What is the prophets method of training the hearts? What are the methods of teaching used by prophet muhammad?
“The Day when neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.” (al-Shuara 26; 88-89)
Indeed human beings have been created as capable to do both good and evil. However, they have not been left without guidance before these two opposite choices. They have been given the distinguishing power of intelligence and another very significant blessing, namely a heart with which to control this power. A human being is described by the verses of the Qur’an and traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) as a being with two aspects, material and spiritual. Even though his material side presents some significance in social and human relations, his real value is in the extent of the sensitivity of his heart, which is the center of his spiritual side. In the following sayings Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) states that the heart, which is the place of Divine manifestation, is the only place of esteem:
“Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.” (Muslim, Birr, 34; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 9)
The real object of Islam is to help human beings achieve a pure and sensitive heart. Verses and traditions call such a heart a “sound heart.” This is mentioned in the following Quranic verse:
“The Day when neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.” (al-Shuara 26; 88-89)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) also prayed saying:
“O Allah! I ask from you perseverance in religion …a tongue that tells the truth, and a sound heart.” (Tirmidhi, Daawat, 23; Nasai, Sahw, 61)
Below Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) pointed out that a sound heart is a heart which is free from prejudices and pollution of thoughts and feelings:
“None of my Companions must tell me anything about anyone, for I like to deal with you with no ill-feelings.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 28)
The heart has a central place in both realations between humans and Allah and between humans. Therefore, it is necessary to protect the purity of such a significant organ from all kinds of degeneration. Scholars have usually described a sound heart as a heart “which stays away from infidelity and sins,” “which is cleansed from polytheism and doubts,” “which believes in Allah and the Day of Judgementand resurrection after death,” “which is protected from false beliefs and worldly desires,” “which is cleansed from bad morals and adorned by good ones,” “which stays away from bid’ah (innovations in religion) and is satisfied with the true Sunnah.” (Baidawi, IV, 106; Razi, XXIV, 338; Qurtubi, XIII, 114; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, III, 352)
In short, a sound heart refers to a sacred state which is cleansed from moral and religious illnesses and has reached tranquility by obedience to Allah and His Messenger. Therefore, the most important thing in training a heart is to make it sound and to be able to present it to the Lord in its original state. In order to attain such a heart, one should successfully pass tests because hearts are being tested for piety. (al-Hujurat 49; 3) The way to reach the propitious state is by cleansing the heart from the illnesses stated by the Qur’an and Sunnah and adorning it with good manners.
1. Protecting the heart from Spiritual Diseases
“Truly he succeeds that purifies it [the soul], And he is indeed a failure who corrupts it.” (al-Shams 91; 9-10)
The Holy Qur’an describes the “imperious self – nafs ammarah” as the real source of all spiritual illnesses, such as rusting, going blind, losing all the spiritual functions of the heart. As described by our Sacred Book the inner self is created susceptible to both “sins” and “piety.” As a natural result of this it has been declared as the axis of tendency towards sins and worldly desires. Some related verses are as follows:
“And inspired it [the soul] (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.” (al-Shams 91; 9-10)
“…Therefore ascribe not purity unto yourselves…” (al-Najm 53; 32)
“…the (human) soul enjoins unto evil…” (Yusuf 12; 53)
“Truly he succeeds that purifies it [the soul], and he is indeed a failure who corrupts it.” (al-Shams 91; 9-10)
“But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained his soul from lust, Their Abode will be the Garden.” (al-Nazi’at 79; 40-41)
The heart can be likened to a castle which has tried to be conquered by both reason and the inner self. Therefore, the inner self constantly causes anxiety to the heart in order to satisfy its whims and desires. It is stated in the Qur’an:
“It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.” (Qaf 50; 16)
When the inner self has the opportunity to affect the heart through suggestions mentioned in this verse, the will to commit evil emerges in the heart. Thoughts and actions come forth as a result of this, will weaken the heart and make it susceptible to spiritual illnesses. Unless this negative tendency is stopped, the heart faces losing its ability to distinguish right and wrong. Allah the Almighty says that:
“Have you seen him who makes his desire his god, and Allah sends him astray purposely, and seals up his hearing and his heart, and sets on his sight a covering? Then who will lead him after Allah (has condemned him)? Will you not then heed?” (al-Jasiyah 45; 23)
Thus, the most important thing to do to protect the heart is not to submit oneself to the whims of the inner self. The way to achieve this is, on the one hand, to destroy the elements strengthening the wants and desires of the inner self and on the other hand to reinforce the heart’s consciousness of piety through spiritual nourishments. In this way, the self’s effect over the heart will be weakened in both quality and quantity. Consequently, the heart will find an opportunity to perform its essential task. Purifying the self is not an easy job, for it is a person’s inner enemy and the inner and hidden enemy is the worst. The following statement of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) attracts our attention to the difficulty of fighting with the inner self:
“The real fighter (mujahid) is the one who fights with his self with regards to obeying Allah the Almighty.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 21)
The first thing to do in fighting with the inner self is to get rid of the factors which evoke and strengthen its whims and desires. And Satan and a bad social environment come at the head of these factors.
