The Prophet (s) was slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Posted on January 27, 2014


As our khateeb indicated in this past week’s khutbah, “The Prophet (s) was slow to anger, and quick to forgive.”

Let us reflect on the above statement some more. A hadith reinforces the need for a Muslim to control his or her anger: In Al Tabarani, itt is narrated that our Prophet (s) said : “Whoever controls his temper Allah will take away punishment from him and who so ever safeguards his tongue Allah will conceal his sins.”

What if one has been provoked or treated poorly? Should one get angry with the guilty party or forgive? Dr. Jamal Badawi has an excellent lecture on the topic of forgiveness in Islam and on dealing with anger:

The first thing that the Quran emphasizes is the relationship between piety (being God conscious) and forgiveness. For example in (3:134) it describes a true believer “Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good.” The Quran makes a connection between forgiveness (on our part) and our need for God’s forgiveness. For example in (24:22) “Let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” In other words if one wants God to forgive their sins then they should be understanding to other people’s difficulties and forgive them. The Quran also ties between forgiveness and perseverance. For example we read in the Quran (7:199) “Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant.”

There are several references from the sayings of the Prophet and also examples in his own behavior. First of all, the Prophet indicated that strength is not found in a person’s physical strength but rather in a person’s ability to control himself when he becomes angry. As narrated in Muslim the strong person is not the one who can defeat the other but the one who can truly control himself when he is angry. In a narration by Al Tabarani, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says “Shall I tell you something that will make your palaces in Paradise higher and that would raise you in degrees.” They said “Yes.” He replied “To be forgiving and to control one’s self in the face of someone who provokes you. To forgive a person who was unfair or unjust to you, to give someone in need who did not give you when you were in need and to keep contact with someone even though they did not reciprocate it.”

Please click here to read the remainder of Professor Jamal Badawi’s article on forgiveness in Islam.