Are you sick and tired of the constant struggle, pain, embarrassment and humiliation that jealousy is causing in your life? The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “A true servant of God cannot feel jealous – he is content with what God has chosen for Him, and for others.” Clinical research shows us that “Jealousy creates anxiety, anger, loneliness, hate and fear. No one thinks clearly when jealous.” Get ready to learn the simple steps you need to take to stop the feeling of jealousy now, before it rips your life in this world and the hereafter to shreds!
The following is a five-part video series, along with an edited transcript of a webinar that Shaykh Navaid Aziz presented for Habibi Halaqas, a by-sisters, for-sisters initiative.
Shaykh Navaid Aziz is a graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah where he spent three years attaining a diploma in Arabic before attaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Shari’ah. His main areas of interest include: Aqeedah, Hadeeth, Qawaa’id Fiqhiyyah and Maqaasid ash-Shari’ah. He is a teacher with AlMaghrib Institute and his current projects include My Spiritual Fix.
The webinar titled, “How to get rid of jealousy: the green-eyed monster” focuses on the disease of jealousy and tips on how to get rid of this green-eyed monster to achieve a sound heart. The transcript includes very slight modifications for the sake of brevity, readability and clarity.
Please forward any feedback from this lecture to email@example.com or post it in the comments below!
I want to start off this webinar with a small story. There are two friends, Fatima and Stephanie. Fatima and Stephanie have been good friends since high school and throughout all this time Fatima has been giving dawah to Stephanie. Towards the last year of high school, Stephanie finally accepts Islam. The relationship continues to grow, and they eventually become best friends. As they get into university, they are getting closer and discussing things, and Fatima tells Stephanie one of the major concerns that is on her mind. Fatima is looking to get married. So, Stephanie tries to help Fatima out but to no avail, a couple of years go by and Fatima stays unmarried. When they reach their final year of university, Stephanie decides that she wants to get married as well and within a couple of months she found her prince charming; someone who is hot, rich, has a personality, who is down on his deen and who is loving and caring. Fatima on the other hand, has been looking for a good couple of years and still hasn’t found anyone, and she notices that she is feeling something in her heart right now and this negative emotion is creating a barrier between her and Stephanie. And as time goes on, Fatima stops returning Stephanie’s calls, she no longer visits her, no longer answers her emails and no longer gets together. Fatima is finding herself to be a very negative person and is finding herself to be very depressed. The question is: What happened? What went wrong?
Bi ithnillahi ta’aala, I am hoping that through this webinar on “Jealousy: The Green Eyed Monster,” we can enlighten ourselves as to what went wrong and we can protect ourselves from such events taking place in our own personal lives.
Firstly, starting off with the concept of the diseases of the heart. When it comes to the diseases of the heart in the Western realm, in the western society, in the land of secularism, we don’t really take into appreciation the concept of the diseases of the heart. When we talk about the diseases of the heart, you think about heart attacks, and strokes and all sorts of medical diseases. And we don’t really appreciate the diseases of the heart from a spiritual aspect and this is something that Islam pays a very heavy emphasis on. This is what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) continuously mentions throughout the Qur’an that the individual who is safe on the Day of Judgment is the one who shows up in front of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) with a pure heart. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says:
“The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children. But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.” [Shu’araa 26:88-89]
This is something that as Muslims we should be striving for. This journey of Islam comes to a conclusion when we stand in front of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) on the Day of Judgment and Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) judges us.
The interesting thing here is that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is telling us what we will be judged on the state of our hearts. And that is why the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said that indeed Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) does not look at your physical appearances, but He looks at your actions and the state of your heart. And here the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) establishes a very important relationship that our actions have a very great impact on the state of our heart. It is impossible that someone has a pure heart with evil actions. And it is impossible that someone has good actions and they have a wretched heart. They go hand in hand. And this is why the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said there is a morsel of flesh in the body, if it is rectified the whole body is rectified, and if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt; indeed it is the heart. So here the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) re-emphasizes the very fact that our actions are just implications of greater things that lie in our hearts. If our hearts are pure, our actions will be pure. And if our hearts are corrupt and they are wretched, then likewise our actions will be corrupt and wretched. And this is what we need to seek refuge in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from.
