Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|No place for envy|
|09/09/01 at 23:42:34|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]No place for envy
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
When a person looks around him, he may find that other people have been given far greater favors and blessings than he. This represents a great test. Satan does not allow such an opportunity to pass without trying to make use of it for his own ends. If he succeeds in his efforts, the person concerned experiences a strong sense of envy, which will be mixed with dissatisfaction, anger and even hostility toward the person so favored. He may also be ashamed of himself for being envious of someone who may be a relative or a friend. That could lead to anxiety or depression.
When a person feels envious of another, he is actually irritated because God has given that person more than He has given him. He is also angry with God, who has given us all that we have, because when he compares his lot with that of other people, he feels that he has been deprived. What may heighten his irritation and distress is his feeling that he is superior to the one who enjoys God's grace and blessings. Despite his superiority, he is distressed at being given less by God.
It is arrogance that generates his feelings of being hardly done by. He begins to be angry with the target of his envy, because he has received God's favors, as though those favors should have been assigned to him. To put things right, or to remove the injustice, those favors should be withdrawn from their recipient and given to him. If they cannot be secured for him, then the minimum that should be done is to deprive their owner of them, because, in his own view, the recipient does not deserve them. He feels that the favors God has granted to the person he envies give that person a higher position than his own. Hence, he would not rest until those favors have been removed to bring, at least, a situation of equality or fairness between them.
God has shown us that the hypocrites envy us, believers, the great blessings we enjoy as a result of having accepted God's guidance and embraced His faith, while they have rejected them. Hence, they dearly wish that believers revert to disbelief so that they would be equal with them. "They would love to see you disbelieve as they themselves disbelieve, so that you may be all alike. Do not, therefore, take them for your allies, until they migrate for God's cause." (4: 89) Referring to the disbelievers from among the people of earlier religions and to the idolaters, God says: "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the idolaters do not wish that any blessings should come down to you from your Lord. But God favors whom He wills with His mercy, and His grace is infinite." (2: 105) He also says: "Many among the People of the Book would love to lead you back to disbelief, now that you have embraced the faith. This they do out of deep seated envy, although the truth has been made plain to them. Forgive and forebear until God makes known His will. God has power over all things." (2: 209)
An envious person feels that fairness requires that God should give him as He gives others. He forgets that God bestows His grace on whom He wills, because God may not be questioned about what He does. No human being may interfere with God's will or determine who should be given favors and who may not. It is up to God to decide on whom He showers His favors. Nothing behoves a believer other than to accept God's will and be thankful for what He is given.
A believer does not forget that whatever we are given in the life of this world is merely a means for a test. God, in His wisdom, has determined that we should have different measures of all His favors, such as money, property, offspring, strength, beauty, intelligence, etc. A verse in the Qur'an gives us one reason for this difference: "Is it they who apportion your Lord's blessings? It is We who deal out to them their livelihood in this world, exalting some in rank above others, so that the one may take the other into his service. Better is your Lord's mercy than all their hoarded treasures," (43: 32). This verse clearly shows that we have been given different measures of God's favors so that some of us will provide service to others. Thus, society will have people to discharge all tasks.
Fairness does not mean that God's favors should be assigned on equal basis. Divine justice is seen in the fact that God does not hold anyone to account for anything other than his or her own deeds. He will accept true excuses and circumstances that may justify or extenuate actions. He does not punish anyone without first sending Apostle to warn people and show them Divine guidance.
He will not waste even the smallest good deeds a person does. God's justice has many other aspects which evaryone of us identifies in his or her own personal relation with God. For He will never do injustice to anyone. If He gives some people more than others, that does not contradict fairness and justice, as long as He rewards everyone for every iota of goodness they do.
Favors are God's own property which He grants to whomever He pleases, in the measure and quantity He determines. A believer will always be content. Indeed he prays God to add His blessing to the favors He grants to others. It is open to everyone to pray God to grant him or her similar favors to those He has granted others, or even more.
When a person feels envious of others, that feeling shows that he loves to have the same as they have been given. This means that he should exert efforts to achieve similar results. Most envy is the result of feeling one's inability to make one's hopes materialize. His self-confidence is low. Hence, he begins to envy others, and his envy may cause him to try to destroy the favors they have been granted, even though this may lead him to commit a hideous crime. Hence, God tells us to seek refuge with Him against the evil of envious people.
The first crime ever to be committed by man on Earth was the killing of one of Adam's sons by his brother. The motive was envy, when God accepted the offering made by one brother and rejected that of the other. He would have done better to mend his ways so that God would accept his offering next time. Similarly, Joseph's brothers schemed to kill him as they envied him the fact that he was their father's favorite son.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 18 December 2000[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with doube 'f')
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