THE CAUSES OF ENVY (HASAD)
Hasad is a desire that a blessing, or a cause of happiness, may depart from its possessor and become transferred to oneself. Hasad is cancerous in its effect and leads to hatred, animosity, as well as ill-feeling and often further disobedience towards Allah. It is condemned in many ahadith. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, ‘Envy eats away good deeds like fire eats away wood.’ (Abu Daud and al-Tirmidhi).
Some of the causes of hasad are as follows:
1) Enmity and hatred: This is the one of the severest cases of envy because when a person has hatred and enmity in his heart for someone animosity begins to settle in his heart. This animosity needs to be treated and causes the person to desire revenge. If he is unable to get some sort of revenge, this animosity turns into envy: the person yearns for his enemy to lose any blessings that he has.
2) Low Self-Esteem: This type of envy originates whenever someone else is blessed with goodness the person feels inferior and this inferiority leads him to desire the blessings be removed from the other person.
3) Pride and Arrogance: This is when a person sees another succeeding beyond him and considers this person unworthy of this blessing. He is proud, thinks himself better and more deserving and wishes that the blessings be removed from his possession.
4) Astonishment: This is when people are amazed and astonished that others are distinguished from them, and the question how someone like them can receive a blessing that they do not have.
5) Fearing of losing one’s own aims: This usually in the case when a number of people seek a common goal. In that situation each party is envious of another when the other party is blessed with something that helps to achieve the common goal. If rival gains something for the common purpose, then one get jealous as they see this as compromising their own goal.
6) Love of leadership and status: The person who is very talented in his field, who is accustomed to praise, compliments and flattery will find it difficult not to envy other who is up-and-coming in his field. As such, he will be saddened to hear of him being praised or esteemed and will wish this blessing removed from him. His love of recognition and a fear of losing this is sufficient cause for envy.
7) Impurity in the soul: An impure soul rejoices at the calamities of others and regrets their blessings. This person is miserly with regards to Allah’s provisions and blessings, and his attitude is one which implies that the bounty, on others, diminishes Allah’s provision for him; he forgets that Allah favors’ whom He wills, without measure and that others cannot limit that which decreed for him already.
In reality when a person is envious of another, he is actually doubting the wisdom of Allah SWT and questioning His decision. This is because, ultimately, it is Allah who decided which favors’ to bestow on which people.
“O you who envies the blessings I have
Do you know whom you have wronged?
You have wronged Allah for His decision,
By not being pleased with the gift He has given.
May Allah SWT protect us from this severe disease.
Ref: “Heart Therapy” by Sheikh Abu Abdissalam