Among the human parts of the body, the best one is the heart. If it is fine, the whole body will remain good enough. If it is not well, the other parts of the body will get affected as well. When the heart is spiritually fallen sick, it causes the hidden and spiritual diseases, such as malice, jealousy, pride, arrogance, hypocrisy, egotism, love for rank, position and wealth etc. These diseases don’t cause the destruction only in the world, but also they are the cause of failure and disappointment in the hereafter. One among these spiritual diseases is “Jealousy” spread in our society. It is heart’s disease. The jealousy is being explained in this write-up so that one can understand its harms.
Definition of Jealousy:
Literal meaning of jealous is envious of someone else’s possessions, achievements or advantages. In term, wishing of a man for the declining of someone’s bounty and boon given by Allah is called “Jealousy”. Either he wishes that bounty for himself or not. The one who wishes so is called “Jealous” and whose bounty is being wished to be declined is called “Looked upon with jealously”. In brief, the jealous person wishes declining the bounty of the person looked upon with jealous. (1)
There another close word to jealousy which is called “Envy”. The envy means that a person expresses a desire for being blessed with a bounty someone is already blessed with; without a wish of declining from him. (2)
Causes of Jealousy
After knowing that the jealousy is a disease and causes spiritual damage for the people who commit it; it is better to know its causes so that one can understand and try to avoid it to safeguard himself from it. Its several causes had been written in details by the famous thinker and Islamic philosopher Imam Muhammad bin Muhammad Al-Ghazali (450-505 AH) in his well-known book: “Ihyaau Uloomi Al-Deen”. Those causes are being summarised and mentioned here in brief:
- Malice and Enmity: The person who is hurt or whose goals and objectives are interfered; becomes the enemy of the one who hurt or one who interfered. He dislikes that person. Now the malice and anger pushes him to avenge. If he fails to avenge, he wishes that someone should take revenge from him.
- Ambition: Sometimes the cause of the jealous is that a person doesn’t like to see another person of his status being respected or superior. It means that the jealous person doesn’t want that a person of his status is being blessed with a bounty and showing his superiority above him.
- Pride and Arrogance:Sometimes, the cause of jealous is that a person feels another one humiliated and disgraced due to his arrogance and pride. He wishes that other should be under his pressure and every time be at his command to follow his order. If by chance that person is blessed with some bounties, now that arrogant person fears that may be that person will change his attitude now and he won’t follow his order. Yet, he was arrogant, now another one will be arrogant. This forces him to be jealous of the bounty he is blessed with.
- Astonishment:Sometimes a person feels astonished that another person is at high rank and in better position than him. Now, he feels surprised that is also cause of jealous.
- Fear of Failure in Achieving a Goal: This cause of jealous is specially among those two people who try to achieve the same thing. Now, each one is jealous of a bounty which is helpful for another one to achieve that goal.
- Desire for Power and Prestige:Sometimes, having desire for power and position is cause of jealous, e.g. a person is a matchless and has authority on a skill. He doesn’t want that someone else should gain that one so that he makes himself great by putting others down. The purpose of this person is not to achieve a materialistic gain, rather to gain praise and acceptability. So, if someone tries to learn the skill, he feels jealous of him and wishes decline of that one, e.g. bravery, knowledge, art, beauty etc.
- Evil Nature and Soul: Sometimes, due to the evil nature and being one’s heart miser regarding goodness is a big cause of jealous. You can find easily some people of such nature. When they know about someone being blessed with some of Allah’s bounties, they will feel heavy heart and when they know that someone is suffering from or failed in achieving his goal, those evil nature people will feel happy. They don’t like to see others successful and happy, but to see them with miseries and difficulties. When they see someone with Allah’s bounty, they become restless and anxious as the bounty has been given from their treasures. (3)
Condemnation of Jealous in the Holy Qura’an:
The Almighty Allah has condemned the jealous at several places in the Holy Qura’an. Sometimes, under some another topics the jealous has been described and occasionally directly and clearly it has been condemned. Two verses of the Glorious Qura’an are being quoted here as follows. The Holy Qrua’an speaks:
“Or, is it that they are jealous of people over what Allah has given them of His bounty, while We have given to the House of Ibrahim the Book and the wisdom, and We have given to them a great kingdom?” (4)
Allamah Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (1887-1949) writes under the commentary of the above verse: “Is it that the Jews are dying of jealous of seeing the bounty and reward that Allah gave to Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and his companions (RA)? So, it is completely their stupidity and foolishness; because we (Allah) had granted the Book, knowledge and great kingdom to the family members of Ibrahim (AS). Then how are the Jews jealous of the prophet-hood and dignity of Muhammad (SAWS) and how can they deny; even now it is in the house of Ibrahim (AS).” (5)
This verse makes it clear that being Jews jealous are wrong on great bounties like prophet-hood, messenger-hood, dignity, respect, kingdom conferred upon the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and the bounty and rewards given to his companions (May be pleased with them!) by Allah. This verse also makes it clear that if Allah has blessed one of his servants with his boon and bounty, being jealous of it is prohibited.
