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Two Things to Envy

لا حسد إلا في اثنتين رجل آتاه الله مالا فسلط على هلكته في الحق ورجل آتاه الله الحكمة فهو يقضي بها ويعلمها

As narrated by Abdullah Ibn Masud, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

"Only these two people should be envied:

One is the person who spends all the wealth Allah gave him on the path of righteousness, and the other is the person who judges with the knowledge Allah gave him and teaches it to others." (Buhari, İlim 15)

Sources say that the word "hasad (envy)" that passes in the text of this hadith has one real and one figurative meaning, and that here the figurative meaning is implied. The real meaning of hased is to wish that every kind of material-spiritual blessings possessed by someone else be his own instead of the other person's. Hased causes a person to dare to make plans for obtaining the blessing under consideration and spoil the relations between the Creator and created. Like a worm nibbling away at a tree, it gnaws at the admirable traits in our spirit and makes us lose our humanity. If we do not take it under control, it will control us. Hased prevents us from using good sense with tempting mental tricks and makes us stray from common sense. A person's desiring what he does not and can not have becomes a vehicle for leading a covetous life of inner turmoil. It turns man away from contentment and gratitude, and leads him to blasphemy and rebellion.

The figurative meaning of hased is to envy, to want for yourself what someone else has. Envying the good things someone has and wanting and striving for similar things for yourself can cause an increase in your good. In this sense, by encouraging a person to race for the good, it can raise the level he is at.

While conveying a divine message to the society they were sent to, prophets sometimes reinterpreted words and concepts used by their addressees in order to make their aim clear, thus, accomplishing a mental transformation. Here it is possible to see this same matter in the meaning of envy in the word hased. The prohibition on the negative meaning of this feeling, which found its place in the first events of man's experience of creation, teaches us that this emotion can be gotten under control. Complaints like "What can I do; it's not my fault; I felt like it" can deter us from the road of progress and enslave us to our impulses.

This hadith gives two basic examples of how we can channel this emotion, which is a human weakness, to goodness and beauty, instead of ignoring it, and what these enviable matters can be. Beginning with Imam Shafii, the word "hikmet (wisdom)" mentioned in the 27th verse of the Quran was understood by Islamic scholars to mean Sunnah, along with its other meanings. According to the hadith, the attitude to be envied is living with comprehension on a Quran-Sunnah axis and with knowledge and awareness, and giving wise judgments, not personal opinions, when evaluating people and events and participating in educational-training activities to spread this awareness. Property and wisdom are two great blessings and assets that affect individuals and societies profoundly, and the real value of which only appears when they are used in the proper place. (See I. Lutfi Cakan, Musluman Kimligi [Muslim identity].)

Knowledge and wealth are two important assets that make people think they have control of their lives when they possess them. Actually one the basic twists that separates Muslim advice from that of other religions is hidden in the perception of these assets. According to Islam, these assets which are "given" to man should be used for the "Giver," and action should be taken with the consciousness of trust and responsibility. The view, "I wanted it, I worked, I got it; then I am the real owner," in one respect leaves Divine Will out of the distribution of daily sustenance. As long as they are halal, owning property and wealth and receiving Allah's blessings are good, but, together with this, what is really good is using Allah's blessings in a way that He will approve of. What is enviable is not possessing a lot of property, but spending it unconditionally in Allah's path. At this point, a duty that befalls us is facing our fears and worries that can be an obstacle to our generosity. Those who have the courage to distinguish between which reasons are real and which are false have begun to quickly climb the enviable ladder. Thinking that when we let go of what Allah gave us once, He will not give it again and fearing this means putting ourselves in a narrow mold and not comprehending the infinity of Allah's blessings and bounty.

It can be understood from the principle, "The alms tax for every blessing is of the same kind, " that using our material wealth, knowledge and capabilities, and experience in their proper place and offering them for religious and social service will make us enviable Muslims.

 

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