Now talking of the diseases of the heart, one of the greatest doctors of the heart, as would be appropriate to call him, was none other than Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah). He has a lot of books where he talks about the concept of the purification of the heart but there are two in particular that I believe stick out above the rest. The first is called Al-Da’a wa Al-Dawa’a which means ‘the sickness and the cure’. He speaks about the diseases of the heart quite a bit over here. And the second book that I found beneficial is the book called Al Fawaid, i.e. ‘all those points of benefit’. In these two books in particular he discusses the diseases of the heart and what are their causes, what are their cures. This is for someone who can speak, read and understand Arabic. I will definitely suggest these two books for them, bi ithnillahi ta’aala.
So in these two books, Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) mentions a very important point that from all the diseases of the heart we all come down to one fundamental concept. And the one fundamental concept is the love of this world. Every single disease found in the heart has a relationship to the love of this world. And the more an individual loves this world, the more his heart will be diseased. And the more an individual decreases the love for this world, the more pure his heart will be. And this is something to pay a lot of attention to.
When people start to look for spirituality, they look for those things that would soften their heart. They start to look all over the place and they don’t really have any guidelines. So you’ll find one person who is listening to music to find spirituality and another person who is doing whirling dervishes to find spirituality and another person who locks himself in the room and closes the lights and that is where he is looking for spirituality. But if you want to find true spirituality you need to go back to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. And one of the best resources I would suggest for this is none other than Sahih al Bukhari itself. One of the last books that Imam al Bukhari (rahimahullah) has in Sahih al Bukhari is called Kitab ul Riqaaq or in other terms Kitab ul Raqaaiq – The Book of Heart Softening. And if you were to analyze this book you will see that throughout this chapter Imam al Bukhari emphasizes this one point one after another that the more you love this world, the harder your heart will become. And if you want your heart to become soft, then you should distance yourself from the love of this world.
So that was a brief introduction to the diseases of the heart. The disease of the heart that we would be expanding on more today bi ithnillahi ta’aala, is what we call in the Arabic language as ‘hasad‘. And I want you to accustom yourself to this Arabic terminology because to be honest with you, the Arabic language is much more eloquent, much more beautiful and it expresses itself a lot better than the English language. Now, in the English language you will come across the terms ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’. Usually these terms are synonymous. But upon greater analysis you will see that there is a difference between these two words: ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’. ‘Jealousy’ is when you have something and you fear losing it to someone else. This is what it means to be ‘jealous’. And ‘envy’ is when you see something that someone else has and you desire it from them. So ‘jealousy’ is you already have something and you fear losing it. ‘Envy’ is when you don’t have that object and you actually want to attain it. So that’s the distinction in the English language between ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’. Obviously, it is a very simplistic differentiation but it is a differentiation which you must already know at a preliminary level. Now in terms of Arabic, the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), they used the term ‘hasad‘. And you would see that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) first talks about ‘hasad‘ in the Qur’an when it comes to Adam and Iblis. And we will get to that example later on in the lecture bi ithnillahi ta’aala. It is one of the clearest examples of ‘hasad‘ that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mentions in the Qur’an and is one of the first sins that the children of Adam (alayhis salaam) first committed. And that was the sin of jealousy.
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mentions in Surah Al-‘Araaf, the story of two of the children of Adam; both of them who have given sacrifices to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), from one of them Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) accepted it and from the other He did not. The latter became jealous of the former and he actually went out to kill his own brother. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mentions something so beautiful about the first brother that not only did Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) accept his sacrifice but when his brother came to kill him he said that even if you were to put your arm out to kill me I would not put my arm out to harm you. And this again shows us that the importance of having a pure heart that even when someone is being malicious towards you, remembering Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) kicks in at that time and later conscience of justice kicks in and prevents you from doing deeds that you will later on regret. This is why one of the themes that you find in the Qur’an is that it is better to be killed than to kill even if it is in self defense. This is one of the first stories that you find in the Qur’an that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) addresses from the first sins from the children of Adam that one of them got jealous and went to hunt down his brother to kill him. There are a lot of lessons you can learn from this story and bi ithnillahi ta’aala we are going to look at these lessons later on in the lecture.
Getting back to our keyword of today: ‘hasad‘. In the Arabic language, ‘hasad‘ has two connotations; one which is positive and one which is negative. And that is why they say that hasad is actually of two types. The first type of hasad is that which is pure hatred and animosity. This is pure negativity that you see a blessing in an individual, a blessing that another person has and you just want it removed from them. For example, you have sister X and sister Y. Sister Y, masha’Allah, just bought a brand new house and sister X is really jealous of it. So, the first type of hasad is that sister X just wants sister Y to lose that house; regardless of whether sister X gets it or not, she doesn’t care. She just wants to see sister Y suffer. She just wants her to lose that house and this is the first type of jealousy which is absolutely haraam. To want anyone deprived of the blessings of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is absolutely haraam. It is not permissible. At this point, scholars usually differ if this type of jealousy is just a major sin or a minor sin? Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) comes to the conclusion that it actually depends upon the state of the heart. Sometimes it naturally happens as the weakness of our soul that we covet something from someone else and we don’t want them to have that blessing. If it just happens as a human weakness then it is just a minor sin. However, if it is the state of the heart where it is filled with animosity, hatred and negativity, then Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) says that this is one of the major sins. And this is the first type of hasad.
The second type of hasad is what they call ‘ghibta‘. Ghibta is a very interesting concept in Islam. And ghibta is when you see a blessing in another individual; you want that blessing just as they have it, without them losing it. And scholars over here differed, is ghibta which is something inherently permissible or is it something which is disliked? Again, they said it depends on what it is that you are coveting from the other individual or something that you desire from the individual. If it is something good, then it is permissible. If it is something of the worldly possessions, then it is something that is disliked. An example of this is seen in the hadith of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) as narrated in Sahih al Bukhari. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is no hasad except in two cases. Number one is when a person has been granted wisdom by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and he teaches them this wisdom. The second is when Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) grants wealth to an individual and he spends it in the causes of truth.” So, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says that there is no envy, there is no hasad except in these two cases. And what the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) means in this hadith is that there is no permissible type of jealousy except in these two cases. Imam al Bukhari (rahimahullah) goes on to bring other narrations of this hadith. Another narration of this hadith states the Quran. So rather than an individual being blessed with wisdom and teaching the people, Imam al Bukhari mentions here the Quran instead. So these are just the different wordings of the hadith. Ibn al Hajar (rahimahullah), one of the scholars who went on to explain Sahih al Bukhari and masha’Allah this is one of the greatest books in Islamic history. I would say that when you think about fundamental books that every student of knowledge should have, Fath al Bari by Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) is on the top of that list. It is the monumental work explaining the most authentic collection of hadith that we have as Muslims. So he goes on to explain over here that these hadith are not meant to be specific. That the different wordings that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used were not different understandings of the companions but the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) gave these similar examples in different situations depending upon the people that were around him. So he said that this is a general guideline when you see goodness in another individual there is nothing wrong in wanting that goodness for yourself until you don’t want others to be deprived from it as well.
He brings a very important point over here and that is if this is something good; if ghibta is something good, why is it referred to as hasad, why is it that Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) calls it hasad? And he brings a very important point over here. He says that the origin of hasad, the origin of envy and jealousy, is seeing something from the blessings of Allah in another individual. And you only recognize that thing as a blessing when you see it as someone else’s. So this is something which is negative because a person should recognize and appreciate the blessings of Allah(subhanahu wa ta’ala) regardless if he sees them in other individuals or not. By reading the Qur’an, by analyzing our own lives, by analyzing the world around us, we should be able to recognize the blessings of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). We shouldn’t need someone to force those blessings into our face and force them down our throats to recognize them as blessings of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). He says this is where the negative context starts but it becomes positive when you want that same positive attribute to get closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). And that is when it would become permissible. So that was just a small tidbit that I wanted to share with you.
To go over that again; the 2 types of hasad, one which is completely haraam is when you want the other individual to be deprived of the blessing of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) regardless of if you get it or not. And the second one which is permissible that might become makrooh depending on what it is and that is when you see the blessing of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in another individual and you want it for yourself as well without it being removed from the other individual.
Now, talking about hasad, and we are talking about the negative type over here where you just want it removed from the other individual. What does this type of hasad actually do to the state of mind and the state of heart of an individual? Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) goes on to mention about fifteen results of jealousy in an individual. And I just want to mention three of them with you to keep this reminder short and brief, bi ithnillahi ta’aala.
