A Dreadful Disease

Such is the intensity of ill will and revulsion that people even allow their own selves to be targeted for deriving sadistic pleasure out of envy
A Dreadful Disease
In this way, he lost one eye, one hand and one leg. And the neighbour lost both eyes, both hands and both legs. Now, the person felt contented and said, “It is wonderful, indeed. Thanks a lot, the great Genie!”Wikimedia Commons [GK Web Desk has cropped and added filter to this Image]

A legendary story about envy is well known. It says that once a person after painstaking atonement happened to please Genie (Jinn). So Genie appeared and said, “What is your wish, my master?” The person prayed, “My Genie! Kindly promise that you would grant whenever I wish for anything!”

The Genie agreed, “All right, you will always get whatever you wish for, but there was a condition to your wishes—that whatever you wish for, your neighbour will get just the double”. And the person went home, quite happy.

The next morning, he wished for a palatial house. He got one, and his neighbour got two! Then, he wished for a luxury car. He got that also. And again, the neighbour got two luxury cars! His desires multiplied manifold. He wished for more and more. The gracious Genie granted all his wishes.

He became very prosperous. But the neighbour became twice as prosperous! Now, the person was very jealous. What to do! He found a clever solution. He prayed Genie to take one of his eyes. The wish was granted. He lost one eye and his neighbour lost both eyes.

He further asked the Genie to take one of his hands and then one of his legs. In this way, he lost one eye, one hand and one leg. And the neighbour lost both eyes, both hands and both legs. Now, the person felt contented and said, “It is wonderful, indeed. Thanks a lot, the great Genie!”

Such is the intensity of ill will and revulsion that people even allow their own selves to be targeted for deriving sadistic pleasure out of envy. Some call it a ‘mental cancer’, meaning it is a condition that invades a person’s brain and spreads like a deadly disease in his being. Whenever he feels envious, he is actually deeply pained.

Pained at resilience, success and well-being of others. This state of mind is torturous for him, for envious cannot stand others patience and prosperity.

Besides, ‘mental cancer’ imports a sense of intellectual bankruptcy, wherein an envious person loses his all goodness—his sanity, his creativity, his moorings; and stoops very very low to see the envied ruined. He concocts, moulds realities, hatches conspiracies and calls bad names. But, in the process, eventually, it is he who has to carry the chaos.

All his Genies fail him! He is left fretting and fuming at everyone. No pangs of remorse stir him. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Beware of envy because indeed envy destroys good deeds in the same manner as fire destroys wood”. Imam Al-Ghazali (RA), in his book Al-Ihya, writes—“Be aware that envy is one of the most dangerous diseases of the hearts….The fact is envy is dangerous for your deen because, with envy, you hated Allah’s predestination and hated his blessings that He divided among his servants, and you hated His justice that He established in His world for wisdom, so you contested that and objected it, and this is against the true oneness and belief…. And the fact that envy is dangerous upon your worldly life is that because you suffer from your envy in this life and you are tortured by it, and you will always be in sorrows every time you see the blessing of Allah on the envied person”.

While wishing bad for someone, the envious person harms only himself. His pain gets agonizing as he sees the envied moving ahead in life and gracing up Allah’s bounties. Even as being unhappy over the well-being of others becomes a habitual trait for the envious, the delight over his own accomplishments also decays. His own goodness drops off.

He is never happy, never content. In Some Fruits of Solitude, William Penn writes, ‘The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves’. The fire of jealousy within chars their virtues. Apparently, their heads bow down before Allah but their soul does not. It carries the wickedness of ingratitude even towards Almighty, to the extent of bracing up anything abysmally godless for ‘panacea’.

As the malice gets cancerous, the symptoms become more concentrated. The envious masks a false personality. He or she may be your relative, friend or colleague, but essentially happens to be your hidden enemy. About his character, Hazrat Imam Ali (RA) said, “The envious person looks like a loving friend by his speech but hides malice behind his actions, he is a friend only by name but by his characteristics, he is an enemy”.

Hazrat Luqman (AS) also said to his son, “The envious person has three signs: backbiting behind them (whom he envies), flatters them, in front and is happy when they are in trouble”.

Therefore, the ‘mental cancer’ is treacherously lethal. It destroys and takes away the serenity of social equilibrium in any family, any workplace or any society where it breeds.

Not only this, it blights beliefs and leads to manifold wickedness. Shockingly, and painfully as well, people lose whatever good is left in their hearts and souls.

That’s why guarding against envy, ‘the green-eyed monster’, remains a colossal responsibility for nurturing a sincere soul and sane society. Otherwise, the monster like any devilish ‘Genie’ will devour the entire goodness of mankind—

O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;

It is the green-eyed monster

which doth mock

The meat it feeds on.

(Shakespeare, Othello)

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The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK

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