You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above, watch it below, or read the summary below. Delivered October 6th, 2017.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
ۗالَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ
وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Allatheena yunfiqoona fee alssarrai waalddarrai waalkathimeena alghaytha waalAAafeena AAani alnnasi
waAllahu yuhibbu almuhsineena
Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people,
and Allah loves the doers of good.
(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:134)
My dear brothers and sisters, in Surah Ali ‘Imran, Allah talks about the Muttaqeen (مُتَّقِينَ), those who have true consciousness of Him, the people who truly believe in Him, the people who do good by Him. What does He say about them?
وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
WasariAAoo ila maghfiratin min rabbikum wajannatin AAarduha alssamawatu waalardu oAAiddat lilmuttaqeena
And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous
(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:133)
وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ – Run race, rush to the forgiveness of your master,
وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ – and run and race and rush to a garden who’s width is greater than the heavens and the earth.
أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ – It has been prepared for those who are conscious of Allah
And then Allah describes His Muttaqeen. What does He say?
الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ – They are those who spend when times are good and when times are bad. When times are good, they are spending in charitable causes and when times are bad, they are still spending in charitable causes.
وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ – They are people who swallow their anger. They are people who do not let their anger get the best of them.
وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ – They are those who forgive others. Because if we want to obtain the forgiveness of Allah, we have to be willing to forgive others.
وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ – Allah loves those who do good. Those who practice excellence, those who practice ehsan.
So in these verses Allah talks about the Muttaqeen. One of those descriptions which I’d like to focus on today is anger. Again, Allah says about the Muttaqeen, those who are truly conscious of Him. What does He describe? What does He say about them? He says that “they swallow their anger” as if anger is this physical thing and it’s coming up, it’s rushing up. And they wish to show their power. They wish to show their anger to those below them. They wish to show others their wrath. But instead of showing that wrath, instead of showing that power, what do they do? They swallow that anger. The word that Allah uses is الْكَاظِمِينَ those who swallow their anger. SubhanAllah. That’s what I would like to focus on today.
A man who came to the Prophet (pbuh) and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me advice that no one else can give me that only you can give me.”
So what did the Messenger of Allah tell him? The Messenger of Allah said لَا تَغْضَبْ – “don’t get angry.” And the man said, “what other advice can you give me?” And the messenger of Allah repeated, “لَا تَغْضَبْ – don’t get angry.” And the man asked again, “what other advice do you have for me?” And the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), repeated a third time, “Don’t get angry.”
So three times he advised this man do not get angry. But what did the Prophet (pbuh) mean when he said, “do not get angry?” Because anger is an emotion that all of us feel. What he meant was that do not let your anger get the best of you. Don’t let it overtake you. Don’t let it be that you get angry and you do things and you say things that you regret later. Don’t let it make you lose control of your own body and of your own time.
How many times have we seen that relationships between family members, good friends, and community members have been destroyed over ego, over arrogance, over anger, over not being able to control your anger. SubhanAllah. How many of us can say we got angry and we said a few words and later on, we regretted those words. We regretted ever saying those words, because once those words leave our mouth, it’s very difficult to take them back. It’s very difficult to bring them back and to reign them back. Because as soon as you’ve spoken them, they’re gone. You no longer have control over them. So this is why the Prophet (pbuh) advised us لَا تَغْضَبْ – do not get angry.
Now, the thing is that there is actually good anger and there is bad anger. I will talk about good anger later, but first I want to talk about the anger that is bad. The anger that is evil. The anger that the Prophet (pbuh) talks about when he says لَا تَغْضَبْ. That anger is the anger that we express and we see on a daily basis. You know, today we get angry over the smallest of things. The person in front of me is driving too slow. The speed limit is 70 and he’s going 60, right? “He is going too slow. I’m angry now!” and everyone around me is also stressed out because I am so angry and I am driving. We get angry over the smallest of things. SubhanAllah.
