SHAFAQNA -Â Jealousy is one of the most negative emotions a man may have towards his fellow being. It makes him to wish downfall for others and to be delighted when failure grips them.
Jealousy is a sinful sense which occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desiresÂ or wish that the other should not have it. It is a negative trait in one’s character.
Jealousy, as it is termed ‘hasad’ in Arabic, is essentially a type of emotion that instills in destructive thought, fear, insecurity, anxiety and totally the negative feelings that one can think of. It is referred to as a combination of different emotions which may be anger, inadequacy, disgust, resentment and helplessness. It can be seen in people of every age.
Some suffer from jealousy with an amount of tolerable extent while others may practice it to the extreme level toward their fellow beings. In either case, they are the germs that lead to moral and spiritual destruction of one’s personality.
Usually jealousy occurs among persons who know each other. It happens among siblings, between members of family, people of the same profession and age. Jealousy means being envious of other people, people with such negative feelings are called jealous.
Perhaps jealousy is a disease of the heart and mind, it is one of the oldest evils of human beings. Some Islamic scholars say that this is the first sin that was committed.
When Allah ordered the angels to bow down to Adam, Iblis refused to bow because he was jealous of the honor that Allah gave to Adam. He said to Allah, “Do You see! This one whom you have honored above me, if You give me respite to the Day of Judgment, I shall surely bring his descendants under my sway, all but a few.” (Surah Al-Isra; 62).
Possibly jealousy is one of the fatal illnesses of ethics which cannot be cured. A jealous person grieves when he discovers any goodness and positivity in other peopleâ€™s lives. It is believed that jealousy is such an illness of soul that no doctor can find the cure for it. For this reason, jealousy is a disgusting moral quality which invalidates and destroys a personâ€™s good deeds.
However it is generally jealousy that causes fights between people and conflicts between colleagues and friends. Indeed, jealousy, as a result of extreme egoism, is the thought of â€œHow can they have something which I do not haveâ€!
Those who live in jealousy live under stress and grief. They often ruin their own health and live a miserable life. They also intend to harm others. Jealous people have never reached their desires and they have never been respected by anyone and anywhere. In addition, jealousy causes despair, hopelessness and shortens lifespan.
According to Bertrand RussellÂ â€œjealousy was one of the most strong causes of unhappiness. Not only is the jealous person rendered unhappy by his envy, but they also wish to inflict misfortune on othersâ€.
Jealous persons live in constant state of being sad and dejected. It ruins one’s character before it is built on ethics and principles.
Imam al-Ghazali, who was a great thinker, philosopher and scholar, said that jealousy is often caused by various acts like; hatred, ambition, superiority and arrogance, astonishment, craving for power and prestige.
Whether it is money, power, fame or lust, all material things are finite. It is for this reason people generally get jealous by each other. Obviously everybody imagines himself to be superior and reflects that his thoughts and manners are better than others.
The Prophet (pbuh) warned against jealousy by comparing it to fire that completely burns the wood. He (pbuh) said:
â€œBeware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.â€ (Abu Dawood)
A jealous person is annoyed because of the blessings other people have got. He is angry with Allahâ€™s way of distributing bounties to individuals. Allah through His absolute wisdom has given some people more prosperity, children, intelligence, beauty and strength than others. The believing Muslim should be pleased with what Allah has destined for him.
Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran:
“Allah favored some of you over others with wealth and properties do they deny the favors of Allah?” (Surah Al-Nahl; 71)
However being jealous does not change Allahâ€™s decision. Therefore, a jealous person grieves and troubles in vain because of his jealousy. Besides, he earns sins which are a burden on him. In truth jealousy affects more damage to the jealous himself than to one whom he is jealous of.
A Muslim must always have in mind that jealousy is forbidden. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Do not be jealous of each other, do not boycott each other, do not hate each other, do not contrive against each other. Be all of you brothers to each other, O Servants of Allahâ€. (Dawood :14 )
Envy and jealousy are sources of dissatisfaction and self-torture, therefore, we are advised in the Holy Quran to seek refuge from the serious effects of such kinds of hateful social evils.
JealousyÂ is such a dangerous characteristic that Allah revealed verses of the Quran to be recited as a protection from the jealous:
â€œSay: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawnâ€¦ from the evil of envious when he envies.â€ [Surah Al-Falaq :113)
Both envy and jealousy, when translated into action, lead to the destruction of happiness and deprive people of the good things they enjoy. The best refuge from evil is trust in Allah along with purity of heart.
When Allahâ€™s Messenger (pbuh) was asked who are the best of people? He (pbuh) replied:
â€œthe one with a clean heart and truthful tongue.â€
Again they asked: â€˜We understand a truthful tongue, but what does a clean heart mean?â€™ He (pbuh) answered:
â€œIt is the heart of one that is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and Hasad.â€ [Ibn Majah]
Often jealous person can go to any extent and cross all limits to fulfill his desire of envy. It can be said that jealousy is a kind of criminal motives perceived in the world and if an investigation is made in the real factors behind murders, thefts, robberiesÂ etc., we will discover that a major number of them is based on jealousy.
We all must keep in mind that having a worldly boon or superiority is not evidence ofÂ perfection. If it was so, all rich people would be righteous and all poor people would be sinful.
Allah, the Exalted, has therefore forbidden us from desiring in a crooked manner what others have:
“Do not wish for what we have favored some of you over others.” [Surah an-Nisa (4): 32]
In order to discourage envy, the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Do not look to those above you, look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favors bestowed on you.” (Saheeh-Al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim)
By obeying the words of Allah and His prophet with regard to jealousy, being sinful and wicked, we should try our level best to discourage the proliferation of it in our heart and mind.
Overcoming jealousy, though a very challenging task to practice in our normal routine of life, will truly make our spirit and character stronger.
However there are two things in which jealousy is allowed. Ibnu Umar (r.a) narrates that our prophet (pbuh) said:
â€œJealousy is not acceptable except in respect of two persons â€“ one whom Allah has blessed with recitation of Quran and he remains engaged in it day and night, and the other man on whom Allah has bestowed wealth who gives it away throughout night and day.”(Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim)
Conversely Islam permits Hasad which means 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.
Prophet (pbuh) also explained what may be said:
“I wish I were given what he was given and did with it what he did.“