How to Deal with Jealousy and Envy?

Brendon Burchard, popular motivational speaker, recommends ignoring the bad behavior that results from jealousy. He suggests completely allowing the hate speech and actions to wash over you and not distract you from your goal or path.[1]

God told us something similar to this in the Quran. He said we must stay away from vain useless talk.

And when they hear dirty, false, evil vain talk, they withdraw from it and say, “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be on you. We seek not the ignorant. (Quran 28:55)

Therefore walk away, ignore the haters, the complainers, and the negative people. Take time to revisit what it is you want, for Muslims that is Paradise, and destroy the jealousy and its power by being better.

Be more righteous, be more generous, and worship and love God more. Serve others, follow God’s commandments, supplicate often and reach for your goal.

  A Destructive Emotion

Jealousy has long been recognized as a destructive emotion and one that should be kept under control or eliminated altogether.

Nowadays motivational and life coaches teach their students that jealousy can lead you away from your chosen path. This is something we Muslims understand because we are faced with situations and circumstances that seem designed to turn us away from God and His commandments.

Sometimes this is a battle we must wage against Satan but at other times it is our own ego that causes us to be jealous and thus forget our place in the world.

The word jealous is defined as a feeling of resentment towards someone because of their success or advantages. In Islam jealousy is of two kinds and we must distinguish between them.

1- Good Jealousy

There is good and protective jealousy, and there is envy.

Good jealousy, known in Arabic as ghibtah, is characterized by protectiveness, and at times it is desiring something that someone else has but not wishing the other person be deprived of God’s bounty.

Prophet Muhammad said jealousy of those who are pious or those who have great wealth and are charitable, is a good thing. [2]

This is providing that the jealousy is totally without malice.

2- Envy

Envy, on the other hand, known as hasad in the Arabic language, is the particular resentment that comes about when we want something that rightfully belongs to someone else. We feel envious that they have it and we do not.

It could refer to anything such as possessions, wealth, family, respect, or love.

Envy has been called a sickness of the heart and the soul as well as a blight on faith. Prophet Muhammad was very vocal about the insidious nature of jealousy and instructed his companions to beware of hasad because it would destroy good deeds just as fire destroys wood. [3]

Hasad was one of the things that drove Satan away from God. It is a destructive emotion.

Prophet Muhammad had experience with the destructive power of hasad and warned others to protect themselves from the harm hasad causes both to the one who envies and the one who is envied.

In verse five of the second last chapter of Quran, The Daybreak, God mentions envy as one of the things we should seek His protection from. This chapter covers the most dreadful things that can harm human beings, and hasad is one of them.

In his lectures, Burchard advises us to remember and focus on the things that enliven us or remind of us what it is we want to achieve.

Read: High Achievers Quit – A Powerful Advice

Believers want to achieve an eternal place in Paradise and if we let our feelings of jealousy and envy run wild they will be obstacles on our individual paths.

When we are jealous of what others have, we can often resort to the most destructive sins including backbiting and slander.

Prophet Muhammad explained the difference between backbiting and slander, by saying:

If what you said about your brother is true, then you have backbitten him. If what you said about him is false, then you have slandered him. [4]

Slander is making a false statement; it is a major sin and deserves a severe punishment. God says in the Quran that

… those who malign believing men and women undeservedly bear upon themselves the guilt of slander and a manifest sin. (33:58)

Envy causes people to behavior in a manner that they often understand is not acceptable. It can be a struggle for some to keep their tongue in check but it is a characteristic we must all try to avoid.

Prophet Muhammad said that:

A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west. [5]

Suspicion

Envy can also be the root cause of suspicion. It will cause a person to gather sins instead of rewards. Prophet Muhammad warned us about such behavior all of which lead to or come from jealousy. He said:

Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the falsest of speech. Do not eavesdrop; do not spy on one another; do not envy one another; do not forsake one another; do not hate one another. [6]

And God himself reminded us to avoid suspicion.

Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not… (Quran 49:12)

The scholars of Islam advise us to beware of envious people and that we can recognize them by their behavior. They backbite those they envy while pretending to be happy for them and they are happy when the one they envy is in trouble or distressed.

How to Deal?

Motivational coach Burchard advises us to deal with the jealous or envious person by doing one of two things.

Recognize their insecurities

If the person who is jealous of you is someone you care about, you could try to affirm them by recognizing their insecurities; because jealousy does stem from insecurities.

Envious people constantly ask themselves why they do not have what others have. Am I not pretty? Am I not good enough? Therefore for example you could tell them how important they are to you and that you are happy to share your good fortune with them. You could also reaffirm you love or appreciation of them.

Ignore them and walk away

Secondly his advice is to ignore their bad behavior and walk away, as discussed earlier.

However Islam asks us to hate the sin but not the sinner. Prophet Muhammad said:

Whoever would love to be delivered from the Hellfire and entered into Paradise, then let him die with faith in Allah and the Last Day, and let him treat the people the way he would love to be treated. [7]

Conclusion

In this day and age, Muslims are in the unique position of being able to analyze the information that is increasingly available in light of the words of God and His Messenger Muhammad.

____________________

[1] https://brendon.com/blog/overcoming-jealousy/

[2] Saheeh Bukhari

[3] Abu Dawood

[4] Saheeh Muslim

[5] Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim

[6] Saheeh Muslim

[7] Saheeh Muslim

Greatest Pleasure in Paradise
About Aisha Stacey
Aisha Stacey is the mother of three adult children. She embraced Islam in 2002 and spent the next five years in Doha, Qatar studying Islam and working at the Fanar Cultural Centre. In 2006 Aisha returned to university for a second time and completed at Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Writing. Aisha is also a published writer in both internet and print media and in 2009 -10 she was the Queensland editor at a national Australian Islamic newspaper ~ Crescent Times.