Update: I forgot to mention another Sunnah in regards to this that helps avert hasad/nazr or jealousy of the evil eye. See the last part of the post for that.
Update x 2: I added the duaas in Arabic. For the last one you can refer to your Quran, Insha Allah.
This is a HUGE problem in the Ummah. In fact it’s so HUGE that I think it’s one of the hidden causes of Muslim decline–especially when we seem to be on the rise or things are looking good–all of a sudden things collapse and we are left wondering what happened. Here is why.
You see what happens when Muslims start doing good, acting good and overall living Islam as best as they can is they get an ego-trip. Simply put: there is nothing that corrupts the heart more than thinking you are “correct” or on the road to Heaven or “holier than thou”. And so some of the Islamic things Muslims do are solely meant to be “feel good” or to hear praise. At times it may simply be wanting to hear some encouragement to keep going (and this is good at the start) but otherwise it becomes something the ego–the self–feeds off of and ultimately destroys whatever good the person was doing. It gets pushed even further with riyaa–showing off by means of showing piety–that is mentioned in the Quran:
“So woe unto those performers of Salat (prayers)…those who do good deeds only to be seen by men…” (Quran 107: 4,6)
This is a big problem especially amongst the scholars. Whenever they deliver a khutbah or they hear all sorts of nice comments:
Masha Allah shaykh your are awesome!
Your the best!
I want to be just like you one day
Who wouldn’t go on an ego-trip? And the shaykh or Muslim Activist thinks this praise is “proof” that he has done something substantial and solved a problem. This is not the case. In reality he has done very little. This is Shaytaan deceiving them so that they stop and settle for less rather than more; the Ummah cries on and they sit back and smile mistaking it for laughter.
Realize that when you praise a Muslim–you are hurting them.
So what can be done? The following is the SUNNAH of praising Muslims (i.e. how the Prophet SAAWS handled this situation).
Read it carefully, ponder it deeply, memorize it (won’t take longer than 3 minutes) and tell others about it.
How a Muslim should praise another Muslim
If any of you praises a Muslim then let him say:
“I consider (such and such a person), and Allah is his Assessor,
(meaning: and I cannot claim anyone to be pious before Allah) -if you know of this (good character trait in the person) to be such and such (saying what he thinks is praiseworthy in that person).” (Muslim 4/2296)
What a Muslim should say when he is praised
Oh Allah, do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine].
(Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad no. 761. See Al-Albani, Sahih Al-Adab Al-Mufrad (no. 585). The portion between brackets is from Al-Baihaqi, Shu’ab Al-Iman 4/228, and comes from another account.)
Taken from Hisnul Muslim (The Fortress of the Muslim AKA The Lil book of Duaas)
In Surah Al-Kahf there is an ayah mentioned in which a Muslim is punished by Allah for his pride and arrogance:
“And he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief) unjust to himself. He said: “I think not that this will ever perish. And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, (on the Day of Resurrection), I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.”
(Surah al-Kahf 18: 35-36)
His neighbour replies: “It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah ‘. If you see me less than you in wealth, and children.” (Surah al-Kahf 18:39)
The duaa mentioned here is: Masha Allah (That which Allah wills) la howla wa la quwatta illah billah (There is no power but with Allah). When you see something you like or respect (such as buying a new car or seeing some Muslims accomplish something great) you should say “Masha Allah, la quwatta illah billah” as this averts the evil eye (also known as hasad or nazr). And the evil eye is something that comes not only from others but can also come from yourself.
Please pass this onto others so we may be able to guard ourselves from Shaytaan.
Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.