By Rabiya Fahma Dawood
Envy or jealousy is a feeling that all of us experience at some point in life. It might be due to a neighbour’s new car, a colleague’s promotion, someone’s progress in school, or even the amount of knowledge someone possesses. It is a negative emotion that springs into our hearts when we witness others being favoured with blessings that we wish for ourselves. Its vile nature is described in the following hadith:
“Beware of jealousy, for it certainly destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.”
(Abu Dawood; acceptable)
Here are eight ways to combat envy:
1. Seek refuge in Allah
The envy that you feel is fuelled by none other than Satan. This is why Allah commands us in the last chapter of the Qur’an to seek refuge in Him from: “(the one) who whispers [evil] into the breasts of humankind – From among the jinn and humankind.” (Surah an-Naas: 5-6)
The next time this ill feeling creeps up, avert it immediately by using a simple yet powerful tool – saying of أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم (A‘oodhu billâhi min ash-Shaytân ir-rajeem – I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan).
2. ‘Rebel’ against envy
This step is an extension of the previous point. Here, we not only seek to avert Satan’s provocations, but also consciously make efforts to defeat him and our self at their own game.
This makes us go from re-active to pro-active!
So if you feel envious of any people, stop yourself and fight the urge to think ill of them. Go beyond and force yourself to think the best. The following few points are good examples of this step.
- for yourself – Instead of constantly feeling as though you are lacking something in life, do something about it. And the best thing you can do is to ask the One Who Compels (al-Jabbar) to rid you of this feeling, and ask the One Who Provides (ar-Razzaq) and the One Who Gifts (al-Wahhab) to grant you better blessings. This act will bring guaranteed results, as Allah promises:
“…I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me…” (Surah al-Baqarah: 186)
- for the other – When an envious person supplicates sincerely for the envied ones, it eradicates all animosity between the two. This is one of the most effective ways to ‘rebel’ against envy, and it entails a two-fold reward for the one who supplicates:
- A reward for going against Satan and his own self
- Supplications from the angels for what he envied in the first place, if not better!
The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “If any believing servant supplicates for his brother behind his back (in his absence), the angels say: The same be for you too.” (Muslim)
4. Shake hands and exchange greetings of peace
Shaking hands and exchanging greetings of peace with others removes feeling of animosity, as the Prophet (sa) said:“When any two Muslims meet and shake hands, their sins are forgiven before they separate.” (Abu Dawood; sound)
5. Stop comparing yourself with others
Allah mentions in the Qur’an: “Do not wish for what We have favored some of you over others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing.” (Surah an-Nisa: 32)
6. Count your own blessings
Being grateful for the blessings bestowed on us not only brings contentment to the heart, but also leads to an increase in our blessings! Allah mentions: “…If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe.” (Surah Ibraheem: 7)
It’s a beautiful cycle.
7. Be the best that you can be
The only things that we can control are our own actions and behaviours. We may not be able to control another’s actions or fate, but we can give our own efforts the best shot. So focus on your own self, make Jannah (paradise) your ultimate goal, and feel satisfied with giving it your best!
8. Trust Allah and His Plans
Finally, have good thoughts about Allah at all times. He knows when to give you what, and He alone knows what’s best for you. “… But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 216)
Rabiya Dawood is a freelance writer, editor, counsellor, and teacher. She has taught at Islamic weekend schools based in the UAE, is counsellor at ArRajaa The Hope Counselling Service as well as Solace Islamic Assistance, and staff editor and writer at Islamic magazines such as Muslimaat Magazine and previously at IOU Insights. She also serves as freelance editor for independent writers.
© IIPH 2016