That is why one should be aware of Satan and his soldiers. In this context, the Lord Almighty warns us in the following verse:
“O Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you … Lo! He sees you, he and his tribe, from whence you see him not. Lo! We have made the devils protecting friends for those who believe not.” (al-A’raf 7; 27)
After Satan was thrown out of the Divine presence, declared leading people away from the straight path as his task and said that he would do everything to succeed in this task:
“He [Satan] said: As You have caused me to remain disappointed I will certainly lie in wait for them in Your straight path. Then will I assault them from infront and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor will You find, in most of them, gratitude (for Your mercies).” (al–A’raf 7; 16-17)
Even though Satan’s ways to misguide are varied and plenty, he does not have the power to force people to go astray. This is stated in the following verses:
“And Satan will say when the matter is decided: it was Allah who gave you a promise of truth: I too promised, but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you, but you listened to me: then reproach not me, but reproach your own souls. I cannot listen to your cries, nor can you listen to mine. I reject your former act in associating me with Allah. For wrongdoers there must be a grievous penalty.” (Ibrahim 14; 22)
“But he had no authority over them, except that We might test to distinguish the man who believes in the Hereafter from him who is in doubt concerning it…” (al-Saba 34; 21)
“… Lo! The devil’s strategy is ever weak.” (al-Nisa 4; 76)
As it is seen in these verses, Satan’s success does not come from his power but from peoples’ weaknesses. In other words Satan supports and stimulates the negative weaknesses of the self. This means that Satan’s ways of infiltration into the heart are as many as the negative qualities of human beings. Some of them are: carnal desires, rage, ambition, jealousy, greediness, stinginess, fanaticism, excessive eating, passion for jewelry, hastiness, love for property and rank, worldly ambitions, and excessive devotion to this world. Salvation of the heart can be attained only by removing these illnesses from the heart. (Ghazali, III, 149 ff.)
Even though Satan’s infiltration into the heart usually happens by means of the inner self, he might sometimes affect it directly. The Qur’an informs us that Satan whispers into the hearts of people and one should take refuge in Allah about this. (al-Mu’minun 23; 97, al-Nas 114; 1-6) In the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) it is stated that Satan may direct the heart (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 2); he may reach every part of the body that blood can reach; and he may put some unwanted thoughts into the heart of someone praying. (Bukhari, Adhan, 4)
However it is also stated in the Qur’an that Satan will have no authority over believers who remember Allah, think about His rewards and punishment, and so observe the Divine limits:
“For over my [pious] servants no authority shall you have, except such as put themselves in the wrong and follow you.” (al-Hujr 15; 42)
Another element which evokes and strengthens whims of the inner self is the bad places in which sins are committed. Such environments cause deep and near incurable wounds in the human soul. This is why the Holy Qur’an points out that unless it is necessary, sitting with people who disbelieve and ridicule the verses of Allah the Almighty ends up being like them. (al-Nisa 4; 140) Likewise, for the same reason believers are asked not to take Jews and Christians for friends. (al-Maidah 5; 51) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) expresses an environment’s power affect people in the following sayings:
“One is on his friend’s religion.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 45)
“Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Zoroastrianism …” (Bukhari, Janaiz, 80; Muslim, Qadar, 22)
When we consider how a locality’s effects are reflected upon human feelings and behavior, we can better understand the dimensions of the social environment’s effects upon the heart. The verse which mentions the desert Arabs as the worst in unbelief and hypocrisy refers to this matter. (al-Tawbah 9; 97)
Using the organs, such as the eyes, tongue, and ears, which connect a person to his surroundings, in a manner contrary to Allah’s contentment has a great influence upon stimulating the desires of the soul. If it is not necessary, male and female believers are not allowed to look at the opposite sex who is not legally related to them. (al-Nur 24; 30-31) Seductive words are also prohibited. (al-Ahzab 33; 32) In his following saying Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stated how much unnecessarystares damage the heart:
“An unlawful look is an arrow from the arrows of Satan. Whoever stays away from it because of the fear of Allah, Allah bestows on him such faith that he feels its sweetness in his heart.” (Hakim, IV, 349/7875)
Therefore what needs to be done primarily in disciplining the heart is to protect our spiritual world from the negative effects of Satan, the inner self and a bad environment. In order to realize this, it is necessary to be protected from spiritual diseases, such as disbelief, heedlessness, vanity, rage, greed, and grudges. Now we can begin to examine how these diseases affect human spirituality.
“O Allah! Take us out from the darkness of disbelief into the brightness of Islam.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 178)
The Arabic word kufr literally means to cover and hide. Terminologically, it means to deny some or all of the principles in which a religion requires its followers to believe. One who does not believe in those principles is called kafir or one who conceals the truth.
People are driven into disbelief because of the blameworthy qualities of the inner self, e.g. pride and obstinacy. Even though sometimes a person knows the truth by heart and admits it by the tongue, he may refuse Islam as the true religion due to reasons like jealousy, fame, rank, social pressure, or nationalism.
Those who deny, belittle, or ridicule the principles of Islam and utter blasphemous phrases, when there is no necessity, fall into disbelief. However, one who is under death threat and says something blasphemous in order to save his life causes no harm to his faith. Indeed this is clearly expressed in a verse reading: “Anyone who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith but such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty.” (al-Nahl 16; 106)
The incident which caused the revelation of this verse further elucidates this issue. Polytheists had caught and tortured Ammar, his father Yasir, his mother Sumayya, Suhaib, Bilal, Habbab, and Salim (r. anhum). They tied Sumayya (r. anha) to two camels and martyred her and her husband under torment; whereas Ammar (r.a.) told whatever polytheists had asked him to say. Following which, people came to the Messenger of Allah and told him:
“Ammar has become a disbeliever.” Our Prophet (pbuh) said:
“No, Ammar has never become a disbeliever. He is full of faith. Faith has permeated in his flesh and blood.” Later Ammar came crying to the Prophet (pbuh). Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) on the one hand wiped his tears and on the other hand told him:
“If they torture you again, tell whatever they want you to tell.”
Disbelief may find a place in peoples’ inner worlds for various factors. The most obvious characteristic of disbelief is to make the heart’s ability to see and comprehend the truth, blind. The Qur’an describes this state as follows:
“Do they [those who oppose you] not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts.” (al-Hajj 22; 46)
“… they have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).” (al-A’raf 7; 179)
Disbelievers even covered themselves with their garments and put their fingers into their ears not to hear the Divine message. (Nuh 71; 7) But covering their eyes and ears left their hearts in darkness.
As pointed out in the above mentioned verses human beings have three eyes: two in the head and one in the soul. The former is also found in animals; however the latter is only particular to human beings. If their ability of discernment gets blind, human beings descends to the level of animals and even to a lower level from the point of imperceptivity.
