Godly Wrath

A multifaith guide to wrath.

 

Continued from page 2

Islam

The Qur'an depicts Allah as both a wrathful and merciful God. Several surahs warn believers about the wrath of Allah. "If they accuse thee of falsehood, say: "Your Lord is full of mercy all-embracing; but from people in guilt never will His wrath be turned back (6:147)."

Later the Qur'an states, "But those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil: ignominy will cover their (faces): No defender will they have from (the wrath of) Allah (10:27)."

As one hadith explains, Muhammad taught that God was more merciful than wrathful. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet Muhammad said, "Before He created life, the Almighty Allah declared, 'My Mercy shall surpass My Wrath.' Thus was it written."

While examples of the wrath of God are common in the Qur'an, other Muslim texts show that anger is not allowed among the believers themselves. Several Muslim texts caution against anger. The hadith extol people who are able to control their anger. As Abu Hurairah reports in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the Prophet said, "The strong man is not the good wrestler; the strong man is only he who controls himself when he is angry."

Another Muslim text cautions against anger, in a warning against all types of extreme emotion. "Anger that has no limit, causes terror. Kindness that is inappropriate, does away with respect. So do not be so severe with others, as to terrify them; and do not be so lenient with others, as to make them take advantage of you," the "Gulistan" of Sadi says.

Judaism

Readers of the Torah often interpret the God of the Jewish bible as an angry God. The prophets frequently warn followers about God's wrath. "Who can stand before His indignation?" asks the prophet Nahum. "And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder before Him." The Jewish bible is

full of smitings

, examples of God's wrath. Judaism teaches that an angry God is necessary in order to instill fear of God in believers.

But though the God of the Torah is often depicted as wrathful, Judaism encourages believers themselves to be slow to anger. "Better to be slow to anger than mighty, to have self-control than to conquer a city," the book of Proverbs states.

The Talmud states, similarly, "Do not get angry easily:" Talmudic sages believed that anger was similar to idolatry. The text continues, "One who tears his clothes, breaks his utensils, destroys his money in his rage should be in your eyes as one who commits idolatry (Shabbos 105b)."

Not only is anger sinful, but it can be detrimental to the person who becomes angry. "Anger deprives a sage of his wisdom, a prophet of his vision," the Talmud states in the tractate Pesahim. Anger is not always As Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has written in "Jewish Values," the Jewish sage Maimonides understood that sometimes feeling anger is necessary, as to never feel annoyance is to be "akin to a corpse (Laws of Character Development, 1:4)."

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook