Treating the Heart: Envy

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Treating the Heart: Envy

Bint Munir Husayn

(Dawra-e-Hadith student Jamia-tul-Madinah (Girls), Gulbahar, Sialkot)

Just as pious deeds can be outward or inward, such as salah and sincerity respectively, so too can sins. Relative to outward sins, internal sins are more dangerous.

The Proof of Islam, Imam Muammad al-Ghazālī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states:

There is a special connection between ostensible actions and inward characteristics. If one’s inward is corrupt, the outward actions will be corrupted likewise. If the inward is pure from envy, ostentation, arrogance, and other blameworthy attributes, the outward actions will also be wholesome.[1]

Envy is a sin of the heart and having knowledge concerning it is obligatory. Take note of a few fundamental, beneficial matters concerning it.

Definition of Envy (ḥasad):

Envy is longing for the removal of someone’s religious or worldly blessing or wishing that a particular person is not granted this blessing.[2] asad is derived from asdal which means a tick (an insect resembling a nit). Just as a tick is parasitic, attaching itself to the human body and sucking its blood, envy also wraps itself around the heart of a human and drains its spirituality.[3]

Difference between ḥasad and Ghibṭa   

Ghiba means praiseworthy envy. It is stated in Bahār-e-Sharīat: Wishing that one is granted the like of a blessing that is with another is known as ghibah.[4] 

Ghibah is permissible whereas envy is a characteristic which is denounced. In Maktabat-ul-Madinah’s Baatini Bimaariyon ki Ma’loomaat, it is mentioned: If the thought of Envy arises in one’s heart through his own volition and he also acts upon it or he manifests it through some of his limbs, then this is a arām act which leads to Hell.[5]

Envy has been condemned by the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Let us read five hadith regarding this:

1.   “There are also enemies of Allah’s blessings.” It was asked, “Who are they?” He replied, “Those who envy people because Allah Almighty has granted them blessings through His grace.”[6]

It is as though the envious person is objecting to Allah Almighty that: ‘so and so person was not worthy of this blessing, so why was he given it?’[7]

2.   “The ailment of the previous nations, Envy and hatred has spread among you. I do not say it shaves hair; however, it shaves the religion.”[8]

It does this by eliminating one’s faith and religiosity from the root. Sometimes, due to enmity and envy a person leaves Islam. Satan also succumbed to these two ailments.[9]

3.   “Envy corrupts faith just like aloe spoils honey.”[10]

Aloe is extremely bitter and if it is mixed into honey, then the sharp sweetness and sharp bitterness combine to give such an unpleasant flavour that ingesting it becomes difficult.[11]

4.   “Save yourselves from envy. It devours good deeds the way fire consumes dry wood.”[12]

The envier commits such sins due to his envy that they destroy his good deeds like fire destroys wood.[13]

5.   “Do not envy one another. Do not have enmity with one another. Do not mention evil about one another behind your backs. Slaves of Allah, live as brothers!”[14]

Meaning that envy, enmity, and other negative sentiments towards others diminish love which is the foundation of Islamic brotherhood and unity. Therefore, purge yourselves of these shortcomings so that you become brothers.[15]

Remedy for Envy:

There are countless harms of envy. Therefore, if someone suffers from envy, they should take steps to treat it. For example: repenting, making dua, remaining content with Allah’s decree, remembering death, avoiding focusing on other’s blessings, contemplating the destructions of envy, pondering the virtues of avoiding envy, seeking spiritual treatment, performing acts of piety.

May Allah Almighty protect us from all forms of inward and outward ailments.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم


[1] Minhāj al-ʿĀbidīn, p. 13

[2] Hadeeqah Nadiyyah, vol. 1, p. 600

[3] Lisān al-ʿArab, p. 868

[4] Bahār-i-Sharīʿat, vol. 3, p. 542

[5] Baatini Bimaariyon ki Ma’loomaat, p. 44

[6] Al-Zawājir, vol. 1, p. 114

[7] Jannati Zaywar, p. 109

[8] Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhi: 2518

[9] Mirāt al-Manājī, vol. 6, p. 615

[10] Al-Jāmiʿ al-aghīr: 3819

[11] Mirāt al-Manājī, vol. 6, p. 665

[12] Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 4903

[13] Mirqāt al-Mafātī: 5039

[14] aī al-Bukhāri: 6066

[15] Mirāt al-Manājī, vol. 6, p. 607




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