The Evil of Spite

The Character of spite or ill-feeling is a heavy burden that the person carries which results in his own misery, occupies his thinking, ruins his mind and adds to his grief and anxiety. The strange thing is that ignorant people insist on carrying this heavy evil load, until they satisfy their ego and take revenge from the one whom they hate and envy. Spite remove much of the virtue that might be in person’s heart and increases by growing on such virtue and thus causing it to eventually vanish.

The Meaning of the Spite.

Looking at spite it consists of severe hatred and the desire to take revenge added together in the heart of a malicious person until the time comes when he can attack the one against whom he holds a grudge. Therefore, spite is to conceal enmity in the heart and await the opportunity to get back at the one towards whom malice is felt.

Allah praised the believers whose hearts are pure and free from bearing hatred towards other believers when He Says:

“For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful. And [also for] those who were settled in the Home [i.e. Al-Madinah] and [adopted] the faith before them (before the settlement of the emigrants (Muhajirin) among the Ansar, for whom a share is delegated as well). They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what they [i.e. the emigrants] were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul — it is those who will be the successful. And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” [Quran: 59: 8-10].

One’s heart might get weak and thus he might dislike or even hate a certain person sometimes. Nonetheless, this feeling does not remain permanently in the heart of the believer to the extent that it turns into spite. Rather, such feelings pass on, as a wayfarer passes through a village during his journey, but soon these feelings disappear and vanish, because a believer is bonded to other believers by the strong bond of “Brotherhood in Faith”. The believer’s emotions of brotherhood gush forth with love and mercy towards his brothers in faith, thus, could it be imagined that such nice feelings would coexist with spite in one person’s heart?

The Ruling on Spite.

Some scholars considered spite to be one of the inner great major sins which one must be far above committing and must repent to Allah.

The Cure of the Spite.

Treating spite lies in getting rid of the main reason that causes it, which is anger. When you become angry and cannot control your anger by being tolerant or by reminding yourself with the virtue of suppressing your anger, then you are harbouring feelings of spite which require struggle against yourself.

A person must warn himself against the consequences of taking revenge, and he must remember that The Power of Allah and ability are, by far, greater than his. One must remind himself that the command is in The Hands of Allah and no one can escape His command or decree.

If it happens that a person cannot suppress his feelings and they reached the state of spite, then he must force himself to act contrary to the implications of these feelings. Thus, he could praise the person whom he hates instead of dispraising him and be humble with him instead of being arrogant. Furthermore, one must put himself in the other person’s place and remember that he would like people to deal with him gently and must thus strive to deal with the other person in the manner that he would like to be dealt with.

One of the useful means by which this disease may be cured is for the hated person (if he transgressed) to refrain from his evil and reform himself. He must remember that he will never be able to eradicate this ill feeling (spite) from the other person’s heart towards him unless he does what makes that person feel secure and relaxed towards him. Additionally, he must try to reconcile and ease the heart of the other party who feels spiteful.

On the other hand, the wronged person who harbours spite must, in return, accept the apology and excuse of the one who wronged him … this is how spite and ill feelings die out and fade away, and love comes in its place.

The Consequences of the Spite.

Some scholars said: “The corruption of the heart by means of hatred is a lethal inveterate disease, and faith escapes such hearts just as liquid leaks from a cracked jug”.

Satan might despair from making a wise man worship idols, but he is keen to divert and misguide man and lead him to destruction. Satan will not fail to distance a person from his Lord, to the point that such a person becomes more ignorant of his Lord’s right than an idolater.

To keep a person away from his Lord, Satan uses tricks like enflaming hatred in the heart towards his fellow Muslims. Once this fire is ignited, Satan sits back and enjoys watching this fire burn his present life and future, and eating away his virtues. This is so, because when evil controls the spiteful heart, the person becomes hardhearted and stubborn, and he severs the ties which Allah commanded to be maintained and spreads corruption upon the earth.

