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Extremely tough situation

Dear Fatima,

I’m a 19 year old girl in the U.S. I’m having a very hard time controlling and stopping my jealousy. The prophet Muhammad S.A.W even said that jealousy burns good deeds as fire burns wood. I do not want my good deeds to go away Fatima. Please help me. I have been so jealous of my cousin and my jealousy is for the most stupid thing ever…clothes. In order to help heal my jealousy, I have started to buy the same things as her, dresses and tops (no pants/skirts) but it is still really creepy and I don’t feel right doing that. What can I do to stop my jealousy from continuing and escalating further? Buying the same things as her has stopped me from feeling so jealous but it has not made me feel any better about myself. In fact, I feel a strong tinge of guilt and awkwardness for running to the store to desperately find the same outfit she bought. I need a long term solution for this that will save my relationship with her and Allah SWT.

Please help me. All suggestions and comments are appreciated


Salaam,

Jealousy is a very strange animal in my opinion. When the seed takes root and starts to grow within us, it is very difficult to overcome it.

I want you to first and foremost focus on what is it that you are missing in your own life that you feel the need to copy your cousin? As you might be compensating for a void inside of you by following what your cousin does. I do want to remind you that looking internally for answers is not easy because whatever answers you will find, may not be so pretty. So have patience with yourself in this process. Yes, it is a process and the outcomes depend on you. Sadly there is no easy way out of this as jealousy is a very strong emotion. I would highly recommend that you seek professional help from Counseling in order to process and explore this issue extensively.

Being a Muslim we are taught that the negative emotions or thoughts are from shaytaan so recite Astaghfaar as often as you can. Ask Allah for guidance and direction.

Now the second part of your post where you stated that your cousin becomes angry or irritated with you for constantly trying to talk to her about different things. It sounds like you don’t have a good support system for yourself. Therefore you view your cousin as someone you can share problems etc with. Try to expand and develop your own strengths and talents which would most definitely be different than your cousin’s. Even though you two are related does not mean that you are the same person. Try to focus on your strengths and abilities versus looking at your weaknesses and shortcomings.

It also sounds like you struggle with low self-esteem which could be one of the reasons that you put your cousin on a high pedestal and want to be like her. But Allah SWT made us all unique and different for a reason. Or else we all would be looking alike, doing the same things, etc. My point is that you need to put yourself on that pedestal and learn to love the person that Allah SWT created. A beautiful, confident, and intelligent person who is aware of her problems and is not shy to ask for help. That takes a lot of courage.

I hope this helps. May Allah SWT help you (ameen)

Sincerely,
Your sister in Islam,
Fatima “U”

3 thoughts on “Extremely tough situation

  1. Asak,
    The fact that you are acknowledging your jealously and asking for help is huge! Many people have issues with jealousy but they would never admit it. You have and that is very brave.
    Having said that, how do you deal with it? In my opinion, the most important thing for you to understand is that whoever you are, what ever you have and whoever she is and whatever she has is all due to Allah (swt) , you or me are not responsible for this, and Allah is the perfect of creators so whatever he has created is the best. Always have confidence in your self. Your jealousy isn’t of her clothes, it’s of her and you are taking it out on clothes because that is one thing in your control that you can copy. You need to eliminate the underlying reason for your jealousy and that is your own insecurity of yourself. You need to start to love yourself first and that will help alleviate your jealousy not only towards your cousin but anyone else as well. Have pride in the fact that Allah created you and you are beautiful! Your taste is beautiful, whatever style you choose for yourself is beautiful. Say this out loud to your self continuously. I know it sounds silly, but believe me, it helps. Spend some time and think about your self, not about her. Think of all the positives you have in your life, think about your potential, about your dreams and goals and what you want to accomplish. Give yourself a purpose. Believe me, you will stop thinking about her and inshAllah, you will stop being jealous of her. Remember, she probably has more problems then you, but we only see a part of reality, so don’t just go by face value. Each and every one of us is special in our own unique way, only when you learn to love yourself can you let go of the negative feelings you have for others.

  2. Hi Sweetheart,
    I’m so excited to respond to you because myself and many others I know have been through similar situations. So when I finally found out how to handle something like this, i love sharing the knowledge. I hope Sister Fatima, The Olive Tree’s and my responses help you find peace:

    Firstly, recognize that jealousy is an incredibly natural human emotion. Every single human on this planet feels that pang of jealousy in their body…especially when you’re young and its a newly found emotion. The most important trait to to recognize is, when you feel jealous- realize it…but do not react to it. Why? Because every reaction will lead to a loop of negative energy reactions. Jealousy is a negative emotion…acting on it, enforces the negative emotion.

    Solution: Isn’t it about being better than her? That’s all you really want to feel- is better than her. Well remember, reacting to jealousy (buying clothes or whatever it is) enforces that you are not being better than anyone. Rise above that emotion…tell yourself “wow, what she has is nice. cool” and move on, immediately distract yourself…read surah, go run, watch a movie, call a friend and talk about good stuff, go to sleep if you have to. Whatever you do, don’t discuss the jealousy with yourself or anyone else…over time, it dies out. You feel that little pang of “what the heck….why does she have this…” and then you recognize, i’m being silly….i got my own cool stuff, i’m my own person and i’m good.

    Also another amazing way to overcome jealousy is to be grateful for your own life…even when you’re not around your cousin. Say Alhamdulilah when you can see with your eyes, when you can type with your hands, walk with your feet, have a home to shelter you, have clothes to cover you….Allah says, “Be Grateful, and I WILL increase you”. That’s the only REAL way to get more than anyone else. Be in a constant state of gratitude and you won’t have time to feel jealous of ridiculous materialistic worldly things.

    The first time you rise above jealousy, you will feel SO accomplished. It’s a fantastic feeling that generates more positive energy towards you. Give yourself 10 seconds to feel jealous, count backwards…10..9..8..to 1. Then STOP. You have control on your mind, you are not going to waste this beautiful life , your health, your personality, your moments by indulging over stupid things.

    Cool?

    I know you can do it.

  3. The Olive Tree

    Asalamo alaikum Sister,

    I have a few suggestions for you. Try fasting twice a week. Mondays and Thursdays. Fasting not just from food and drink but fasting from everything that is morally wrong. You will find is easier to fight your jealousy when you are fasting. Eating and drinking is a stronger desire as compared to the desire of being jealous. Also, keep up you five daily prayers at the proper times. Read a few verses of the Quran after fajr prayer, with the english translation. Wake up one hour before fajr to pray Tahajjud. Give charity ( Sadaqa ) to your local mosque.
    Volunteer at a Muslim or non-Muslim organization. If you live in Houston, Texas, volunteer at Amaanah Refugee Services. You can teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to new refugees among other things.
    Insha Allah you will defeat the feelings of jealousy.

    Sincerely,

    The Olive Tree