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Jealousy and Envy

Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” [Abu Dawood] Zubayr bin al Awwaam (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “There has come to you the disease of the nations before you, jealousy and hatred. This is the ‘shaver’ (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith”. This is a hadith hasan, [Jami ut Tirmidhi (2434)] Allah says: “Allah favoured some of you over others with wealth and properties. Do they deny the favours of Allah?” [Surah an-Nahl (16): 71] And in another verse: “Do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His Bounty?” [Surah an-Nisaa (4): 54]

Hasad (jealousy and malicious envy) is one of the most abominable and destructive feelings one can have towards his fellow man. The jealous person is always restless, watching the objects of his jealousy, wishing evil and misfortune to befall them, and when it befalls them, he is happy. Beloved brothers and sisters, this is so common in all nationalities and all spheres of life.
We find jealousy between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, siblings, students, friends. This evil habit has even taken over the religious ones in the community. Some Aalims are jealous of each other, some women who have studied a bit of Deen have also fallen prey to this so much so that life without jealousy isn’t normal for many. We smile at the objects of our jealousy in the presence of others and writhe in malicious envy to the point of hatred behind the backs of those we wish we could be like, yet hate because we fall short.

Hasad brings the jealous person close to kufr and shirk because it causes the individual to feel that Allah has not been fair with him. “Why is she so beautiful?” “Why do they always have money?” “I wonder if she has any difficulties in her life because she always smiles, she makes me sick” The jealous one forgets all the mercy and blessings which Allah has bestowed upon him. Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “They are enemies for Allah’s bounties.” Sahaabah asked: “Who are they?” He said: “Those who envy people for what Allah has given them of Bounty.” [at Tabraani] How dare we think that Allah is unfair to us?! Allah is al ‘Adl! What is this worldly beauty, fame and riches we burn for that we would wish harm on the sacred life of a another Muslim?! Had Allah deemed it necessary to bestow you with another ni’mah, would not He ‘Azza wa Jall have bestowed it upon you? What belongs to this transient world is of no significance before Allah. Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “If this world were worth a mosquito’s wing before Allah, He would not give a disbeliever a drink of water.” [at Tirmidhi]

 The favours and bounties of Allah in this world is but a trial. The more the bounties, the more the tests, the more the (hisaab) reckoning.

So the next time we turn green with envy, let us remember that it is Allah who is the Bestower, The Giver, The Sustainer to whomsoever He wishes. And remember this hadith- Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favours bestowed on you.” [Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] On another occasion, he said: “If one of you looks at someone wealthier and better built than him, he should also look at someone of lower standard than himself.” [Sahih Muslim] Recite Mu’awwathatain. “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn from the evil of envious when he envies.” [Surah al-Falaq (113): 1]

Note: Ghibtah (envy that is free from malice), is neither loving the loss of the blessing nor hating for it to remain with the person, but desiring the same for oneself without the removal of the blessing from others. 

 So this would be more like an emulation where one would for example say with truthful tongue and pure heart “I wish I could be like her, she prays so much, or she is haafith of Qur’aan”. Ghibtah is permissible according to ‘Ulama only in matters of Deen because it is not an insignificant, transitory thing of dunyaa that one desires. As can be seen from the following hadith: Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Envy (ghibtah) is allowed in two cases, in case of a man whom Allah has given the Qur’aan and who recites it throughout night and day; and a man on whom Allah has bestowed wealth who gives it away throughout night and day.” [Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] and Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam)) also explained what may be said: “I wish I were given what he was given and did with it what he did.”

May Allah grant us all the hidaayah and taufeeq to be better Muslims to one another. May Allah cleanse our hearts from jealousy, malicious envy and hatred. May the Muslim Ummah be united as ONE.

There is a saying that goes like this “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value.  Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point – that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you.  There is only one alternative – self-value.  If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved.  You will always think it’s a mistake or luck.  Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within.  Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences.  Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security.  Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them.”
This is it… Every human being is a unique individual. We can’t all be the same, for what world would this be? Others’ strengths are others’ weakness, and vice versa, but at the end of the day… We should take the good from each one, shake off the bad, drop the hurt, and remember the lesson learnt.

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