Do I wish I was someone else?
Am I unsatisfied with my lot?
Am I ungrateful for my blessings? What right do I have to want your blessings in addition to my own?
Do I show gratitude to my Creator and Source of my blessings by sharing my blessings with those who have less than I do?
What is Envy?
Envy can be described as a 'feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or gifts. It is the desire to have a gift, blessing or talent belonging to someone else.
Why is Envy Important?
Envy as a concept is important because the perceived reality of its presence within us in this physical existence of this worldly life can bring us to Higher levels of Gratitude and Sanctification when we reflect upon it, turn away from it, use it to unite rather than to divide in our relationships, or gain wisdom from the negativity that has resulted from acting upon it which brings us to repentance and mending of our ways towards Good. The presence of envy ( like the other evil inclinations) provides a tool for our souls to be 'tested' as to whether we are true Believers in our abilities to resist the sin that results from utilising this vessel of deception.
How can my envy help me and others?
Depending on how we choose to channel our envy, envy can in fact help us to feel more 'desire' and motivation towards a success that can be beneficial to our relationships with ourselves, our Creator and with others. For example- being envious of someone who seems more refined in their ways of righteousness than ourselves can in fact motivate us to desire to have the qualities that they have, and follow their ways as an example and light. Sometimes the envy can enable us to work harder in self-reflection and self-refinement and encourage us to 'compete' with one another in doing good deeds- a type of competition that can help us better serve our communities. However- even this type of envy can become very dangerous and cause a lot of harm to ourselves and others in society if do not reach the point ( during our self-refinement) of letting go, or sacrificing that envy, and instead celebrating together with our brothers and sisters for our combined success towards righteousness in Peace. A level even Higher than this might be an envy that one has towards His or Her Creator- perhaps they want to be as close as possible to Him, and do not want to share that position with anyone else? This envy can motivate a person to seeking Higher Truth in sincerity and Loving their Creator to earn His Pleasure with their hearts minds and strength and will find that the closer they get in their relationship with their Creator, the more they will come to love their fellow human as themselves ( as they learn that our Creator is Creator of all and loves all His Creation), and wish for the success of others in their Union with God just the same or even more than how they wished for success of Union with Him for themselves. For how can we truly love our Creator if we do not love all that He loves? Would The Creator of the worlds allow us to get closer to Him and feel His Presence at Higher levels if we envy the relationship He has or wants to have with the rest of His Creation whom He loves?
When we envy those who have more knowledge, understanding, wisdom and love than how we perceive ourselves- and we realise that what they have achieved or have been granted is also within our own reach through struggle and effort- (and as long as we have a Fear of God which prevents us from transgressing His limits through sin while we strive to succeed in this area)- this can encourage us to seek knowledge wisdom understanding and love by improving our relationships with those people- this can be helpful for both the teacher and student and for the student of the student who now becomes a teacher. Anything and anyone can be our teacher or student- we can learn from anyone and anything around us- but what is most important is that there is a relationship in the first place. So the envy that drives us to improving our connections with others in the pursuit of Higher Truth can in fact help us to better serve our Creator and each other.
How does my envy cause me harm?
Let us ask ourselves- what is it that we are envious of? Who is it that we are envious towards? Is it our sibling? neighbour? parent? child? or is it towards our Creator to Whom belongs all Dominion, Power and Glory? and why are we envious?- do we wish to be like them? Do we wish that all dominion power and glory was ours? Are we not grateful for our portion in this world? Do we wish to have more and more? What makes us more worthy to have more than others? What is it other than arrogance and ego that fuels and is fuelled by my envy?
Envy can cause us great harm if we are unable to rise above it (by surrendering to a Higher Will) or channel it in a way that serves our Higher Purpose. It can fuel our animalistic desires to pursue ways of sin, and result in a breakdown of our relationships with our self, our Creator and society. Any breakdown of a relationship which causes harm and loss to a Being which at our essence we in fact cherish, love and seek to better connect to ( within our core self) leads to a mental, emotional and spiritual descent resulting in physical symptoms within and around us. The point that our envy results in our desire for our own 'success' in place of (or at the loss of) the success of our fellow human being is the point that we become entrapped within its power.
Envy both fuels and feeds on the selfish sides of our arrogance, lust, our greed, our sloth, our anger/vengeance, our mutual hatred, fears and our sorrows leading to further relationship breakdown and division. Anything that causes division within and around us results in moving further away from Inner and world Peace.
