An Enigmatic and Corrupt Desire!
Man lives in constant movement between waves of problems and miseries in this
unstable life. He struggles to reduce the strain of hardships on his soul and
body, so he may harvest the roses of hope, and manifest them in his life one by
one. As long as man’s relationship with life is not amputated by the danger of
death, and he sees a path to hope, he will endeavor to achieve happiness.
conclusion, light of hope that grants man life, and makes its bitterness sweet.
us hope to become rich and to obtain wealth, and struggle to achieve them in a
manner that knows no boundaries. While others seek fame and position. People’s
deeds are related to their wants and the degree of spiritual and psychological
integrity they reach. Desires also vary just as thinking varies. But we have to
realize that hope brings happiness to our lives when they conform spiritual
needs, fulfill our mental requirements, develop our information level, light up
the paths of our lives, and rescue us from hardships and miseries.
Instincts, such as stinginess or conceit may be the root of miseries in life.
Envy is one such instincts which diverts men from the straight path and
imprison the conscience to prevent men from reaching hopes. The envious cannot
begin to see others in the shadow of happiness. They feel great pressure on
themselves that stems from their pessimistic outlook towards others goodwill.
reported that Socrates said: “The envious spends his days destroying himself by
feeling sorry for that which he cannot achieve but others have. He feels sorry
and regretful. and desires all people to live in misery and infliction while
plotting to deprive them of their happiness.”
leading writer, wrote: “Our souls are like a city located in the middle of a
desert without a fort or a wall to protect it, they are the victims of the
thieves of happiness. The smallest winds can send the waves of the sea of our
souls clashing. and more than one enemy of the soul enters the depths of our
spirits to command and forbid until the last breath. Every layman knows that he
should go to a doctor if he is inflicted with a headache but he who is
inflicted will envy and will deny it and will never find anyone to treat him.”
The envious make the fortunes of others their goal, they apply every method to
deprive others of their fortunes. They are prey to their lowly wants without
realizing it. The envious manifest their evil intentions by spreading
accusations and lies about the envied ones. And if they feel that their lusts
are not satisfied by doing this, they may even go as far as to encroach upon
their freedom or even deprive them of the right to live, just to fulfill their
Indeed these are the inclinations Do these inclinations conform to the real
goal of human life? And are they natural?
do the envious lack the title of humanitarian, but they are lower than animals.
For he who does not care about the pains of others cannot be a real
manifestation of humanity.
The Envious Burn in the Fire of Failure and
the most effective element in advancing and developing in the arena of life is
to penetrate the hearts of others hearts and influence them. Those who have the
ability to control other’s hearts by their maneuverability and noble traits can
enjoin the support of the members of society during their advancement in life;
hence obtaining the keys to success. Good people are like lights in a society
they shine and lead the thoughts of its members leaving deep effects on their
On the other hand, envy causes the destruction of good traits and noble
manners, and prevents the hearts of people from allowing valuable spaces for
their com, or to discover the star of love shining in the skies of their lives.
envy deprives the envious from enjoying the feelings of cooperation and help.
Moreover, when the envious manifest their feelings with their tongues or
actions, and display the nakedness of their filth to the public, they gain only
the waves of hatred and public resentment. The apparent anxiety and deep
sadness which he inflicts upon himself by being envious pressures his soul and
lights a fire within himself that burns his beloved soul.
reason that the soul of the envious burns in the flames of anxiety and
restlessness is clear. Because the divine sustenance is constantly increasing
despite his hopes, he constantly suffers from sadness and pain that overshadows
his heart. Envy is like a destructive storm which pulls the trees of morality
from their roots in a manner that the envious can find no way to stop.
Cain saw that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted rather than his own, he envied him
and planned to kill him. Envy had planted its claws in Cain’s heart and
deprived him of the brotherly and human feelings. It lead him to crush his
brother’s head with a huge rock and drown the holy body with blood. Cain did
this for no reason other than the fact that Abel (his brother) had pure
intentions and conduct.
quiet universe had witnessed the very first crime of envy, as a result of a
despicable crime committed by the very son of Adam (a.s.). After Cain had
committed this terrible crime, he felt regretful; but the sorrow that Cain
experienced never helped him for he fell victim to the reprehension of his
conscience for the rest of his life. If Cain had pondered on the realistic and
accurate way of thinking, he would have sought the reason for his deprivation
of Divine Blessings for...
only accepts from the pious. (The Holy Qur’an, 5:27)
to Schopenhauer: “Envy is the most dangerous of human feelings. So it is
necessary that man considers it his arch enemy, and works to eliminate it from
the path of his happiness.”
