There are mistakes which some of the students of knowledge fall into; and amongst them are:

Firstly: Jealousy and envy.

It is to dislike that which Allaah has blessed one of his servants with. It is not just a desire for the cessation of that which Allaah has blessed other than him with, rather it is absolute dislike of the person for that which Allaah has blessed him with over and above someone else. And this is jealousy and envy, irrespective of whether it is a desire for its cessation or for it remaining whilst he dislikes him.

Just as has been affirmed by Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimatullaahi ta’aala ‘alayhi) who said: “Jealousy and envy is disliking a person for that which Allaah has blessed him with over and above others.”

Often jealousy will not leave the inner soul, meaning that it becomes compulsive within the soul. However, it has been mentioned in a hadeeth: “If you become jealous, then do not intend it; and if you become suspicious, then do not seek it out.”99

Meaning, that it is obligatory upon a person, should he notice jealousy in his heart for another, that he does not offend him with any statement nor any action, for certainly that is from the practice of the Jews, about whom Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

Or do they envy men for what Allaah has given them of His Bounty? Then We had already given the family of Ibraaheem the Book and al-Hikmaah (as-Sunnah), and conferred upon them a great kingdom.100

Then the jealous one falls into many prohibitions:

Firstly: His disliking that which Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has decreed, for certainly, disliking that which Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) has blessed someone with is to dislike that which Allaah has decreed. This constitutes opposing the ruling of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala).

Secondly: Jealousy devours the good deeds, just fire devours wood, for in most cases the jealous one is prepared for his victim with mention of that which he dislikes by frightening the people away from the victim, and putting him down in that which he is able. And this is from amongst the major sins which could possibly outweigh one’s good deeds.

Thirdly: That which settles in the heart of the jealous one, in the form of grief and the burning “fire” which devours him, such that each time Allaah bestows a blessing upon his victim, he becomes distressed and his chest tightens. He observes this person, and in all that Allaah has blessed him with, he is saddened and distressed and the world around him tightens.

Fourthly: Certainly in jealousy there is a likening to the Jews, and that which is known is that he who involves himself in a practice of the disbelievers becomes one of them in this act, as the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever resembles a people (nation), then he is (considered) from amongst them.”101

Fifthly: Jealousy conflicts with the completeness of eemaan (faith), as the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”102

…that you dislike for the cessation of a blessing of Allaah upon another, and if you do not dislike this then you do not love for your brother that which you love for yourself, and this conflicts with the completeness of eemaan.

Sixthly: Jealousy results in the turning away of the servant from asking Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) of His Favours; so you find him always concerned with the blessing which Allaah has bestowed upon other than him, and subsequently, he fails to ask Allaah of His Favours, as He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) said:

And wish not for the things in which Allaah has made some of you to excel others. For men there is a reward for what they have earned, for women there is reward for what they have earned, and ask Allaah of His Bounty.103

Seventhly: Jealousy leads to contempt of the blessing of Allaah upon him. Meaning, that the jealous one sees he is not in any blessing, and the victim is in a blessing greater than him, and as a result, despises the blessing of Allaah upon himself and does not turn to express gratitude, but instead becomes neglectful.

Eighthly: Jealousy is an ugly characteristic. The jealous one observes the blessings of Allaah upon someone from amongst his group, then he attempts, with all he is able to muster, to interfere amongst the people and the victim by putting him down in that which he is able. He does this by scorning at that which the victim attempts in doing good, besides other things.

Ninthly: That the jealous one, when he becomes jealous of his victim, often resorts to attacking him; in this case, his victim will take of his good deeds on the Day of Judgment, and if there are no good deeds remaining, the jealous one will take of the evil deeds of the victim, such that he will finally be hurled into the Hell-Fire.

In Summary: Certainly jealousy is an ugly characteristic, and sadly it is more prevalent amongst the scholars and the students of knowledge, and amongst the merchants too. Indeed, anyone who has a trade, then his opponent is jealous of him. However, it is more predominant amongst the scholars and the students of knowledge. This is sad, particularly since it is more appropriate and befitting for the people of knowledge to be the furthest from jealousy and the nearest to the perfect of good morals and ethics.

My dear brother, if you see that Allaah has blessed one of his servants with something, then strive hard to be like him. Do not dislike him whom Allaah has blessed with something, rather say:

O Allaah increase for him from your favors and grant me better than him.

And jealousy does not change a thing from the state of the victim; however, as we mentioned, in these causes of corruption and evil and the nine dangers listed, hopefully, he who reflects over them will find much, and Allaah is the one from whom assistance is sought.

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[99] Fath al-Baaree of al-Haafiz ibn Hajar – Volume 10, Page 213; At-Tamheed of ibn ‘Abdul-Barr – Volume 6, Page 125; Al-Kabeer of at-Tabaraanee – Volume 3, Page 8258; Kash al-Khafaa of ‘al-’Ajaloonee – Volume 1, Page 104; Tafseer al-Qur’aan al-’Adtheem of ibn Katheer – Volume 4, Page 191.

[100] The Noble Qur’aan – Soorah an-Nisaa, aayah 54.

[101] Musnad of Imaam Ahmad – Volume 5, Page 5; Abu Daawood – The Book of Clothing; Al-Musann of ibn Abee Shaybah – Volume 5, Page 313; Mujamma ‘Uz-Zawaa’id of al-Haythamee – Volume 10, Page 271; At-Tamheed of ibn ‘Abdul-Barr – Volume 6, Page 80 Majmoo’ al-Fataawa of ibn Taymiyyah – Volume 5, Page 331, where it mentions: it’s isnaad is good. Fath al-Baaree of al-Haafiz ibn Hajar – Volume 6, Page 97; Al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer of as-Suyootee – Volume 1, Page 590; Ahmad Shoakir has authenticated the hadeeth in al-Musnad, number 5114.

[102] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree – The Book of Eemaan.

[103] The Noble Qur’aan – Soorah an-Nisaa, Aayah 32.

  • Transcribed from: The Book of Knowledge || Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah)
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