Unawareness of the truth is the obvious feature of disbelievers. And the cause of this is their ingratitude or the disbelief in their hearts. In short, it is blindness to the truth.
While both signs in the universe and the verses of the Qur’an invite humanity to the only eternal and past-eternal Truth, i.e. Allah the Almighty, the ingratitude of not knowing him and not taking notice of His message is the result of their hearts growing cold. One of the related verses of the Qur’anis as follows:
“Nay! Rather, what they used to do has become like rust upon their hearts.” (al-Mutaffifin 83; 14)
In the following tradition, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) explains how every committed sin prepares the ground for the heart becoming sealed:
“When a servant makes a mistake, a black dot gets placed in his heart. If he repents and asks forgiveness, his heart gets cleansed from that dot; but if he goes back and commits the same mistake, the number of dots increases and they eventually cover the entire heart. This is the rust upon the heart mentioned in the Qur’an.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 83; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 29)
In the above mentioned verse and the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) pollution of the heart is explained as getting rust on it. In a way, in these accounts the heart is likened to iron. The heart hardens and gets rusty, like iron, because of sins. In another verse, the hardness of the hearts is described as follows: “…Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: they became like a rock and even worse in hardness…” (al-Baqara 2; 74)
A hardened, rusty, and sealed heart will not be affected by warnings and advice. This is also emphasized in some Qur’anic verses as follows:
“As to those who reject the faith, it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).” (al-Baqara 2; 6-7)
Rusted souls, because of their disbelief in Allah and denial of His signs and rules, eventually become hard like rocks. They are eventually completely deprived of the rememberance of Allah, i.e. loving Him more than anything else, and fearing from Him more than anything else.
Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) warned Muslims not to make concessions in following the Qur’an and Sunnah and especially to stay away from religious innovations. He then stated the necessity to stay away from the hardness of heart as follows:
“Beware! Do not let your desires and ambition make you forget your death. Otherwise your hearts get hardened …” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddimah, 7)
According to a statement in the Qur’an, since deniers with hardened hearts have no way to reach tranquility by remembering Allah, they look for comfort in temporary ambitions. (al-Anbiya 21; 3) Their hearts are a mess (al-Hashr 59; 14) with false and mortal loves instead of love for Allah (al-Baqara 2; 165) and with fears other than the fear of Allah. (Al-i Imran 3; 151)
This is why Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) always warned his Companions about disbelief and about the sins which might lead to disbelief. He also advised them to say the following supplication:
“O Allah, join our hearts, mend our social relationship, guide us to the path of peace, bring us from darkness to light, save us from obscenities, outward or inward, and bless our ears, our eyes, our hearts, our wives, our children, and relent toward us; You are the Relenting, the Merciful. And make us grateful for Your blessing and make us praise it while accepting it and give it to us in full.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 178)
“The signs of a hypocrite are three: Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. Whenever he makes a promise, he always breaks it. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest.” Bukhari, Iman, 24
The Arabic word for hypocrisy, i.e. nifaq, comes from the three letter root of na-fa-qa, which literally means to dig a tunnel. A mole’s digging tunnels under the earth as a way to confuse its preditors is also defined by same word.
Terminologically it refers to entering Islam from a gate and exiting it from another, in other words, to pretend to believe but to disbelieve in one’s heart. Two-faced and hesitant people who change their behavior based on the circumstances are also called munafiq or hypocrites. The state of hesitation is clearly expressed in the following verse:
“O Messenger! Let not those grieve you, who race each other into unbelief: (whether it be) among those who say “We believe” with their lips but whose hearts have no Faith…” (al-Maidah 5; 41)
Considering the relationship between the heart and hypocrisy, it can be said that if two-facedness is in the heart, it requires infidelity; but if it is in actions it is considered just as a sin. (Qurtubi, VIII, 212) Therefore, hypocrisy is of two types: one pertaining to belief and the other pertaining to actions:
The former causes a person to be treated like a believer in this world but when his hypocrisy gets revealed in the Hereafter, he will face an end worst than the unbelievers.
The latter, on the other hand, is not related to faith, but it is a characteristic caused by some manners and behavior. For instance, in the following prophetic saying examples of hypocrisy in actions are given:
“The signs of a hypocrite are three: Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise). If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest.” (Bukhari, Iman, 24; Muslim, Iman, 107) Even though the attributes mentioned in this tradition are also attributes of people who have problems pertaining to faith, one should regard them as warnings to not come close to hypocrisy in faith. Yet, those actions and behavior are not disbelief and do not make someone leave the religion. (Nawawi, Sharh, II, 46-48)
Upon closer examination, it can be seen that all three characteristics are based on lies. This proves that lying is the common point of hypocrites. . Therefore, for those who have the habit of lying there is always the danger of falling into hypocrisy or disbelief. Indeed, a prophetic saying related to this issue reads as follows:
“The slave continues to lie and a black spot grows in his heart until all his heart becomes black. Then he is written, in Allah’s sight, among the liars.” (Muwatta, Kalam, 18)
Hypocrites are often seen to call Allah as their witness for their lies even though they do not believe in Him. They do this to conceal their hypocrisy; whereas their heart is filled with enmity. (al-Baqara 2; 204)
Hypocrites always plot mischief in society. This is explained in the Qur’an as follows: “When it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “Why, we only want to make peace!” Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize (it) not. When it is said to them: “Believe as the others believe” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools believe?” – Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know. When they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe;” but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: “We are really with you we (were) only jesting.”“
In a saying of the Prophet it is stated that “The similitude of a hypocrite is that of a sheep which roams aimlessly between two flocks.” (Muslim, Munafiqin, 17) Hypocrites who waver between belief and disbelief sometimes act like they remember Allah. They strive to beguile Him and show-off. They stand up to pray sluggishly. (al-Nisa 4; 142-143) they swear falsely to turn people away from the path of Allah. (al-Mujadala 58; 14, 16)