Spite is the source for many evil acts that Islam has warned against. Falsely accusing the innocent is a crime that only extreme hatred stimulates and Islam has considered this to be one of the worse acts of falsehood.

Backbiting is the way a spiteful person releases his hatred, and that reflects the lack of mercy in his heart. Moreover, Islam has prohibited and warned against all the implications of spite, such as, ill-thinking of others, tracing their faults, mocking and defaming them.

Spiteful people’s hearts boil with hatred because they look in this life to see that they have missed out on what they wished to have while others possessed it. This is the greatest problem that continuously gives them the feeling of apprehension. By doing so, such people follow in the footsteps of Satan, who envied Adam because he was granted the position which he (i.e. Satan) desired for himself.

This satanic feeling is what boils in the hearts of spiteful people and corrupts their hearts to the point that they lose their determination. It would have been better for them to turn towards their Lord and ask Him from His bounties and strive to attain what the others have attained. The blessings of Allah are endless and they are limited to certain people, and hoping to attain what Allah has whilst utilizing all permissible means, is the only lawful thing to do when one sees others blessed with favours from Allah … There is a big difference between envy and ambition.

Having a Pure Heart – The Way to Paradise.

Allah Has described the people of Paradise who will have an eternal pleasure as people who are free from spite and envy, and if they had ever experienced any such feelings in this life, then they will be purified from these feelings before being admitted into Paradise, as Allah says: “And We will have removed whatever is within their hearts of spite (i.e. ill will or sense of injury for what was inflicted upon them during worldly life)”.

This quality of having pure hearts when dealing with others was one reason for which some of the companions of the Prophet SAW were given glad tidings of Paradise. Anas Ibn Malik RA narrated: “We were sitting with the Prophet SAW once when he said: “A man from the dwellers of Paradise will walk in now” so a man from the Ansar (i.e. residents of Madinah) walked in whose beard was dripping from the effect of ablution and who held his slippers with his left hand. The next day the Prophet SAW said the same thing, and the same man walked in. On the third day the Prophet SAW said the same thing, and the same man once again walked in. When the Prophet  SAW left the gathering, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr followed that man and said to him: `I had a misunderstanding with my father and swore not to stay in his house three nights, so if you permit me I would like to spend these three nights with you` The man said: `Yes, I permit you`”  Anas  RA added: “‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr told us that he spent three nights and did not notice that the man prayed  the optional night prayers during any of these nights, but if he woke up during the night, he would simply mention Allah. Nonetheless, I never heard him utter except good things, so when the three nights finished, I almost belittled his deeds (as they were insignificant) and I said to him: `O slave of Allah! There was not dispute between me and my father or anger, but I heard the Prophet SAW saying thrice: “A man from the dwellers of Paradise will walk in now” and you walked in all three times, so I wanted to sleep in your place to see what you do in order to imitate you, but I did not see that you exert extra effort in performing any extra deeds. How did you reach such status to deserve what the Prophet SAW said about you?` He replied: `My deeds are nothing more than what you saw` Then when I left, he called me back in and said: `My deeds are nothing more than what you saw, but the only thing I do is that I do not hold any grudge against any Muslim nor envy anyone for what bounties Allah as granted them`” thereupon ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr said to him: “This is what granted you this rank”. 

WE need to ponder upon the following words that were stated by one of the scholars: “There is nothing more relaxing and relieving to one’s grief, and there is nothing more comforting to him than living whilst having a pure heart that is clear from all whispers and spite. If he sees a bounty being granted to others he shows content with what he has, and realized the need of humans for their Lord. If he sees evil afflicting others, he expresses sympathy and supplicates Allah to relieve them from their hardship and forgive their sins. This is how a Muslim lives with his record of deeds clear from evil, pleased with what Allah has granted him, content with his life, relaxed in his heart, free from spite that blinds people from seeing the truth”.

[ViaIslam Web]


About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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