The more we are entrapped within the prisons of our envy towards one another and against our Creator, the less inclined we feel to engage in, and persevere in ways of righteousness, such as truthfulness, integrity, joy, love, compassion, peace, respect, justice, humility, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, courage, patience, perseverance, and commitment. The less we engage in good deeds which are fuelled by compassion love, justice and peace through righteousness, then the less we are able to 'purify' and refine ourselves to remove the clouding that forms a shell around our hearing sight and hearts. The thicker the shell around our true essence of being, the more detached we feel from ourselves, our creator and from His creation- holding onto and chasing after the physical pleasures of this temporary worldly life instead of seeking a Higher Eternal Truth and investing in the world to come. The thicker the shell around the true essence of our Being- the less we 'hear' the call for help of our inner child, inner widow, inner oppressed self and therefore the less able we are to respond to this call. We sink deeper and deeper into depression, anxiety, despair, anguish and darkness. We struggle with our self identity, and lose perspective on our judgement of right from wrong, truth from falsehood. We lose the ability to see and accept Truth when we face it due to our envy, the clouding of our ability to 'understand' and 'recognise' and the fear of being either blinded or shattered/destroyed by that Truth that is Higher than the false delusion/perception of ourself. We end up living in our shadows rather than in Unity with the Source of our Light of our True Being and Creator which imprison within our outer walls. These walls separate us from embracing meaningful and peaceful relationships with our spouses, our children, our parents, and our communities and lead to war and destruction around us. This then leads to more destruction within. Our Envy invites to downward spiral, and leads us to fall from our spiritual paradise.
Often what is needed is an external Force of Strength and Love which breaks and shatters our outer shell comprised of envy and all the other evil inclinations- to humble us and snap us back into Reality so that we are once again able to hear the cry of an orphan, or someone that is needing our help, and so that we are once again given a chance to repent, to mend our ways, take responsibility for our behaviour and Return to our Creator. Or perhaps when our shells are molten into liquid by extreme heat? Or perhaps by the force of patience goodness and Truth which bit by bit breaks down the external layers of our falsehood through those righteous ones who love us and persevere in repaying our evil with good and choosing to have mercy and compassion on us rather than vengeance? Or perhaps when our envy results in the hardening of our hearts to the point that we cannot hear our own inner voice to Truth- we will hearken to the sound of the horn which is like a loud cry of our inner child calling out for redemption from our Saviour, our Creator- Lord of The Worlds?
How does my envy cause harm to others?
How much of societal breakdown and harm to others is a result of our speech and behaviour which results in breaking the Law? How many of us commit adultery because we covet our neighbour's wife? How many of us steal because we covet the property of our fellow human? How many of us murder as a result of our envy towards another? How many of us lie and deceive, bearing false witness to Truth because we are jealous of the gifts, blessings and talents of others? How many of our relationships and societies breakdown because of the pursuit of our worldly pleasures and the worship of money that is due to our envy? How many countries go into battle due to mutual envy while in pursuit of worldly possession and power, glory and honour- resulting in the suffering and loss of innocent lives? How many religions divide into sects even after bearing witness to a Higher Truth- because of mutual envy and greed? Be it on a personal or global level- we see that envy is a state of ingratitude and arrogance that invites us to sin, and disobey the Divine and Societal Law- and brings injustice to ourselves, our relationships, families on a personal and global scale.
How does envy affect my wellbeing?
When our relationships breakdown due to us being controlled by our envy, - we divide, we become weakened both spiritually and emotionally and mentally and physically, both individually and on a collective level. We become less able to function in Peace- in our homes, our workplace, and our communities. This then fuels the flame for more and more destructive ways that lead to further pain and suffering for all.
Envy is an opposing force against Gratitude- and gratitude is an essential ingredient of the soul if we seek to improve our spiritual, emotional and mental sense of well-being. Gratitude to our Creator and gratitude towards others. For how can we envious of another if we are grateful for our share of physical and spiritual gifts blessings and talents in this world? So the more we choose to fuel the flame of envy within us, the less room there is for us to become more grateful and have a better sense of well-being.
Envy is also an opposing force against Forgiveness- and forgiveness too is an essential ingredient of the soul which seeks to heal in Peace. Forgiveness towards other allows us to let go of the pain and suffering that we feel as a result of the harm caused by their actions towards us- and enables us to feel less of a 'victim' of life- enabling us to rise above our own egos- in humility and seek forgiveness from our Creator- thereby strengthening our relationships, allowing us to take more responsibility of our own behaviour and giving us the courage to stop hiding in the shadows/garments of our external shell that is a result of our own sins. So the more we choose to fuel our envy, the less room we make for forgiveness in our hearts and souls, and the less we are able to heal and gain wisdom from our past negative experiences.
