Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib was the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was appointed caliph by Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) companions in Medina after the assassination of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan.
The following event highlights one of the many qualities of Caliph Ali – his anger management.
Caliph Ali was once fighting in a war imposed on Muslims, and the chief of the unbelievers confronted him. During the fight, Ali was able to overcome him, who fell down on the ground and Ali was about to kill the chief.
This person, knowing his fate now, had no choice, so he spat on the face of Ali. Ali immediately got up and left him alone.
The man came running to Ali and asked, “You had a chance to kill me since I am a Polytheist; how come you didn’t use your sword?”.
Ali said, “I have no personal animosity toward you. I was fighting you because of your disbelief, on behalf of God. If I had killed you after you spat on my face, then it would have become my personal revenge which I do not wish to take.”
That unbeliever chief became a Muslim immediately and testified that ‘There is no god but Allah, and that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah’.
Acting in a state of anger is similar to acting in a state of intoxication. In both cases, people do not know what they are doing and, as a result, may hurt themselves as well as others. Then, when the anger or intoxication subsides, remorse over those actions will almost certainly ensue.