Furthermore, if envy becomes widespread in a society, many unwanted phenomena
appear among people such as arguments, etc.
society that is full of pain and problems, every individual becomes an obstacle
in the way of the happiness of others, instead of becoming an element of
perfection and social integrity. When envy enters a society it prevents social
salvation, hence the spirit of cooperation, comfort and confidence between the
members is eradicated, a matter which leads them to destruction despite their
civilization and development.
to Dr. Carl:
“Envy is responsible for our stinginess, for it is an obstacle in the way of
spreading the achievements of the industrial countries to the Third
World. Envy also prevents many capable people from leading their
violent crimes which occur these days stem from envy. This becomes apparent
with a careful study of social events.
Religion Versus Envy
Allah, the Almighty, has said in the Holy Qur’an: despite the fact that it is in man’s nature
to love and achieve benefits for himself, he is requested to comply to the
jurisprudential laws, the logic of reason, and the social welfare when he attempts
to respond to his said nature.
Therefore, when Allah grants someone a benefaction, no one should encroach upon
or deprive him of this gift for the one reason of fulfilling his envious lust
or in order to take advantage of him. Rather man is expected to follow a
reasonable and accepted path to his hopes in life. Allah, the Almighty, said:
do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others; men shall
have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they
earn; and ask Allah of His grace; surely Allah knows all things.” (The Holy
Qur’an, 4: 32)
should do our best and supplicate to Allah to grant us from His eternal
treasures, to make our difficult matters easy for us, and to bring us closer to
our goals and hopes. Had the envious, who spends his thoughts and feelings in
other than their legitimate field, directed them towards the path of his goals
and pursuing his wishes, then the rays of happiness shall inevitable light his
Many traditions have been narrated to us by the Imams (a.s.) that warn us about
this resentful trait (envy) and call us to guard against its dangerous effects.
following narration from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) shall suffice for now. He pointed
out two spiritual factors which lie behind envy when he said:
“Envy originates from the blindness of the heart and the refusal of Allah’s
blessings (glory be to Him) which are (the two factors) two rings of
infidelity. It is with envy that Adam’s son fell victim to the sorrow of eternity
and became afflicted with eternal damnation from which lie shall never be
One of the elements which cause envy is ill upbringing at home. If the parents
love one of their children and bestow him with special love and affection while
depriving the others of the same treatment, the children who were left out will
establish a sense of humiliation and rebellion. The type of envy from which
many people suffer generally originates at home and causes sorrow and
misfortune for a large portion of the society.
outcome is a natural matter when the basis of ruler ship is built upon
injustice, oppression, racism, sectarianism, nationalism, etc. in any society.
The members of this type of society will be overwhelmed by dissension, and the
flames of hatred and envy will kindle in their hearts.
Messenger of Allah (S) forbade Muslims from diversion of justice between
children to prevent the sins of envy and other sins from polluting their lives.
“Treat Your children equally when giving them presents.”
Bertrand Russell quoted the author of the book The Fairchild Family when he
wrote the chapter regarding the method of avoiding concealed sins, as saving:
Lucy was given a small notebook to record any ill thoughts which may enter her
heart. Her parents gave a glass to her brother and a cassette tape to her
sister at the breakfast table in the morning without giving Lucy anything. Lucy
wrote in her notebook that a bad thought had crossed he mind at the moment. She
thought that her parents loved her less than they loved her brother and
‘Ali (a.s.) pointed out the harm which envy can cause to the body when he said:
“Amazes me the ignorance of the envious about the soundness of their bodies.”
Frank Haurk also said:
“Protect yourselves and thoughts from the pains of psychological feelings, for
they are the satans of the soul which are not satisfied with destroying the
system of thought in man but also cause poisoned cells to grow. These feelings
cause fatal harm to the body. Such pains slow down the blood circulation,
weaken the nervous system, inhibit bodily and spiritual activity, deprive one
of reaching his goals and hopes in life, and downgrade man’s level of thinking.
“Man must free his environment of these enemies, for they are fatal. They must
be imprisoned in isolation away from human life. Those who do this will
discover that their will is strengthened, and will become triumphant over any
probable obstacle in life.”