So number one; he mentions, when people feel jealous in their hearts, it creates a false sense of reality. It creates a false reality in their minds. They almost become schizophrenics. What does this mean exactly? Going back to the story of Adam and Iblis. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) commanded Iblis to bow down to Adam. But Iblis refused. Why? He refused because, number one, he became jealous of Adam that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) created Adam, and Iblis had this lofty position. Recognition was being taken away from him by the creation of Adam. When that jealousy kicked in, that is when he became arrogant and refused to do sajdah. What was his argument? What was his reasoning and his logic behind saying I am not going to do sajdah: I am better than him. He said, because You created me from fire and You created him from clay. So, in the mind of Iblis what is happening right now is that he is thinking that the reason why Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is commanding the angels to do sajdah to Adam is because Adam is better than Iblis at this time. But this is not the case. It is just a commandment from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to test His creation who would obey and who would disobey? So, it created a false reality in the case of Iblis and Adam.
And it is further manifested in the Qur’an with Yusuf (alayhis salaam) and his brothers. The brothers of Yusuf talked amongst themselves and they said Yusuf and his brother are more beloved to our father even though we are greater in number and stronger. So, this false reality is created over here that the reason why Yaqoub loves Yusuf and his brother more is because of strength and that if they are stronger they will be loved more by their father. But that was not the case. Rather Yaqoub (alayhis salaam) loved Yusuf (alayhis salaam) and his brother because they were sincere individuals, they were good hearted and good willed in caring for their father. And this was something the brothers of Yusuf did not have.
So, number one consequence of having envy and hasad in your heart is that it will create a false reality. You will not be able to see truth from falsehood. Your perception will be totally false and this is one of the greatest consequences of hasad because when you have a false perception of reality, the action that you go onto do therein will also be based upon this understanding of reality. And that is why when people become jealous they go onto do things that they regret. I am going to share a funny story with you at this point, without mentioning any details or whatever but there is a brother in the United States; he got married and some years down the line he got married to a second wife. So he had two wives and this is around the time of ‘Eid. Now, what ended up happening was the brother had told his wife that he was getting married again but he didn’t tell her who it was. So at initial discussion, the sister remained calm and she was in tune to what was going on but something eventually came over her so the brother tells his wife that insha’Allah, on the day of the ‘Eid is when I am going to introduce you to the other sister. So they get to the musalla of ‘Eid and the wife asks, “So who is the other wife you got married to?” When salatul ‘Eid starts the first wife waits for the second wife to start salah. In salatul ‘Eid as soon as salah starts she starts attacking her from behind and takes her out while she was praying salah. I spoke to the brother there after and this was like a big shock for him because the whole community found out what was going on and it was like a terrible scenario that would happen. Eventually the sister did regret it but this is just the reality of it that people get jealous and do actions that they will end up regretting. I don’t know if it was appropriate example to mention here. I don’t know if sisters like to talk about polygamy or not but this is the funniest example I have ever come across. A sister waiting for another sister to start her salah and then beating her up. Allahul musta’aan. This creates a negative form of reality where you are not sure what you are doing.
Number two, it makes a person negative and dark. And this is another great consequence of hasad. You will become an individual who is always negative, whose whole perception of life becomes very dark and gloomy, and this is an actual punishment that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) gives to those individuals who don’t want to cure jealousy, individuals who don’t want to cure hasad from their heart. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) gives them a dark and gloomy life. That is why, you see people who have been struck with jealousy, they always have hidden personal agendas where they just want to cause as much hate and pain to other people as possible and they think that by causing this pain to other individuals that they might somehow get back the happiness in their lives. But they fail to realize that the only way to attain happiness is by curing the heart of envy and jealousy and that is the only way happiness will come back into their lives. And this is one of the greatest lessons why we need to purify our hearts of jealousy. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) created us as individuals in this world who are meant to worship Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) throughout the day and the night. It was the sole purpose of our creation. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) wanted us to enjoy this relationship as well but we sabotage this pleasure by not purifying our hearts of these diseases.
The third consequence of hasad is the wiping out of good deeds. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) gave an example that envy wipes out good deeds just as a fire burns through the leaves. I don’t know if you have ever gone camping or you have ever gone to a bonfire but if you have ever seen a leaf sparked by a fire, you see they burn up very very quickly and in an instance it is like they didn’t exist at all. This is the example or parable that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) gave of hasad. When an individual has hasad and envy in his heart and when he doesn’t take care of it, it starts to burn off his good deeds until he is left with none of them. Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) goes on to explain this hadith – is it merely just by the negative emotion that one has in the heart deeds burn out or is it the result of that envy and jealousy that those actions will take place that will wipe out the good deeds? This is where he brings that point again and emphasizes on the point again that it is not possible for anything to be in the heart except that it is manifested through the limbs. If the heart is pure, it is going to have pure actions. If the heart is diseased, it is going to have diseased actions. If a person’s heart is diseased with jealousy, his actions will manifest it and up until he does not cure his heart of this disease of jealousy and envy, his actions will go on to show that very point. To differentiate belief in the heart from the actions is not possible but rather they go hand in hand. Thus, the pure heart comes with pure actions and the diseased heart comes with diseased actions. So you want to be very, very careful that one of the consequences of jealousy and envy is that it starts to eat away good deeds. This can result from you backbiting another individual, scoffing another individual, prodding and planning to sabotage another individual or whatever it may be, it will wipe out your good deeds and this is something you want to be very very careful of.
On a related point to this one of the classes I teach for AlMaghrib is called The Collector’s Edition and one of the most challenging parts in teaching The Collector’s Edition is a section that I have put inside, as Imam al Bukhari (rahimahullah) calls, ‘the jealousy of the believing women’. In this section he mentions two beautiful hadiths that I want to share with you right now.
Number one is when Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha) is summoned by Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and it is a beautiful hadith so please pay attention to it. She is summoned by the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and he says “O Aish”, this is the nickname the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) called her. “O Aish, I know when you are angry, and I know when you are content.” So Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha) responded, “Ya rasool Allah, how do you know when I am angry and when I am content?” The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) goes on to say that, “when you are angry you swear by the Lord of Ibrahim. You say by the Lord of Ibrahim you will do such and such and by the Lord of Ibrahim such and such will happen. But when you are content with me, you swear by the Lord of Muhammad. You say by the Lord of Muhammad you will do such and such and by the Lord of Muhammad such and such will happen. And this is how I know when you are content and when you are angry.” At this point, think, what is an appropriate response you will give to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam)? What would you say back? As a woman, you have the urge and want to have the final word. This is what women are notorious for. They always have the last word in a conversation and if a man ever thinks that he had the last word it is usually because a new conversation has begun by then! Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha) responds with something profound. She goes onto say, “O Messenger of Allah, while the name changes on the tongue, the love in my heart always remains”, meaning just because I interchange the name Muhammad with Ibrahim, this doesn’t in any way or means mean that I love you any less. Rather you are still the love of my life and I will always love you. This is the first hadith that Imam Bukhari mentions. This shows that the attitude of the believing women is that even when negativity overcomes her, she always remains positive. She doesn’t fall into sin. Rather, she stays within the realms of permissibility and that is how she expresses her anger. Another lesson that Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) mentions here is that she ties it in with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). When Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha) became angry she would take an oath by the Lord of Ibrahim and taking oath in Islam is actually a form of worship. It is a form of magnifying and glorifying Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) because you will not take an oath by anything except that you want to magnify and glorify them and show how dear they are to your heart. That is why in Islam you are only allowed to take an oath by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). You are not allowed to take an oath by your mother or father or by any other relative, any other thing that you cherish. Rather, you take an oath by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) because He is the One who deserves that glory and deserves that magnification. In essence, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is supposed to be the most dearest one to you.