The glorious Qura’an speaks at another place: “(O Muslims,) many among the people of the Book desire to turn you, after your accepting the faith, back into disbelievers – all out of envy on their part, even after the truth has become clear to them. So, forgive and overlook till Allah brings out His command. Certainly, Allah is powerful over everything.” (6)
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani (1896-1976) writes in the commentary of the above verse: “Some of the Jews, pretending to be the well-wishers of the Muslims, were always inventing new stratagems to make them turn away from Islam, and, in spite of repeated failure in this effort, did not refrain from it. The verse warns the Muslims against their intentions, which are motivated, not by sincerity and friendship, but by envy – which in its turn arises not from anything the Muslims do, but spontaneously from within themselves even after they have come to understand clearly what the truth is. The verse also asks the Muslims not to give way to their justifiable anger at such misconduct, but to forgive the Jews, and wait till Allah sends a new commandment with regard to such matters.” (7)
The gist of the above commentary is that the Muslims who were blessed with the great bounty of Iman, the Jews struggled and played different tricks, so that the Muslims would forsake Iman and turn away from Islam. The reason was that the Jews were jealous of Muslims’ great bounty of Iman. So, the struggle of Jews was not based on being well-wishers of Muslims, but it was due to the jealousy.
Prohibition of Jealous in the Hadith:
There are several sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) which emphasise and guide this Ummah to avoid and refrain from committing jealousy. Some of those sayings are being presented here so that we can understand through them the harms and evils of jealousy.
There is a Hadith which clearly tells that the jealous is like fire and it consumes good deeds as the fire consumes the wood. The Hadith is narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA). The translation is presented here:
The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Beware of envy, because the envy consumes good deeds as fire consumes wood” or he said, “grass.” (8)
There is another Hadith which guides to avoid the hate, jealous etc. and teaches to live like brothers with each other. Anas bin Malik (RA) says that the messenger of Allah (SAWS) said:
“Don’t hate one another, and don’t be jealous of one another; and don’t desert each other, and O Allah’s worshippers, be brothers! Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his (Muslim) brother for more than three days.” (9)
Shariah Ruling Over Jealous:
It is Shariah ruling that jealous is prohibited and forbidden and avoiding form it is compulsory. A Muslim, therefore, always must avoid from jealousy. Allah the Almighty says: (Translation) “And from the evil of an envier when he envies”. (10) Imam Ghazali (RA) writes: The jealous is forbidden in all cases. Albeit, if a disbeliever and sinful person is blessed with a bounty and he creates disturbance and mischief and creates dissention among the people, hurts the creations through that bounty, in such cases, it is allowed to hate and wish declining of that bounty. Because, now your dislike and wish of decline is not with the intention that he is blessed with a bounty, rather it is because he creates dissention among the people through that bounty. If there was not fear of disturbance and dissention through that bounty, neither would you have felt pain, nor would you have wished the decline of that bounty. (11)
How to Avoid Jealousy?
If someone is suffering from the disease of jealousy; the way to overcome jealousy and avoid it is that he must remember and recall in his mind that it is harmful for him not only in the world, but in the hereafter as well. It must be kept in mind that a jealous person is a sick person and he must try to get rid of this sickness. Whenever one feels jealous of a person on a bounty, he must return to Allah asking the same thing for himself and doesn’t wish declining of that thing from that person. If it isn’t possible, one should try to control his mind from that thing. He should make himself understand that that person is his brother, so why should he feel jealousy of him. If Allah has blessed him, he should feel happy. He should make Duaa for growth in his bounty. If one feels jealousy of a person, he should make Duaa for him, give something as gift to him and do good to him. A jealous person should also think about someone who is less in bounty than him. One should also interpret and make himself understand that this thing has no value in his eye. If one fails to control himself from jealousy, the fire of jealousy will continue consuming him as the fire consumes wood. The Islamic scholars have written that one who is used to feel jealousy of a person, should read: “Astaghfirullah Rabbi Min Kulli Zanbin Wa Atubu Aleihi” and “Al-Hamdulillah” repeatedly.
We must try our level best to avoid jealousy and make Duaa that may the Almighty Allah protect us from jealousy and other diseases like jealousy. The jealousy is such dangerous fire which burns the jealous person from inside into ashes. This disease is related to heart, so the heart also gets affected from it. When the heart is affected, it means the all parts of body are affected. One of the companions of the Prophet (SAWS), Numaan bin Bashir (RA) says that he heard the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) saying: “Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes good (reformed), the whole body becomes good, but if it gets spoilt, the whole body gets spoilt, and that is the heart.” *** (12)
- Al-Mausu’ah Al-Fiqhiyyah: 17/269
- Al-Mausu’ah Al-Fiqhiyyah: 17/271
- Ihyaul Uloom: 3/293-295
- Al-Nisa: 54
- Tafseers Usmani, Al-Nisa: 54
- Al-Baqarah: 109
- Ma’ariful Qura’an: 1/289
- Sunan Abi Dawood, Book of Etiquette, Chapter of Envy, Hadith No.: 4903
- Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Etiquette, Chapter: Jealousy and mutual estrangement are forbidden, Hadith No.: 6065
- Al-Falaq: 05
- Ihyaul Uloom: 3/288
- Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Iman, Chapter: The superiority of that person who leaves all doubtful (unclear) things for the sake of his religion, Hadith No.: 52
Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia