I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“Whatever of mercy, Allaah grant to mankind, none can withhold it; and whatever He may withhold, none can grant it thereafter. And He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.” Qur’an 35:2
Everyman aspires for greatness but not all men posses the will and patience to attain it. Man, by nature is competitous and is always in a race to outdo others or to be like them and if he is not guided by the sound foundation of Tauheed (Oneness of Allaah) his competitive nature will pave way for his depression and eventual destruction. However, being sound in Tauheed is a plus factor in which case his competition will be healthy and commendable as Allaah Exalted be He commands, “In good ways compete (with one another)” Qur’an 2:148. Islam focuses more on the inner reality of individuals as against their outer disposition. The purity of a man’s heart reflects beautifully on his character and manner, on his virtuous pursuits and it is epitomized by his love for his fellow brothers as much good as he loves for himself.
Arguably, the absence of virtuous disposition and cleanliness of heart is a fertile breeding ground for the disease of hasad (envy) and if not tamed at the inception then it destroys the envious one before it reaches the envied. What is this cancer that has ripped apart brothers, sisters, families, friends, colleagues, scholars, students of knowledge and at the highest destructive level of its manifestation, it has ripped apart parents and their children? Hasan (destructive) envy is to wish that a blessing that Allaah has bestowed on the envied person be taken away. It has various manifestations viz-a-viz desiring that a blessing be taken away from a fellow Muslim, even if it does not come to the envious one; desiring that such blessings come his way after being taken from the envied and lastly desiring to have a similar blessing bestowed on the envied without wanting it to be taken away from him. Of all the three manifestations, the last is the praiseworthy one because the Prophet (may peace be upon him) referred to it as ghibah.
In the books of Qur’an exegesis (Tafseer), the incidence of Habeel (Abel) and Qabeel (Cain) is well detailed but the long and short of it was that Qabeel was envious of the fact that the sacrifice made by his brother was accepted and his was rejected and out of the flame of envy he stretched forth his hands and killed his blood brother. He was absolutely blinded by envy that he could not appreciate the fact that Allaah only accepts from the pious ones.This is what envy does, it makes people to claim the lives of one another and if there is envy even brothers become strangers but if there is love even strangers become brothers. If envy is allowed to be nurtured in the heart, then a man can go to any length to satisfy the burning desire kindled by his envy nature, he can simply kill even if it is parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, anyone at all. Envy dictates to man to first oppose the envious one in whatever way, if this does not yield the desired result, then it pushes man to seek to tarnish the image of the envied, if this does not work, it pushes the envious one to gather forces against the envied and if it fails, he goes for the jugular to choke out the life of the envied. It is a vicious circle which every Muslim must stay away from, at least the path to Jannah is a straight path not a circle.
In addition, envy does not only take away a man’s happiness and peace of mind in this world it causes a great deal of harm to him in the Hereafter. The Prophet (peace be upon him) being the role model that he is to the believers and an excellent teacher would not allow the virus of envy to go unchecked with spiritual immunization, he warned his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) against the disease of envy. In a narration declared sound by Imam At-Tirmidhi in his book Jaami’ At-Tirmidhi on the strength of Az-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: “There has come to you the 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 (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 greeting of) salaam amongst yourselves.”
The excellence of the teaching methodology and correctional approach of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is parallel in the history of the world, his was the best approach for he will not only paint the image of how bad a problem is, but will also proffer a lasting solution to the problem cutting off its roots never to crop up again. ‘Spread (the greeting of) salaam amongst yourselves’ this statement opens the gate to an acceptable Iman (belief) that qualifies its adherent to be entered into Paradise, it destroys every element of envy in a man as long as he means the word ‘salaam (peace)’ when he extends it. Again, no man by his strength can overcome his own evil nature except by the help of Allaah Exalted be He, hence, the greatest weapon against this enemy within is that of du’a (supplication) and the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say; ““Wa’hdi qalbi wa’slul sakheemata sadri (guide my heart and remove ill will from my breast).” One of the best ways to deal with an evil insinuation is to tame it by seeking for refuge with Allaah from the accursed Satan the moment such feelings of hasad (envy) strike. What better way to deal with envy than to train your heart to love the envied because envy stems from hatred? In the Muwatta of Malik ibn Anas (may Allaah have mercy on him) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Shake hands, for this will dispel rancor, and exchange gifts and love one another, for this will dispel hatred.” Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah said in his book Amraad al-Quloob (diseases of the heart): “Whoever find in himself any hasad (envy) towards another has to try to neutralize it by means of taqwa (piety, consciousness of Allaah) and sabr (patience).
In conclusion, each individual has an exert amount of sustenance written for him by Allaah and this will never be decreased by the envy of the envious nor denied by the scheming of the envious one. The envied should be patient on the envy of the envious one for it was said that his patience will kill the envious one while the envious should train his soul to be beloved to Allaah so that the disease of envy can be cured and replaced with the light of taw (piety) and love.