Emotionalism has no place in religion

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It is true that God may test a person in this world with certain difficulties and worries. However, the believer does not give in to melancholy and pessimism when he is faced with such anxieties; he does not react emotionally. He knows that God is trying him to see how he will behave in difficulty, and that the solution is not to turn to weeping or sorrowful regret. The solution lies in seeking help from God, "Who responds to the oppressed when they call on Him and removes their distress" (Qur’an, 27:62), relying only on Him, and in being certain that God will hear his prayers and grant his requests. This is the promise of God to His servants:

Yes, the friends of God will feel no fear and will know no sorrow: those who believe and have done their duty, there is good news for them in the life of the world and in the hereafter. There is no changing the words of God. That is the great victory! (Qur’an, 10:62-64)

Moreover, God creates such trying moments of anxiety and difficulty for a very special reason. When someone looks with the eyes of faith, and sees the reasons behind all the beauty that God has created, he will be moved to compassion, and his contentment will increase. Therefore, submission to God brings a sense of calm to the spirit, and allows one to live with peace of mind.

Emotionalism, on the other hand, completely alienates people from the awareness of being in God’s hands, and leads them to react to situations with excessive pleasure, or exaggerated pain and sorrow. God explains in the Qu’ran the wavering of such people between hopelessness and arrogance, and the difference between them and believers:

If We let man taste mercy from Us, and then take it away from him, he is despairing, ungrateful; but if We let him taste blessings after hardship has afflicted him, he says, "My troubles have gone away," and he is overjoyed, boastful except for those who are steadfast and do right actions. They will receive forgiveness and a large reward. (Qur’an, 11:9-11)

Emotionalism shows itself most often in women as sadness, pessimism, weeping and whinniness, while in men it appears generally as anger, irascibility, and aggression. For example, when an emotional man sees that his place in a parking garage has been taken by someone else, he will shout and kick the intruding car. Or, if someone bumps into him on the sidewalk by mistake, he will easily lose his temper. Or, if his son or daughter left the house and forgot the key inside, if a waiter is late bringing the bill, if a secretary makes him wait on telephone, or if he is irritated by traffic, he will say the first thing that comes to his mind. Confronted with problems that a rational person could deal with easily, even without occupying his mind with the hundreds of details involved, an emotional person would react in an unnecessarily exaggerated manner. And, most of the time, he merely harms himself and ends up humiliated.

Emotionalism in men takes the form of anger and irascibility, and is often regarded as the quality of a "tough-guy" or "macho." This psychology is merely an amalgam of anger and romanticism, while most of those affected by it are unbalanced, and have a tendency to lose their temper, or "go off the handle." As a result of a moment of rashness, they may hurt or injure someone, or even kill; their victim could easily be a total stranger. Pages of newspapers are often filled with the crimes and offences committed by this type of personality. An evening that might have begun pleasantly could suddenly come to an end when an emotional man becomes irritated and hits a friend or someone near him. Walking in the street he may pull out a knife and stab some unknown person who "looked at him sideways." For that one minute, he may give in to his passions, and then end up spending the rest of his life in prison. More importantly, if he kills, or otherwise harms someone, without just cause, he will have committed a grave sin in the sight of God.

Irascible emotionalism in a person is a potential danger that can erupt out at any time, and have very serious repercussions. An emotional person may become angry if someone makes a wrong move in traffic, or if someone he does not know looks at him in such a way as to make him uncomfortable, or because of some simple misunderstanding, then act in such a way as to only bring upon himself all sorts of trouble and pain.

A clear example of the unreasonableness that emotionalism gives rise to can be seen in the brutish behaviour of some fans after a football match. They assault people they do not know, and nearly kill them with meat cleavers, knives and clubs. Their minds and consciences are blinded by the satanic weapon of emotionalism, truly a grave plague on society. But, God commands human beings to avoid Satan, to establish peace and security, not anger and conflict.

You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Qur’an, 2:208)

The Prophet Mohammed also preached serenity among the believers, saying "The strong is not the one who overcomes the people with his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger."

Here, it is necessary to distinguish between sentimentality and rationality. Anger and hate felt in response to acts of cruelty and evil make a person more sensitive to and aware of justice, peace and goodness, and motivate him to strive for the eradication of that cruelty and evil, for its prevention, and for the protection of the rights of the weak and the innocent. If the sense of justice that God gave to humanity is not controlled by the will and wisdom, it can be diverted from its true purpose, and flare up against the fans of an opposing sports club. People who do not have a strong will and wisdom cannot restrain their emotions, and can be led from the true path into whatever direction Satan may desire. In another verse, God warns humanity against Satan:

You who believe! Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. Anyone who follows in Satan’s footsteps should know that he commands indecency and wrongdoing. Were it not for God’s favour to you and His mercy, not one of you would ever have been purified. But God purifies whoever He wills. God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Qur’an, 24:21)

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