Published on April 14th, 2013 | by Abu Umayza | Views: 257100
Part Two of Two
4. Road Rage
Road rage is connected to anger and the loss of control over one’s behaviour and speech, which begin to exhibit aggression. In drivers, such behaviour may include gesturing, verbal insults or threats, deliberately driving in an unsafe manner etc. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving and from amongst the many manifestations of road rage are the following:
– General aggressive driving, including sudden acceleration, braking and close tailgating
– Cutting others off in a lane or deliberately preventing someone from merging into a lane.
– Chasing other motorists and scaring pedestrians, flashing lights and/or sounding the horn excessively.
– Yelling or exhibiting rude physical gestures at pedestrians or other roadside establishments.
Anger is an emotion that inspires action and the action it inspires is usually one of injury and injustice. It is a powerful emotion that rages through a person, creating a desire for revenge and the need to strike out at the object of anger. Such is the destructive nature of anger and uncontrolled aggression that when the man asked the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم for advice, he responded every time with, “Do not get angry”. 
Below are four points derived from Islamic texts that will help Muslim drivers (and others) to overcome their anger in various situations.
i. Seeking refuge in Allah from Shaytan
The first and foremost of all advise is seeking refuge in Allah from Shaytan and from the evils in ourselves and from our wrong doings. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم gave us a prescription as is narrated by Sulayman Ibn Sard رضي الله عنه that: Two men were arguing and blaming each other. The face of one became red and his jugular veins swelled. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “I know a statement if spoken by him, his anger would subside: ‘Audhu billahi min-ashaytan nirajeem’ (I seek refuge in Allah from shaytan the accursed).” 
Imam Mawardi said in his ‘Adab ad-Dunya wa-Deen’ that one should remember Allah when angry as this leads to fear of Allah, which in turn leads him to obey Him and restrain ones anger by returning to proper manners and conduct.
ii. Understanding the merits of controlling one’s anger
There are innumerous rewards mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah for a person who controls his anger. Here we cite but a few of them. Allah سبحانه و تعالى Said: “…who repress anger , and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good-doers).” 
He سبحانه و تعالى also Said: “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don’t punish them).” 
Ibn Katheer records the following narrations in his Tafseer of this Ayah: “Hashim bin ‘Urwah said that his father said, “Allah Ordered Allah’s Messenger to pardon the people for their behaviour”… In Saheeh al-Bukhari, it is recorded that Hisham reported from his father ‘Urwah from his brother ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr who said, “Show forgiveness” was only revealed about the people’s (bad) character”… the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم asked Jibra’eel about the meaning of this Ayah and Jibr’eel replied, “Allah Commands you to forgive those who wronged you, and give to those who deprived you.” 
Road rage is connected to anger and the loss of control over one’s behaviour and speech, which begin to exhibit aggression. In drivers, such behaviour may include gesturing, verbal insults or threats, deliberately driving in an unsafe manner etc. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving
At-Tabarani records in his collection that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Whoever controls his temper, then Allah will take away punishment from him and whosoever safeguards his tongue Allah will conceal his sins.” – In the collection of Tirmidhi and Abu Da’wud, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Whoever controls their temper in a state that if he wanted, he could have took revenge; then on the Day of Judgement Allah will call him in front of everyone and will give him the choice of selecting the Hoor.”
At-Tabarani and Al-Bayhaqi record a Hadeeth of Anas ibn Malik who narrated that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “…whoever restrains his anger, Allah will withhold His Punishment on the Day of Judgment.”
iii. Keeping silent and exhibiting wisdom
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If any of you becomes angry, let him remain silent.” . If angry, man evaluates to knee-jerk reaction in a fit of need, therefore the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم advised the one who is angry man to restrain himself through silence.
iv. Avoid being over-sensitive
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم mentioned anger, saying: “Some are swift to anger and swift to cool down, the one characteristic making up for the other; some are slow to anger and slow to cool down, the one characteristic making up for the other; but the best of you are those who are slow to anger and swift to cool down, and the worst of you are those who are swift to anger and slow to cool down.” He continued, “Beware of anger, for it is a live coal on the heart of the descendant of Adam. Do you not notice the swelling of the veins of his neck and the redness of his eyes? So when anyone experiences anything of that nature he should lie down and cleave to the earth.” 
5. Taking Care of the Vehicle and not Exceeding its Capacity
Vehicles are a blessing from Allah and therefore like all of His blessings, we should take care of them and not take them for granted. This would mean we ensure they are mechanically roadworthy and clean.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is also recorded to have said about riding animals, “…Ride them when they are in good condition and feed them when they are in good condition.”  – In the analogy between the motorised vehicle and the camel, we find that without food and proper care, the camel will succumb to illness and sure death; while neglecting the maintenance of the vehicle would inevitably lead to its breakdown; and the cost and trouble this causes is not unknown to us.
Regarding capacity, vehicles are designed and built according to various weight and passenger capacity. Exceeding these recommended capacities or neglecting his service will obviously affect performance and reliability. Imam Ibn Hibban recorded the following narration of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم where he said about camels, “Ride them when they are healthy” as evidence that one should avoid riding weak and incompetent animals until they become healthy.
In his ‘Tabaqat’, Ibn Sa’ad records a narration from Ibn Darir who reported that he saw `Umar Ibn Al- Khattab beating a porter who had over-burdened his camel saying: “Why do you burden your camel beyond its capacity?” and there are other examples like these, thus a Muslim driver should ensure his vehicle is fit for purpose and that he is not taking unnecessary risks with regards to overloading.
6. Giving Rights to the Roads
Our roads and streets and pathways also have rights that we need to fulfill. Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Beware of sitting in the road-paths *. They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, we gather and talk (by the roads).’ The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘If you refuse because of your gatherings, then give the road its (due) right.’ They asked: ‘And what is its right?’ He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘(That you) lower your gaze, and refrain from harming, and return (people’s) salaam, and to promote the ma’roof (virtue and goodness) and prevent the munkar (vice and evil).’” 
It becomes necessary for drivers to use caution in residential areas and places where there are is a lot of pedestrian activity. From the above Hadeeth we can understand that our duty towards the roads is that we do not disturb people, respond with salam if prompted by others; and that we do not litter or cause any other sort of annoyance to others.
We also need to lower our gaze from looking at forbidden things, like a non-mahram women or promiscuous advertising boards etc. The general command to ‘promote the ma’roof (virtue and goodness) and prevent the munkar (vice and evil)’ includes within it every affair that a driver must care about wile within his vehicle or outside of it. This may involve advising people against illegal racing on public roads to advising couples engaged in public show of affection etc.
The trust placed on us by Allah is that we at least work to utilise His Blessings to the best of our ability. Tawfeeq and all success is from Allah alone.
 Saheeh al-Bukhari, 6116 – see also Fath al-Bari’, 10/456
 Saheeh al-Bukhari, 3060, 5679, 5617
 Surat Aal-Imraan, 134
 Surat Al-A’raaf, 199
 see Tafseer ibn Katheer, Surat al-A’raaf for more detail
 Musnad Ahmad, 1/329
 Sunan At-Tirmidhi, 5145
 Sunan Abu Da’wud, 2542
 Saheeh Muslim, 2121 / 2163 – see also al-Bukhari, 6229
note: * طرقات denotes any public access or passage of way, like roads and streets etc.
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