"Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood." (Abu Dawud)
The Man Promised Paradise
How many of us can fall asleep tonight, completely at peace with the fact that our hearts are clean and pure? As humans, it is natural to hold grudges or feel envy or hatred against another person, especially if that person has wronged us in any way. Yet the Prophet sal allahu aleyhi wasallam, has mentioned many times, about the reward of one who stays away from such envy and poor intentions.
In one specific incident, the Prophet, sal allahu aleyhi wasallam, sat in the masjid with some of his companions and noted, “A man from the people of paradise will enter now.” This man entered the masjid, his beard wet from making wudu. The next day, the Prophet, sal allahu aleyhi wasallam, repeated his statement, and the same man came back to the masjid. On the third day, the incident occurred once more. A Sahabi, Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As, went up to the man asking if he could stay at his home for a while. Abdullah told him he had gotten into a fight with his father and could not return for three nights to his home. The man agreed, and Abdullah went home with him. For three nights, Abdullah watched the man’s actions, which did not include anything noteworthy. The man did not get up to pray at night, but when he did move in his bed, he remembered Allah and said, “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) until he woke up for Fajr prayer. Abdullah noted that the man said nothing but good. When the three nights were over, Abdullah let the man know he did not fight with his father, and was simply trying to see who the Prophet, peace be upon him, spoke about. Abdullah asked, “So what is that you do for Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) to say what he had said?” The man replied he did nothing more than what Abdullah had seen, and so Abdullah left. Later, the man called Abdullah back and told him, “Yes, it is nothing more than what you saw, except that I have no place in myself for ill-intentions or Hasad (envy or jealousy) towards any Muslim and what Allah has given them.” Abdullah replied that it was this type of behavior which made him worthy of praise and which others could not do. (Musnad Ahmad)
Gaining Lessons and Wisdom
Such a story is not only inspirational for the Muslims of today’s time, but also one to take many valuable lessons from. This man who is to enter Paradise was not even named in the above hadith. Rather, the point to take from the story is to note the importance of keeping ourselves away from ill thoughts and jealousy.
It is difficult, especially when today’s society seems obsessed with constant competition over both materialistic and non-materialistic things. Jealousy is caused by wanting or envying what another has. It creates hatred within the jealous person, because he will not accept that Allah subhaana wa ta'aala has given one person something which he does not have. One’s jealousy towards another will lead to ill feelings and intentions towards him or her.
Jealousy poisons the heart. It is a disease of the qalb, the heart, and causes impurities which are not pleasing to Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. It can cause one to feel that Allah subhaana wa ta'aala has not given one enough, and make him forget the mercy and provision given to him by Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. So now the question is, how can a person come around to being rid of such an illness of the heart?
When asked who the best of people are, the Prophet, peace be upon him, answered, “the one with a clean heart and truthful tongue.”
1) It is important to be righteous in intention. To have sincere intentions means that one does good deeds for the sake of Allah, and to gain His pleasure alone. It means that one tries to control hasad for Allah subhaana wa ta'aala’s pleasure.
2) Avoid that which can cause jealousy, like the love of this world. Loving materialistic things and always being wrapped up in competing with others in our society causes unnecessary hatred and envy. To be free of such factors that can trigger jealousy and hate is one step towards ridding oneself of jealousy.
3) Make it a habit to think well of others, and only speak what is good, like the man from the hadith. This will avoid causing one to think ill of others, no matter who they are or what they have done.
4) Be aware that no human being can be truly free from hasad, envy, but the thoughts or feeling should be controlled. Hasad is a human quality, and one should always keep in mind that Allah subhaana wa ta'aala has given us the reason and wisdom to better ourselves and hide or lessen this envy, hatred, and jealousy.
5) Always remember to rely on Allah subhaana wa ta'aala for help. It is only He who can help one overcome feelings of hatred and envy. Of course, the best way is to directly supplicate to Allah subhaana wa ta'aala to always keep one in the purest of heart and the best of thoughts.
Finally, one should always keep in mind that it is a direct command from Allah subhanahuwatalah, to keep away from jealousy, envy, and hatred. One obeying Him should keep this in mind when it comes to dealing with this disease of the heart.
As a concluding note, it is also important to realize that keeping the heart pure of ill thoughts and feelings is such an immense, satisfying deed to Allah subhanahuwatalah, that He has rewarded the man from the hadith with jannah, Paradise. Our ultimate goal as Muslims is Jannah (paradise), and Allah subhaana wa ta'aala, with His will, will make it easier for all of us to control our Hasad and hatred against others, so that we too, can be rewarded.
Source for Hadith: Ahya.org