SECLUSION FROM PEOPLE brings a pleasant life. Still, one must mix with people. So be cautious with enemies, for they may plot against you and destroy you. Yet be good to those who are bad to you, using privacy as an aid in your affairs.
Let most people be to you as acquaintances, then, but be not so with friends, for the existence of a friend—that is the rarest thing to come by, and this is so because a friend must be your equal; for if you befriend some random person from the throngs of the unenlightened, he will not benefit you because of the low caliber of his character and his lack of education and manners. And if you befriend someone of your own station, he will likely envy you, the indications of which you will glean from his actions and words, if you are keen.
Yet had We so willed, We would have shown them to you manifestly, so that you would recognize them by their indelible mark—or so that you would clearly recognize them by their permanently twisted speech. For Allah knows the deeds of all of you (Sûrat Muhammad, 47:30).
So if you want to live a good life, then keep away from the envier, for if you do not, inevitably he will see your blessings and, perhaps, strike them down with an evil eye.
Should you find, however, that you have no choice but to deal with him, then neither share your secrets with him nor seek his counsel; nor be deluded by his kindness to you or by what he shows by way of religiousness and worshipfulness, for, indeed, the impulse of envy overpowers the inclination of religion in most.
Oh yes, and remember well how envy drove Cane (Qâbîl) to kill Abel (Hâbîl), and how the brothers of Yûsuf (AS) (Joseph) discarded him in the well, wherefore he was sold into slavery for a paltry price. Remember how Abû Âmir, “The Monk,” was worshipful and mild-mannered in Yathrib (Madinah), and how Abdullah ibn Ubay was a leader there of his people. Then envy drove both to hypocrisy and off the right path when the Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah.
But should you find that someone envies you, do not ask Allah to punish him, for already he is in terrible and unremitting calamity from which he shall not be relieved, unless your blessing is stripped from you.
Moreover, with every increase of your blessing, your envier descends further into torture, such that he knows no peace in his life. Indeed, the life of those in the Garden of Paradise itself would be joyless were it not for the fact that Allah shall strip away the feelings of envy and malice from the hearts of its inhabitants.
“Why You Should Keep a Few Close Friends” by OMAR ABDL-HALEEM
From Ibn Al-Jawzi’s book: Sayd Al-Khatir