‘Ali (a.s.) is quoted as saying:
“Envy inhibits the body.”
mentions its psychological harms as:
“Safeguard yourselves against envy for it ridicules the soul.”
to a psychologist:
“Intense envy is one of the acute psychological pains which create many pains,
unamendable mistakes, oppression and injustice to the soul. Let it be known
that many of the envious actions are not done by his will but in accordance to
the commands of the evil of envy.”
should not allow lowly hopes and lusts which transform the sweetness of life to
bitterness, erect an invincible dam toward noble goals and hope to achieve the
highest and most excellent human traits. Such traits that are capable of
guiding our thoughts to the right path, will eventually lead man to his noble
Imam Ali (a.s.) said:
“Compete in desirable traits, great hopes and exalted ideas, and your rewards
will become greater.”
“If you concentrate your thoughts on achieving certain traits, you will
eventually reach them.
“The natural entities are children of natural thoughts. Therefore, if you hope
to live in harmony, happiness, and security then you shall live so. If you have
gloomy outlooks and see everything negatively you can rescue yourselves from
this weakness in a short time by directing your thinking to the opposite of
this negative attitude by thinking about that which necessitates activeness,
happiness, and felicity of life. Aim at noble traits, pursue them with
decisiveness and resolution, because it is with the insistence to acquire them
that you prepare your minds to accept such noble traits and consequently reach
“Do not hesitate to repeat your intentions to reach your goals and hopes. Let
your intentions be seen on your face and see after a short period of time how
your thoughts magnetically draw you towards your goals.”
elaborates on this issue in his book:
“We have experienced and discovered that thinking about a certain action
necessitates that action occurs slightly before. For example. if we think about
clenching our fists, we find that the muscles in our hands become slightly
flexed and the nerves become prepared to contract enough to appear on the
declinometer. There are some people who can make their hair stand on their
bodies, make their pupils enlarge or contract or narrow the veins of their
hands by imagining that they are in freezing water. All this is done by
the facts helps our minds, wills and inclinations. It is the veil of lust which
blinds our minds and creates disturbance in them. Thus, it is man’s duty to
safeguard the mirror of his facts and realities. He should also erase from his
soul the chains of hatred which pressure the soul so that the soul become free
of its pains and ills. He then should compensate his soul with goodwill for
others in accordance with the rules of humanity.
Light of Love in the Horizon of Life
It is love that lights the horizons of life. Love plays deep and vast roles in
man’s material and spiritual development; it holds magnificent and astonishing
power. This power was implemented in man’s conscience and continues to grow
until in some instances it comes like an endless sea. If we extinguish the
light of love from the horizon of life, the darkness of disappointment and the
horror of loneliness will prevail over-shadowing man’s spirit, and the face of
the world will become gloomy.
Man was created sociable, therefore, socialization is necessary for his
survival. Hence, that which makes man resent the society and prefer loneliness
and seclusion stems from mental imbalance. It is a clear fact that a man can
not reach happiness without others. For as the bodily needs drive him to
socialize with others, the soul also has demands for survival, which is
socialization. The soul requires love, and man continues to search for the
fulfilment of his spiritual need.
Man is in constant need of love and affection from the day he enters this world
and starts his existence until the minute the gates of life are closed in his
path. Man feels the results of love in himself and in his conscience. When the
bearings of life overpower him, the misfortunes afflict his soul, and when
filled with sorrow, the rays of hope cease to illuminate his life. At this
time, man’s thirst for love and affection increases greatly.
thirst is what lights man’s heart with the hope of relief and ease. It is then
that he will not guarantee tranquility and comfort for his conscience save in
the shadow of love. Indeed ills true to say that there is not a cure for pains,
sorrows and hardships except through love.
love for his brother is a true manifestation of human affections. It can even
be considered as the root of all noble morals and their praiseworthy
advantages. Love is transferable and applies to everyone. The method with which
we are able to gain the love of others is by being generously kind to them, and
by realizing that our responsibility towards our own kind is to grant them love
affection to others is very rewarding, for if an individual grants a portion of
this precious feeling to others, he will receive much more of the same in
return. The keys to people’s hearts lie in the hands of men, he who wishes to
follow a path to these precious jewels must fill his heart with the light of
serenity and honesty, and eradicate all resentment.
the philosophers holding that the perfection of an entity is manifested in its
peculiarities and affects, and man’s peculiarity lies in socialization and
love. Tim love and spiritual relations which exist between people are the basis
of stable and peaceful living together.
to Dr. Carl:
In order for a society to achieve happiness, it is essential that all its
members live in harmony with each other, just as the bricks in a structure do.