“Oh I haven’t eaten my third meal of the day. It’s been 30 minutes late. There’s too much salt in this.” Young people call these first world problems, right? These are issues that we only see here in the first world. We don’t see them in the third world. No one complains they haven’t gotten their third meal of the day. When people don’t have food, then they don’t have the luxury to complain about that. They don’t have the luxury to be angry over those kinds of things. May Allah give them patience. May Allah relieve their suffering. But they don’t have time for this. They don’t have time to get angry over these kinds of things. SubhanAllah. Allah has given us so much luxury and so much blessing that we have the ability to get angry over such petty, small things. SubhanAllah. “It usually takes me 10 minutes to get to work and today because of an accident it took me 15 minutes.”
There was a very famous quote by a former first lady. She said, “intellectual minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss things, and small ones discuss people.” So small minds are always obsessed over people: “Who has said what? Who has done what? Who married who? Whose relationship didn’t work out? Who’s been in the news?” All of this, small people discuss those things. Average minds, they discuss things: “I bought this new car. I bought this new house. I got this new pool, iPhone 10.”
And the intelligent minds discuss ideas: “What are we doing for our fellow human beings? What are we doing to relieve the suffering of our fellow brothers and sisters? What are we doing to improve the state of Muslims in this country and around the world? What are we doing for our deen? What are we going to answer with? Allah will ask us on us the Day of Judgement. What did we do? How did we earn our money? How did we spend our money? What are we going to say?
So usually the bad kind of anger is over people or things. “Someone said this to me. How dare he say that to me? Next time I’m gonna show him.” That anger comes up, SubhanAllah. If you know that the life of the Messenger (pbuh), what kind of person was he? Everyone has their anger and threshold, you know? Right? Someone says something insulting to you but you don’t get angry. He says it to your friend and now your friend is the angriest person and he’s going to let everyone know. So everyone has their own threshold for anger. What was the threshold of the Prophet (pbuh)? When did he actually get angry? Did he get angry over every little thing?
Generally people who get angry over very small things, no one likes to be around them because that kind of anger and stress is contagious. If you get stressed out then the people around you get stressed out. Who would want to be around the leader who is always angry or always stressed out? Who would want to be around such a person?
But Allah, He praises the Messenger in the Quran and He says,
وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلْقَلْبِ لَٱنفَضُّوا۟ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ
walaw kunta faththan ghaleetha alqalbi lainfaddoo min hawlika
And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you.
(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:159)
“had you been harsh, had you been hardhearted, then the people around you, your companions, would have fled from you. They would’ve ran away from you. They would never want to be around you.” But what do we find? We find that people are so attached to the Prophet (pbuh), to his character, to his words, to his actions, to his leadership, to his judgment, that they always want to be around him. So much so, that he is telling them, “spend some time with me and go spend some time with your families. Go spend some time with your business. Go spend some time with your friends. Go do other things. You don’t need to be around me all of the time.”
But that is the kind of person he was. That is how people were attracted to him. They knew that he was not the kind of person to get obsessed and angry over a small thing. That is what drew all of these people to him- hundreds of thousands of people in a very short stand of time in the middle of the deserts. SubhanAllah. That is how all of these people came to him.
So we have to ask ourselves, what kind of person do we want to be? Do we want to be the kind of person who attracts others and who is able to guide and lead others as Ibrahim (as) and the Prophet (pbuh) was? Or do we want to be like the Quraysh who got angry that people were leaving their tradition and made war, tried to destroy Islam, and destroy the Muslim? What kind of people do we want to be?
There are very excellent, amazing stories in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) which shows us how he dealt with scenarios and how he dealt with anger. A normal person in that situation would be so angry and would use his power and control everyone around him. But he (pbuh) never did that wallahi.
There was a Jewish man in Medina at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). This man read in his own book, the Torah, about a final messenger that was to come. He read about the signs of that messenger and he wanted to see whether those signs were apparent in the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So this man went to the Prophet (pbuh) one day while the Prophet (pbuh) was in a gathering of his companions and he said, “O Muhammad, I would like to sell you this merchandise. Do you want to purchase this merchandise?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Yes I will buy it from you. How do you want your payment?” And the man said, “you can pay me in a few days. You can pay me in a week.”