Hypocrites who say “We believe in Allah and in the Messenger, and we obey” (al-Nur 24; 47) talk about rebellion and enmity against the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) while they are alone. (al-Mujadala 58; 9, 10) They are like devils. “Because Satan says to man, Deny Allah: but when (man) denies Allah, (Satan) says, I am free of you: I do fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!” (al-Hashr 59; 16) They are naturally in opposition of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh). (al-Mujadala 58; 20) But they are afraid about the revelation of verses manifesting what really is in their heart. (al-Tawbah 9; 64)
Hypocritical men and hypocritical women, who have evil thoughts about Allah, (al-Fath 48; 6) complement one another. They invite people to evil and try to turn them away from goodness. (al-Tawbah 9; 67) They want slander to spread among believers. (al-Nur 24; 19) Pointing out the hypocrisy in their hearts Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that:
“O community of people, who believed by their tongue, and belief did not enter their hearts! Do not sadden and back-bite Muslims, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, He disgraces him even when he is in his own house.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 35; Tirmidhi, Birr, 85)
Allah the Almighty warns those who have hypocrisy in their hearts saying:
“When you look at them, their exteriors please you; and when they speak, you listen to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah be on them! How are they deluded (away from the Truth)!” (al-Muhafiqun 63; 4)
Hypocrites who will appear just before Judgment Day are described in a saying of the Prophet (pbuh) as follows: “At the end of the days there will appear some people and they will use religion for their world. They will conceal themselves in lamb furs [hide their real intentions] and pretend to treat people leniently. Their tongue is sweeter than candy but their heart is the heart of a wolf.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 60)
In the following verses the Sacred Qur’an informs us that hypocrites will want the benefits of this world to continue in the Hereafter, but this will not be possible:
“One Day will the Hypocrites men and women say to the believers: Wait for us! Let us borrow (a light) from your light! It will be said: Turn you back to your rear! Then seek a light (where you can)! So a wall will be put up betwixt them, with a gate therein. Within it will be mercy throughout, and without it, all alongside, will be (wrath and) punishment! (Those without) will call out, were we not with you? (The others) will reply, true! But you led yourselves into temptation; you looked forward (to our ruin); you doubted (Allah’s Promise); and (your false) desires deceived you; until these issued the Command of Allah. And the Deceiver deceived you in respect of Allah.” (al-Hadid 57; 13-14)
Hypocrites whose hearts are sealed like unbelievers (al-Munafiqun 63; 3) will be separated from believers in the Hereafter and come together with the unbelievers. They will be at the lowest level of Hell because of their double-standards.
Disbelief and hypocrisy come at the head of a list of spiritual diseases, which destroy the heart. Attributes like selfishness, vanity, and arrogance, are the reasons for not being able to protect the heart from such diseases. The end of a heart with such feelings will be deprivation from the light of revelation and eventually a deep heedlessness. It is natural that in such a heart there will not be lofty attributes like love for Allah, knowledge of Allah, and fear from Allah. Instead it will be filled with doubts, fears, and concerns. And it is obvious such a heart will not be able to find peace and tranquility.
“Pride means disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people.” (Muslim, Iman, 147)
The Arabic word takabbur and its derivatives refer to vanity, patronizing others, excessive pride in one’s own abilities, and seeing oneself superior and thus belittling others. In the Holy Qur’an Satan is presented as the first representative of vanity. When he was told “prostrate yourself before Adam,” he was too proud and consequently became an unbeliever. (al-Baqara 2; 34) In this context Allah the Almighty states that
“…Are you too proud or are you of the high exalted?” (Sad 38; 75) and thus He expressed that Satan’s refusal to prostrate has nothing to do with real loftiness but was just a vain manifestation of glory.
One can see similar manifestations of vanity from human beings. Most rebels and the deniers of the Divine commands have refused the Truth because of their excessive pride. For instance, Qarun’s (Korah), Pharaoh’s and Haman’s rampage before the Truth was due to their arrogance. (al-Ankabut 29; 39; Yunus 10; 75) Likewise, we see in the following verse which was revealed about Walid b. Mughirah, who was one of the leading unbelievers during the Prophet’s time, that arrogance is an obstaclefor faith:
“For lo! He did consider; then he planned. And woe to him! How he planned! … Then he looked round; then he frowned and he scowled; then he turned away in pride. Then said he: This is nothing but magic, derived from of old…!” (al-Muddaththir 74; 18-25)
The Holy Qur’an also declares that those who are defeated by the pride in their breasts will be deprived of Allah’s and the believers’ love and consequently their hearts will be sealed:
“Those who wrangle concerning the revelations of Allah without any warrant that have come unto them, it is hateful in the sight of Allah and in the sight of those who believe. Thus does Allah set a seal on every arrogant, disdainful heart.” (al-Mu’min 40; 35)
It is stated in a saying of the Prophet (pbuh) that “None shall enter the Fire (of Hell) who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of faith and none shall enter Paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride.” (Muslim, Iman, 148, 149) which clearly shows the contradistinction between faith and pride. The famous scholar Khattabi stated that pride mentioned in this saying denoted to turn away from faith in Allah and His Messenger (pbuh). (Nawawi, Sharh, II, 91)
In another narration Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that
“He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” A person from the Companions asked:
“O Messenger of Allah! Would not a person like that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine? He (the Holy Prophet) remarked:
“Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves grace. Pride means disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people.” (Muslim, Iman, 147; Tirmidhi, Birr, 61)
In this tradition the heart is mentioned as the place for pride. And this tradition also points out this bad attribute’s moral side and its aspects pertaining to faith. This is why pride needs to be known by its following two sides:
- A person’s arrogance towards Allah by refusing the Truth
- Belittling others by showing excessive pride
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) warned his followers frequently about the disease of vanity in various places and occasions. For instance, once he stated that every violent, cruel, and arrogant person were amongst the people of the fire. (Bukhari, Ayman, 9; Muslim, Jannah, 46) In another warning he (pbuh) said that “He who trailed his lower garment with no other intention but pride, Allah would not look towards him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, Libas, 42) The following two narrations are also about those whowere defeated by their pride:
“There was a person who walked with pride because of his (fine) mantles and well pleased with his personality. Allah made him sink in the earth and he would go on sinking in that until the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari, Ayman, 54; Muslim, Libas, 49, 50)
“There was a dispute between Hell and Paradise and it (Hell) said:
