[1] Assuring Covetous Hearts About What Will Give One Advantage Even If Not As Prominent As Others

In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Abdur Rahmaan Ibn Abee Laylah [may Allah have mercy upon him] said, “I met a hundred and twenty companions of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] from the Ansaar and not a single one amongst them was asked something (related to the religion), except he wished that his brother sufficed him (in answering the question), and he would not narrate a hadeeth, except wishing that his brother sufficed him (in narrating the hadeeth)”. (1)

Imaam Ibn Qudaamah [may Allah have mercy upon him] said: Envy usually occurs between contemporaries, peers, brothers, and cousins due to everyone’s competing aspirations, which causes strife and animosity. As a result, you will find that a scholar would envy another scholar but not a worshipper, a worshipper would envy another worshipper but not a scholar, a trader would envy another trader and a cobbler would envy another cobbler. The love of material things, which are limited for those who compete for them, is the root cause of this affair. As for the afterlife, there are no restrictions because the one who loves knowledge and awareness of Allah, knowledge, and awareness of Allah’s angels, Allah’s Prophets, and Allah’s Mighty Dominion over the heavens and the earth, will not envy others after becoming acquainted with these affairs, because they are not restricted by one another; rather, one particular individual (upright) scholar is known by thousands of (upright) scholars, and they rejoice because of the understanding he possesses. This is why there is no envy among (upright) scholars since their goal is to gain knowledge and awareness of Allah [Glorified be He and free from all imperfections], which is a vast affair. Their goal is to attain a high status in the Sight of Allah, and that which Allah has kept in the afterlife is unlimited, because Allah’s loftiest blessing is the pleasure of meeting Him, which cannot be prevented or restricted, nor can some competitors in the affair make it restricted for others; instead harmony is enhanced as the competitors increase; but if wealth and status become the scholars’ goal, they will envy one another.

The difference between knowledge and wealth is that wealth does not remain in the hands of a single person, whereas knowledge settles in the heart of a scholar and the heart of the one taught by the scholar while remaining in the heart of the scholar. As a result, whoever contemplates the Greatness of Allah and His Mighty Dominion [i.e. pondering upon what Allah has created and upon the divine revelation], it will become the greatest delight for him than any other blessing, because he cannot be prevented or restricted from doing so. He will not be envious of anyone, because even if others were aware of what he is aware of, it would not diminish his pleasure in the affair. You do not find people overcrowded to view the beauty of the sky because it is vast and unrestricted. Therefore, if you are merciful to yourself, then it is obligated that you seek the bliss in which there is no hindrance and pleasure that never ceases. And the only way to find this in the life of this world is to become familiar with knowledge and awareness of Allah and the magnificent essence of His Dominion (over everything). However, if your desire is weak and you do not yearn to acquaint yourself with the knowledge and awareness of Allah, you will not find or experience its pleasure. As a result, you’re not man enough, because this is a man’s affair, and yearning for something occurs after experiencing it. The one who has not tasted will not know, the one who does not know will not yearn, the one who does not yearn will not seek, the one who does not seek will not find (anything), and the one who does not find (anything) will be among the deprived. (2)

[Ref 1: Sharhus Sunnah By Imaam Al-Baghawee 1/305]

[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘Mukhtasar Minhaajil Qaasideen’ page: 199-201. slightly paraphrased]

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