Averting Envy

Envy is to wish that the blessing of the one who is envied is removed, even if the one who envies does not receive the same blessing. The reason for this disease is the love of distinction and the hatred of being equal to everyone else. This is the reason why when someone is blessed with a grace that makes them distinct from everyone else, the envious person becomes pained because of that distinction or because that person became equal to themselves. This pain only disappears when the blessing of the one who is envied is removed.

It is rare to find anyone safe from possessing some amount of envy in their heart. It is something that a person is not sinful for possessing, rather sin is only earned when you wish for the removal of a blessing bestowed upon a fellow Muslim.

Know that envy causes insomnia, malnutrition, paleness, mood swings and continuous depression. It only occurs in regards to worldly matters, you will not find people envying those who pray at night or those who frequently fast, neither will you find the envious envying scholars for their knowledge, rather, they envy those who have fame.

The cure for the disease of envy is firstly to know that Allah had predestined everything that will happen, and trying to change what is predestined is impossible. The One who divides the sustenance between people is Judicious and Wise, He is the Possessor, He gives and He takes, for He created the universe and all that it contains, subhanAllah, all praises and glory be to Him. It is as if the one who envies opposes the will of the Giver, may He be exalted. It is only when we learn to accept the decree of Allah that we can truly find peace.

The one who envies should look to the state of the one they envy; if what they have is only from this world, then they should pitied and not envied, because what they possess will probably count against them rather than for them. Know that a surplus of worldly matters is nothing but trouble. The one who is rich is always afraid of losing their money and the ruler is afraid of being dismissed.

Salim narrated from his father, may Allah be pleased with him, that The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing fo Allah be upon him, said:

“Envy is not justified except in the case of two individuals only: one who Allah has blessed with the Qur’an, so he prays reciting it during the night and day. And a man who Allah gave wealth, so he spends it rightfully during the night and the day.” (Recorded in al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, warned us of the dangers of envy and gave us a way to overcome it. He said:

“The disease of the nations before you is creeping towards you: envy and hatred. It is the ‘shaver’. I do not speak of what cuts the hair, but what severs the religion. 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 tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salam amongst yourselves.” (Recorded in Ahmad)

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