“The haughty and the proud shall find abode in me.” And the Paradise said:
“The meek and the humble shall find their abode in me.” Thereupon Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, (addressing Hell) said:
“You are the means of My punishment by which I punish those of My servants whom I wish.” (And addressing Paradise) He said:
“You are only My Mercy by means of which 1 shall show mercy to those whom I wish, but each one of you would be full.” (Muslim, Jannah, 34)
This type of traditions of the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) is very meaningful for showing what a bad characteristic vanity is. Because when someone gets infected with the virus of arrogance, they begin to think themselves superior to others. And in time this unhealthy state controls all actions. Consequently, he cannot escape from being written into the book of oppressors. It is expressed in a prophetic saying that:
“By showing constant pride a person gets recorded with the oppressors. And thus he receives the punishment that the oppressors receive.” (Tirmidhi, Birr, 61)
Even though pride is such a bad attribute, it is allowed under some circumstances. For instance, in order to scare an enemy to walk proudly before him is permitted. In fact, when the fight escalated between the two armies in the battle of Uhud, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) drew his sword, held it in his hand and called out to his Sahaba and said,
“Who is ready to take this sword from me?” Many notable Companions approached to take it. Amongst them were Ali bin Abi Talib, Al-Zubair bin Al-Awwam and Umar bin Al-Khattab. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked again:
“Who is ready to take this sword from me to fulfill its right?” This time everybody hesitated to go forward.
Abu Dujana (r.a.) stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will take it to fulfill its right.” (Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahabah, 128) Abu Dujana (r.a.) then, inquired:
“O Messenger of Allah, what is its right?” The Prophet (pbuh) said,
“It is to fight against the enemy with it until it breaks!” And so he took the sword, wrapped his red turban around his head and began to walk proudly between the lines of the Muslims and polytheists’.
When Allah’s Messenger saw his way of walking, he said:
“Such a walk that Allah the Almighty hates except in places like this.” (Ibn Hisham, III, 11-12)
Similarly when they came to Mecca for the minor pilgrimage in the year of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, he (pbuh) ordered believers to walk quickly and with arrogance in order to impress the unbelievers with their strength. (Bukhari, Hajj, 55; Muslim, Hajj, 240)
People should always control themselves and try to keep their intentions and feelings upon the straight path. They should adhere to this tendency even when showing pride is allowed because if one does not keep his inner self under constant control, spiritual diseases existing in people’s nature, like arrogance and belittling other, are always ready to surface when they find the opportunity. Then one begins to see himself as superior to others and to oppress them; and such people’s final destination will unfortunately be resurrection amongst the oppressors.
“O Allah! Do not leave me alone with my inner self
even in a twinkle of an eye.”
Ibn Hanbal, V, 42
Heedlessness, which in its literal sense carries various meanings such as to leave, not to pay attention to, to make a mistake, to neglect, distraction and carelessness, in religious terminology can be described as to disregard and forget Allah and the Truth sent by Him, and to follow the whims and desires of the inner self.
Heedlessness is mentioned in the Qur’an as the attribute of unbelievers in particular. For instance, in a verse unbelievers, who are worse than animals and whose hearts are sealed, are characterized as heedless ones. (al-A’raf 7; 179) Another verse about the people with the same character reads as follows:
“Those are they whose hearts, ears, and eyes Allah has sealed up, and they take no heed.” (al-Nahl, 16; 108)
We also see in the Qur’an that believers are warned about heedlessness through the personality of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):
“And remember your Lord within yourself humbly and fearing and in a voice not loud in the morning and the evening and be not of the heedless ones.” (al-A’raf 7; 205)
In another verse remembering Allah little is expressed as the deed of hypocrites with the following statements:
“And when they stand up to prayer they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little.” (al-Nisa 4; 142)
Our Prophet (pbuh) prayed saying that:
“O Allah! Do not leave me alone with my inner self even in a twinkle of an eye.” (Ibn Hanbal, V, 42) and thus presented an excellent example to his follower about staying away from the illness of heedlessness. Otherwise, as it is stated by our Prophet (pbuh) in his saying “even though my eyes sleep, my heart does not sleep” (Muslim, Musafirin, 125) he had a complete awareness in his heart.
According to the verses of the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) heedlessness is in fact the opposite of remembrance. In other words, remembrance or “remembering Allah in the heart and mentioning Him by the tongue” refers to constant thought, commemoration, and not forgetting even a moment; while heedlessness means forgetting, and following the whims and desires of the inner self. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) likens the one who celebrates the Praises of Allah with the one who does not celebrate His Praises to that of a living creature with a dead one. (Bukhari, Daawat, 66) Thus, he emphasized that the heart keeps its vitality through the remembrance of Allah and heedlessness causes its death. We also see the Divine reproach for those who are heedless in their ritual prayers, which is considered as a kind of remembrance of Allah in the following verse: “So woe to the praying ones Who are heedless of their prayer.” (al-Ma’un 107; 4-5) In a prophetic tradition it is said about similar people that:
“There are many who fast obtain nothing from it but hunger and thirst. And there are many who may stand for prayer at night and receive nothing from it but sleeplessness.” (Ibn Hanbal, II, 373) The Prophet (pbuh), who advised to say supplications with a sensitive heart, expressed that the supplications of a heedless heart will not be answered saying:
“Pray to Allah in a manner believing with certainty that your prayers will be answered; for Allah does not accept prayers said with a heedless heart.” (Tirmidhi, Daawat, 65)
In another tradition of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), he expressed how people who move away from servitude and how the consciousness of congregation will be inflicted by heedlessness:
“People must cease to neglect the Friday prayer or Allah will seal their hearts and then they will be among the negligent.” (Muslim, Jum’a, 40) Let alone neglecting an obligatory act of worship like the Friday prayer, even something natural like laughing hurts the essential function and the spiritual soundness of the heart. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that: “Do not laugh too much, for it kills the heart.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 2)
Verses which consist of the warning “if you are indeed Believers” and the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) such as “if someone commits adultery, he is not a believer at the time of committing adultery; and if he steals, he is not a believer at the time of committing theft; if he consumes alcohol, he is not a believer at the time of consuming it” emphasize the necessity of avoiding heedlessness and staying in the light of faith.
