S5E1 Behind The Scenes Of The Muslim Mind #1 – Mufti Menk Is Angry. What Is He Talking About?

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Tarek Kareem Harris

Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris

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Episode Transcript

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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim. I asked nifty bank if I could borrow one of his talks to make a comment on it for this channel, and Subhanallah he said yes, absolutely.

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The topic he's discussing is how to manage our anger. I feel this is very relevant, and many people have indeed asked me about it. So I will do so here. If these videos are very helpful to millions of people Alhamdulillah it makes sense to examine them from a medical or psychological angle. And I thought it would be good to let you have a look at what I think behind the scenes to the lens of an expert in mental health.

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This video is only two minutes long in total, but it is very densely packed with themes which are open to scientific and philosophical comment. So what we will do is watch the video together here. And I will pause it and comment where I have something to say, if you do like this kind of thing, then let me know. And I will ask him to send me some more of his material to do the same thing. So here we go. When you want to really vent when you get so upset, and you just come down Allahumma salli, ala nabina, Muhammad, wa ala nabina Muhammad Anwar Baraka, Salim, Allah, Allah, Allah, what did I just do? So let's pause here, briefly describing a person who got very angry, so angry that he

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was almost without words, and he felt his emotions were coming. The first point is that he recognized he was getting angry. He developed a metacognition observing the way you think. This is one of the functions of the heart that I talk about in my books and other media. This alone is a life saving step. As I've said, in, for example, the Riyadh technique, the first step when encountering a difficult emotion is our for recognize, know the emotion, it's part of you. taking this step is psychologically very sound, because acceptance is key to sanity and well being. We are making peace with the fact that we get upset, and we accept the power of this emotion, it gives us a

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chance to prepare for its arrival. Secondly, he spoke, he recited some things, either out loud, or in his mind. So let's examine what he said. Firstly, he prayed that we're the one that starts with Allahumma salli, ala. This is a prayer which indicates submission, seeking refuge in Allah. Its translation is, Oh Allah, send your grace, honor and mercy upon Muhammad, and upon the family of Muhammad. As you send your grace, honor and mercy upon Ibrahim, you are indeed praiseworthy, and most glorious, remember the nuts. In my media, I talk about it being the very source of most of our ego and emotion, it is very powerful, and very fast, it can easily overpower your logic and reason.

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So in praying this, you are admitting this, and you are seeking shelter in Allah, you are letting the emotion happen, as unpleasant as it is, you're staying with it. But you're choosing not to fight it because if you do fight it, it will when you choose to shelter in the highest power of the universe. Again, this is a very sound psychological piece of advice. He also then says a stop filler three times. Why so the words themselves mean I seek forgiveness in Allah. I'm aware that I'm given two turns of anger. And I'm seeking forgiveness for my previous loss of temper, for the situation I find myself in and for any mistakes I'm about to make, because this is a very strong feeling. I'm

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trying to hang on. But I know that this is a very difficult period. This is again, very smart. So let's watch on and see what he suggests next.

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What did I just do I come down, the sooner is to drink a bit of water. So he's saying the sooner is to drink a bit of water. Why might this be useful? Well, in anger de escalation techniques, one of the principal techniques is to remove oneself psychologically or physically from the place of the anger. To get water, you are interrupting the process of anger escalating, you are physically going to another place, and you're doing something peaceful. The act of getting a glass of water filling it up, and what have you already requires you to be present to your physical self, to coordinate a task of steps. This requires attention and concentration, and therefore moves your mind's eye from

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the anger to a very ordinary task. This feeds back to your nuts and tells you that you are preparing for calm.

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The other things that water does are interesting. First of all, it is physically cooling and soothing, it settles the stomach. Many of our angry and anxious feelings are felt right in the gut. This is with good reason, because the gut is very closely connected to the nerves to the base of the brain, and it tenses up in response to the nerves. When you put water into the gut. It physically forces the gut to relax it's muscle. And so this cuts that feedback cycle, again, interrupting the anger.

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The other thing that water does is it takes you away from the other person if it is another

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person you're angry at. And as a result, he or she is bought some time. And silence, you're perfectly sensible to tell them that you are going to get some water to help yourself calm down. When they see you do something calm, it will also signal to them that you are heading and hoping for a calm state. And they will likely see that as non threatening, and soothing. Let's listen on and see what he says next.

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So he says another prayer, this one is the usabilla. Why would they say this? This is a psychological model of the Islamic mind. The shaytan plays upon your natural forces to take advantage of them. And so he says again, I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast shaytan. This is a repetition of words a continuation of a theme, it confirms the presence of risk. This process is now taking some time as you can see, and in the psychological analysis of anger. This interrupts the peak of anger, which follows a pattern of crescendo and climax. Seeing this period through without doing anything rash, is the key to getting past the anger.

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If you're standing, sit down, you're sitting perhaps lie down a bit. So he's saying that if you're standing sit down, and if you're sitting perhaps lay down a bit? Why might Islam advise us in this way? Well, it relies on something called kinesthetic memory. As human beings, we naturally have expressions and body postures, which mirror the emotions that we are in. If someone is upset, for example, their shoulders droop, and when someone is victorious, they put their hands up in the air. This is a very powerful and consistent theory, because it's observed that even when blind people when something, they raise their hands up in the air, they haven't seen anyone else do it. So how

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would this be? It's because we're engineered in this way. Alhamdulillah so when people are angry, they are typically standing with feet planted widely, shoulders tightened blood pumping to the face reddening. So in changing position, you are interrupting this feedback cycle. Because when you stand in an angry way, this confirms to the knifes that you're going to get angry that you're going to be in a state of conflict. And more specifically, he says to adopt a lower position. If you're standing sit down, and if you're sitting lie down. Why? Well in kind of static theory, being lower in position feeds back to the brain that you are either seeking peace or seeking rest. Have you ever

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tried to be angry while lying down? It's very difficult to do. So Alhamdulillah we have yet another angle by which this process is psychologically and scientifically sound and the way in which we are engineered has got so many clues and opportunities for us to manage ourselves properly, if we are among those who reflect

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so we're halfway through the video now. And for the remaining session, go to the next video, which is roughly the same length around seven minutes to get the full understanding of what he talked about in his relatively short two minute video. Insha Allah wa Salaam