In my last post I discussed why it’s important to study the diseases of the heart. So this post will be about the first disease, hasad (envy).
First we need to know what hasad is, according to Ibn al-Qayyim, hasad is defined as: “disliking a blessing that another had received and wishing that the other person would lose that blessing.”
There are several degrees of hasad:
1) When a person wants a blessing to be taken away from someone else. They don’t want the blessing for themselves just that it’s taken away from the other person.
2) When a person wants the blessing to be taken away from someone else because he wants it for himself.
3) When a person wants a blessing that someone else has without wanting it to be taken from the other person. This is permissible and known as ghibtah. The prophet (saw) said: “There is no permissible envy except in two cases; (towards) a person to whom Allah has granted wealth and property from which he gives charity by night and day, and a person to whom Allah has given the Quran and who recites it night and day.” (Agreed upon)
There are many examples of hasad in the Quran from the story of Habil and Qabil to Yusuf (as) and his brothers to even Iblees and Adam (as). They all showed how hasad caused them to commit evil acts and corrupted them.
So what causes hasad?
This often leads to envy, when you feel happy when the person you envy goes through some difficulty. You also feel unhappy when the person you envy is given a blessing from Allah.
Pride and arrogance can make a person feel envious towards someone who has a blessing that they don’t have. They can’t understand why someone who they perceive as below them has been given a blessing that they don’t have.
3) Desire for fame
When the desire to be the best in something leads the person to become obsessed with getting praise and recognition and thinks they are more special than others. If someone else receives praise they feel envious towards them.
The consequences of hasad
1) It makes a person unhappy and discontent with what they have. This can be a punishment from Allah if the person doesn’t want to cure hasad from their heart, that they will never be happy with what Allah has given them.
2) It wipes out good deeds. The prophet (saw) said: “Beware of envy, because it consumes good deeds just like a fire consumes wood.” [Abu Dawud]
3) It causes disunity in the community and between family and friends. The prophet (saw) said: “Do not envy one another; do not hate one another; do not turn your back on one another (in discontent); but be slaves of Allah as brothers.” [Bukhari]
4) Being envious of someone will lead to other sins such as backbiting, slander, spreading lies etc.
So how do we cure ourselves of hasad?
1) Force yourself to behave in the opposite way that the envy makes you feel. So if you feel like putting the person down out of your own pride then you should praise the person instead.
2) We often assume that something good that someone else has is a blessing for that person but Allah tests us with blessings as well as hardship. This blessing you desperately want, that the other person has, may not be a blessing for you. It could lead you away from Allah.
3) Look to those who have less than you and be grateful for what Allah has already blessed you with. A good way of doing this is to have a gratitude journal where you write a few things in there daily that you are thankful for having.
4) As Muslims we should understand that nothing happens without the decree of Allah. So when Allah blesses someone we will know that it is due to His divine decree and we cannot do anything to change that.
It is important to constantly reflect on the state of our heart as it is easy to fall into any of these diseases of the heart. In my next post I will discuss kibr (pride).