The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily, kindness is not found in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.” [Sahih Muslim]
How many times have you lashed out at a family member or friend, simply because you had a stressful day? How often have you found yourself giving up in the face of adversities? Do you have the tendency to criticise and gossip about others? Too often, we are not the masters of our emotions, but rather, allow our emotions to take control over us and that has to change.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
It has 4 components; Self-Management, Self-Awareness, Empathy & Social-Awareness
Let’s look at it from an Islamic Perspective;
The Qur’an and the Sunnah includes verses and Hadiths that encourage individuals to become aware of themselves, knowledgeable of their emotions, and to completely recognize their feelings. An example of such verse is;
“and also in yourselves. Will you not then see?” [51:21]
This is a call for the individual to think deeply of himself in order to become aware of what he needs and how he feels toward other things. This recognition of emotions will then lead to the self-control and the control of emotions and their out-bursts.
A big portion of the problems that we face as individuals can be avoided if we regulate our emotions in a more intelligent manner! We must acknowledge the fact that we are in full control of our emotions. Even though unexpected events and external triggers play a significant role, at the end of the day, the manner in which we react to inconvenient scenarios does shape who we are and even the impact we may have on those around us.
The Prophet’s every word was wrapped with kindness and tenderness. In the situations that required firmness, he demonstrated it, but with tact and wisdom.
Emotions aren’t meant to rule over you – you have to learn the best way to manage them. Identify the trigger. It is vital that we closely analyse our lifestyle and identify what habits may be having a negative impact on our mood so that we can control our reactions more effectively.
Are we consuming healthy food? Are we sleeping on time? Are we taking those much needed social media breaks to clear our heads? Both hunger and lack of sleep have been proven to induce stress, which consequently results in agitation and emotional imbalance. If we want to improve our emotional well-being, then we must also strive to take care of our physical well-being – both go hand in hand!
The Qur’an says: " Those who spend [in Allah's Cause - deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good doers)" [2:134] Here as well the Qur’an describes those who give charity, and repress their anger and forgive others as good doers that others learn from them. The Qur’an favored these people for their ability to practice self-control. This is also a call to mange anger and bursts that would affect people negatively if not controlled and repressed.
In the Sunnah, "Narrated (Abu Huraira): Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, "The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger" (Hadith No. 2041)
“A bad wound heals, but a bad word doesn’t.” – Persian Proverb.
In a state of irritation, anger, or even carelessness, we may utter something that we perhaps don’t mean; however, we need to remember that words can indeed scar someone and destroy relationships.
It is of great importance to not simply be mindful of the words that we utter, but also to keep an eye on the tone that we use when communicating with others. Islam encourages one to speak softly. When something is going wrong, voice it out to the people around you intelligently and politely, so they are aware of how you feel. An indicator of emotional intelligence is being able to maintain correct etiquette in a stressful situation, even if the person you are communicating with is not speaking in the best of manners.
The Prophet S.A.W said; None of you will have faith till he wishes for his brother what he likes for himself.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Also here’s one of my favorite stories,a story in Sahih Al-Bukhari "Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah: A funeral procession passed in front of us and the Prophet (PBUH) stood up and we too stood up. We said, "O Allah's Messenger, this is the funeral procession of a Jew." He said, "Whenever you see a funeral procession. You should stand up." (Hadith No. 667) and in another version of this Hadith the Prophet said: "Isn't it a soul!" There’s emphasis laid to ensure respect of others regardless of what religion they practice.
Empathy consists of putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. We feel close to the person who is empathetic towards us, find it easy to share our thoughts with them and approach them when we face problems. Each of us has a natural sense of empathy through which we connect to others. Just because something doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it shouldn’t concern you.
It is a key trait to becoming a better Muslim and will prove to be extremely beneficial as we carry out the different roles in our lives. To put yourself in the other person’s shoes and make your best effort to feel what they’re feeling is not going over the top; it’s not “extra credit” so to speak – it’s a Muslim’s duty! Yet how depressing it is that we fail to empathize even with the ones we claim to love the most.
The fact that the Prophet was able to empathize and show kindness in the direst of situations, tells us that we are capable as well. Allah made him a human, with the rawest of emotions, in some of the most troubling situations we could ever imagine, yet he never compromised on his principles of compassion, sincerity, and benevolence.
The Qur’an says: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)" [49:13]
In this verse, The Qur’an explained for its believers that people were created from male and female (Adam and Eve) and created many different colors, races, and faiths from them for a purpose. This purpose is to get to know each other and live along with each other peacefully. Also, it makes a clear rule that the best to Allah is the most righteous, so the judgment was by their deeds not colors or races which encourages Muslims to have relationships with all human beings.
The Prophet (pbuh) was able to understand the problems of others before they even verbalised them, deal with a variety of people differently according to their own personality and nature, and use tact when giving advice.
The person we send prayers and blessings upon in every prayer, the one whom we must follow and love and respect as a prerequisite for even getting a chance to gain Allah’s love – if he never felt the need to be cunning, elusive, make a grand show of his importance, or become rigid as stone, then who are we to look down upon others and dismiss their feelings?
May Allah (swt) help us embody the beautiful character and conduct of the Prophet (pbuh) and grant us the best in this world and the next – Ameen.
Masha Allah this is absolutely amazing! Definitely something I needed. You always write so beautifully. Jazakillah Khairan 💗
This is so beautiful!!!!! Masha Allah so amazing how well put together this is 🤍🤍🤍🤍