Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I work in proximity to an individual who is very selfish and spreads toxicity. He insists on micromanaging our work simply because of his prestige in the community. I am consumed by anger and hatred. How can I deal with this?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift this tribulation from you and fill your heart with tranquility.

Dua

`A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that, “The Prophet entered while [I] was angry. So he rubbed the tip of my nose and said, ‘My little `A’isha. Say, ‘O Allah, forgive my sin, remove the anger in my heart, and protect me from Satan.’ (Allahumma’ Ghfirli dhanbi, wa adhhib ghaydha qalbi, wa aajirni min ash-shaytan)” [Ibn al-Sunni, as mentioned in Barkawi’s Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي ذَنْبِي وَأَذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قَلْبِي وَآجِرْنِي مِنْ الشَّيْطَانِ

Excerpt from A Little Fiqh on Controlling One’s Anger by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Practical steps

1) Make continual istighfar.
2) Give in charity regularly, even if it’s a small amount and beg Allah to remove this tribulation from your life.
3) When you know you are going to be near this person, be in wudu and ask Allah to protect you from harm.
4) Give regular salawat upon the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).
5) Perform The Prayer of Need and beg Allah to help.

Assertiveness training

Are you seeing a therapist to help treat your depression? If you have not seen a therapist, please consider doing so. You do not need to struggle through this alone.

In addition to learning how to cope with your severe depression, please ask your therapist to teach you how to be more assertive in the workplace. I can appreciate how difficult it can be to set boundaries in general, let alone with a well-known community elder. However, it sounds like your current approach is not working. I am not asking you to be rude, but I am suggesting that you think of tactful, respectful and firm ways to protect yourself.

It is also likely that this person has no idea how annoyed you and your colleagues are. If none of you say anything to him/her, then he/she will persist in behaving this way.

An example of a workplace boundary setting statement is: “Thank you for your advice, but my managers are happy with my performance. If you are not, then please take it up with them.”

Continue to repeat this, firmly and respectfully. However, try not to fret if you find it difficult to do this right now. Build up your courage first, role play with your therapist or close friends/family, then read Ayatul Kursi for ease. The first time you stand up for yourself, it’s natural to feel anxious and stressed, but it will get easier over time, inshaAllah.

Human resources

Does your workplace have a HR manager? It sounds like this toxic character is affecting the whole office. If direct interaction with this person does not bring about the desired outcome, then perhaps you and your colleagues need to lodge an official complaint about this person. If you do not have HR manager, then at least notify your bosses so they can look into it.

Reflect

When you are in the midst of a difficult test, remember the One who is sending this test to you. Spend some time in nature and reflect on what you can learn from this. Let this person be a warning to you, about how not to behave. Reflect on how our Beloved Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) called upon us to improve our character.

Please refer to the following links:

A Little Fiqh on Controlling One’s Anger
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)