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The Prevalence of Jealousy Amongst Students of Knowledge By Shaykh Abdul Aziz As Sadhan

 

This issue, in reality, is one of the most serious drawbacks of knowledge, rather, if you will, you can say that it depletes the many blessings (i.e. barakah) that are found in knowledge. Many of the Salaf (i.e. pious predecessors) have spoken very thoroughly and extensively about this issue. If jealousy (i.e. hasad) takes  hold of the student of knowledge it will destroy his hereafter, and the more he finds himself consumed by it, the greater and more severe the harm will be.

 
Jealousy is an obstacle that infringes on the student’s ability to seek knowledge, his ability to be present during the dissemination of knowledge and likewise, infringes on his ability to comprehend what he hears of knowledge. Many communities have not escaped this issue although the people vary as it relates to it. Some are largely engrossed in it and others are barely affected by it.

 
Therefore, it is imperative that much is said about the topic of jealousy due to its danger and the prevalence of it amid the students of knowledge, especially amongst those who are contemporary peers to one another, because it corrupts their endeavor of seeking knowledge. Allah commented on the mischief of the jealous individual in His book as well as the Prophet (Sallahu alaihi wa salam) who also warned against his ill nature. We all read the statement of Allah:

“…and from the evil of the jealous person when he gets jealous” {113:6}
And we read:

“Or are they jealous of the people because of what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounty…” {4:54}
And we read the statement of the Prophet (Sallahu alaihi wa salam):

“And don’t become jealous of one another…”

(Collected Saheeh Al Bukhari)

 
And the statement of the Prophet:

“There is no jealousy except in two situations: A man whom Allah has given him the Book (i.e. Qur’an) and he recites it day and night. And a man whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in charity day and night.”

(Collected Saheeh Al Bukhari)

 

 
Jealousy has reasons and at the same time, it is a disease that can be cured. If you have some degree of jealousy in you, then you should be extremely cautious and never negligent of it, because jealousy is like vegetation, in that, the more it is nourished the more it will continue to grow and develop, so as long as the individual continues to be careless about it and neglects to rid himself of it. The hatred that is produced as a result of jealousy is more foundational with the desire than the hatred caused by anything else, as the poet said:
“For every type of hatred there is hope for its eventual love, except the hatred of the individual who envies you due to jealousy!”

 
Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“There is no human body that is free from jealousy; however the noble one conceals it while the ignoble one reveals it.”

The human being is weak by nature and is subjected to many character-flaws because of it and from these flaws is that of jealousy, especially between contemporary peers and especially between the students of knowledge.

Imam Ath Thahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) commented:

“There was no community that was free from division and jealousy except the prophets and messengers.”

 
If the jealous individual would consider his condition for a moment, he would notice that, by his jealousy, he is actually displaying his discontentment with the divine decree (i.e. Qadr) of Allah in that, when Allah bestows a blessing on one of His servants, the jealous person either physically or verbally expresses his displeasure with the bounty Allah conferred upon him.

 
This character-flaw increases the heart in coarseness and distances the slave from any hope of good. And if we were to open the door wide for sincere mutual advice to one another and request from our peers and our brothers sincere advice we would be able to avoid this evil pitfall. And it was because of this that Al Ahnaf Ibn Qays said:

“Reprimand is better than resentment!”

 
So if every one of us saw a particular fault or character defect in his brother, especially amongst the students of knowledge, and hastened to advise him and make du’a (i.e. supplication) for him, and reject any destructive criticism of him or any offensive insult or attack on his character, then many of our affairs would easily be rectified. Nonetheless, the desire of the individual pushes him to seek superiority over others by exposing their faults and thus the individual is not able to rid himself of this ignoble quality restrain it with the reins of taqwah (i.e. God-consciousness and fear of Allah) and piety.

 

[ “Millstones in the Path of Seeking Knowledge”,  Translated by Shadeed Muhammad on Sunday July 24, 2011 corresponding to the 23rd of Sha’ban 1432H in the City of Philadelphia.]

 

Related link:  Signs of Jealousy Prevalent Amongst the Students of Knowledge [Must read] – By Shaykh Abdul Aziz As Sadhan

 

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