The more we envy, the less able we become to love our fellow human being as ourself. For envy is the opposite of unconditional love. So the more we choose fuel our to envy, the less able we become to Love our Creator with our hearts mind and strength and therefore to treat others how we ourselves would want to be treated. For what does envy feed if not our own arrogance? And how can we truly love, serve and obey a Higher Truth if we believe our evil inclinations to be more worthy of worship and seek to gain all that in Truth belongs to our Creator? and if we seek to make our ego into a false god through arrogance and disobedience? How can we become truly altruistic and selfless if our ego is in the way? Does the wall of our ego not block us from receiving love from our Creator and His creation which helps us to heal?
Envy fuels our anger and vengeance- the more envious we are, the less patient we become in times of hardship and struggle and in our relationships. But how can we heal without patience? How can we survive despite the external destructive forces of the evil inclination that seem to want to lead us astray- if we are not able to have patience and persevere in ways of Peace and righteousness? Patience during time of loss of life, wealth, health and other blessings is essential if we want to be able to get up after we fall, and not give up in our journey of self-refinement. Patience with ourselves and with others can help us to become more able to repay evil with good, and choose mercy over harsh Judgement. Patience helps us to sweeten the bitterness within our souls which causes us pain and suffering. The more angry we become due to envy, the more likely we are to want to avenge those who cause us harm- and the more likely this will result in destruction with harsh judgement against ourselves and within our relationships. So envy is an opposing force against patience- another essential ingredient towards personal and collective healing.
In ways similar to above- Envy is an open enemy to compassion, love, peace, respect, and all other ways of righteousness that serves as a tool to invite us to idol worship- and when we choose to follow its ways we start to make for ourselves other gods beside our Creator, leading to depression and anxiety as a result of our reduced ability to feel the presence and connection with our True Essence.
How can I rise above my envy or use it to transform darkness to light?
-The key point here is Gratitude- the more we work on becoming more grateful, the less room there is for our envy to rule us. Here is a link to some self-reflection questions on 'My Gratitude' that might help.
-Here are some self reflection questions on 'My Envy' that might help us to find the hidden treasures within our envy and use them to help elevate us above our evil inclinations.
-Self discipline in regular prayer, self reflection and meditation to help us seek Higher Truth, through Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding and Experience.
-Reflection on the stories of Prophets from Abrahamic Scripture seeking more wisdom and understanding about envy. For example, Abel and Cain, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Abraham Isaac and Ishmael and more! peace be upon them all.
-Performing acts of loving kindness, through selfless giving ( without expectation of return from anyone) to help purify our outer shell and expose/reveal our hidden essence which lies beneath our ego.
-To try to see the 'good' and 'light' and 'truth' in others as much as possible to help us to pardon the faults of others, forgive, while seeking forgiveness from our Creator so that we 'Return' to our True Essence of Being. When we seek to reveal the light in others, we allow ourselves to see our own hidden light in our darkness which gives us strength to better judge 'right' from 'wrong' and guides us to Truth more 'clearly' by removing the outer layers of envy. By avoiding harsh judgement against others it helps us to sweeten the Judgement against our own soul from Above, so that we can more easily Heal from our traumatic or negative experiences.
-Try to repay evil with good as much as possible. The more we try to see the good in others, despite their external appearances/garments which may appear evil- and the more we try to listen to them to understand their point of view, and show compassion and patience instead of anger and vengeance, the less room there is in our hearts for envy to control our actions which lead to destruction of our relationships- We become more able this way to take responsibility for our own actions and for the actions of others, and more able to help others to remove their outer garments that entrap them within their inner slavery to envy, and ego, lust, sloth, anger, vengeance, fears, sorrows etc. We ourselves heal, through our willingness to heal them with compassion and love and understanding. We set ourselves free from our slavery to our envy, through sacrificing our envy for a Higher Purpose which seeks Unity (with all Creation) with our Creator- Lord of The Worlds.
-Seek to make Peace as much as possible with a sincere heart, even if it feels as though it is going against us.
-Seek, speak and behave in a truthful manner at all times, and reveal the truth, even if it leads what feels like loss in this physical life ( loss of money, friends, hardship, struggle oppression etc)
-Use our free will to willingly Surrender to a Will that is Higher than our own will, and an Understanding that is Higher than our own Understanding. Try to Serve our Creator seeking His Pleasure as much as possible in all that we think, feel, say and do.
