Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-0487


Hasad (Malicious Envy) and Ghibtah (Descent Envy): History, Culture and Philosophy

Iqbal Akhtar Khan and Umair Ghani

Hasad, an Arabic word, comes from Ha-sa-da which is ‘to dislike that someone should possess a blessing and/or happiness and to want that blessing and/or happiness to be removed from that individual and/or be transferred from him to oneself’. Its widely accepted substitute, in English, is ‘Envy’. The origin of Hasad can arguably be traced to social comparison, usually of “Aristotle’s Potters against Potters” pattern. The classification into malicious envy and Ghibtah (descent envy) is based on the focus of the envier (Subject) on the ‘Rival’ or the ‘good’, respectively. The focus on the ‘Rival’ is the outcome of negative emotions which give rise to destructive energy, culminating in deleterious consequences for the ‘Subject’, ‘pulling him further down’. This morally reproachable approach is ‘Hasad’ (malicious envy). Conversely, the focus on ’good’ is the outcome of constructive emotions which produce pro-active energy making the ‘Subject’ feel motivated to ‘pulling himself up’, resulting in self-improvement. This morally laudable approach is Ghibtah (descent envy). Envy is simultaneously a fascinating and a dreadful emotion with positive and negative facets, depending upon the doctrine of Khair (good) and Sharr (evil). The identification of ‘Envy Spot on the Brain’ is a great scientific breakthrough. It is quite possible that the surgical procedure ‘Deep Brain Stimulation’, presently employed successfully to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms (mainly of Parkinson’s Disease), will be able to treat envy, and the dream of an ‘envy free set up’ be realized.