This is one of those timeless moral stories that teach the importance of restraining bad temper or anger management as per the teachings of Islam.
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told …him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all and learned how to control anger and bad temper. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pulls out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.
The next time you get angry with someone and are about to speak, ask yourself if there was a way to say what you want to say with neutral words. Often the habit of reacting angrily is just that – a habit you learned when you were young and haven’t questioned since. You might have become blind to the effect it has on your life.
It is really so that the world reflects back your own attitude. If you constantly wonder why people are angry at you, perhaps it is you who treated them with anger first. Listen to the words and tone of voice you use. And try; really try to speak neutrally to someone who is angry with you. If you know it will be difficult, write the words down first. Rehearse it in your mind. Decide on a prize you will get from Allah (SWT) when you succeed.
Teach your mind intentionally to use respectful words. And you just might find that life begins to feel a lot nicer – because people aren’t angry at you anymore.
Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) mentions the tongue before the hand. As everybody knows, the ‘wounds’ caused by the tongue are deeper and more hurtful than those caused by the hand. Besides, one is often prepared to strike more readily, easily and more frequently with one’s tongue than with the hand. Slandering, backbiting, reproaching and other similar ways of hurting people are the commoner and more difficult to avoid than hurt done by the hand. Further, if a person can refrain from hurting with the tongue, he can more easily refrain from the assaults by the hand. Again, defending oneself against physical assaults is, in most cases, easier than against verbal assaults of, in particular, backbiting and slandering. So, a true Muslim always restrains his tongue as well as his hand from hurting others