Islamic Sufism Spirituality

The evil eye, envy (Hasad)

Posted on: October 20, 2011


The evil eye refers to when one person harms another by means of the eye. Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

The origin of the evil eye is liking something, then the evil soul follows it, pursues it and seeks to do harm to it, seeking help to apply its poison by looking at the object. Zad Al-Mi’ad by Ibn Al-Qayyim, 4/167

Ibn Manzur said:

It is said “So-and-so was struck by the evil eye” if an enemy or an envious person looks at him and he is affected by that and becomes sick as a result. Lisan Al-‘Arab by Ibn Manzur, 13/301

Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said:

What is meant by the evil eye is looking at something with admiration contaminated with envy from one who is evil in nature so it results in harm. Fath Al-Bari, by Ibn Hajar, 10/200.

Evidence for the existence of the evil eye from the Qur’an and Sunnah

1 – Evidence from the Qur’an

The Verse in Sura Yusuf:

(And he said: ‘O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allah at all. Verily, the decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.) (Yusuf12:67)

The majority of Mufassirin are agreed that the brothers of Yusuf were handsome and good looking, and Ya’qub feared that the people might affect them with the evil eye, for the evil eye is something real. Tafsir Ibn Kathir —Al-Tabari – Al-Qurtubi – Al-Alusi – Al-Suyuti — Al-Fakhr Al-Razi.

The passage in which Allah says:

“And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes (through hatred) when they hear the Reminder (the Qur’an), and they say:

“Verily, he (Muhammad) is a madman!” But it is nothing else than a Reminder to all the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).) (Al-Qalam 68:51-52)

Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid and others said:

“Make you slip with their eyes” means, they will put the evil eye on you. This Verse is evidence that the effect and impact of the evil eye is something real and happens by Allah’s will. ‘

2 – Evidence from the Sunnah

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

The evil eye is real,”

and he forbade tattoos.

It was narrated from ‘Aishah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“Seek refuge with Allah from the evil eye, for the evil eye is real.”

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“The evil eye is real and if anything were to overtake the divine decree, the evil eye would do so. If you are asked to wash (to treat someone for the effects of the evil eye) then do so.”

Imam Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

This Hadith affirms that both the divine decree and the evil eye are real; it is powerful, but neither the evil eye nor anything else can cause harm or do any good or any bad except by the decree of Allah.

It was narrated that Asma bint ‘Umays said:

“O Messenger of Allah, the sons of Ja’far are smitten with the evil eye; should I recite Ruqyah for them?”

He said:

“Yes, for if anything were to overtake the divine decree, it would be the evil eye.”

It was narrated that Abu Dharr said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“The evil eye may follow a man by Allah’s Leave, until he climbs up a high mountain then falls from it.”

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“The evil eye is real and can bring down a person from a high mountain.”

What is meant here is that the evil eye follows a person by Allah’s will, until it causes him to fall from a high mountain. Musnad Ahmad; Al-Tabarani; Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak. Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is Hasan.

It was narrated that Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“Most of those who die of my Ummah, after the will and decree of Allah, will die because of the evil eye.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Al-Tarikh, and by Al-Bazzar. Shaykh Al-Albani said: a Hadith Hasan – Sahih Al-Jami’, 1217

It was narrated that Jabir (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“The evil eye will put a man into his grave and a camel into the *****ng pot.” Hilyat Al-Awliya’ by Abu Na’im. Shaykh Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is a Hasan Hadith – Al-Silsilah Al-Sahihah, 1250.

Imam Ahmad, Al-Nasa i, and Ibn Majah narrated, in a report that was classed as Sahih by Ibn Hibban, that Abu Umamah Sahl ibn Hanif said: Abu Sahl ibn Hanif did Ghusl in Al-Kharar (Al-Kharar: it is said that this was a well in Madinah, or one of its valleys). He took off his cloak, and ‘Amir ibn Rabi’ah was looking at him. Sahl was very white, with beautiful skin. ‘Amir said: “I have never seen anything (as beautiful) as this, not even the skin of a virgin.” And Sahl fell to the ground and became very sick. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) was told about his sickness, and it was said to him: “He cannot raise his head.” He said:

“Do you accuse anyone with regard to him?”

They said, “‘Amir ibn Rabi’ah.” The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) called him and rebuked him strongly, then he said:

“Why would one of you kill his brother? Why did you not pray for blessing for him? Wash yourself for him.” So ‘Amir washed his face, hands, forearms, knees and the sides of his feet, and inside his Izar (lower garment) in a vessel, then it was poured over him from behind, and Sahl recovered straight away. Muwatta’ Malik, 2/938.

The evil eye is real

From the evidence quoted above from the Qur’an and Sunnah, it is clear that the evil eye is real and that its effects are proven and do exist. It can follow a man until it makes him fall from a high mountain, and if it is able to overpower a healthy man it can kill him and put him in his grave, and if it overpowers a camel, it will fall and be injured, and its owner will slaughter it and cook it in a pot. So the evil eye is real and its effects are real. It may kill, or it may affect the spot or the things that the envier likes in the body of the person affected, or in himself or his possessions. This is the view of the scholars of this Ummah, such as Malik, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad and others.

The difference between the evil eye and envy

The word Hasid (envier) is more general in meaning than the word ‘Ain (one who puts the evil eye on another), hence in Sura Al-Falaq mention is made of seeking refuge with Allah from the evil of the one who envies.

The Hasid (envier) is an envious man whose envy is accompanied by resentment, so he wishes that the blessing be taken away, whereas the ‘A’in (the one who puts the evil eye on another) simply likes a thing. Hence the evil eye may come from a righteous man or woman, and a man may put the evil eye on his own wealth, child or family without realizing it. But the evil eye and envy have the same effect, which is causing harm to the thing that is liked or envied.

Envy (Hasad)

Envy (Hasad) means resenting the blessings of Allah that are enjoyed by the one who is envied, and wishing that it be taken away. In other words, the envier wishes that the blessing be taken away from the one whom he envies, whether the blessing comes to him or not.

So the envier resents the blessing of Allah and wishes that it be taken away, and he may even make efforts to take it away.

Evidence for the existence of envy

Allah says:

(Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them.) (Al-Baqarah 2:109)

And Allah says:

(Or do they envy men (Muhammad and his followers) for what Allah has given them of His Bounty? Then, We had already given the family of Ibrahim the Book and Al-Hikmah (As-Sunnah – Divine Revelation to those Prophets not written in the form of a book), and conferred upon them a great kingdom.) (Al-Nisa 4:54)

And He says:

(And from the evil of the envier when he envies.) (Al-Falaq 113:5)

Evidence from the Sunnah

Al-Tirmidhi narrated that the freed slave of Al-Zubayr (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“The disease of the nations who came before you has started to spread among you: jealousy and hatred. This is the ‘shaver’ (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of that which will strengthen love between you? Spread (the greeting of) Salam amongst yourselves.”

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“My Ummah will be stricken with the disease of the other nations.” They said: “What is the disease of the other nations?” He (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:

“Insolence, arrogance, accumulation (of wealth), competition in worldly gains, mutual hatred and envy, until there will be wrongdoing and then killing.”

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