Imaam An-Nawawee on The Remedies for Envy, Riyaa, Self-Amazement & Contempt of Others

 

Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said:

From them[1] is the caution against envy and riyaa (showing off) and self-amazement and contempt of the people – even if they are lower than him by degrees. These are diseases and sicknesses which many of those possessing despicable souls are afflicted with.

Thus; his method in expelling envy is in his knowing that the wisdom of Allaah, The Most High, necessitated that this bounty was to be placed with this particular person. So he should not object or dislike that which has been necessitated by way of wisdom.

His method in expelling riyaa (showing off) is that he should know that the creation – in reality; cannot benefit nor harm him. So he should not be pre-occupied with occupancy of them and thus fatigue himself and expose his religion to harm and render his own actions as futile as well as earning instead the anger of Allaah, The Most High and so lose out on His pleasure.

His method in expelling self-amazement is that he should know that knowledge is a virtuous merit from Allaah, The Most High – and is taken by people in turns. So unto Allaah belongs that which he has taken; and for Him is that which he has been given – and everything with him is there for an appointed term. Therefore it befits that he should not be in any amazement of something that he did not devise and is not an outright owner of – neither is he upon certainty over its permanence.

His method in expelling contempt is in observing the etiquette which Allaah, The Most High, has educated us in observing with regards to the aspect of conduct. Allaah, The Most High said:

 

{فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَى}

((So do not claim yourselves to be pure [intending self-praise]; He knows best of the one who is most fearful)) (An-Najm: 32)

He, The Most High, stated also:

{إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ}

((Indeed, the most noble of you with Allaah is the most fearful of you)) (Al-Hujuraat: 13)

 

For it could be that this individual that he deems to be lesser than his own self is more fearful of Allaah, The Most High, as well as being of a more purified heart and of a more sincere intent and of purer/better action. Then along with this he does not know of what nature his outcome is destined to be. There occurs in the Saheeh:

((Indeed one of you acts with the actions of the people of Paradise…)) – The hadeeth[2].

We ask Allaah for protection from every sickness.

 

(Taken from: Al-Majmoo’ – Sharh Al-Muhadhab vol 1 p.28-29)


[1] i.e. From the mannerisms of the teacher; as this is the chapter An-Nawawee discusses and from which this extract is taken.

[2] A portion of a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.6594) and Muslim (no.2643) in which there occurs:

((Indeed one of you acts with the actions of the people of Paradise until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him, and so he acts with the actions of the people of the Hellfire and thus enters it; and indeed one of you acts with the actions of the people of the Hellfire, until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he acts with the actions of the people of Paradise and thus he enters it))

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