In conclusion, we can say that believers should stay away from heedlessness which is one of the obvious characteristics of the unbelievers. In this respect, they should take lessons from the life of the Prophet (pbuh). May Allah save all believers from such spiritual diseases! Amin!
“When one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.” Abu Dawud, Adab, 3
Rage refers to an intense state of anger and temper which emerges as a result of a desire to get rid of a situation that arises against and incapacitates one until its source is taken care of. This mental state, which stays hidden in the depths of a heart, is like the ember hidden underneath the ashes. The blood in the heart boils because of the smoldering fire in it. Consequently, a person’s prudence and perception will be incapacitated since his reason will not be able to work properly. This is why Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said “a judge should not issue a decision between two parties when he is angry.” (Tirmidhi, Ahkam, 7) One may also do things about which one may later feel ashamed. This is expressed in a Turkish proverb that states: “rage comes and the eye is blinded; rage goes and face becomes blushed.” It is even said that excessive anger is “temporary madness.”
Exceeding the limits of reason and religion a state of rage may often turn into a state of aggression. One should be able to control his anger in that state and employ it in a well-balanced manner in accordance with Islamic morals. In this matter Abdullah b. Amr’s report is remarkable. He said that:
“I used to write everything which I heard from the Apostle of Allah (pbuh). I intended (by it) to memorize it but Quraysh prohibited me saying:
“Do you write everything that you hear from him while the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) is a human being who may speak in anger and when pleased?” So I stopped writing, and mentioned it to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh). He signaled with his finger to him mouth and said:
“Write, by Him in Whose hand my soul lies, only right comes out from it.” (Abu Dawud, ‘Ilm, 3)
By this Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) meant that he might get angry but he could control it and his anger could not prevent him from telling the truth. In a verse about the characteristics of the pious it is stated that:
“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good.” (Al-i Imran 3; 134)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) described the one who controls their anger as the real wrestler (Bukhari, Adab, 76) and gave the good news of the many blessings waiting in the Hereafter for those who defeat their anger. (Abu Dawud, Adab, 3)
Traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) speak about the close relationship between Satan and rage both of which were created from fire. Below are the principles which need to be followed when feelings of anger arise:
1) To take refuge in Allah: Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said to two men fighting before him: “I know a phrase which, if repeated, could get rid of this angry feeling. They asked: What is it, Apostle of Allah? He replied: He should say: I seek refuge in Thee from the accursed devil.” (Bukhari, Adab, 76; Abu Dawud, Adab, 3) Also the following prayer taught by the Prophet (pbuh) to Umm Salamah (r. anha) is a cure of anger: “O Allah Who is the Lord of the Prophet Muhammad! Forgive my sins and remove the rage of my heart.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 302)
2) Performing Ablution: Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) pointed out that anger can be extinguished by performing ablution saying: “Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 3)
3) Changing the position of one’s body: Another useful thing to do when angered is to change the position of one’s body into a more relaxed one. This is stated by the Prophet (pbuh) as follows:
“Beware! Rage is a piece of fire in a human’s heart. Don’t you see the redness in the eyes and bulging veins of the neck? Whoever feels the sign of this should lie down.” (Tirmidhi, Fitan, 26) Another saying reads as follows:
“When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 3)
4) To prefer silence: It is a well-known fact that the more two people insult each other the more their anger increases. Maybe because of this, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that “when one of you gets angry, he should keep quiet.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 239) One who gets angry for simple reasons may cause unexpected results due to his nonsensical speach. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was pleased to see that Abu Bakr (r.a.) did not respond to a person who had insulted him. Later, the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to leave Abu Bakr when he decided to retaliate. And when Abu Bakr asked his opinion concerning his action, Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said that:
“When you kept your silence, there was an angel responding to that man on behalf of you. But when you began to retaliate, the angel left and Satan came to his place. And I shall not stay in places where Satan is present.” (Ibn Hanbal, II, 436)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) turned his face away and did not pay attention to people to whom he got angry. Maybe this is another method to cure this spiritual illness. (Abu Dawud, Libas, 17; Ibn Hanbal, III, 14)
Getting angry to satisfy the inner self is not approved in Islamic ethics; whereas abating anger and forgiving the opponent is considered a great merit. Various methods of treatment are advised in this matter. An excessive state of anger leads to dishonor, cowardliness, weakness, sloppiness, and many other material and spiritual harms. Therefore, it is a necessary and appropriate reaction to show anger towards things that compromise Islam or abuse its sacred values. In fact, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), who never took revenge for personal reasons, (Muslim, Fadail, 79) stated that he would not forgive anybody who violated the borders drawn by Allah the Almighty even if the violator was his own daughter, Fatima. (Bukhari, Hudud, 11, 12; Ibn Majah, Hudud, 6) The characterization of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) in the sources as the Prophet of mercy and the Prophet of wars at the same time should be regarded as the manifestation of this balanced approach. (Ibn Qayyim, Zad al-Maad, I, 95, 96) As a result of a balanced manifestation of anger, some essential moral qualities, such as courage and bravery, will emerge and people’s self-esteem will be protected. The Holy Qur’an points to that fact when describing the Prophet (pbuh) and believers as “…humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers…” (al-Maidah 5; 54; al-Fath 48; 29)
“And place not in our hearts any rancor toward those who believe.”
