Hasad (destructive envy) means wishing that a blessing that Allaah has bestowed on the envied person be taken away.
Allah enjoined His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to seek refuge with Him from the evil of the envier when he envies.
1. “Say: ‘I seek refuge with (Allaah), the Lord of the daybreak,
2. ‘From the evil of what He has created,
3. ‘And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness; (or the moon as it sets or goes away),
4. ‘And from the evil of those who practise witchcraft when they blow in the knots,
5. ‘And from the evil of the envier when he envies.’”[Quran al-Falaq 113]
What is meant by “when he envies” is when he manifests what he feels of envy in his heart and acts on it, and his envy makes him do something bad to the one whom he envies.
Hasad is of varying degrees:
1 – When a person wants the blessing to be taken away from his Muslim brother, even if it does not come to him; rather he does not like Allaah to bless anyone else and that upsets him.
2 – Where he wants the blessing to be taken away from someone else because he wants it, in the hope that it will come to him.
Ghibtah & its permissibility
Where he wishes for himself a blessing like that which someone else has, without wanting it to be taken away from the other person. This is permissible and is not called hasad rather it is called ghibtah.
Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Envy is permitted only in two cases: A man whom Allah gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully, and a man to whom Allah gives knowledge which he applies and teaches it.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: According to Imam An-Nawawi’s explanation, the word Hasad (jealousy) is used in the sense of Ghibtah i.e., envy. In Islam, jealousy is forbidden and is held unlawful. The reason being that one who is jealous wants that the person, who possesses the quality of which he is jealous, be deprived of that quality. Envy is permissible for the reason that when one seems that a person has been graced by Allah with certain gifts and qualities, he also desires to be blessed with those gifts. In the latter case, he does not grumble and grieve but eagerly prays to Allah for those gifts. `Knowledge’ here stands for the knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith because this knowledge alone is beneficial for man, and it is through this knowledge that correct judgements can be made among the people. This Hadith has an inducement for acquiring useful knowledge along with wealth to spend in the ways ordained by Allah.
The envier harms himself in three ways:
1 – He earns sin because hasad is haraam.
2 – It is bad etiquette before Allaah, because what hasad really means is hating Allaah’s blessing His slaves, and objecting to what Allaah does.
3 – He suffers because of too much worry and distress