| 2 Summary of Ethics


Envy

Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Envy

Hasad linguistically: hasadahu yahsuduhu means that one wishes for the transference of others’ blessing and virtue to him, or their disappearance. [885] al-Qamus al-Muhit, al-Fayruzabadi (p. 277).

Hasad technically: is the desire for the blessings of the envied to transition to the envier. [886] al-Ta`rifat, al-Jurjani (p. 87). The Difference between Envy, Evil-eye (`Ayn), Want (Ghibt), Competition (Munafasah) and Contest (Musabaqah)

Evil eye is a fanciful look infused with an element of envy, and the one who brandished it is of a malignant nature. Want is a desire for the blessing found with another without wishing that it be removed from him.

Munafasah is linguistically derived from nafasah. The proof for the lawfulness of competition is: “For this let the competitors compete.” al-Mutaffifin: 26. Contesting is undertaken upon fearing missing out, like two servants racing with one another to be at their master's service. Each one would be damned to let the other beat him to favourability with their master.Dispraise of Envy and its Prohibition in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Say: ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of daybreak from the evil of whatever He has created, the evil in the night when darkness gathers, the evil in witches when they blow on knots, and the evil in the envier when he envies.’” al-Falaq: 1 - 5.
❖ He, exalted, also says: “Do they envy the people for Allah’s bounties? Indeed, We have given the descendants of Ibrahim the Book and wisdom, along with great authority.” al-Nisa’: 54.
❖ Anas ibn Malik, Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Do not hate, envy, nor forsake one another. Be, slaves of Allah, brothers.” [887] Reported by al-Bukhari (6065) and Muslim (2558). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Dispraising Envy

❖ Mu`awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, Allah be pleased with them both, said: “I am able to appease anyone but the envious of some blessing, for he finds no pleasure but in its removal.” [888] Reported by al-Dinawri in al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-`Ilm (3/50) and Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (59/200).
❖ Ibn Sirin said: “I never envied anyone over worldly matters. If he is of the inhabitants of the Garden, then how can I envy him over the worldly life when it is insignificant in comparison?! If he is of the inhabitants of the Fire, then how can I envy him when he is destined for the Fire?!” [889] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/189).
❖ al-Hasan al-Basri said: “I never saw an oppressor so akin to also being oppressed than the envious - he is constantly begrudging, inadvertently sad, and always depressed.” [890] al-`Iqd al-Farid, Ibn `Abd Rabbih (2/170). Categories of Envy
Envy that is hidden and that does not have consequential infliction of harm, nor through one’s heart, tongue, or hand. One finds his heart afflicted with an element of said evil moral, yet only deals with his brother with what pleases Allah. Wishing upon one’s brother that they remain in their state of misfortune and disliking that it be divinely altered to fortune; be that ignorance, poverty, weakness, furtherance from Allah, or lack of religiosity. Impartial want through unmalicious envy. This is when one wishes that they have something the envied possesses without said thing disappearing from him. This is fine and its possessor is not shame. Rather, it may be a form of competition. [891] Bada’i` al-Fawa’id, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/237), with adaptation. That one wishes a blessing akin to that of the envied. If it is not realised, he does not hope that it be removed from him. This is pardoned in worldly matters, and recommended in after-worldly matters. [892] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/192), with adaptation. Evils of Envy
Envy is a means to the body’s lamentation and illness. Lowliness of station and baseness of rank. People disincline from the envious and are repulsed by him. It is said in a prose adage: “The envious (hasud) never conquers (yasud).” People detest the envious; he finds no loved ones among them. They have animosity towards him; he finds no ally among them. He is received with enmity and rebuked by loathing. Gaining the wrath of Allah by opposing Him, and committing sins by disobeying Him. He does not deem Allah’s decree just, nor His blessing the people befitting. [893] Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (1/273-274), with adaptation. Reasons for Falling into Envy [894] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/192-194), with adaptation.
Enmity and hatred. High self-regard (ta`azzuz): that one cannot accept another superseding him. High self-amazement (ta`ajjub): the envious is unable to let another - who is like him in being - be more favourable than he is, without hate being out of arrogance, status, enmity, or anything similar to that. Fear of missing out on what is valuable. Arrogance. Love of power and status. Wretchedness of self, and it being avaricious with goodness for the slaves of Allah. Means to Desisting from Envy
Follow Allah’s commands, leaving off what Allah forbids one from of envy, overpowering the self away from this type of tyranny. Contentment with Allah’s destiny and decree, submitting oneself to His judgement, for He is the One who gives blessings and takes them away. Contemplating the consequences of envy, looking at its potential results and unsavoury conclusions upon one and those around him. The one is wary of others being repelled from around him, distancing themselves from him, and hating him. Doing the opposite of what envy incites one to do. Directing the self’s desires to the pleasure of Allah, exalted. [895] See: Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (1/269-270); Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/196-199); al-Tibyan fi Aqsam al-Qur'an, Ibn al-Qayyim (415). Means for Repelling the Evil of the Envious from the Envied [896] Bada’i` al-Fawa’id, Ibn al-Qayyim (238-245), with adaptation.
Seeking refuge in Allah, exalted, from the evil He created, protecting oneself through Him. Allah, exalted, hears those who find refuge in Him, and knows well what they are seeking refuge from. Mindfulness of Allah and preserving his commandments and prohibitions. Whoever is mindful of Allah, Allah will undertake his protection. Allah, exalted, says: “If you are patient and mindful of Allah, their schemes will not harm you.” Al `Imran: 120. Patience with one’s enemy, that one does not fight him, nor complain of him, nor even contemplate harming him. One was never given victory over the envious of him with anything more effective than patience over him in entrusting oneself to Allah. Freeing the conscience from thinking about the envied, exerting conscious effort to forget about him whenever the self wonders thereabout. Traversing to Allah, being sincere to Him, making His love, pleasure, and relenting to Him the focus of his consciousness and its hopes. Repenting to Allah sincerely from all sins. Charitableness and beneficence to the best of one’s ability, for this has a profound impact in repelling tribulation, evil-eye, and malicious envy. Extinguishing the fire of the envious, transgressor, and malicious by being good to him. Examples of Envy

