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The Reality of Jealousy


قُلْ إِنَّ الْهُدَىٰ هُدَى اللَّـهِ أَن يُؤْتَىٰ أَحَدٌ مِّثْلَ مَا أُوتِيتُمْ أَوْ يُحَاجُّوكُمْ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ الْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٧٣﴾ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

“Say, (Real) guidance is the guidance of Allah. (But you fear) that someone is given (revelation) similar to that which you have been given, or that those (who receive the revelation) will argue against you before your Rabb.” Say, “All bounty is in the hands of Allah. He gives it to whom He wills. Allah is all embracing, all knowing. He chooses for His grace (to give Messengerhood, imaan, Islam to) whom He wills. Allah is the Rabb of great bounty.” (Surah Aal-‘Imraan v73-74)

The Jews bore jealousy and malice for Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) because of his nubuwwah (prophethood) and the honour of receiving the Quraan Majeed. They were envious that Allah Ta‘ala had selected a Nabi from another nation and blessed him with a Divine Book, just as Allah Ta‘ala had chosen Nabis from their nation, in the past, and blessed them with Divine Books.

What the Jews failed to realize was that Allah Ta‘ala alone is the one who bestows bounties, and He bestows bounties to whomsoever He wishes. Thus, having jealousy and malice is, in reality, being angry with and refusing to accept the decision of Allah Ta‘ala. It is as if they were questioning Allah Ta‘ala as to why He had given some bounty to another nation, whereas they were more deserving and worthy of it. By doing this, they were indirectly telling Allah Ta‘ala that He had made a wrong decision and that they actually knew better (may Allah Ta‘ala save us!).

On a daily basis we are bound to come across those enjoying more intelligence, more beauty, luxury and more health and children than us. Thus, we should keep these verses before us, to serve as a reminder that Allah Ta‘ala gives His bounties to whoever He pleases. Our responsibility is to express contentment over the favours with which we have been blessed, happiness over the decision of Allah Ta‘ala, and joy over the happiness and prosperity of our Muslim brothers and sisters. Our reaction to the blessings of others is also a test of imaan, as the hadeeth teaches us that we do not have true imaan until we wish for others that which we wish for ourselves.