Combating Jealousy and Envy

As Muslims, we are obligated to love for our brothers and sisters what we would love for himself or herself of all good things. Similarly, we are taught to hate for himself or herself what we would hate for ourselves. Human nature often takes the better of us though and this is something that is battle against one’s own self. There are various forms of jealousy. The fist is ghitbah, which is envy that does not have any malice. Essentially, this is when one sees a brother or sister have something they don’t, they simply wish they had it to too. However, these feelings can very quickly become very destructive. If one wishes that the blessing be taken away from the person then it is a case of hasad, which is destructive jealousy.

A person who continuously harbors jealous thoughts will never get contentment and happiness. There will always be someone above the person and satisfaction will never be fulfilled in this dunya. Ridding oneself of this evil trait will lead to a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with fellow believers. Jealousy, after all is the cause of so much bloodshed and suffering. Throughout Islamic history, there has always been power struggles because of people having ego’s and intolerance for seeing someone else rule.

The Muslim is always waging a war within his/her own self. This jihad al-nafs (struggle against the soul) is meant to rid the heart of ill feelings toward fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. If a person sincerely loves his/her fellow Muslims, most of these problems from which the person’s soul is suffering will disappear. The problems start disappearing when the Muslim realized how great his/her own virtue and blessings are. In addition, they disappear when he/she knows how great his/her reward will be if he/she treat the fellow Muslim well. The motivation for the reward can hopefully act as a means for the jealous individual to strive to benefit the fellow Muslim instead of being preoccupied with jealous thoughts about what they have and what he/she doesn’t have.

“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.” 

– At-Tirmidhi

Advice to combat jealousy for the believer:

1. Make sincere duah to Allah (swt)

Sincere duah is the best way to try and rid the heart of this evil quality. We may often come across roadblocks where we feel like Allah (swt) isn’t answering our duahs, however this is where patience comes in. Allah (swt) knows what we don’t and there is 100% chance that whatever He has planned is better than anything we have planned. He is the best of planners.

2. Pondering Over the Meaning of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is a guide for us. Just like a car comes with a new owner’s car manual detailing all the features and instructions on how to safely and operate the car while maintaining it, the Qur’an is our manual for life. It tells us how to deals with maintenance issues our heart may be facing such as jealousy and envy. It will literally guide us and tell us what steps we should take to correct our wicked ways. In addition, the reciting the Qur’an will lead to an increase in hasanat (good deeds). Allah (swt) says,

“Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds”

Surah al-Hud, Ayah 114

3. Reading and Studying the Life of our Beloved Messenger (saw)

The seerah (life of the Prophet (saw)) literally gives us examples and solutions to everyday problems we face. Every single test and obstacle he went through has a modern day parallel. For jealousy and envy, we can see how he kept away from these thoughts and how he only loved good for others, even his enemies.

4. Seeking Refuge with Allah (swt) from Shaytaan

If any evil thoughts such as jealousy or envy ever come into our mind, we can always seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Shaytaan. Also, it’s important to make sure we are preoccupied with activities and other busy things to keep these satanic whispers and thoughts out of our ears and brain.

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