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Last Updated: 2007/02/25
Summary of question
How can one cure jealousy?
How is one supposed to struggle against “jealousy”? Jealousy in all fields, not for example only between wives of one husband! This is a disease so it must have a remedy. What is the way to acquire the remedy?
Concise answer

Jealousy is a low spirit and attitude in its possessor causing him/her to wish for another to lose something he/she has.

In order to remedy this problem, the following points are prescribed:

1) Thinking about the bad effects it can have on one's spirit, nerves, religion, and hereafter.

2) Strengthening one's faith in Allah.

3) Doing things opposite of that which jealousy calls for.

4) Supplication and calling Allah, which is the best and most effective way of putting an end to mental and spiritual problems.

Detailed Answer

In order to answer the question on the roots of jealousy and its remedies, one must be aware of the following points: The definition of jealousy, the difference between jealousy, ghibtah and gheyrah, the reasons behind jealousy, and the ways of getting rid of it.

1) Definition of Jealousy: Jealousy is a low spirit and low ego causing the jealous person to wish for others to lose what they possess, let it be something that the jealous person imagines as valuable or something that is truly valuable, making no difference that the jealous person also possesses the same thing or not, and if not, will reach it one day or not.[1]

2) The difference between jealousy and ghibtah: Ghibtah is a state of mind in which an individual wishes to possess a virtue or object like that of which others have, without wishing for others to lose theirs.[2]

3) The difference between jealousy and gheyrah: Gheyrah is a state of mind in which one wishes that others wouldn’t have bad traits and unacceptable attributes.[3]

4) The reasons behind why one becomes jealous:[4]

Each of these reasons is separate, such that each by itself can cause one to be jealous, therefore the more the reasons, the more jealous one can get and as a result, the harder it will get to remedy such a problem. Here are some of its reasons:

a) Inner corruption[5]: Some people are so bad that they just can’t stand the fact that others have what they don’t.

b) The feeling of being low and of no worth: Meaning that since one feels very low and worthless, he/she can’t see others being of importance and personal worth.

c) Selfishness and being obsessed with one’s self: In this case, the jealous person wants to be the only one praised by others and is very self-centered and therefore wishes for others to lack what may cause praise and fame.

d) Hatred: Since the jealous person is enemies with someone, he/she can’t stand him/her possessing anything good or any beauties and praiseworthy virtues.

5) Ways of dealing with jealousy[6]:

a) Thinking about the negative mental and spiritual effects it can have on the person and his/her nerves. For instance, jealous people are always upset and depressed, because god-given blessings are endless and infinite (and God gives bestows them on anyone he pleases), causing them to continuously burn in the fire of worry, depression and anger.

b) Thinking about the bad effects that the Prophet (pbuh) and imams (as) have stated that it has on one’s religion and hereafter. Some of them are as follows:

Jealousy spoils one’s religion, ruins one’s faith, causes one to turn away from God’s authority and friendship and hate what he does, results in Allah’s rejection of one’s worship and repentance and shafa’ah (intercession), ruins good virtues and is the source of many sins.[7]

c) Strengthening one’s faith in Allah (swt) and his traits and actions, and that any materialistic or spiritual blessing he bestows on anyone, is a result of his compassion, mercy, justice, wisdom, and his testing us, and that if he doesn’t grant something to a certain person, it is a test on his behalf to see what he/she will do, or it is for him/her to reach higher spiritual ranks and be of a higher position in the hereafter, etc.

d) Obtaining high spirits that oppose the roots of jealousy. For instance, instead of being ugly on the inside, being pure and of high morale. Instead of feeling poor and worthless because of not having what others do, being of high character and integrity. Instead of being selfish and self-centered, being humble and God-centered and familiar with Him, and instead of enmity towards others, choosing to be friends with them.

e) Doing or being the opposite of what jealousy calls for; happiness instead of worry, being good-humored instead of bad-tempered, and commending others instead of speaking ill of them.

f) Calling Allah and supplicating him, since he is the All-Sufficient; being free of any need and also frees others of need. Supplication is the best and most effective method for curing mental and spiritual illnesses such as jealousy. During supplication, Imam Sajjad (as) says: “Oh God, I seek refuge in Thee, from …and the domination of jealousy…”[8]

[1] Imam Khomeini, Forty Hadiths, pg. 105, Naraqi, Mi’raj ul-Sa’adah, pg. 347, Ghazali, Kimiyaye Sa’adat, v.2, pg. 126.

[2] Mi’raj ul-Sa’adah, pg. 347. For further information on ghibtah and its value, see akhlaq (moral) books and the interpretation of the following verses in tafsir books: Mutaffifin:26, Hadid:21, Ma’idah:48.

[3] Ibid.

[4] See: Kimiyaye Sa’adat and Mi’raje Sa’adat: jealousy.

[5] Imam Khomeini considers jealousy as this low spirit. See: Forty Hadiths, pg.107.

[6] All of these methods and with these titles and other titles have been mentioned in akhlaq books (Islamic morals).

[7] For further information, see: Al-Kafi, v.2, pg. 307, Wasa’el ul-Shia, v.15, pg. 366, Mustadrak ul-Wasa’el, v.12, pg. 20, Kimiyaye Sa’adat and Mi’raje Sa’adat: jealousy.

[8] اللهم انی اعوذ بک من هیجان الحرص و سورة الغضب و غلبة الحسد Sahifah Al-Sajjadiah, pg. 56, supplication 8.

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