So that was the agreement and there were witnesses all around, but instead of coming back in a week, this man came three or four days earlier. Again the Prophet (pbuh) was with his companions in the gathering. Now, remember the Prophet (pbuh) is the governor of Medina. He is the most powerful man in Medina. Everyone looks up to him. He is the judge. He is the governor. He is the mayor. He’s everything. And this man walks up to the Prophet (pbuh) and he grabs his shirt. He grabs his garment and he says, “Muhammad, give me my right.”
So this man has done so many things wrong. First of all, he’s come a few days earlier than when he himself had agreed. It was his suggestion. Second of all, he has interrupted a gathering of the messenger. Thirdly, he has come aggressively. He has spoken to the messenger and he has grabbed his garment. And around the Prophet (pbuh) is who? His companions- They have their swords. They have their weapons. You all know Omar (ra). So, Omar gets ready, puts his hand on his sword and he says, “Ya Rasulullah, just give me the word and I will remove his head.” And the man got scared.
What would any other person do in that time? What would they have done? “I don’t have to pay him anymore and I would never see him again. Everyone will know that I am a powerful person and no one can mess with me. Everyone will know how strong I am, that I have an enforcer, that the people follow me.” But what did the Prophet (pbuh) do? He said, “Omar, pay this man. Give him his right. Give him his due and give him extra because you scared him.” So Omar gave that man his right. And what did the man say at that moment? He had seen the signs. Remember he was testing the messenger. And so what did he say? He said, أشهدُ أنْ لا إلهَ إلاَّ اللهُ وأشهدُ أنَّ محمّداً رسولُ الله
So this was the character of the Prophet (pbuh). Any of us would have reacted very differently in that situation. The Prophet (pbuh) was calm. He was controlled. That is what made people want to surround him. That is what made people want to be around him. We know the Messenger of Allah. He is someone who is calm. He is collected. He has a goal. He has an objective. He has purpose in life. He is not here just reacting to every single situation. He is not letting everyone else dictate how he is going to live his life. He is not letting this person tell him what kind of ruler, what kind of leader he wants to be. No, he is deciding that. He is the one that is in control.
That is what we see when he asked in the gathering of companions, “Who is the Shadid?” Shadid in those days was a nickname given to someone who is able to throw down everyone else. Who’s able to wrestle everyone to the ground, make them tap out like UFC, WWF, whatever you wanna call it. The Shadid was the one who had won the biggest belt, the champion.
When the Prophet (pbuh) asked his companions who is Shadid, what did they reply? They said, “the one who can throw others down. The strongest one.”
And the Prophet (pbuh) replied,
لَيْسَ الشَّدِيدُ بِالصُّرَعَةِ – the Shadid is not someone who can throw everyone else down, who can wrestle everyone else
إِنَّمَا الشَّدِيدُ الَّذِي يَمْلِكُ نَفْسَهُ عِنْدَ الْغَضَبِ – The Shadid is only the one who can control himself when he is angry.
(Sahih al-Bukhari 6114, Riyad as-Salihin 646)
Because when you are big, it’s very easy to throw everyone else down. It’s very easy to show your power. And it only applies to the strongest or the biggest person. But each and every single one of us can be just as strong or stronger than such a person. How? By controlling our anger. By not letting our anger get the best of us.
There was a boy in the service of the Prophet (pbuh). His name was Anas. Anas lived to be amongst the oldest of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) because the prophet used to make dua for him, “Anas, may Allah give you a long life.” So Anas lived for a very long time. When he was 10 years old, his mother brought him to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “O Prophet of Allah I would like to give him (my son) in your service. I would like him to be your servant.” She wanted him to be raised by the Prophet (pbuh). She wanted him to accompany the messenger (pbuh). So this young boy of 10 years became an assistant to the Prophet (pbuh) and used to spend much of his time with the Prophet (pbuh).