The very next hadith that Imam al Bukhari mentions in this chapter is the hadith of Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha anha) and Khadija (radi Allahu ‘anha anha). In this hadith, Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha anha) goes on to explain that she was never bothered or concerned about any of the wives of the Prophet ((radi Allahu ‘anha anha)) except by Khadija (radi Allahu ‘anha anha). That was due to the frequent remembrance of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) for Khadija and praising her. The lesson that Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) mentions over here is that regardless of the level of piety an individual may have and Ayesha (radi Allahu ‘anha anha) without a shadow of doubt was from the most pious of women that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has ever created. However, even at that time with the level of her piety she still felt something in her heart. The lesson that is derived over here is that jealousy has nothing to do with your level of piety. Rather, your level of piety comes into play in terms of how you react to that jealousy. Remember that I stated that jealousy is something that happens as a human reaction and something that is a state of the heart. When it becomes the state of the heart, this is something that is very dangerous and it means that you have gone too far with that jealousy. However, when it is a human reaction, that is when you have the ability to control your action and you have the choice to do something that is pleasing to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) or something that is displeasing to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) goes onto explain that the pious woman, even when she is struck by jealousy, even when she is struck by anger or any other instance of the diseases of the heart, she always finds a way to get back closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). This is something to keep in mind for all the sisters, bi ithnillahi ta’aala.
Now, one last tangent I want to go on before we conclude our session for today is the reality of the evil eye. Again, dealing with a western secular society, you mention something like the evil eye and a lot of people will not have a clue what you are talking about. Even if you try your best to explain it to them, they just will not understand because it is not a part of their belief system. In the story of Yusuf (alayhis salaam), you will see a section where the brothers of Yusuf are coming back to Yusuf (alayhis salaam). Yaqoub tells the brothers of Yusuf that when you come to Yusuf, make sure you enter from different doors. Do not all enter from one door, rather, enter from different doors. The wisdom behind this command of Yaqoub (alayhis salaam) is that he did not want his children to get the evil eye. The children of Yaqoub were good looking, strong, well mannered and ethical young men. Anyone who saw them would tend to give them an evil eye. So, in order to avoid it, he told them to enter from different doors. One of the lessons that the scholars of tafseer have mentioned over here is that an individual should try his best to avoid getting the evil eye. If there are certain things that you can do to avoid getting the evil eye, you should do them. For example, if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) blessed you with something unique and great, try not to show it off. Don’t show it off to other people so that you attract their evil eye. When it comes to the evil eye, the more evil the person’s heart, the greater will be the effect of evil eye upon that object. That is why you will see that some marriages have been broken because of the evil eye. Two spouses will start to detest one other in that marriage because of the evil eye. A person’s car can break down through the evil eye and this is why Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) mentions this verse of poetry where he says that ‘indeed the evil eye is a reality and it has the ability to knock down a knight from his horse’. This is the knight’s profession; he knows how to hold on to a horse but the evil eye is so strong it can knock down the knight from his horse. This is something you want to be careful of.
How does one go about protecting themselves from the evil eye?
- Number one, reading your daily adhkaar. There is a small book called ‘Hisnul Muslim’ with a section in it called ‘remembrances of the day’ and ‘remembrances of the night’. It is very important as Muslims that if you want to protect yourselves from the evil eye, you read those remembrances.
- Likewise, before going to bed you want to recite Qul hu wallahu ahad, Qul a’oodhu bi rabbil falaq and Qul a’oodhu bi rabbin naas over yourselves. You read it, wipe it on your hand and you rub it over your body.
- It is quite common for sisters to go out to parties and weddings dressed up, looking very nice masha’Allah. They are wearing their best clothes and they are looking their best. There is nothing wrong with that, whatsoever. But sisters, please do understand that there are sisters who will be jealous and you need to take precautionary measures. There is one particular du’a that I would suggest that whenever that situation comes up where you fear evil eye or you fear jealousy, you say this one particular du’a. It is narrated in the Sahih al Bukhari that Khawlah bint Hakeem (radi Allahu ‘anha) came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and said, “Ya rasool Allah, when I go from one place to another I fear evil for myself. Teach me something that will protect me from this evil.” So, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) taught her at this time to say the following du’a: A’ūdhu bi-Kalimātillāhi’t-tāmmāti min sharri mā khalaq (I seek refuge in the complete and perfect words of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from all evil that is created)
Now we get to the crux of the matter, how do we go about curing hasad and jealousy?
