Jealousy/Envy (Hasad) And Ghibtah

Jealousy/Envy (Hasad) could be traced to the first son of Adam who killed his brother because of envy, and it was the first blood letting crime on the face of the earth. He envied him because Allah accepted his brother’s sacrifice but did not accept it from him. We can also look to the story of Prophet Yusuf (PBUH). Jealousy and envy are similar to one another but vary in degree. The main difference between jealousy and envy is that envy is an emotion related to coveting what someone else has, while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else. Both are serious diseases of the soul which reveals man's ingratitude to Allah and not appreciating His blessings. It begins the very minute you begin to desire what belongs to others. We should not mistake this desire for competition which is an effort to progress and is commendable.

'...let them aspire who have aspirations.' -Q83V26

The first sign is when you wish that all the wealth, good luck and fortune be taken away from the envied person. This comes to fore when you start to not only wish you had what the envied has but when you want exactly what they have. The eyes of he who envies only sees faults and hides your good attributes. He smiles to your face, but in his heart he conceals his true feelings.

There are two primary causes of envy which are enmity and pride. The former is when you do not wish for Allah's favors on your neighbor and you wish for the things he already has to go away from him. The latter is when you hold a man in contempt. The heart of the envious man is occupied by envy, thus leaving no room for faith. The Prophet (SAW) said:

'Faith and envy can not dwell together in the heart of a servant (of Allah)' - Muslim

All good deeds are made vain by the presence of jealousy and envy. The Prophet (SAW) further states that:

'Be on your guard against envying others; for verily it eats up goodness as fire eats up wood." - Abu Daud

A man who envies knows no peace and is forever aggrieved.

Envy can not be cured but with knowledge and action, it can be curbed. The envious man should realize that only his heart is filled with sorrow and the envied suffers no harm. Further more, we should realize that it is a sin and it is bad etiquette before Allah, because we end up hating Allah’s blessing one of His slaves, and objecting to what Allah does. We should also remember the words of the Prophet (SAW):

'Envy and jealousy, the two maladies of the people before you, are creeping into you... this would shave off the vestiges of religion in you.' -Tirmidhi

"Do not envy each other, do not hate each other, do not oppose each other, and do not cut relations, rather be servants of Allah as brothers. It is not permissible for a Muslim to disassociate from his brother for more than three days such that they meet and one ignores the other, and the best of them is the one who initiates the salaam." - Bukhari

We should all learn the virtue of nasihah (wishing well on others).

On the other hand, Ghibtab is also a form of envy which is permissible in Islam because it is free of malice. For example, when you see a knowledgeable person, you admire and wish to be knowledgeable like him; when you see someone who does a lot of ibadah, you wish to be able do the same; when you see a rich person who pays charity, you admire him and wish to be like him. So you admire these people for their good actions and hence you wish to be like them, then this is a possessive desire that leads to positive competition; both of which are good and commendable. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

"The similitude of the people of this Ummah is like four individual. One whom Allah has given wealth and knowledge, so he handles his wealth with the knowledge. One whom Allah has given knowledge but not wealth and he says, 'Lord, should I have wealth like so-and-so I would have handled it like him.' So they both have the same reward. Such a person loves to have wealth like others so he can do good like others without wishing that the others lose their wealth. Another man, Allah has given him wealth but no knowledge and he spends his wealth in disobedience to Allah. And last, a man whom Allah has not given knowledge nor wealth but he says, 'Should I have wealth like so-and-so, I would spend it in the way he does.' So, both will have the same sin against them." [at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Majah]

  “Envy is permitted only in two cases: Of a man whom Allah gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully, and of a man whom Allah gives knowledge, and he applies and teaches it.” - Bukhari

  • And Allah knows best. May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path.  Ameen.