Love is the only matter that grants a society such harmony: the kind that
exists between the members of the whole human family. There are two parts to
man’s love for other men; the first requires him to love, and the second leads
him to try to gain their love on the same level Yet unless every man earnestly
attempts to abandon all resentful habits, exchanges of love can not be
cannot reach this goal save by freeing ourselves by psychological revolutions
from corruption which isolates us from others. It is then that we will
experience neighbors dealing generously with each other, arid employees and
employers acting respectively towards each other. Love is the only element
which can bring about the order that existed in societies of ants and bees for
millions of years.”
Conceit Leads to People’s Resentment
Self-love is a basic human instinct. It is an essential factor for survival,
for man’s vast relationship with the universe rises from this instinct.
Nevertheless, despite it being a fruitful power from which many noble traits
arise, if this natural source is exaggerated, many sins and various
immoralities will stem from it.
The first real threat to manners is extravagance in self-love. For it can reach
a point where it leaves no place in the heart for loving others. Such
extravagance is what prevents people from admitting their mistakes, or from
accepting such facts that are inconsistent with their emotional conceit.
“It often occurs that we change our thoughts or ways of conduct without anxiety
or disturbance, yet if someone discovers our errors or shortcomings we
experience a spiritual revolution which makes us defensive towards him.
convert to new ideologies, but when someone attempts to convert us, we
fanatically stand against him, while in fact, we do not sincerely possess such
a strong feeling toward our belief. We feel that our feelings are greatly
endangered if someone says to us: ‘Your watch is slow or your car is old’. We
then suffer much more than if it was said to us: ‘Your knowledge regarding Mars
or Egyptian civilization is wrong’.”
fatal danger to happiness, and the worst enemy of mankind are conceit and exaggerated
self-confidence. People’s resentment of any ill trait does not match their
resentment of conceit. Not only does conceit cause the ties of love and harmony
between brothers to cease, but it also transforms them to feelings of enmity,
and opens the gate of general resentment toward the conceited one. In the same
manner that one expects other’s love and respect, he should attempt to observe
It is the society that guarantees everyone his rights and responsibilities.
Each individual receives as much love and respect from his society as his
qualifications and abilities offer. He who is limited to loving himself, sees
only what he wants and is careless about other’s feelings and affairs. He
insistently attempts to make himself subject to exaltation and fame, and forces
his arbitrary conceit on others.
stubborn anticipation of people’s respect is inappropriate because of the
severe contradiction between his anticipation of people and their resentment of
his conduct. Such social reaction will only cause the conceited to suffer and
bear anxiety and unrest.
the other evil results of conceit are suspicion and pessimism. The spirit of a
conceited person burns in the flames of pessimism and suspicion; so he feels
everyone intends to harm him. He also cannot but notice the continuous
carelessness, resentment and humiliation which he encounters from people. He
consciously or subconsciously suffers from such treatment from which arise
hatred and a sense of revenge against his society with every possible chance.
His soul does not rest until he seeks revenge, and then his spiritual
revolution will cease.
of conceit does not approach man’s conscience save when man is afflicted with a
sense of lowliness which causes the disorder of humility. This disorder which
is painful and destructive and from which many dangers and crimes may stem is a
matter that causes the conceited individual to suffer more miseries.
review of the world’s history reveals that it is the conceited ones who have
always resisted the calls of prophets and messengers, and have refused to
accept their righteous calls while preventing others from doing so. Also, most
of the savage massacres which occurred during the bloody world wars arose from
the conceit and arrogance of hard-hearted leaders.
conceited individuals are delinquents who were brought up in unstable homes and
were able to obtain position in the society. These people attempt to imagine an
exalted character for themselves and endeavor to express their acquired
imaginative honor by displaying conceit and arrogance. It is readily possible
for all people to encounter this type of individual wherever they may be.
distinguished person who enjoys realistic honor and dignity, does not feel the
need to be arrogant with others because he realizes that neither conceit nor
arrogance can offer a person real respect. He also understands that these
features do not qualify any individual for an authentic character.
to a psychologist’s advice:
“Limit your hopes and wishes, reduce your expectations and anticipations, free
yourselves from lusts and desires. Distant yourselves from conceit and
arrogance, and avoid imaginative limitations to guarantee yourselves a safer
and longer lasting peace.
