By Shaykh Abdul Aziz As Sadhan
These signs are minimized or increased depending on the strength of the jealousy in the individual.
I am going to mention some of these signs so that perhaps the one who is tested with them can hasten to rid himself of them.
I will restrict these signs only to those prevalent amid the students of knowledge.
The First: To rejoice at the mistake of his fellow student.
The error of his fellow student is greater than the error of any other because his peer is the one who competes with him in being at the forefront and competes with him within the same community and thus he infringes upon his opportunity to be the elite show-off.
So every time his peer errs or makes a mistake, his joy and happiness increases and he considers it a glad tiding of his own rise because he believes that the mistake of his fellow student translates into the rise or up liftment of his own pre-eminence.
There are very few people who escape this particular sign. It is an internal matter of the heart that none knows of except Allah and then the individual himself.
If there is anyone from amongst us who is in possession of this quality, then it is upon him to hasten with its removal and to repent to Allah from it.
The Second: To rejoice at the absence of his fellow student from the circles of knowledge.
To be happy at the absence of his peer from the circle of knowledge or to be happy at his lack of attendance in an affair that he could possibly debate or argue with you in.
You will notice two peers from the students of knowledge, when they are together, one of them most likely contends with the other due to the possession of knowledge they both have.
So when one of them is absent, the other is left to attend the circle of knowledge by himself exclusively and is able to stand out amid the rest of their peers.
So he is overjoyed at the absence of his fellow student and he thinks that because of it, there is a possible rise in his level over him due to the fact that he has access to more knowledge than him.
The Third: It pleases him to hear someone insult his fellow student and call him offensive names.
It pleases him to hear someone insult his fellow student and call him offensive names and he actually finds himself content with this.
Rather he doesn’t even try to stop the individual from back-biting his fellow student or insulting him and may even partake in or assist the individual in doing so!
There is no doubt that this is haram (i.e. forbidden), as backbiting the average layman is impermissible, not to mention a student of knowledge whose benefit far surpasses just himself.
The Fourth: He has nothing positive to say about his fellow student when he is asked about him.
A new student of knowledge may come to the jealous student or a general questioner and ask about a particular individual regarding something generally related to him and the jealous student will seize the opportunity to speak ill about him or to belittle his status as a student or to address him by an offensive name and there is no doubt that this sign is connected to the previous one.
The Fifth: To find difficulty within himself if a question is directed towards other than him or the response to a question is requested from his fellow student while he is present.
Two or three students may be present in a gathering and it may be requested from one of them to speak or a question might be directed towards him specifically and you will find that the jealous one is overcome by extreme difficulty and embarrassment while he tries diligently to act as if it doesn’t bother him. This is because the direction of a question to this fellow student in particular is from the most extreme calamities he can be afflicted with.
If this individual would consider for a moment: This is the bounty of Allah which He bestows on whomsoever He wills, and the fact that the question was directed towards him, does not necessarily mean that he is more virtuous than you absolutely, then it would be easy for him to handle this.
The Sixth: To belittle the benefit or the knowledge his fellow student brings to the table.
The jealous student could possibly research an issue or the response to a certain problematic subject and turn many pages and search through many volumes and still not find the answer to his problem.
On the other hand, his peer could do the same and come out successful. And when it is brought to his attention that his fellow student did such, he belittles the effort he exerted.
But if it was brought to his attention that someone else did this, he would supplicate for him and praise him and even exaggerate the mere mention of his name!
However, if the benefit came to him by way of this particular student, he intentionally conceals his admiration for him and does his best to conceal the benefit which his fellow student was responsible for finding.
This is because he considers the materialization of his fellow student’s reputation to be an infringement upon his own right to be recognized or a diminution of his own personality!
The Seventh: To try and find fault with the speech of his fellow student when he speaks or to criticize him when he responds to a question.
You will notice that when some of the people are in a gathering and a issue is brought up and someone responds to it, the one who has a disease or jealousy in his heart will try and find a pretentious problem in his response, rather he will try and create a mistake in his response or he will try and alter his speech from its apparent meaning or misinterpret his speech until he makes it erroneous and there is no doubt that this is the result of a disease in his heart
[ This was taken from the Shaykh’s monumental book “Millstones in the Path of Seeking Knowledge” Translated by Shadeed Muhammad on Sunday July 24, 2011 corresponding to the 23rd of Sha’ban 1432H. in the City of Philadelphia.]