Spirituality

Jealousy The Good & The Bad

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By Sobia Javed

How to tame the green-eyed monster within.

Jealousy – One word consisting of eight letters, but something so powerful that it can destroy relationships, foster ill feelings and provoke rage. In this social media era, we are bombarded with Facebook photos or status updates depicting people’s “perfect” lives.

Or open any magazine and there are pictures of celebrities looking flawless or wearing their size 8 jeans one month after giving birth. It’s all too easy to feel inadequate, inferior and lacking – feelings which simply incite jealousy.

What can you do to overcome the bad kind of jealousy?

  1. Remember that it is a sin, and as Muslims, we try to avoid sins as much as possible. Ask Allah to help you deal with your negative emotions.
  2. Read the Qur’an. It is full of inspiring stories, and there are numerous reminders to ponder over. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others…” (Quran, chapter 4, verse 32)
  3. Look at those that are less fortunate than you. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favor bestowed on you.” (Source: Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
  4. Become a volunteer.
  5. Write down the blessings you have.

There are different types of jealousy and Islamic teachings distinguish clearly between them.

Hasad
Destructive jealousy (or envy), which is referred to as Hasad in Arabic, is the absolute worst kind that one can experience. It is where you wish evil upon a fellow human being and feel elated when misfortune befalls the person that you are jealous of. If someone else has something that you want, you feel rage.

Not only does your desire grow stronger to obtain this thing but you ardently wish that it is taken away from the other person!

It can manifest itself in other ways too, such as if another person is praised in your presence, you immediately feel angry and jealous, and you try to downplay their talent, or dismiss it completely. Or even worse, you pretend to join in with the praise, but use sly, cutting remarks to defame that person “innocently.”

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” (Source: Abu Dawud)

Imagine that! Place a piece of wood in fire and it is rapidly destroyed. In the same way, your good deeds are destroyed by jealousy.

Ghibtah

In contrast to hasad, there is another type of jealousy called Ghibtah. This is actually a good kind of jealousy where you feel no malice towards someone who has something you want, but rather, it makes you strive to achieve the same.

Ghibtah generally refers to more spiritual rather than material things, such as when you see someone with more Islamic knowledge then you, thus inspiring you to gain more  knowledge yourself.

 

 

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