Leaders and Modesty
One of the excellent morals which can be
considered as a symbol of love and the best path of achieving it is modesty. By
performing their duties towards their societies by practicing good manners,
modest individuals promote their social dignity and extend the amount of their
love in people’s hearts.
Nevertheless, we must recognize the vast difference between modesty and
self-abasement, for modesty is a manifestation of a noble trait of a great and
self-confident character, while self-abasement arises from moral lowliness and
loss of self-confidence.
Luqman (a.s.) as the Qur’an says, warned his son against conceit:
“And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the
land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster”.
(The Holy Qur’an,
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said:
“Had Allah permitted conceit for any of His worshippers, He would have
permitted it to His nearest Prophets and Awlia; but He, Glory be to Him, made
them resent conceit and accepted modesty for them. They,
therefore, cast their cheeks to the ground, threw dust on their faces (in
prostration), and were modest with the believers.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) used to say:
“Avoid conceit, for a worshipper insists on conceit
until Allah, Glory be to Him, says write My worshipper among the arrogant”.
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) pointed out the spiritual
root of conceit in a short statement when he said:
“There is not a man who goes astray save as a result of the lowliness he finds
According to Dr. M. Brid:
“The arrogance of an individual or a nation over another equals the humiliation
of that individual or nation. Most of the arguments and
disagreements which take place today arise from the feeling of lowliness.
Hence, adopting the idea of conceit is not but an attempt to fulfill the space
which a conceited individual feels in his life. There is not a man, a nation, a
class, a race, a people, or otherwise with clear conscience that feel
distinction between themselves and others.”
Conceited and arrogant persons always look at
their words and actions with exaltation and acceptance. Furthermore, they consider their shortcomings as good deeds.
Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.) explains this:
“Conceit is on several degrees among which is
the evil actions of a man are embellished to him so that he sees them as good,
hence he believes that he does good.”
Also according to a psychologist:
“Conceited individuals consider their shortcomings as virtues and their flaws
as merits. For example, they consider their sudden
anger with others as proof of their forceful personalities, their weakness as
manifestation of their excellent and sensitive spirituality, their overweight
ness as a sign of health. Actually healthy reasons lie in healthy bodies, and
dependence on the weak is an idea for they are easily irritated and are
Let us now review some of the Guardian of the
Faithful’s (a.s.) statements in this regard:
“Avoid conceit or the number of those who resent you will increase.”
ruins the mind.
According to psychologists, conceited people
suffer from weakness of the mind.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) also said:
“He whose mind is weakened, his pride is strengthened.”
“Modesty is the ultimate of reasoning; and
conceit is the peak of ignorance.”
He also said:
“Conceit is a concentrated illness.”
“He who admires his condition comes short of
cursing his abilities.”
Dr. H. Shakhter said:
“One of the methods of attracting people’s attention to us when we are feeling
disappointed or unsuccessful is to glorify and exalt ourselves, and imagine the
things which we hope for as already occurring and giving ourselves by bragging
about the times at which we were successful in the past or by exaggerating to
“Conceited people lure themselves into
accepting the false embellishments of their fabrications, thus depriving
themselves of any opportunity for change.”
Such people are unable trealize that there are
flaws in them and perfection or a success in others.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said:
One who is satisfied with himself, his shortcomings are concealed from him: and
had he recognized other’s precedence it would suffice for his flaws and
Islam, which calls for an exalted human
civilization and that which allows man to live an honorable life, invalidated
all abnormal distinctions. Islam recognizes the trait
of purity and piety.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said:
‘Seek refuge in Allah from the intoxication of wealth, for surely it has a
One day wealthy man came to visit the Messenger
of’ Allah (S). While the wealthy man was there, a poor
man entered and sat near him; upon this the wealthy man collected his clothes
and moved away from the poor man. The Prophet (S) noticed this and said: “What!
Do you fear that his poverty will spread to you?”
In conclusion, if conceited persons seek
happiness, they are to rid themselves of this illness and liberate themselves
from such a trait which violates their realistic character; otherwise they will
face an inevitable disappointment and deprivation which are matters to be
Wasa’il ash-Shia v. I, p.74