Home Quranet Chapter 6 How can we overcome envy?
How can we overcome envy?
Chapter 6

وَلاَ تَتَمَنَّوْاْ مَا فَضَّلَ اللّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُواْ وَلِلنِّسَاء نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ وَاسْأَلُواْ اللّهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا  (سورۃ النساء, آيۃ 32)

And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: but ask Allah of His bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things. (Surah 4, Verse 32)

Sali, who is in the third grade, is always asking her parents why this friend has nicer clothes than she does, why that friend has more toys, why a third friend was taken out by her parents and she wasn't. What began as envy became a habit, and in this way Sali wheedles her parents into giving her gifts.

Sali's parents want to help their daughter to overcome her obsessive envy which is troubling to her and to everyone around her. At first they explained that there would always be some boys and girls who had something she didn't have and that she was not being deprived. But Sali continued to pester them. Eventually they talked to the school counselor who called Sali to her office and read her a verse: "And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others". "Yes, Sali," said the counselor. "Some people have more than you but God has exhorted us not to be envious of those who have more, because there is no end to envy. There will always be those who have more than you and those who have less", she added. Sali listened and mumbled the verse to herself as if trying to absorb the message.

Explanation: envy is a fierce and destructive emotion not only among children, but also among adults. How often do we envy someone who has more than we do? This emotion is natural but we must learn to overcome it. Sali, however, is incapable of overcoming her envy. She looks at her friends and feels deprived. Children who feel more confident at home are less envious while children who lack basic confidence tend to be more envious. We must remember that a child who is very envious is telling us, in his own way, that he wants us to give him more attention because he feels that something is lacking. The Quran deals with this issue and commands us not to be envious of those who have more because that is the will of God. And this being so, Sali can only accept this and remember that it is also the will of God that she should have more than some of her friends.