The first point I would mention over here is changing your understanding of qadr. People become jealous because of their lack of proper understanding of qadr. As Muslims, we believe that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) destines for us that which is best for our duniya and that which is best for our aakhira. This is seen in a hadith that talks about du’a. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) taught us that, “Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) answers our supplications in three ways: a) He answers it right away on the spot. b) He delays its response for a time that is better and more appropriate. c) He prevents an equivalent harm from us.” So, these are the three ways Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) answers our supplications. The lesson you derive from this hadith is that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) will always do for us and always grant us that which is best for us. When you understand that if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has not given you something, it is because it is best for you not to have it and if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has given you something and not given it to someone else, then it is best that you do have it. It is best to change your understanding of qadr and put your trust in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Trust Allah that everything He gives you is best for you and if He hasn’t given it to you then it is probably because it is best for you to not have it.
Number two is changing your perception of good. When you see something good or beautiful in another individual, you automatically assume that it is a blessing for that individual. What we fail to realize is that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) tests with good and He tests with evil. When Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) tests with evil, it is an apparent calamity that you have lost your money, you lost your job, you may have gotten divorced, etc. whatever the calamity is that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is trying and testing you with. Likewise, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) tests you with money, He tests you through marriage, He tests you through other things that people perceive as good. How does Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) test you with them? He tests you to see if these things will get you closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) or will they distance you from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)? This is why some people who remain in the state of poverty remain close to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). But, when they become prosperous, they start becoming negligent of the prayers and of the blessings of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). That is why Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) chooses to keep them in poverty because that is better for them. So, change your understanding of good. Just because someone else has something that seems good, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) may be testing them in that thing and when you covet that thing, it is as if you are coveting that test from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).
Number three is that realize that when it comes to this world, mankind is insatiable. Mankind will never be satisfied. He can never be fulfilled no matter what he is given and what he has. When you covet something from someone else you are just feeding this appetite. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said that, “If Bani Adam was given one valley of gold, he would cherish another one and then, he will cherish another one. And the only thing that would satisfy the son of Adam is ‘Thuraab‘.” The scholars differed what this means. Does this mean that until he dies he is going to keep coveting other things, or does this mean that it is only when he becomes content with the absolute minimum, that he would become content? The point is you have to strive to be of the individual who is content with what he has and this is the distinguishing characteristic of the believer as opposed to non-believer. The believer, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, eats with 1/7th of his intestine. Whereas, the disbeliever eats with complete 7th of his intestine; always filling it, always trying to fulfill his desire. The believer is content with what he has and tries to stay within his limits. When an individual tries to stay within limits, that is when he has ability to get closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).
Number four is that when it comes to this duniya, try to be in the company of those below you. And, when it comes to aakhira, try to be in the company of those who are better than you. In the terms of this duniya, you want to be around those people who may not be as blessed as you. This should remind you of the favors and blessings of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), so that you may thank him and get closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). When it comes to the aakhira, you want to be around those people who are better than you, so that it reminds you that the aakhira is your everlasting abode, where you are destined. These people should remind you of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) so that you become a better individual. When it comes to the duniya, be with those people who are less fortunate and when it comes to the aakhira, be with those people who are more righteous than you, so that you get the ultimate reminder to be patient and grateful to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in this world for what He has given you.
Last point I want to mention is supplicating to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for purifying our hearts. Saad ibn Abi Waqas (radi Allahu ‘anhu), the famous companion of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), when he would go for tawaaf in Makkah, he would be noticed to have been making the same du’a over and over again. He would be making du’a to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), “Oh Allah! save my soul from greed.” One day a person came up to Saad ibn Abi Waqas and said, “Why is this your most frequent supplication?” and he replied with something profound. He said, “When I safeguard myself from greed, I safeguard myself from greed, miserliness and from severing the ties of relationship,” meaning that jealousy and envy lead an individual into becoming greedier, stingier and likewise it ruins the relationships that we have with other individuals.
So, if you recall at the beginning of the webinar we started off with the story of Fatima and Stephanie. We asked you, “What could Fatima have done differently so that she could have remained good friends with her sister in Islam, Stephanie?” I hope that these points of benefit remind us of this, that we sabotage our own relationships, not only with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) but with people around us when we choose not to purify our hearts.
In conclusion, I would like to make du’a to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) through His Noble Names and Attributes that He purifies our hearts from all of the diseases that lie therein and that He makes us of those individuals who show up on the Day of Judgment with a qalb that is saleem.