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Quranic Insights into Overcoming Jealousy



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Quranic Insights into Overcoming Jealousy

Jealousy is an innate human feeling that often arises in response to perceived or actual deprivations. It can be defined as a negative and unhappy emotion that often results from a sense of comparability and a sense of injustice.

Understanding the Root Causes of Jealousy

According to Islamic teachings, the root cause of jealousy lies in greed, envy, and narcissism. The Quran explicitly states that’; “Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those whom You have favored, not of those who have evolved (shaytan — devil).” (Al-Fatiha: 6-7). In essence, the Quran advocates for following the emulative path of righteousness rather than covetousness.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “‘Verily, I swear by Allah (SWT)! There is nothing that causes a Muslim to fall into the Fire (Hell) more frequently than the two eyes. It was said: ‘How is that, O Messenger of Allah?’ He replied: ‘Looking at what does not concern him.'” (Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi). This ahadith places this issue into serious perspective, as it cautions against provoking feelings of jealousy by indulging in unhealthy thoughts and behavior.

The Role of Gratitude and Contentment

Allah (SWT) states in the Quran, “And if you are grateful, truly, I will increase you [in blessings],” (14:7). This verse reinforces the precept that practicing gratitude leads to further blessings, demonstrating that the more thankful we are for present blessings, the more grateful Allah will be to us. Thus, a practice of gratitude leads to contentment (Rida), as the person experiencing this feeling realizes and appreciates what is present in their lives.

Crucially, the role of contentment is found in the prophetic tradition that states, “‘The believer with the most beautiful character is he who is best in manner to his family,’ and being content with one’s portion is the best of manners.” (Al-Bukhari) This quote highlights the importance of contentment within a matrix of personal conduct in all facets of daily life. By appropriating this teaching, it becomes clear that Allah is fully cognizant of a person’s true intentions and actions, and this realization inhibits behavior that would otherwise breed jealousy.

Embracing Sibyanah (Brotherhood) and Akhlaq (Character)

In Islam, sibyanah is a fundamental concept that implies brotherhood, safeguarding within the community, and the manifestation of good attributes. Furthermore, ‘akhlaq’ covers the essence of personal conduct, behavior, interactions, and etiquettes employed among Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) commanded Muslims to adhere to ‘akhlaq’ as an essential part of their Muslim identity, as highlighted in the verse, “This is a part of the Book [the Quran], whereof there is no doubt, a guidance, as well as a mercy, for people who believe; who establish worship [as prescribed], spend charity [as prescribed], and are assuredly of the Righteous; and for such as these there is good news in the life of this world and in the Hereafter; a medicine for what is in their breasts, and for the afflictions in their heads; and for those who believe but do evil deeds, their repentance is accepted by Allah; and for them is a reward [of Paradise] exceeding their deeds; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (13:29) This verse provides pivotal insight into the essential role of ‘akhlaq’ and its association with virtuous attributes.

The Prophet Muhammad further emphasized the importance of ‘akhlaq’ by stating, “There are four virtues which if acted upon, a person can be granted Paradise. These four virtues are: To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then know He sees you; to speak good or remain silent; to eat from what is lawful and beneficial, and to find contentment with what Allah has provided you; and to give others their rights” (Bukhari/ Muslim). This quote demonstrates the central role that ‘akhlaq’ plays in the practice of Islam, as it highlights four key areas of virtuous conduct that constitute ‘akhlaq’ and how they impact personal spirituality.

Cultivating Positive Thoughts through Dhikr and Istighfar

Dhikr is an important practice of remembrance in Islamic traditions. It involves an invocation of the Name of Allah, in the form of a prayer or supplication, as articulated in the verse, “Say: ‘My servants, who exceeded the measure [of wrongful deeds], do not fear the [consequences of your] deeds, [nor do you] grieve over them, and repent unto Allah that He might forgive you of your sins. And, verily, Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.'” (39:53)

The practice of Dhikr constitutes the invocation of the Names of Allah as a remembrance of His immense divinity and benevolence, as opposed to being preoccupied with base motives such as envy, jealousy, and narcissism. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated, “Allah is Beautiful and He loves Beauty.” This quote, as narrated in Bukhari, highlights the adherence to the virtue of Positivity that is expressed through the practice of Dhikr.

Istighfar is also a crucial Islamic practice encompassed by the concept of taubah, i.e., seeking repentance for past errors. Like Dhikr, the binding nature of Istighfar correlates with the concept of Al-Asma was Siffaat, i.e., the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah, over which Muslims are enjoined to contemplate and adhere to, as emphasized by Allah in the following verse, “Allah. There is no God except Him, the Knower of the unseen and the visible. He is the Merciful, the Compassionate.” (59:22) The invocation of Allah’s Names constitutes a vital part of the Islamic faith, and it helps to inculcate a positive attitude, reinforcing individual character and civility, as well as promoting positive family, communal, and societal dealings.

Seeking Allah’s Help Using Du’a and Tawbah

Muslims practice the tradition of du’a, i.e., application, to Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated, “Du’a is the essence of worship,” highlighting that it is through du’a that Allah’s blessings are obtained, along with the fulfillment of His Will, as expressed in the verse, “Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and I will show you the way for which you were begging.” (40:60)

Moreover, the practice of du’a is instilled with the potential to beget positive outcomes that could not otherwise have been achieved unaided. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized this point by stating, “Du’a is worship. Indeed, religious devotion is till one’s outcome is achieved.” Muslims must bear in mind that the practice of du’a is unique amongst Islamic virtues, as it constitutes an intercession that draws Allah’s attentiveness to a person’s specific plight, as highlighted in the following verse: “And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” (2:186)

Furthermore, Islam recognizes the need for repentance, and this is expressed through another important Islamic practice known as tawbah (repentance). Tawbah entails the sincere acknowledgment of past shortcomings, remorse, and the dedication to making amends, and this forms an essential part of the worship practice, as emphasized by Allah in the verse, “Say: ‘O My servants who have wronged their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'” (15:49-50) The Quranic verses emphasize the importance of faith in Allah’s ultimate supremacy and the power of sincere repentance.

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