JEALOUSY is a normal human emotion that both men and women can be affected with
. We all feel jealousy over things in our lives from time to time. We might feel jealous because one of our friends has more money than us or a nicer car. Or we might feel jealous because someone is prettier, has more status, or is thinner than we are. Jealousy is a hard emotion to overcome and can be a destructive force that ruins relationships.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, 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. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of that which will strengthen love between you? Spread (the greeting of) ‘Salam’ amongst yourselves.”
All Muslims should love for their fellow man what they love for themselves instead of allowing jealousy and envy to eat away at their hearts. Muslims should not look to those who are above them in wealth, as Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed, but rather look at those below them so as we can find satisfaction in what Allah has blessed us with and increase the mercy in our hearts. Certainly someone who lives from paycheck to paycheck can look towards another person who is forced to dig in the trash for their daily meal and be grateful for what they have.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: “It is We who portion out between them their livelihood in this World, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work.” (43:32)
All of our sustenance, wealth and health come from Allah who is the Most Generous and the Most Merciful. Just because someone is wealthy does not mean that Allah loves him more or if someone is poor that Allah loves him or her less.
Wealth is a test for us in this world.
Will we utilise it in greed to buy ourselves the most outrageous luxuries this world has to offer? Or will we use the wealth to serve the greater good of society through acts of charitable donations? Equally, poverty is a test for us in this World.
Will the person who is poor be patient in seeking Allah’s bounty or will he curse the Heavens because he does not have the sustenance he craves? Allah tests all humans, be they Muslim or not, with different types of circumstances to see who are the best in faith.
Jealousy, left unchecked, can quickly escalate out of control and turn to hate or worse yet ‘hasad’, or vicious envy.
This type of envy is when someone wishes that the person they are jealous of would lose their blessings whether it is a material possession or something intangible like good health or beauty. Hasad is considered to be a sin in Islam for two reasons. The first reason being that a human brings himself to hate an action that Allah has performed by bestowing someone with His bounty. The second reason is that the jealousy and envy causes the person to disagree with something Allah has decreed.
The Prophet said: “Beware of envy because indeed envy destroys good deeds in the same manner as fire destroys wood.”
Allah’s mercy and generosity are limitless and without bounds. Fulfilling the needs of all of humanity is an easy undertaking for the Lord of this World.
It simply makes more sense to ask Allah for our needs rather than to stew and simmer because someone else has been blessed to receive it first! The best way to extinguish the flaming fire of jealousy and envy is to increase good deeds, acts of worship and to have patience even if your deepest desires never do materialise.
Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam.
18 April 2008