al-Hashr 59; 10
A grudge is the feeling of enmity that dwells in someone’s heart. Especially the anger which settles in the hearts of those who cannot take their revenge and because of their weaknesses it turns into a secret feeling of enmity and grudge. Someone nurturing resentment towards another person looks for any opportunity to take revenge. In other words anger, hate, and a desire for revenge are the main sources of grudges. In a verse these negative feelings towards believers are expressed as follows:
“O you who believe! Do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people; they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal (hate, enmity, and jealousy) is greater still …” (Al-i Imran 3; 118)
Grudge is the source of many spiritual diseases. The main ones are jealousy, back-biting, breaking ties, insulting others, disclosing secrets, oppression, neglecting responsibilities, and rejoicing other people’s misfortunes. (Ghazali, III, 339) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) prayed for the protection of his followers from such inappropriate attributes saying:
“My Lord, accept my repentance, wash away my sins, answer my supplication, clearly establish my evidence, guide my heart, make true my tongue and draw out malice from my breast.” (Abu Dawud, Witr, 25; Tirmidhi, Daawat, 102)
In another tradition Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) explained how grudges and enmity destroy a person’s religious life:
“There has come to you the disease of the nations before you, jealousy and hatred. This is the ‘shaver’ (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of that which will strengthen love between you? Spread (the greeting) salaam amongst yourselves.” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 57)
As it is pointed out in this prophetic saying, religious feelings will be the first to be damaged in a society that lacks love and filled with enmity and hatred. This fact is also expressed in the following Turkish proverb: “religion and hatred can never be together.” Consequently, in a society with weakened religious feelings there will be fewer people with high morals, a strong character, and respecting each other. This is why Islam opposes and prohibits hatred and why it is expressed that believer’s hearts must be cleansed from grudges.
According to the narration of Abdullah b. Amr (r.a.) the Prophet (pbuh) was asked:
“Who is the best type of person?” He (pbuh) replied:
“A person who is truthful in his speech and Makhmum in his heart” People asked:
“We know what truthful speech is, but what is a Makhmum heart?” The Prophet (pbuh) responded by saying:
“It is god-conscious, pure, contains no sin, and harbors no iniquity, nor rancor, or jealousy.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 24)
The Holy Qur’an, too, warns believers against hatred and similar evil qualities and exhorts them to forgive others. Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (r.a.) who used to provide for Mistah bin Uthatha, because of the latter’s kinship to him, swore that he would never help him again for he had slandered Aisha (r. anha). Then the following verse was revealed:
“And let not those of you who possess grace and abundance swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have fled in Allah’s way, and they should pardon and turn away. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (al-Nur 24; 22; Bukhari, Tafsir, 24/6)
In another verse it is stated that the true believers pray saying:
“And place not in our hearts any rancor toward those who believe.” (al-Hashr 59; 10)
In one of his sayings our beloved Prophet (pbuh) prohibited believers from feeling mutual hatred, jealousy, and hostility (Muslim, Birr, 32); and in another saying he (pbuh) emphasized the necessity of exchanging gifts to remove hatred and grudges saying:
“Exchange gifts amongst you, for gifts eliminate hatred and hostility in the heart.” (Tirmidhi, Hiba, 6)
On the other hand, it should not be assumed that a believer has to love everything and everybody based on the verses and prophetic sayings expressing the wrongness of holding grudges. When we take the Prophet’s (pbuh) saying of “the best of the actions is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah” (Abu Dawud, Sunnah, 2) as our basis, we can reach the conclusion that there will be people that a believer dislikes and even hates. No matter how warm love is and how cold hate is, there can be no difference between these two opposite feelings when they are felt for the sake of Allah and both of them will ascend to the level of the best deeds; because what makes a deed meaningful is the intention that lies behind it. (Bukhari, Iman, 1) A soul loving for the sake of Allah will love the friends of Allah and prove his love by following them. Similarly a believer who hates for the sake of Allah will hate and disapprove the acts of the sinners, the oppressors, and the impious.
“Avoid jealousy, for jealousy devours good deeds just as fire devours wood.” Abu Dawud, Adab, 44
Jealousy is a mental state which makes a person to wish for other people to lose what they have. It is blameworthy characteristic of the heart.
The Qur’an emphasizes how this negative attribute will destroy the spiritual world on an individual and societal level as follows: “Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could turn you (people) back to infidelity after you have believed. From selfish envy, after the Truth has become manifest unto them…” (al-Baqara 2; 109)
This verse clearly points out that jealousy was the reason that Jews wanted believers to turn away from the Islamic faith. Saying that “jealousy and faith cannot combine in a believer’s heart” (Nasai, Jihad, 8) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) attracts our attention to the fact that jealousy is a matter of heart just like faith. However, faith represents the positive drift of the heart, whereas jealousy represents the opposite direction.
There are many proofs in the sources of Islam that jealousy is prohibited. In a verse, it is stated that:
“And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others…” (al-Nisa 4; 32) In a tradition, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) addresses his followers saying that:
“Don’t nurse grudges and don’t bid him out in order to raise the price and don’t nurse aversion or enmity and don’t enter into a transaction when the others have entered into that transaction and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice. It is a serious evil for a Muslim to look down on his brother Muslim. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth and his honor. Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.” (Muslim, Birr, 32-33)
The reason for the prohibition and disapproval of jealousy is that it is Allah the Almighty Whom the jealous person is really directing his feelings against; because, Allah is the One Who really gives His servants all kinds of blessings, ranks, status, and goodness. Therefore, feeling jealous towards the blessings bestowed upon another servant means interfering in Allah’s Will. The Prophet’s above mentioned saying refers to this fact by expressing the conflict between faith and jealousy. Jealousy harms nobody but the jealous. Faith bestows on the heart peace and tranquility, whereas jealousy causes it distress. Consequently, we can say that those who adorn their hearts with faith will be able to save themselves from this bad spiritual disease.
