Dear brothers in Alukah Network, As-salamu `Alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)
I am a successful man who has a high certificate, and my function is perfect, thanks to Allah.
My problem is: I always look forward to higher people and sometimes I feel pain and narrowness in my chest. I keep asking myself: Why did so and so precede me? Why did my colleague get a higher degree than mine? Why did he get a higher reward than me?
When I ask these questions, I do not envy anyone, for I fear Allah and fear of the bad consequences of envy, but what I complain about is wishing the possessions of others. I have sincere desire to reform myself in order to get rid of this ugly quality, so what is the way to get rid of that bad quality and to achieve conviction and belief in destiny?
Could you kindly advise?
Wa `Alaykumus-Salam war-Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh (peace be upon you).
Dear valued brother, let it be known that generosity is divided into two categories: Giving what a person owns and avoiding what people possess. Giving what a person possesses is much higher, and avoiding what people possess is more honorable to oneself, but if a person combines them both, he has perfected generosity. [Al Adab Al Kabir].
First, you have to know whether you are looking at people's possessions just for wishing what they have and to remove goodness from them or you are looking for what is better and you seek it.
Some people may feel pain and sorrow for seeing others enjoying great favors or mercy, and not for the sake of loving goodness for himself as others enjoy it. So, he feels pain when he sees others enjoying a position or honor and works cunningly to underestimate others directly or indirectly to take his position by lying and defamation; this happens to people whose hearts were filled by evils and hatred. So, if you are afflicted by something of that, ask Allah to cure you from a disease that is only cured by the Owner of hearts (Allah Glory be to Him).
However, if you are looking at the possessions of others from Allah's Saying: "And for this let (all) those strive who want to strive (i.e. hasten earnestly to the obedience of Allah)." [Surat Al Mutaffifin: 26], make your look be filled by love, keenness, and happiness for them which I believe you have but it is the human soul which is instilled by the love of goodness, so what is the problem?
Goodness which is granted to others is divided into two kinds:
* A type which you cannot reach whatever you do because it is beyond your capabilities such as beauty, lineage, or other matters which you cannot change.
* A type which is accessible to you as it is accessible to others by exerting efforts, tiredness, and persistence.
If it is the first type, the wisdom says that a person should dedicate himself to things which he can get, to remind himself with the favors of Allah, and expel Satanic insinuation by all means as Allah said: "And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaitan (Satan) then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower." [Surat Al A`raf: 200]. It is better to count and mention the blessings of Allah given to you with yourself or with others. "And proclaim the Grace of your Lord (i.e. the Prophethood and all other Graces)." [Surat Ad-Duha: 11]. Likewise, pondering over those who do not have blessings and favors as you have; there is no doubt that souls do not pay attention to this point. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Look at the one who is at a lower level than you, and do not look at the one who is above you, for that may keep you from scorning the blessing of Allah." [Reported by Muslim].
Of the books which I advise you to read because they speak about conviction and satisfaction with destiny in general are the following:
Shifa'ul-`Alil of Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah (may Allah be merciful with his soul).
Eighty issues about fate of Muhammad ibn Shamy Shaybah.
Faith in fate of Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al Hamd.
The life of hearts of Salih ibn `Awwad Al Maghamsy.
There is no harm to write down some cases of those around you who were afflicted then were cured or those whom you were given priority to them regardless the types of favors to read them from time to time.
If it is the second type, you have to remember the big difference between envy and rejoice. I believe that your feeling is emerged from the Hadith of Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others." The meaning of envy here means "rejoice" which means wishing the blessings and favors which others have along with your desire to keep these blessings and favors in the possessions of others.
What should you do in this case?
First, it was reported in the Sunnah the cure or the vaccine which immunes you against that disease to protect yourself and your Muslim brother. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If you see something you like, you should say Tabrik which means to say: Allahumma Barik `Ala Fulan wa barik lahu fima Razaqtahu [O Allah, bless so and so and bless for him what You have provided him.]" Then do not busy your mind with it again or fear to hit him with something he hates.
Second, look at the field in which your colleague succeeded or the promotion which they got then search with practical steps to get the same result and follow the causes of promoting yourself, taking him as an example for achieving success and getting the highest degrees without blaming yourself or rebuking it but by good search, hard working, benefiting from time, and following the way of successful people. Make a positive comparison between you and them whether they did something you hesitated about or you neglected in something which they had done?
Thus, you should ask questions until you reach the points of weakness and defects, and remember that the garden of success is not accessible but after passing by the gates of frustration, despair, and pain, so bear and cross confidently and hopefully.
Third, think about your capabilities and try to develop them by all means, and do not pay attention to those who frustrate you or underestimate you or maybe attack you and prevent you from joining courses under the pretext they are not useful or other claims which we here from low-vigor people. So, try to improve your ability by reading, joining useful courses, and searching and accompanying good people and relying on Allah.
Fourth, expel away Satanic insinuations, but if your heart or mind is overwhelmed by an idea which you cannot expel, do not pay attention to it. Do not instill bad ideas in your mind or heart about being a bad person by thinking in higher people unless you wish the removal of blessings and favors from your Muslim brother or your fear of envy then follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said: (invocation for blessing). It is enough for you because human souls were created for loving goodness and the desire to get it, so do not suppress your human nature unless it transgresses its limits.
Fifth, it is wrong and self-oppression to limit ourself to unsuccessful people or afflicted people to feel the favor of Allah. So, a successful man is the one who accompanies successful people, promotes himself, and associates with them. So, you should accompany the people of favors, look at the conditions of afflicted people and ponder over the wisdom, mercy, and justice of Allah. "Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work. But the Mercy (Paradise) of your Lord (O Muhammad peace be upon him) is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass." [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 32].
May Allah guide you to success, protect you from the evil of yourself, and open the gates of knowledge and success before you!
May Allah grant you success, for He guides whomever to the Straight Path!