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Beware of Jealousy

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

We may try to dismiss it or may not like to admit it but there lives a disease within us that that is capable of destroying our hearts, minds and souls. Not only that, it can cause us many sleepless nights through the mental torment that it can bring.

That disease has very little medical cure because it is called jealousy or envy. It is a disease that is emotionally destructive because jealousy is among the most destructive emotions or feelings which a person may have towards his fellow human being.  It affects the mind and the heart and causes impurity to settle into the hearts and minds.   
 
Jealousy started at the birth of mankind. When Allah created Adam and Eve, Satan became jealous of this ‘new’ creation. The Quran mentions this in some verses whereby after their creation, Allah asked the Angels to bow down to them – they all did except one called Iblis. ‘Behold your Lord said to the Angels; I am about to create man from clay…when I have fashioned him and breathed into him My Spirit, fall down in obeisance to him….. the Angels prostrated themselves except Iblis….. Allah said: O Iblis what prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom my hands created……Iblis said: I am better than him, You created me from fire and You created him from clay’….Allah said: then you get out from here, for you are cursed and rejected….till the Day of Judgement’ (Quran 38: 71-76)    

This led to Iblis, the rejected one, to ask that he be given respite to so that he could lure that creation (man) into disobedience and going against the will of our Lord and Creator. Hence was ‘born’ the Devil who to this day uses every trick to lure us into his evil ways which includes envy and jealousy.
 
Jealousy can become such a dangerous thing that the Quran has a revealed verse to be recited as protection against jealousies of others: ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn….from the mischief of jealous one as he practices jealousy’ (Quran 113 – 1).

What stokes jealousy? Many things can set it off: This can occur when we see  someone who is successful, who has more worldly wealth and possessions, beauty, intelligence or any other such things that we ‘don’t have’.

You know that you work harder than your colleagues in the office, but sometimes they get promotions; you do not. You started a business several years ago, but you are not as successful as your neighbour whose business is only a one year old.  This can ignite that ‘fire’ which begins to ‘burn’ within our heart over what that person has been blessed with.

Should you be jealous? No. Remember, a person's life is shaped by their destiny, which becomes their reality. If you are destined to be rich, nothing in the world can stop you. And if you are destined to be poor, then no matter what you do, you will only be what you are destined to be. Nothing will be gained by blaming others for your misfortune. Jealousy will not get you anywhere; it will only take away your peace of mind.

But unfortunately we can become so envious that at times we may desire that the person should be deprived of it. What we fail to realise is that the Almighty has bestowed us all with blessings or bounties that we do not realise we have.

‘Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others…..do they deny the favours of Allah’ (Quran 16:71) And: "Do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His Bounty?" (Quran 4: 54)

The Bible also says: ‘But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.’ (James 3: 14 – 15)

To desire that somebody be deprived of the blessings which the Almighty has bestowed upon him is almost like we are objecting to or challenging the will of Allah. Our jealous nature is actually objecting against the Almighty, that the person who was granted that blessing was not deserving of it, so why was it given to him?

But Almighty Allah says in the Quran: ":  ‘…..It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks……… (Quran, 43:32). So our sin becomes evident, we are questioning our Lord. So who are we to challenge the wishes of our Lord and Creator?

However we should all be contented with what Allah has destined and bestowed upon us. Do not covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others’ (Quran 4:32)

The Bible says: ‘For we were also sometimes foolish………..living in malice, and envy, hateful, and hating one another… (Titus 3:3). A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.’ (Proverbs 14: 30)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favours bestowed on you."  In other words, we should be rather looking look at what we have been blessed with compared to one who does not have the same Blessings as we do.  

Jealousy has many sides to it; call it resentment, bitterness, desire, spite, envy, covetousness, and a host of other inner feelings that come to us. This means that envy is on two levels, there is the ‘good’ envy and bad envy.

Good envy?? It may surprise the reader because it may sound contradictory but Islam permits in contrast to envy and destructive jealousy, an envy that is free from malice. This simply means that a person neither wishes for misfortune to fall on others nor does he hate the blessings given to them but he desires for similar blessings without having any ill-feeling toward those people.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘Envy is permitted only in two cases: A man whom Allah gives wealth, and he uses of it rightfully, and a man to whom Allah gives knowledge which he applies and teaches it.’

He further clarified this by saying what is allowed to be said: ‘I wish I were given what he was given and did with it what he did.’ He went on further by saying: ‘the best of people are the ones with a clean heart and truthful tongue. If the heart of one is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and jealousy.’

We should try our best to avoid jealousy and envy of other people’s blessings, but this may sound easier said than done. We need to change our mind set and to think of all the positive blessings that we have been endowed with.

By adopting this positive attitude and being thankful for our daily blessings the terrible evil of jealousy will be slowly be cleansed from our hearts and minds. We will also find happiness in this world and one’s good deeds will not be destroyed. So, count your Blessings; you are alive, you can see, you can walk, you can talk, you have health and many other such daily blessings that we take for granted. 

What about the people who do not have any one of the blessings mentioned above? So let us cleanse our hearts and minds so that we begin to appreciate the many Blessings that we already have. Let us turn with grateful thanks to our Lord and Creator.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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