It is a dangerous disease that will ruin all your good deeds. Here is how you can save yourself.
By Salma Ameen
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Yusuf (عليه السلام) being so young and innocent followed his brothers, oblivious to their plots. His heart overjoyed at the thought of playing with them. He walked along with them embraced in a blanket of security but little did he know this blanket would be snatched away from him leaving him cold and lost in the darkness of a well where his destiny unfolds…
We are all accustomed to the story of Yusuf (عليه السلام) and how the jealousy of his brothers made way for his fate. And like all beautiful stories of the prophets, we are advised to derive treasures of wisdom from his life.
Negativity and ill thoughts are all around us and if we look in the right direction, we can eliminate it out from our lives.
Ever done something great or achieved your goals and you find yourself surrounded by people who are genuinely happy and the others who pretend to be happy for you?
Ever sat frustrated while you are being compared to a sibling, cousin or a colleague and you wish you could be like them along with a mixture of hatred towards them?
Ever looked at all the things others owned and yearned for the very same things?
Jealousy termed as ‘Hasad’ in Arabic is when one looks at another man’s success and his heart cringes a little on the inside. He doesn’t have to hate the person who he is jealous of but he thinks to himself, ‘How is that he achieved that which I cannot.’ It starts off with tiny feelings of inferiority and when encouraged it can create something destructive. This in turn creates hatred for that person in the hearts of others and also makes him heedless of the blessings he is already bestowed with.
“Allah has preferred some of you above others in wealth and properties… Do they deny the favours of Allah?”
RasoolAllah ﷺ said: “When one of you looks at one who stands at a higher level than you in regard to wealth and physical structure he should also see one who stands at a lower level than you in regard to these things.” [Muslim Book 42, Hadith 7068]
Comparing ourselves to people whom Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given better looks to, more money to, nicer possessions to, better education to, higher status to, etc is a common cause for our showing ingratitude to Allah. We then automatically discard the blessings that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has bestowed on us and can think of only that which we are lacking and someone else has. There will always be something more that we could have and sometimes better.
“It is they who would proportion out of the mercy of your Lord? It is we who portion out between their livelihood in this world and we raised some of them above in ranks, so that some might employ others in their work.But the mercy of your Lord is better than the wealth of this world which they amass”
The negative emotions such as jealousy, hatred and arrogance only grow in hearts lacking taqwa. When your heart is filled with the love for Allah you’d only fill the empty spaces with His remembrance eventually leaving no room for negativity. Running after this dunya is like chasing a mirage, we want more knowing clearly how futile this love is. We tend to look at those closer to this mirage we are dreaming of achieving and create envy in our hearts. When one cultivates and encourages such feelings he moves further away from Allah. He is stripped of all good … one by one … leaving him bare. As the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Beware of jealousy as jealousy destroys good deeds like fire destroys wood” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4903, Grade: Hasan).
We should eliminate these ill feelings out of our hearts. There are instances when you would meet people who would gossip about you and also convince other people to hate you when in reality they themselves are insecure about something and it kills them to see you achieve goals they had set for themselves. Driven by jealousy, their only resort is to expose your flaws so that their failures would go unnoticed.
Purify yourself from such people and purify yourself from such thoughts in your own heart. A person would not be questioned for that thought which passes through his mind but will be brought to account for what he says and does. The best neutralisation of hasad is taqwa. Increase your levels of taqwa and your insecurity, fear of comparison or greed for more would disappear.
We keep talking about jealousy and its ill effects but a certain jealousy is actually accepted in Islam. The prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said “ Envy is allowed in two cases, A man who Allah has given the Qur’an and he recites it daily morning and night and a man whom Allah has bestowed wealth and he spends it night and day for the sake of Allah’ (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).
Here are some simple ways in which you can attack any jealousy that might be ailing your heart:
- Start with calling unto your Lord and seeking forgiveness
- Give sadaqah as sadaqah purifies the soul.
- Recite the Qur’an frequently as it is “good advice from your Rabb and a healing for that in your chest” (Qur’an 10:57)
- Supplicate to your Lord for the purification of your heart.
- If you feel jealousy towards a specific person then buy her a gift, shake her hands and greet her with salaams. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “Shake hands, for this will dispel rancour, exchange gifts and love one another for this will dispel hatred” (Maalik in al-Muwatta’ 1413)*
- If you feel jealousy towards another, ward off the thought by seeking protection in Allah from shaitaan.
- This is probably the hardest: work on eliminating the love of this world. We often feel jealous of what another person possesses in this world. If you remove the love of this world from your heart, longing for what another has here will automatically leave, too.