Being Envious to another Muslim
My dear brothers in Islam,
Let us strengthen our Taqwa to Allah together. Let us do all that He commands and avoid all that He forbids. Let us correct and improve ourselves as Muslims by doing what is praiseworthy. May we be admitted to the company of those servants of Allah who are truly faithful.
Allah swt said In Surah Ali-Imran:
إِنْ تَمْسَسْكُمْ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ وَإِنْ تُصِبْكُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَفْرَحُوا بِهَا وَإِنْ تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا لاَ يَضُرُّكُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْئًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ
“If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it.”
Brothers, Envy is that feeling in your heart that itches when you see another person being blessed with Allah’s bounties. Envy is that desire in your heart that wished you had been the one to receive that blessing. Envy is that feeling of spite in your heart that wishes ill for other’s fortunes. Envy is that feeling in your heart that hopes for other’s misfortune. Envy is that feeling in your heart that hopes for other’s blessings to be destroyed.
Spite and envy is like a flame that burns and destroys mankind bit by bit. Spite and envy arise from a love for this world. And forgetfulness as to the greatness of Allah s.w.t. Spite and envy does not recognise the ties of family nor friendship. How many families have been destroyed because of spite and envy? How many relationships have been lost to the fire pit of spite and envy? Don’t they know that there is really nothing that we possess? Even the heart that beats in our body is not ours to claim. Can we control the rate at which our hearts beat? Can we even guarantee that it will beat forever? Never! We can’t do it. So, who really owns our hearts? If the heart that beats in our body, an organ so close to us is beyond our control, what more the things that exist around us? Like our hearts, they don’t belong to us.
They all belong to Allah s.w.t. He is the One who determines who should experience the joy of his blessings. Can we then be envious of others whom Allah has given His blessings? Know that if we do so, we are, indeed, feeling hatred towards the giver of those blessings – We have instead felt hatred and anger towards Allah s.w.t.!
That is the effect of Envy and it lives and breeds in our hearts unless, and only unless you take control of it. Unless you consciously strive to remove it. Unless you remember Allah and fear Him.
Each one of us have some strengths. And each one of us have some weaknesses. Some of us are blessed with wealth and an easy life. Others though not that wealthy, yet, no doubt, live comfortably enough. Yet for some others, each day is a struggle to survive. Each day is a fight to keep off their hunger. Likewise, some of us are more intelligent than others or some are more better-looking than others. These are the elements in our lives as pre-determined by Allah s.w.t. They constitute the qadha of life. Remember that Allah is the Most Wise. Remember that Allah is the best of Planners. Remember that Allah is the wisest of Judges. He knows what is good for us. And in His ultimate Wisdom, He knows what blessings would benefit us. And He knows what is bad for us. Allah says in surah As-Syura verse 27:
وَلَوْ بَسَطَ اللَّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبَادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِي الأَرْضِ وَلَكِن يُّنَزِّلُ بِقَدَرٍ مَا يَشَاءُ إِنَّهُ بِعِبَادِهِ خَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ
“And if Allah were to enlarge the provision for His slaves, they would surely rebel in the earth. But He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily! He is in respect of His slaves, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer of things that benefit them.”
Remember, too, that both blessings and hardships are Allah’s trials upon us. Remember, that a blessing is a heavier trial for a Believer? Why? Because wealth, success, intelligence and any of this world’s blessings can make us arrogant. Such blessings can make us swell with pride and a sense of self importance. Such blessings can make us forget Allah. Such blessings are also trials to test our iman. And so we should remember, to be grateful to Allah s.w.t. If we see others receiving a blessing from Allah, let not Envy take control of our hearts. Let not Envy consume our every thought, fibre and soul. Instead, remember Allah’s Mercy. Remember Allah’s Mercy on us for sparing us from further trials.
Know this my brothers. That the mark of a true Muslim is a pure soul, free from the scorching taints of envy and spite. A soul, pure and free from envy and hatred can bring a person to Allah’s Heaven, a place, ever eternal. Know, my brothers that the ibadat you perform, the prayers you do, the nightly tahajjud you wake up for, or the fasts you struggle with will be useless if you still possess an ounce of envy or spite in your hearts.
Brothers in Islam,
Why don’t we follow the model of our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and his Companions. They were persons whose hearts were pure. Persons who possessed not even a speck of envy or spite in their hearts. Persons who hold no grudge against the blessings that were given to their relatives. And although some amongst them were wealthy merchants. But some of amongst them were also poor and needy. Yet, their hearts were light. They were light because they were free from the burden of hatred. They were light because they were free from the burden of envy. They were light because they were free from the blackness of spiteful thoughts and anger against those who lived a comfortable life. These were the honourable characteristics that have been praised by Allah s.w.t in Surah Al-Hashr, verse 9.
وَلا يَجِدُونَ فِي صُدُورِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِمَّا أُوتُوا
“And they keep no desire in their breast for the blessings that were received by others.”
That is how honourable the Companions of the Prophet were. They were able to guard themselves from feelings of envy and hatred towards others who received Allah’s blessings. The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. tells us:
لاَ حَسَدَ إِلاَّ فِى اثْنَتَيْنِ : رَجُلٌ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ مَالاً فَسَلَّطَهُ عَلَى هَلَكَتِهِ فِى الْحَقِّ ، وَرَجُلٌ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ عِلْمًا فَهُوَ يَعْمَلُ بِهِ وَيُعَلِّمُهُ النَّاسَ
“There is no envy allowable except in two things: A person who is blessed by Allah with a lot of wealth and he spends his wealth in things that are true and good until his wealth finishes; and a person who is blessed by Allah s.w.t with knowledge and he spends it teaching such knowledge to others.”
And so my brothers, why waste your time and effort in being envious of things in this world? Why destroy your relationship with family and friends in being envious of the worldly possessions that they have? Why let Envy consume your heart and soul over material things that you can’t even bring with you into the hereafter? Remove the monster of envy that makes you desire and yearn for the material things in this world. Instead fill it with a desire to bring yourselves closer to Allah s.w.t. Instead, fill it with a yearning to want to serve and worship Allah. Instead, fill your heart with taqwa and love for your Creator, Allah whom you will one day meet.