Copyright © 2003-2011, Aishah Schwartz. Permission granted to circulate among private individuals, groups, or in not-for-profit publications in full text and subject title. All other rights reserved.

November 30, 2005

Jealousy and Envy; The Wolf Behind the Door

"There is no desirable form of jealousy except for two types: (1) a person to whom Allah has given the Qur'an and he recites it day and night, so when a person hears him he says, 'If only I were given the likes of what he has been given so that I may act upon it the way this person is.'; and (2) a person to whom Allah has bestowed wealth and he spends in the cause of Truth, so a person says, 'If only I were given the likes of what he has been given, so that I may act upon it the way this person is.'" [Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, Number 544]  

And then there is undesirable envy, or jealousy. Jealousy and envy are among the most destructive emotions or feelings one can have towards another human being. They are often manifested as an evil wish towards others or in being happy when misfortune befalls them. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) warned against envy, He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

"Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood." [Abu Dawood]

The one who is jealous, hating the favors bestowed by Allah (swt) upon someone else, is an oppressor (which is forbidden; Hadith Qudsi 17), and one who will go beyond bounds to act, dictated by jealousy, is deserving of punishment unless he repents. 

The one affected by the oppressor should be patient of the harm afflicted upon him by the one who is jealous, and he should forgive and overlook, just as Allah (swt) said,

"Many of the People of the Book wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves even after the truth has become clear to them. But forgive and overlook until Allah brings about His Command." [Surah al-Baqara 2:109]

"...Verily, he who fears Allâh with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allâh makes not the reward of the Muhsinûn (good-doers - see v.2:112) to be lost." [Surah Yusuf 12:90]

As for the person who is tried and harmed for choosing obedience to Allah, then he will be rewarded for the actual trial and it shall be written as a righteous action for him. Allah, the Most High, said, "That is because they suffer neither thirst nor fatigue, nor hunger in the Cause of Allah, nor do they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy but it is written to their credit as a righteous deed. Indeed Allah wastes not the reward of the doers of good." [Surah at-Taubah 9:120] 

Jealousy is a sickness of the heart and soul of mankind and few of us are secure from it. On finding envy or jealousy in our hearts we should strive to snuff it out and treat it with patience and taqwa of Allah (swt), for that which we do not act upon in speech or action cannot harm us. Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger salla allahu alayhe wasalam said:

"Beware of oppression, for oppression will turn into excessive darkness on the Day of Resurrection; and beware of niggardliness, for niggardliness destroyed your predecessors." (Hadith 26:203; Muslim)

Commentary: This Hadith makes it abundantly clear that there will be utmost justice on the Day of Resurrection. So much so that Allah will redress even the grievance of the aggressed animals against the aggressors. Thus, this Hadith serves a severe warning for people. When animals, who are devoid of sense, will not be forgiven, how would mankind be, which is gifted with senses? The latter will not be pardoned if they are guilty of having been unjust to anyone without adequately compensating them.  

"Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Daybreak. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness. And from the evil of the witchcrafts when they blow in the knots. And from the evil of the envier when he envies." [Surah al-Falaq 113:1-5]

"By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, none of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." [Bukhari Volume 1 Book 2 Number 12 and Hadith Qudsi 13]

Compiled by ~Aishah Illustration from: Brothers Grimm. Grimms' Fairy Tales [Little Red Riding Hood]. Ella Dolbear Lee, illustrator. Chicago: M. A. Donohue & Co., 1920.

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