Allah’s Messenger’s warned believers about all kinds of moral weaknesses saying “O servants of Allah! Be brothers” which indicates that leaving bad attributes will have a great effect on the emergence of sincere feelings and behavior in society.
In his following tradition Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) also pointed out that good deeds will be wasted if the heart gets spoiled by spiritual illnesses like jealousy:
“Avoid jealousy, for jealousy devours good deeds just as fire devours wood.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 44; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 22)
According to the following report from Anas b. Malik’s (r.a.), cleansing the heart from jealousy and grudges will be a reason for salvation in the Hereafter. Anas (r.a.) said that:
“Once when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was sitting with some of his Companions, he said:
“Someone from the people of Paradise will come here now.” At that moment a man from the ansar came in with his slippers in his hand and water dripping from his beard as a result of newly performed ablution. On the following day same man came in when the Prophet (pbuh) uttered the words, and a similar incident happened on the third day. After the Messenger of Allah had left, Abdullah b. Amr (r.a.) followed the man and told him:
“I had an argument with my father and swore that I would not go home for three days. Would you host me at your home during these days?” The man accepted.
Upon which Abdullah became his guest for three days, but he did not see him wake up in the middle of the night to pray. He just saw the man remembering Allah and saying His name in bed and getting up for dawn prayer when the time was up. Abdullah b. Amr continued his words:
“I never heard a bad word coming out of his mouth, but I belittled his acts of worship during these three days. I told him:
“O servant of Allah! To be honest there was nothing wrong between me and my father. However, we heard Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) saying for three days: “Someone from the people of Paradise will come here now.” And you came on every one of these days. This is why I wanted to see your actions and do the same. But I saw that you did not perform much. Tell me what makes you attain such a high rank?”
“I am what you saw I am. But I have nothing fake in my heart towards believers. I never feel jealous towards the blessings of Allah the Almighty upon His servants.” Upon which Abdullah b. Amr (r.a.) said:
“This is the thing that makes you attain such a high place, which we cannot easily manage to do.” (Ibn Hanbal, III, 106)
In the works about Islamic ethics it is stated that jealousy can be cured by knowledge and practice. By means of knowledge one gathers the necessary information about the nature of this illness and by means of practice, one can force oneself to act in opposition to the causes of jealousy. Thus, one can either annihilate or reduce one’s tendency towards the feeling of jealousy. At least one can look for ways to get rid of this ailment. As it was expressed by the verses of the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) jealousy is a quality of the heart not the actions. Therefore, a believer should try not to be affected by this negative attribute and to organize his acts in accordance with the requirements of Islam.
On the other hand, there is another type of feeling which is similar to jealousy but allowed by Islam, that is envy without malice. Envy means hoping to have a blessing that somebody else has but without wishing him to lose it. This feeling is compared in the Qur’an to a race on the path of doing goodness: “…For this let (all) those strive who strive for bliss” (al-Mutaffifin 83; 26) In a saying of the Prophet (pbuh) believers are allowed to be envious about gaining knowledge and doing good deeds:
“Do not envy anyone except in two cases. (The first is) A person, whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously; (the second is) the one whom Allah has given wisdom (the Holy Qur’an) and he acts according to it and teaches it to others.” (Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 15; Muslim, Musafirin, 268)
While being envious about gaining knowledge and striving to do good are encouraged, compeating in doing evil, feeling jealousy, and selfishness are prohibited by the Prophet’s saying: “la tanafasu, or do not get attached to this world and ask to have something only by yourselves.” (Muslim, Birr, 31)
On the other hand, there are some measures that need to be taken for the protection from the harm of an envious person. We can enumerate some of these measures based on the verses of the Qur’an as follows:
1) To seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of the envious. This matter is stated in the verse: “[Seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn] from the evil of the envious when he envies” (al-Falaq 113; 5)
2) To practice patience and piousness. Allah the Almighty states that: “If good befalls you, it grieves them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it; and if you are patient and guard yourselves, their scheme will not injure you in any way…” (Al-i Imran, 3; 120)
3) To give in charity as much as possible in order to be saved from the envy of the envious or at least reduce the intensity of his envy by helping them, as mentioned in the following two verses: “…they repel evil with good and spend out of what We have given them.” (al-Qasas 28; 54)
“The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! He, between whomthere was enmity and thee, (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.” (Fussilat 41; 34)
Moreover, those who are given by Allah’s spiritual and worldly blessings should abstain from wastefulness and actions which may cause others to be jealous of them. This is both a religious responsibility and a courtesy towards humanity.
 The reason for the emergence of this tradition is very remarkable. Safiya, the wife of the Prophet said that: “I went to Allah’s Apostle to visit him in the mosque while he was in I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. I talked with him for a while, then I got up in order to return home. The Prophet accompanied me. When we reached the gate of the mosque, opposite the door of Um-Salama, two Ansari men were passing by and they greeted Allah’s Apostle. He told them: Slow down! This lady is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai.” Both of them said, “Subhan Allah, (How can we think of any evil about you?) O Allah’s Apostle!” Upon this the Prophet said (to them), “Satan reaches everywhere in the human body as blood reaches in it, (everywhere in one’s body). I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.” (Bukhari, I’tikaf, 8 Adab, 121; Muslim, Salam, 24; Abu Dawud, Adab 81)
 Also see Ibn Sa’d, III, 249; Ibn Athir, al-Kamil, II, 67; Haythami, IX, 295; Wahidi, p. 288-89.
 Two of the verses are in this context are as follows: “O you who believe! Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if you are indeed Believers.” (al-Baqara 2; 278) “It is only the evil one that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: be ye not afraid of them, but fear me, if you have Faith.” (Al-i Imran 3; 175)