Envy, jealousy and malice is universal in all cultures. Latent in some cultures and in others a social principle. Women tend to feel more envious because women are by nature, more emotional and perceptive regarding emotions. Not to say that men don’t feel envious at all. On the contrary. People in the western society may be oblivious to this and say it’s a natural reaction to feel envious and that many people feel this way. We know however that envy is real from daleel (proof) in the Qur’aan. Allah Almighty says:
“And from the evil of the envier when he envies.” (113:5)
Envy is an evil which cannot be seen but surely felt and if you are perceptive enough (of your surroundings, your body) you will feel it.
Envy is in actual fact a lack of contentment of the decree of Allah. How so? We may be envious of another’s wealth, beauty or envious of another’s children and the list goes on. “Why do they have wealth but we don’t?” This type of thinking is one of ingratitude to Allah, one who is not content with what Allah has given him/her. We are asked to be content with Allah’s decree and to praise Allah for all that He grants us. Allah mentions in the Qur’aan Kareem “Do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His Bounty?” [Surah an-Nisaa (4): 54]
Allah ‘Azza wa Jall calls our attention to the fact that we should not be sorry for anything that passes us by because that thing might contain an evil which Allah has kept far from us. We should not exult in what comes to us because the thing which comes to us and which we exult in, may be bad for us. That is in conformity with the words of Allah Almighty: “Nothing happens either in the earth or yourselves but that it is in a Book before We bring it into being. That is an easy matter for Allah. [He says this] that you may not be grieved about the things that pass you by nor exult in the things that come to you. Allah does not love any” vain or boastful man.” (57:22-23)
When a man is content with the decree of Allah, Allah blesses him both in His deen and in his worldly affairs.
But where do you draw the line, when has envy gone too far? When envy goes too far, it may become an evil eye or worse the jealous person may turn to sihr. Hard to explain the word حسد “hasad” because it is not an interchangeable word like “jealousy and envy” in english. So the closest I suppose is jealousy. A feeling where a person wishes that he/she possessed what that person (the one he is jealous of) has. We all become jealous at some time or the other but we must seek refuge from Allah and try to correct our character. When jealousy is overlooked, then the sight of that jealous person becomes harmful to the one looked upon with jealousy. However the evil (eye) glance may come from a jealous person or unintentionally from someone with admiration.
Insha’Allah in our next post, we will talk more about al ‘Ain or the evil eye.