Now, imagine if you had an assistant, how do people normally treat their assistants? They bark every single order at them. “Do this, do that. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. I like things this way. I like my coffee with one sugar, not two sugars. All your formatting should be 12.5 double space.” If the assistant gets it wrong, he gets yelled. He fuels the wrath of his employer because he’s the assistant. He’s just a nobody. He’s just a boy. No one cares about him. His mother is a poor woman. She gave him in your service. You can say anything you want to him. You can be any way you want to him. If no one will care, no one will do anything.
And he is the strongest man in Medina, but what did Anas say about the Messenger? Anas said the Prophet (pbuh), “never said no to me. He never ever yelled at me. He never got angry with me.” And as a boy, he used to make mistakes all the time. There is narrations on him bringing something and dropping it and breaking it. But the Prophet (pbuh) never said no to him and never got angry with him. The Prophet (pbuh) was someone who was in control. So the question we have to ask ourselves is, are we in control or is our anger in control? That is the question that we have to ask ourselves.
Now sometimes anger is actually justified. But as I said at the beginning, not over people, not over things, but over ideas, over principles, and values. Someone is attacking your family, you have to defend yourself, you have to defend your family. Of course, someone is attacking your religion, then you have to defend your religion. The Muslim is humble. He is not arrogant. But the Muslim is also not humiliated. The Muslim does not withstand humiliation. But you don’t get humiliated over small things. Someone insulted you or someone grabbed your shirt. You get humiliated when your principles are violated, over big things, over important things, not over yourself.
The Prophet (pbuh), he never got angry over himself over what someone did to him. A man came to him, held the sword to his neck and said, “who will protect you from me?” And the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah will protect me.” The sword fell and the Prophet (pbuh) grabbed the sword and he said to the man, “who will protect you from me?” But he didn’t kill the man. He let the man go. He never got upset over himself over something that happened to him. But it was always about others. It was about the poor, it was about the weak, it was about the oppressed. It was about Islam. It was about Allah. It was about what Allah loves and what Allah dislikes and that is what got the Prophet (pbuh) angry if ever.
So that’s the kind of person that we need to be. Someone who does not get angry over every small thing. Even then Imam Razzaq, the great scholar, said that anger, when it is justified then it is only justified at the right time, at the right place for the right reasons and with the right intensity.
To give you a small example, there was a movie made insulting the Prophet (pbuh). It was a terrible movie. I didn’t watch myself, but I know it was a terrible movie. No one in a million years would have watched that movie, but Muslims mashaAllah, we gave it the greatest marketing campaign ever. So once it had 100-200 views and now it had billions of views. So that is a very good example of overreaction, of not having wise reaction, of letting others get to us. Yes, we defend our principles, we defend our faith, but not in a way that is unwise.
So in conclusion, my brothers, there is good anger and there is bad anger. Most of us on a daily basis have to deal with controlling our anger and not letting it get the best of us and making sure that we swallow that anger. As Allah describes the God-conscious, He says, “they swallow their anger.” Being amongst those people. And when we do get angry, the only reason we should get angry is for principles- for defending our faith with the right intensity in a wise way.
And so I ask Allah that He helps us to control our anger. I ask Allah that He helps us to swallow our anger. I ask Allah that He helps us to react in the best of ways. I ask Allah that He does not make us reactive people. I ask Allah that He helps us to dictate the way that we represent ourselves. I ask Allah that He guides us, that He guides our families, that He guides our youth, that He guides our elders. I ask Allah that He guides our teachers, that He guides our students. I ask Allah that if anyone has to get married, ya Allah give them the best spouse. Ya Allah, if anyone has need of anything, ya Allah fulfill their need. I ask Allah that He gives us good in this life and in the next life. I ask Allah that He accepts our needs and forgives our shortcomings. Ameen.
عِبَادَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.
And, establish the prayer.