Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
A Trait of Rasulullah s.a.w’s – Absence of Envy
Blessed Friday Jama’ah,
Let us increase our taqwa in Allah s.w.t by obeying all of His commands and distance ourselves from all of His prohibitions. May our hearts be filled with faith, which brings calmness to our soul as well as happiness in this world and the hereafter.
Rasulullah s.a.w. is the best example for the believers. Among his noble traits that must be observed and exemplified by all of us is how he s.a.w. never had any envy towards other people. The Prophet s.a.w. once said:
Meaning: “Two will never be gathered in the heart of a slave: Faith and envy.” [Hadith reported by An-Nasa’i]
This hadith explains that envy is not a trait of the believer. This is because envy, according to Imam Al-Qurtubi, is about hoping to see the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon another person being taken away. It certainly does not befit a believer to have such unpleasant hopes for other people.
Brothers in Islam,
Envy (hasad) is one of the detestable traits. It is not only self-destructive, it also destroys good relationships among people. Those who possess such a trait usually are affected by the happiness of others which in turn affects a person’s peace and mental stability. Rasulullah s.a.w. reminds us of the dangers of envy in the following hadith:
Which means: “Beware of envy, for envy consumes good deeds just as fire consumes firewood.” [Hadith reported by Abu Dawud]
Know that envy arises when we fail to understand that whatever good that happens is a blessing from Allah s.w.t. upon His servants. Allah s.w.t. gives whomever He wants. Allah s.w.t mentions in Surah Ar-Ra’d verse 26:
Which means: “Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.”
If Allah s.w.t. has chosen to bestow His blessings upon His servants, who are weto question His Will? Are we in a position to feel that we have the rights to remove those blessings?
Imam Hasan Al-Basri said, “O son of Adam, do not be envious of your brothers. If what has been given to him is a God-given glory, then do not make an enemy out of those who are glorified by Allah.”
My brothers, if we truly believe that the good things attained by a person are blessings from Allah s.w.t., we will not be envious of others. This is because all of it comes from Him, he is the one who gives and withholds. There is wisdom behind each and every one of His decrees.
Islam teaches us to hope for the best for others. And every time we hope for a good thing to occur upon others, Allah s.w.t. will bless us with something equally good or even better than what we hoped for.
Let us observe what Rasulullah s.a.w. said in encouraging us to always hope and pray the best for our brothers and sisters without their knowledge. The meaning of the said hadith is: “The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May the same be for you, too’.” [Hadith reported by Muslim]
Such is one of the ways we can overcome any envy or jealousy in our hearts, which sometimes sneaks in when we see the good fortune of those around us.
Furthermore, we are also highly encouraged to have good assumption and praise Allah s.w.t. upon receiving good news – by saying ‘Alhamdulillah!’ or ‘MasyaAllah!’. These expressions will remind us that all good things are blessings from Allah s.w.t. As His servants, we need to be grateful, to hope for the best, and to remove any negative feelings such as bad assumption, jealousy, envy and the like.
There are many benefits in removing envy from our hearts. Not only will we achieve peace and contentment in this world, we are also promised paradise.
In a hadith reported by Imam Ahmad, it is related that a man from amongst the Ansar folk was promised paradise by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. After hearing this account, a Companion of the Prophet s.a.w. named Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-Ash r.a., approached the man and asked to stay with him. He wanted to know what was the man’s good deed that entitled him to a place in paradise by Rasulullah s.a.w. After three days of staying with the man, Abdullah Ibn Amr felt that the situation was strange, because he did not once see the man waking up in the middle of the night to perform tahajjud prayers or any other additional acts of worship. So Abdullah Ibn Amr asked the Ansari man, what was the deed that resulted in him being promised paradise by Rasulullah s.a.w., and the man answered:
Which means: “As you can see, I do not make any additional acts of worship, except that I do not bear any grudges against any one of the believers, or have envy of something that Allah has blessed him with.”
Ya Allah, purify our hearts from feelings of jealousy and envy. Guide our souls to always have good thoughts of our brothers and sisters. Let love and affection flourish amongst us and those around us. Do not let anger and hatred reside in our hearts so that we can achieve peace and happiness in this world, and so that we can gain Your pleasure in the hereafter. Amin ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.