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


 

These signs are minimized or increased depending on the strength of the jealousy in the individual. I am going to mention some of these signs so that perhaps the one who is tested with them can hasten to rid himself of them. I will restrict these signs only to those prevalent amid the students of knowledge.

 
The First: To rejoice at the mistake of his fellow student. 

The error of his fellow student is greater than the error of any other because his peer is the one who competes with him in being at the forefront and competes with him within the same community and thus he infringes upon his opportunity to be the elite show-off. So every time his peer errs or makes a mistake, his joy and happiness increases and he considers it a glad tiding of his own rise because he believes that the mistake of his fellow student translates into the rise or upliftment of his own pre-eminence. There are very few people who escape this particular sign. It is an internal matter of the heart that none knows of except Allah and then the individual himself. If there is anyone from amongst us who is in possession of this quality, then it is upon him to hasten with its removal and to repent to Allah from it.

 
The Second: To rejoice at the absence of his fellow student from the circles of knowledge.

To be happy at the absence of his peer from the circle of knowledge or to be happy at his lack of attendance in an affair that he could possibly debate or argue with you in. You will notice two peers from the students of knowledge, when they are together, one of them most likely contends with the other due to the possession of knowledge they both have. So when one of them is absent, the other is left to attend the circle of knowledge by himself exclusively and is able to stand out amid the rest of their peers. So he is overjoyed at the absence of his fellow student and he thinks that because of it, there is a possible rise in his level over him due to the fact that he has access to more knowledge than him.

 
The Third: It pleases him to hear someone insult his fellow student and call him offensive names.

It pleases him to hear someone insult his fellow student and call him offensive names and he actually finds himself content with this. Rather he doesn’t even try to stop the individual from back-biting his fellow student or insulting him and may even partake in or assist the individual in doing so! There is no doubt that this is haram (i.e. forbidden), as backbiting the average layman is impermissible, not to mention a student of knowledge whose benefit far surpasses just himself.

 
The Fourth: He has nothing positive to say about his fellow student when he is asked about him.

A new student of knowledge may come to the jealous student or a general questioner and ask about aparticular individual regarding something generally related to him and the jealous student will seize theopportunity to speak ill about him or to belittle his status as a student or to address him by an offensivename and there is no doubt that this sign is connected to the previous one.

 
The Fifth: To find difficulty within himself if a question is directed towards other than him or the response to a question is requested from his fellow student while he is present.

 

Two or three students may be present in a gathering and it may be requested from one of them to speak or a question might be directed towards him specifically and you will find that the jealous one is overcome by extreme difficulty and embarrassment while he tries diligently to act as if it doesn’t bother him. This is because the direction of a question to this fellow student in particular is from the most extreme calamities he can be afflicted with. If this individual would consider for a moment: This is the bounty of Allah which He bestows on whomsoever He wills, and the fact that the question was directed towards him, does not necessarily mean that he is more virtuous than you absolutely, then it would be easy for him to handle this.

 
The Sixth: To belittle the benefit or the knowledge his fellow student brings to the table.

The jealous student could possibly research an issue or the response to a certain problematic subject and turn many pages and search through many volumes and still not find the answer to his problem. On the other hand, his peer could do the same and come out successful. And when it is brought to his attention
that his fellow student did such, he belittles the effort he exerted.

But if it was brought to his attention that someone else did this, he would supplicate for him and praise him and even exaggerate the mere mention of his name!
However, if the benefit came to him by way of this particular student, he intentionally conceals his admiration for him and does his best to conceal the benefit which his fellow student was responsible for finding. This is because he considers the materialization of his fellow student’s reputation to be an infringement upon his own right to be recognized or a diminution of his own personality!

 

The Seventh: To try and find fault with the speech of his fellow student when he speaks or to criticize him when he responds to a question.

You will notice that when some of the people are in a gathering and a issue is brought up and someone responds to it, the one who has a disease or jealousy in his heart will try and find a pretentious problem in his response, rather he will try and create a mistake in his response or he will try and alter his speech from its apparent meaning or misinterpret his speech until he makes it erroneous and there is no doubt that this is the result of a disease in his heart

 

 

[ This was taken from the Shaykh’s monumental book “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 Links:

¶ Advice to the Students of Knowledge by Shaykh Salih bin Sa’d as-Suhaymi

¶ The Phenomenon of Common People and Junior Students of Knowledge Issuing ‘Bayāns’ by Shaykh Ibrāheem bin ’Āmir ar-Ruhaylī

¶  Advice to the Youth of Ahl-us-Sunnah by Shaykh Sultan Eeid

¶  Correcting the Statements of a Scholar of the Sunnah and Not Seeking to Totally Drop Him by Shaykh Saalih bin ’Abdul’Azeez Aali Shaykh

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