[Hadeeth Commentary] The Reality of Hasad (Jealousy)


Related on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; do not under cut one another in business transactions; be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah (swt). A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.” (Muslim)

This Hadeeth is about the rights of a Muslim. A Muslim has more rights upon another Muslim compared to a non-Muslim. This Hadeeth clarifies the things which you should not do to another Muslim. This does not in any way mean that all these things are allowed if the other person is a non-Muslim. Certainly, Allah (swt) demands that we be fair and just to all.

Unity is one of the greatest aims Islam asks Muslims to strive for and Allah (swt) forbids any division among the Muslim Ummah. The Quran urges Muslims in countless verses to remain united. Allah (swt) says: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (which is Islam) and be not divided among yourselves…” (Al-Imran 3:103)

Several guidelines steer Muslims to practice deeds resulting in unity. Simultaneously, Islam prohibits many actions that can lead to divergence in the Muslim Ummah. The very first action that the Prophet (sa) forbids us is envy (Hasad). The fact is that Hasad led Shaitan to envy Adam (as) and lose his status among the angles. Hasad is also responsible for the first sin committed on earth by Cain (Qabil) who murdered his brother Able (Habil).

What is Hasad?

Hasad means desiring the removal of a blessing from somebody else that has been bestowed upon him by Allah (swt). For instance, somebody is blessed with wealth/children/knowledge and you feel Hasad. Hasad is having this feeling in the heart. It is felt in matters of both Deen and Dunya. The envious person actively wishes the removal of the blessing from another person, and wishes for them to get deprived even though he or she might not receive a similar blessing. For example, thinking about how someone is wealthy and always travelling; feeling upset because you cannot do the same. You just do not want another to have something you do not have, or cannot attain.



Ibn Taymiyah also included in the definition of Hasad that one hates the person having a blessing and feels that they do not deserve it, even if you do not know that person. The reality is that you hate something that Allah (swt) has given someone. Allah (swt) distributes the blessings and you are accountable for your feelings.

Levels of Hasad

Ibn Rajab states in his definition that it is part of human nature that a person dislikes anyone who is better than him in virtues. He says that people differ in their attitudes and he lists five categories of envy that people have:

  1. Some people will make the effort through action/speech to end the bounty received by someone whom they envy.
  2. Others will try to take it away from the person they envy and then try to get it for themselves.
  3. Some people do not make any effort by action/speech to harm the one whom they envy. This category of people can be of two types:
    1. The one who does his best to eliminate the feeling of envy within himself but he cannot overcome it. In spite of this, he keeps fighting and struggling against it. Ibn Rajab says: “This type of person is excused from punishment.”
    2. The one who thinks about envy and practices it repeatedly. He does not make any effort to fight it even though he does not do any harm by action/speech. He wishes that the bounty of the envied one gets lost. Consequently, this person deserves punishment.
    3. Those people who envy someone but do not harm. They do not even wish the loss of the bounty from the envied one. Instead, they make an effort to attain a similar bounty or virtue for themselves. Ibn Rajab says: “If this bounty is worldly virtues/ bounties, there is no benefit in that. But if it is a righteous virtue, then it is good.”
    4. Some people who whenever feel envy, they do their best to stop it and do something good for the person whom they envy. Also, they make Dua for that person until they love him because envy is usually associated with hatred. Ibn Rajab says: “These people are the best believers since everyone is subjected to indulge or be trapped by envy.” (40 Hadeeth Nawawi)

We should keep in mind that unlike the sins that are temporary, Hasad is more dangerous and worse as it is in the heart and can last for days and years. For example, drinking alcohol is a sin at the time of the act. But Hasad is a long-term sin. When you hate someone else for being blessed, it is akin to your objecting to Allah’s (swt) decree. If you look at Hasad from this angle, it makes it easier for you not to strive to compete with others, but to accept what Allah (swt) has decreed for you. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Nobody will attain faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Why is Hasad prohibited?

By Allah’s (swt) Will and Permission, Hasad can cause harm to another Muslim. Hence, it is an evil deed. This is a quality of Shaitan; even if you wish bad for someone, it can happen. The Prophet (sa) said: “Creeping upon you is the disease of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shapes. I do not say it shapes the hair but it shapes the religion. By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of such things that you may establish: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves.” The Prophet (sa) also mentions: “Hate and business transactions are tied together with Hasad. If you do not envy, you will love and if you love you will not be unjust or unfair.” (Ahmad and Tirmidhi).

“And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, they bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.” (Al-Ahzab 33:58)

Muslims are the helpers and supporters of one another; they should treat each other with tolerance, love and mercy. This is how a Muslim should be.

Paradise on Earth

By Naureen Aqueel

Allow me to introduce you to a new destination: Paradise on Earth. Hmm… Is this an exotic island or a beautiful landscape that I recommend you to visit? How big a budget will you need to travel to this place? How much will you need in terms of worldly resources to take this trip? Now, if I tell you that you can take this tour without paying anything in terms of worldly currency, how overjoyed would you be?

Well, nothing is for free. There is surely a currency involved. But this currency has nothing to do with your worldly bank accounts, but everything to do with your heart. Often, in our pursuit of happiness, most of us fall into the vulnerable error of linking happiness to the ephemeral things of this world. However, what most of us do not realize is that true happiness is not dependent on the transitory things of this life; in fact, it is linked most intricately to the state of our hearts. And it is in this way that the happiness of this life is connected to the happiness of the eternal life.

So now you see it. The Paradise on Earth, that I speak of, is the Paradise that the heart experiences in the nearness and love of Allah (swt), while striving to achieve His pleasure. One of the great scholars of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, summed this up quite beautifully when he said: “There is a Paradise in this life. Those, who do not enter it here, shall not enter it in the Hereafter.”

Scholars of Islam describe this ‘early paradise of the heart’ as the sweetness of knowing Allah (swt), loving Him, finding peace in His remembrance and desiring to meet Him. Those known for their love of Allah (swt) have been recorded in our history to have said: “The truly unfortunate people of this world are those, who leave the world without tasting the sweetest thing it contains.” When they were asked what it was, they replied: “The love of Allah (swt), to feel comfortable in His company, desire to meet Him, turn towards Him and turn away from everything besides Him.”

This precondition of Jannah does not by any means require us to cut ourselves off from the world and become ascetics. Indeed, the great prophets and their righteous companions attained this state, while being active members in the world carrying out their duties as generals, scholars, students, governors, traders and businessmen.

What this does require, however, is a pure and sound heart that has tasted the sweetness of faith. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah (swt) with a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)].” (Ash-Shuara 26:88-89)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) is reported to have said: “Three qualities are such that if found in one, he shall have tasted the sweetness of faith: that Allah (swt) and His Messenger become more beloved to one than all else; that one loves a person only for Allah’s (swt) sake; that one hates to revert to disbelief, as he hates to be thrown into the Fire.” (Bukhari)

Scholars have also talked at length about the state of Ridha (contentment or pleasure) with Allah (swt). The state of Allah (swt) being pleased with His slave and the slave being pleased with Allah (swt) are among the few blessings of Jannah that Allah (swt) gives us a glimpse of in the world. After describing Jannah in one verse of the Quran, Allah (swt) says: “But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme success.” (At-Taubah 9:72)

The peace and satisfaction that one finds in trusting Allah (swt), remembering Him and remaining pleased with His decision is something we should all be searching for. And once we find it, no worldly worries will be able to disturb the Paradise that our hearts are in, Insha’Allah.