how to conquer envy

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I seek refuge in Allah from satan the accursed.

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate Most Merciful.

Allah is God Almighty, the One beyond our perception and undefinable.  He has no son, no partners, and no equals.  He is the Creator and everyone and everything else is created by Him.

Do you know what she said to me?  I can’t believe people like her roam freely amongst us!  Someone should take away all God has given her and then maybe she will stop saying such mean and hurtful things to others.  You really want to know what she said to me after I told her I am going traveling around Europe for two weeks?  Well she had this sour look on her face, and her smile turned into a frown.  Then her eyes narrowed and she uttered, “Why in the world would God let YOU travel all over the world you old man?  I am young and I deserve this trip much more than you.  So you should just transfer your tickets to me and sit at home and watch TV like you are meant to at this age.  Sheesh! This is freakin’ ridiculous!   What’s with all you people traveling all over the world while I rot here in this bank teller job counting out Euros for you?!”

The sad part about this story is that it actually did happen with me, but not the way you have come to understand it thus far.  Firstly, the words by the bank teller were not actually said out loud, but were instead thought.  Therefore, the hurt felt by the customer is only my interpretation of what would have happened if the words were indeed said out loud.  So what might surprise you is that I was the bank teller and the customer was someone I had once served while working a summer job as a university student. Yes it is true.  I had a great desire to travel and when that particular customer came asking for Euros, he got me curiously asking where he was going.  After he told me about an exciting trip to various European countries with his wife, I felt a great wave of anger and envy wash over me.  I completely felt psychologically paralyzed by my dark side and wanted to storm out of my workplace because I kept thinking, “Howcome I am not the one travelling to Europe with My husband?!”

What I failed to realize, and perhaps most of us fail to realize is that just because someone we know or cross paths with happens to have something we want as well, does not mean that is the end of that dream for us.  God Almighty has unlimited power and therefore He can create the same type of opportunity for us in the near future.  What most of us consistently end up doing, is falling for satan’s trickery.

To elaborate on my point I would like to share with you some more details of my life surrounding this incident.  I got that bank teller job after several interviews and a lot of prayers because I really wanted to save a good amount of money to help my husband pay off my university tuition fees for the following year.  Plus, I had always wanted to experience working at a bank for some reason. Now imagine after having been blessed with passing the interviews and getting to work in a field I had always dreamed of experiencing, I chose to completely disregard what I had and focused my entire energy on what I didn’t have.  Not just that, I questioned why that customer got to have the amazing trip.  It was bad enough that I threw my blessings in the spiritual garbage can, I went one step further and stomped on someone else’s happiness.  Some of you might be thinking that it’s only natural to feel jealousy or envy for other people’s happiness but let me burst your bubble by telling you straight out that it is NOT natural, but instead is a result of flawed reasoning proposed by satan and accepted by us.

Satan proposes a scarcity viewpoint, which is basically the flawed idea that there is only so much to go around so if I don’t get to it then I lose out.  However, the reality is far from it.  God Almighty is the owner and creator of everything and therefore extends His mercy to all His creatures, so if you really want something and see someone else who has it, feel happy for him/her because now you know that it’s possible to get it, and then ask God to bless you with it too.  How do you feel happy for that person?  By being inspired by their journey to achieve whatever it is that you desire as well.  Remember that whatever it is that you desire takes time and effort and if someone else has it, that means they had their own journey to get to where they are now.  There is unlimited supply of all the good stuff so just trust God and ask Him to guide you to it.

Do not accept all thoughts that come to your head because satan will most likely throw in his two cents.  Let’s clarify one thing about satan: he only tempts or confuses us by what appear to us as our own thoughts, and by accepting those thoughts as true we act on them thereby sinning.  Therefore, each and every one of us is responsible for our actions and cannot blame satan on the day of judgement.  The following two verses of the Quran state that satan can only tempt and that in the end we are all responsible for our actions because satan never forces us to do anything.  We are indeed born free to choose our path.

“Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but satan’s promises are nothing but deception.” (4:120)

“And Satan shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me, therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves: I cannot be your aider (now) nor can you be my aiders; surely I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah before; surely it is the unjust that shall have the painful punishment.”(14:22)

However, it is sometimes difficult for us to determine whether satan is trying to fool us when the ideas brought forth are by are own mind.  What I mean to say is that if the ideas are said by another person it is often much easier to discredit them as false or sinful, whereas our own ideas are often more tricky and difficult to analyze.  In this case,  what often works for me, is asking myself what if someone else said this to me?  Will I still accept it as is? Why do i really want to go through with this?  Hence keep in mind that it is the content of thoughts and ideas that needs to be monitored with vigilance and not really the source.  It does not matter if you think of a certain idea or some other person suggests it to you, but rather you should focus on what is being said.  Just remember that as soon as you realize that a certain idea or thought is proposed by satan, turn to God Almighty with sincerity for His protection, just as the following Quranic verse states:

If a suggestion from Satan assail thy (mind), seek refuge with Allah; for He heareth and knoweth (all things). Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance, when lo! they see (aright)! (7:200-201)

…And remember that no matter what path you choose in life, God Almighty always loves you unconditionally and helps you when in need because He is Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem (Most Compassionate Most Merciful).

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