By Gulab Mostofa
Envy or Hasad is a puzzling and strange emotion. In Islam, hasad (destructive jealousy) is where the envier wishes evil for others and to be happy when misfortune befalls them. Envy is not a respected emotion in the religion, yet many of us are suffering from it more and more in a world that forces us to compare ourselves to others. On Strava we are forced to look into the cycling stats of others and wonder if our rides compares as well. On TV, we are forced to look into the lives of celebrities, which leaves us wondering about our own lives. Are we thin enough, fast enough, strong enough, etc? Even if we try and protect our environment from being invaded by such images, we are bombarded with them each time we go online and see websites like GCN promoting the lifestyles of the fast and furious. Some Muslims as a result are starting to obssess about their weight and appearance. This is worrisome to say the least.
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”.Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”
“Envy is a propensity to view the well-being of others with distress, even though it does not detract from one’s own. [It is] a reluctance to see our own well being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well being but how it compares with that of others. [Envy] aims, at least in terms of one’s wishes, at destroying others’ good fortune”.(Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals 6:459).
Do you have Hasad?
People who have Hasad sometimes don’t know that they have hate towards others. They are in denial to themselves but their actions and speech are obvious to others. Hasad needs to be rectified by a person looking into their soul. Umar (RAA) said, “Bring yourselves to account before you are brought to account. Don’t become superstitious or paranoid but get in touch with your soul and purify it as the soul is the doorway to your heart. The soul and heart are interconnected with each other, therefore if one is corrupted the other will be corrupted. The soul is like a child that wants to indulge in pleasure all the time. Your brain tells the soul what’s right and wrong. The heart feeds off whatever the soul indulges in and gets affected by whatever the brain tells it to do. Once a person taps into this then he becomes someone who is in control.
Hasad (destructive jealousy) causes a great deal of harm in this world and in the Hereafter. Narrated from Az-Zubayr ibn al-A’waam (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said:
“There has come to you a 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 (i.e 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 greetings of peace amongst yourselves.”(Tirmidhi, 2434).
Concerning the meaning of the phrase “it shaves (destroys) faith”, At-Tayyibi (RA) said: “hatred takes away faith like a razor takes away hair.” (Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi bi Sharh Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in his book Amraad al-Quloob (diseases of the heart):
“Whoever finds in himself any hasad towards another has to try to neutralise it by means of attaining taqwa (piety, consciousness of Allah) and Sabr (patience). He should hate that the feeling of hasad is in himself… But the one who does wrong to his brother by word or deed will be punished for that. However the one who fears Allah (SWT) and is patient is not included amongst the wrongdoers and Allah (SWT) will benefit him by his taqwa.” Nobody is free from hasad, but the noble person hides it whilst the base person shows it.” A person will not be brought to account for whatever crosses his mind but he will be brought to account for what he says and does. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah will forgive my nation for their mistakes, what they forget and what they are forced to do (through coercion).” (Bukhari – 2033)
The envious that doesn’t try to remove the envy from his own heart, there is a difference of opinion whether this type of person is sinful or not.
According to Ibn Rajab (RA), those that remove hasad from their hearts, pray for the person whom they have hasad towards and tell others of their goodness, they remove the hasad so much so they begin to love the person and love that Allah (SWT) has bestowed them with this bounty. These people are amongst the highest level of faith as they love for their brother what they love for themselves and this is what everyone should strive for.
So next time you scroll through Strava profiles and you see a brother smash out a KOM or beaten your PR say ‘Allahumma barik lahu’
Being happy for others makes you feel better inside. Envy takes our focus away from the connection we all have to each other as Muslims. We envy others because we don’t feel good about our own lives. Don’t allow envy to lower your self-esteem, focus on your positives will make you notice the positives in others.
“The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Everytime he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: `Ameen! May it be for you, too’.”Muslim
The meaning of the Arabic phrase Allahumma Barik in English is “May Allah Bless You”. It’s often said to another Muslim as a token of appreciation, just like how you would say thank you in English. It should also be said when you see something you admire or are amazed by.
To a male: Allahumma Barik Lahu (may Allah bless him)
To a female: Allahumma Barik laha (may Allah bless her)
To an object such as a bike: Barakallahu laka fiha (may Allah bless it)