Explanation of għađab (wrath/anger)

FakħrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy states in his commentary on the Qur’aan: “The fourth beneficial note is that al-għađab (anger/wrath) is a change that happens when the blood is excited in the heart due to the desire for revenge. You should know that this is impossible for Aļļaah to be attributed with. There is a general principle in this regard, however, which is that all the motives of the self, such as mercy, happiness, anger, embarrassment, jealousy, deception, pride, and mockery have beginning states and end states. Take for example għađab; its first stage is the sense of rush of blood in the heart, and its end is the sense of willing to harm the one that one is angry at. So the word għađab does not have the first sense, the rush of blood in the heart, when it refers to Aļļaah. Rather, it has the last sense, which is the will to punish. As another example, shyness has a first stage, which is the sense of brokenness inside oneself, but it also has a final stage, which is the sense of not doing something (i.e. you fill shy, so you do not do what you would be shy from doing.) So the word ĥayaa’ (lit. shyness in Arabic), when it is used for Aļļaah, has the sense of not doing something, but it does not have the sense of feeling broken inside. This illustrates a noble principle that apply in this issue1.”

Al-Kħaazin in his commentary says, “Shyness is the change and brokenness that afflicts a person due to fear of what he might be criticized or blamed for. It has been said that it is the cringing of one’s self from ugly acts. This is the original meaning of shyness when it is ascribed to a human being. Aļļaah is clear of all such meanings in His attributes, so if this word is ascribed to Him (in the Arabic scriptures) then it means “not doing.” This is because all acts have a beginning sense and an end sense, and the beginning of shyness is the change that happens to a person when he is a afraid of being associated with an ugly act. The end (of shyness), on the other hand, is leaving out that ugly act. So if shyness is ascribed to Aļļaah (in the Arabic scriptures, which does not mean one is permitted to ascribe it in English), then the beginning sense is not meant, which is change and fear. Rather, what is meant is “not doing the act,” which is the end sense of the concept of shyness. So if it is stated in Arabic that Aļļaah is not shy from giving a similitude, then this means that Aļļaah does not leave out a similitude due to the saying of the kuffaar and (more specifically in this context) the jews2.”


  1. الفائدة الرابعة: الغضب: تغير يحصل عند غليان دم القلب
    لشهوة الانتقام، واعلم أن هذا على الله تعالى محال، لكن ههنا قاعدة كلية،
    وهي أن جميع الأعراض النفسانية ـ أعني الرحمة، والفرح، والسرور، والغضب،
    والحياء، والغيرة، والمكر والخداع، والتكبر، والاستهزاء ـ لها أوائل، ولها
    غايات، ومثاله الغضب فإن أوله غليان دم القلب، وغايته إرادة إيصال الضرر
    إلى المغضوب عليه، فلفظ الغضب في حق الله تعالى لا يحمل على أوله الذي هو
    غليان دم القلب، بل على غايته الذي هو إرادة الأضرار، وأيضاً، الحياء له
    أول وهو انكسار يحصل في النفس، وله غرض وهو ترك الفعل، فلفظ الحياء في حق
    الله يحمل على ترك الفعل لا على انكسار النفس، وهذه قاعدة شريفة في هذا
    الباب . تفسير مفاتيح الغيب ، التفسير الكبير/ الرازي
  2. { إن الله لا يستحي } الحياء تغير وانكسار يعتري الإنسان
    من خوف ما يعاب به ويذم عليه. وقيل هو انقباض النفس عن القبائح هذا أصله
    في وصف الإنسان، والله تعالى منزه عن ذلك كله فإذا وصف الله تعالى به يكون
    معناه الترك، وذلك لأن لكل فعل بداية ونهاية، فبداية الحياء هو التغير
    الذي يلحق الإنسان من خوف أن ينسب إليه ذلك الفعل القبيح، ونهايته ترك ذلك
    الفعل القبيح، فإذا ورد وصف الحياء في حق الله تعالى فليس المراد منه
    بدايته وهو التغير والخوف، بل المراد منه ترك الفعل الذي هو نهاية الحياء
    وغايته فيكون معنى أن الله لا يستحي أن يضرب مثلاً أي لا يترك المثل لقول
    الكفار واليهود . تفسير لباب التأويل في معاني التنزيل/ الخازن

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