THE PROPHET (P) WOULD SWALLOW HIS ANGER WHEN PROVOKED
Narratives in this section focus on how Prophet Muhammad (p) related with Muslims who behaved in an unacceptable manner, as well as how he managed relations with the hypocrites amongst them.
While distributing the booty after a battle, a man called Dhul Khuwaysira accused the Prophet (p) of being fraudulent and dividing the booty in an unfair manner. The man said, “Be fair, O Muhammad! For this division [of shares] is not one that was done seeking Allah’s pleasure!” The face of the Prophet (p) reflected anger when he heard this, but he chose to simply reply to this heinous accusation by saying, “Shame on you! Who would ever be regarded as just if I am not? May Allah bestow his mercy upon Moses; he was hurt with more than this and was still patient.” In another narration, “You do not trust me, though I am the one trusted by He who is above the heavens?!”
“It is not for any prophet to take illegally a part of booty (ghulul), and whosoever deceives his companions with regards to the booty, he shall bring forth on the Day of Resurrection that which he took (illegally). Then every person shall be paid in full what he has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (Qur’an 3:161)
“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (evil) with that which is better (and good)….” (Qur’an 41:34)
“And Verily, you (O Muhammad (p)) are on an exalted (standard of) character.” (Qur’an 68:4)
“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad (p)) except as a mercy for the worlds.” (Qur’an 21:107)
“O you who Believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an 5:8)
The Prophet (p) said, “No one has swallowed back anything more excellent in the sight of Allah, the Great and Glorious, than the anger he restrains, seeking to please Allah the Most High.”
A man asked the Prophet (p), “What is the worst thing that one incurs concerning God?” And the Prophet (p) said, “His wrath.” The man saked, “How do we avoid it?” the Prophet (p) said, “Do not become angry.”
Ibn Hajar commented that, “This hadith has shown that great people may be hurt by false accusation from some people. They should however reciprocate with patience and forbearance just the way Prophet Muhammad (p) did…”
Implications and Lessons
This narrative underscores the need to be patient with others and control one’s anger. The fact that people belong to the same religion does not mean that there would be no differences in understanding, oppositions, false accusations and insults. Hence, there is need for greater tolerance of the shortcomings of other people, even when of the same faith.
Muslims should therefore be more forbearing, patient, and forgiving of the unguarded words and insults of those who are ignorant, arrogant or trying to make mischief. Leaders in particular need to be more patient with their followers, but also with unpleasant comments from members of other Muslim groups and organizations.
Literally, “Be fair, O Muhammad! For this division [of shares] is not one for which Allah’s face is sought”.
Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith no.7385; Sahih Muslim, hadith no.1064.
Sahihal-Bukhari, hadith no. 4351; SahihMuslim, hadith no 2500; Musnad Ahmad, hadith no. 11008.
Sunan al-Tirmidhi, hadith no.1324.
 Hamza Yusuf, Purification of the Heart, Starlatch Press, USA, 2004, p.101-102.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, al-Maktabah al-Shamilah, vol.17, p.276; A similar comment has been made in Abu Bakr Jabir al-Jazahiri, Hadha al-Habib Muhammad Ya Muhib, Dar al-Shuruq, Saudi Arabia, 2nd edition, 1989, p.527.