, such as praying for one’s own forgiveness, the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in religion, and that of our spiritual ancestors, asking God not to allow seeds of bitterness and anger against believing people grow in our hearts, and expecting these prayers to be accepted; these are all stated in the following Qur’anic verse:
And all those who come after them (and follow in their footsteps) pray, “O our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers (and sisters) in Religion who have preceded us in faith, and let not our hearts entertain any ill-feeling against any of the believers. O our Lord! You are All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate (espe- cially toward Your believing servants). (Hashr 59:10)
There are also some useful indications in the life and practice of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, regarding the control of anger and animosity. Some of these enlightening hadith are as follows.
The Prophet warned Anas ibn Malik while the latter was still a child, telling Anas that he should forgive those who had done him wrong, and thus avoid having his spirit sullied with enmity or lingering resentment. Anas ibn Malik related the following narration from the Messenger of God:
“My child! Every morning and every evening, make sure you hold no grudge or enmity against anyone. Do this, if you can, my child! This is my example. Whoever follows my example truly loves me. And whoever loves me will be with me in Paradise.”
As we can see, those who can purify their hearts of jealousy, anger, and animosity will be together with the Prophet and reach Heaven.