● Satan’s Envy

Allah, majestic and exalted, created Adam, peace be upon him, honoured him, and ennobled him. He commanded the Angels to prostrate to him, but Satan was arrogant, disobedient, and envious of his God-given station. Allah, exalted, says: “Surely, We created you, We gave you shape, and then We said to the angels: ‘Prostrate before Adam,’ and they did. But not Satan: he was not one of those who prostrated. Allah said: ‘What prevented you from bowing down as I commanded you?’ and he said: ‘I am better than him: You created me from fire and him from mud.’” al-A`raf: 11, 12. Qatadah said: “Allah’s enemy Satan envied Adam, peace be upon him, for what He gave him of nobility. He said: ‘I am of fire, and he of mud.’ [897] Tafsir Ibn Kathir (1/231). Ibn `Atiyyah said: “The first sin against Allah was through envy, and it was manifested by Satan.” [898] al-Muharrar al-Wajiz (3/469).

● Qabil’s Envy of Habil

Allah, exalted, says: “Tell them the truth about the story of Adam’s two sons: each of them offered a sacrifice, and it was accepted from one and not the other. One said, ‘I will kill you,’ but the other said, ‘Allah only accepts the sacrifice of those who are mindful of Him. If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you. I fear Allah, the Lord of all worlds, and I would rather you were burdened with my sin as well as yours and became an inhabitant of the Fire: such is the evildoers’ reward.’” al-Ma’idah: 27 - 30. Siraj al-Din ibn `Adil said: “When Adam, peace be upon him, was sent to his children as a prophet, they were obedient Muslims. There was no difference among them in religion. That, until Qabil killed Habil due to envy and aggression.” [899] al-Lubab fi `Ulum al-Kitab (3/501).

● The Envy of Yusuf’s Brothers

Allah, exalted, says: “There are lessons in the story of Yusuf and his brothers for all who seek them. The brothers said: ‘Although we are many, Yusuf and his brother are dearer to our father than we are – our father is clearly in the wrong.’ One of them said: ‘Kill Joseph or banish him to another land, and your father’s attention will be free to turn to you. After that you can be righteous.’” Yusuf: 7 - 9 al-Mawardi said: “Ya`qub was their sole guardian after the death of their mother, so his care for them Yusuf and his brother increased. This is the reason for their being envious of them. He loved Yusuf intensely, so they were more envious of him. He then saw the vision, so their envy intensified.” [900] al-Nukat wa al-`Uyun (3/9).

● The Envy of Jews and Christians

Allah, exalted, elucidated that the People of the Book who disbelieved in Muhammad ﷺ envied him for what Allah gave Him from His bounty. So much so that they claimed the disbelievers of Makkah are more guided than those who believe the message of the Prophet ﷺ. Allah, exalted, says: “Do you not see how those given a share of the Book now believe in idols and evil powers? They say of the disbelievers, ‘They are more rightly guided than the believers.’ Those are the ones Allah has cursed; you will not find anyone to help those Allah has cursed. Do they have control over shares of the kingdom? If so, they would not have given anyone so much as the speck on a date stone. Or do they envy the people for Allah’s bounties? Indeed, We have given the descendants of Ibrahim the Book and wisdom, along with great authority.” al-Nisa’: 51 - 54.Envy in the Words of the Eloquent, Wise, and Poetic

❖ Some sage was asked: “Which of your enemies do you wish never becomes your friend?” He replied: “The envious who is not enticed to my friendship but by the perishing of my blessings.” [901] al-`Iqd al-Farid, Ibn `Abd Rabbih (2/171).
❖ It is said: “A sign of little ambition is envying a comrade over his blessings.” [902] al-Tartushi, Siraj al-Muluk (p. 58).
❖ It is said: “Among the signs of the envious is his sophistry when called upon for testimony, his backbiting when absent, and his gloating when a calamity befalls.” [903] Ruh al-Bayan, Isma`il Haqqi (2/51).
❖ Mahmud al-Warraq said:

“I gave all people my genuine pleasure,
But for the envious - he truly tires me.

Not for some mischief I trouble him with;
Simply the Merciful’s gracious bounties.

His insides boil in rage due to seeing me
In perfect sufficiency and eloquent speech.

I think him never pleased but for my disgrace,
My wealth perishing, and my tongue severed!” [904] Mawarid al-Zam’an li-Durus al-Zaman, `Abd al-`Aziz al-Salman (3/48).


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