Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
A question that was asked to Ash Shaykh Saalih al Fouzaan may Allah preserve him:
Question: May Allah be good to you, what is the ruling on envy if it arises from a person? And what is the difference between it and jealousy?
Answer: Envy is a despicable characteristic, a blameworthy characteristic and our messenger sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: and do not envy one another*.
If a person finds within himself something for his brother, envy is to wish for the favor to be removed, this is the accurate meaning of it, to wish for the favor to be removed from the one being envied.
So if a person finds something from that within himself then let him seek refuge with Allah from it and he should supplicate for blessings for his brother/sister and ask Allah from his bounty the likes of what he has given your brother to give it to you as Allah says:
(And do not wish for the things in which Allah has made some of you excel others. For men there is a reward for what they have earned (and likewise) for women there is a reward for what they have earned, and ask Allah of his bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All Knower of everything.4:32)
So envy is a wicked attribute and the envier he doesn’t harm anyone except himself, the envier he only harms himself and envy it only destroys the one who possesses it. It is upon the one who finds this characteristic within his/herself to seek refuge with Allah from the evil of envy, to supplicate for his brothers for blessings and to ask Allah from his bounty for himself.
As for jealousy, then it doesn’t have any evny in it at all. Jealousy is for a person to wish to have the like, to have the same as the one who has this favor whether it be from worship or knowledge or an abundance of wealth, so he asks Allah or he wishes to be like this individual who Allah has favored.
This is something admirable and is not blameworthy. That which is blameworthy is to wish for the favor to be stripped away from your brother/sister, as for you hoping to be given the like of what your brother has been given and you ask Allah for that then this is something honorable and this is jealousy. The messenger sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: There is no envy except in two instances meaning no jealousy except in two instances, a man Allah has given knowledge, Allah has given him the quran so he stands with it at night and in the daytime and in another wording Allah has given him wisdom so he teaches it and judges between the people by it. And a man Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the way of Allah**.
So whoever wishes to be like these then this is jealousy and it is a honorable thing and it isn’t from envy, na’am.
Footnote:# *Muslim(6214).**Bukhari(152) and Muslim(816).
Translated by: Abu Fouzaan Qaasim
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