-Call upon our Creator directly for help and guidance to Truth by calling on Him using HIs Beautiful Attributes and meditating on ways we can incorporate these ways of Righteousness into our own lives through self-refinement in our thoughts speech and behaviour.
- Work on finding the hidden treasures that lie deep within the evil inclinations of our own darkness- and using this wisdom/light to help others and ourselves to rise up and transform our darkness to light..
Scripture Quotes about Envy
“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17
His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had..’ Genesis 37:4-11
They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer! "Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!" Genesis 37:19-20
And Sarai said to Abram, "May the wrong done me be upon you I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight May the LORD judge between you and me." But Abram said to Sarai, "Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight." So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. Genesis 16:5-6
Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. Therefore she said to Abraham, "Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac." Genesis 21:9-10
His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. Genesis 37:11
but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Genesis 4:5
Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?" And the LORD heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:1-10
Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, "Moses, my lord, restrain them." But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!" Numbers 11:28-29
I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:4
“For anger slays the foolish man,
And jealousy kills the simple. Job 5:2
They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” Numbers 16:3
When they became envious of Moses in the camp, And of Aaron, the holy one of the LORD, The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, And engulfed the company of Abiram. And a fire blazed up in their company; The flame consumed the wicked. Psalm 106:16-18
Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. 1 Samuel 18:8-9
For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die.” 1 Samuel 20:31
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Proverbs 27:4
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2-3
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:1-3
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:14-16
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned. Song of Songs 8:6-7
For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. Proverbs 6:34
Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry. Ezekiel 16:42
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the Lord always. Proverbs 23:17
Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; For their minds devise violence, And their lips talk of trouble. Proverbs 24:1-2
Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways. Proverbs 3:31
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and slander. 1 Peter 2:1
"Call now, is there anyone who will answer you? And to which of the holy ones will you turn? "For anger slays the foolish man, And jealousy kills the simple.” Job 5:1-2
therefore as I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed because of your hatred against them; so I will make Myself known among them when I judge you. Ezekiel 35:11
Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Daniel 6:3-4
Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.” Genesis 31:1
being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,.. Romans 1:29
Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” Esther 5:13
For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. Mark 15:10
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. James 3:14
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. James 3:16
But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” Genesis 30:15
Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? Genesis 4:4-8
Do not covet what God has given to some of you in preference to others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask God of his bounty. God has knowledge of everything. Quran 4:32
Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty? Quran 4:54
“Many of the People of the Scripture wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from themselves [even] after the truth has become clear to them…” Quran 2:109
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful. Say, “I take refuge with the Lord of Daybreak. From the evil of what He created. And from the evil of the darkness as it gathers. And from the evil of those who practice sorcery. And from the evil of an envious when he envies.” Quran chapter 113
When they said, “Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we are, although we are a whole group. Our father is obviously in the wrong. “Kill Joseph, or throw him somewhere in the land, and your father‘s attention will be yours. Afterwards, you will be decent people.” Quran 12:8-9
And relate to them the true story of Adam's two sons: when they offered an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but it was not accepted from the other. He Said, “I will kill you.” He Said, “God accepts only from the righteous.” “If you extend your hand to kill me, I will not extend my hand to kill you; for I fear God, Lord of the Worlds.” “I would rather you bear my sin and your sin, and you become among the inmates of the Fire. Such is the reward for the evildoers.” Then His soul prompted him to kill his brother, so he killed him, and became one of the losers. Quran 5:27-30
“And Allah has favoured some of you over others in provision. But those who were favoured would not hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favour of God they reject?” Quran 16:71
They became divided only after knowledge came to them, out of resentment among themselves. Were it not for a predetermined decision from your Lord, judgment would have been pronounced between them. Indeed, those who were made to inherit the Book after them are in grave doubt about it. Quran 42:14
If God were to increase the provision to His servants, they would transgress on earth; but He sends down in precise measure whatever He wills. Surely, regarding His servants, He is Expert and Observant. Quran 42:27
When We said to the angels, “Bow down before Adam,” they bowed down, except for Satan. He said, “Shall I bow down before someone You created from mud?” He said, “Do You see this one whom You have honored more than me? If You reprieve me until the Day of Resurrection, I will bring his descendants under my sway, except for a few.” He said, “Begone! Whoever of them follows you—Hell is your reward, an ample reward.” “And entice whomever of them you can with your voice, and rally against them your cavalry and your infantry, and share with them in wealth and children, and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but delusion. “As for My devotees, you have no authority over them.” Your Lord is an adequate Guardian. Quran 17:61-65
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go amassing wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel,and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73