What Does Ghayrat Mean?


Rasulullah 'sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sal-lam' states in a hadith-i sharif: [1] "Allahu ta'ala has Ghayrat for a Mu'min (islamic believer, muslim) and Mu'min also has ghayrat for other Mu'mins." Allahu ta'ala has prohibited adultery because of His Ghayrat. Allahu ta'ala says, "Oh sons of Adam! I created you for Myself and everything else for your utility but those things I created for you should not make you forget the meaning of your creation."

In a hadith al-Qudsi [2] , Allahu ta'ala declares: "I created you for Myself. Do not busy yourself with other things! I will provide your sustenance, do not worry!" Prophet Joseph's (Yusuf) asking a person who was going to see the Ruler (Sultan) of the time that he should mention his name in the presence of the Ruler caused Ghayrat of Allahu ta'ala and therefore caused Prophet Joseph 'alaihis-salam' to stay in prison for many years. Also, Prophet Abraham's (Ibrahim) 'alaihis-salam' joy upon the birth of his son Isma'il caused Ghayrat of Allahu ta'ala and ordered Ibrahim 'alaihis-salam' to sacrifice his son Isma'il. Many a very much beloved slave of Allahu ta'ala, e.g. some (of His darlings called) Awliya [3], has been disciplined with this Ghayrat of Allahu ta'ala.

Ghayrat means one's not consenting to share one's rights on a person with others. The meaning of Ghayrat of Allahu ta'ala is His not consenting with human creature's committing sins. What devolves on a human creature is not to lead a life at will, but to be a true slave to Him, which in turn means to obey His commandments and prohibitions. The right to act at will is confined uniquely to Allahu ta'ala. As far as human creatures are concerned, performing their desires or committing sins would mean violating the right of Allahu ta'ala, i.e., having a share from the right of Allahu ta'ala. A Believer should have ghayrat on himself lest he should commit sins.

[1] hadith (sharif): i) a saying of the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam).; al-Hadith ash-sharif: all the hadiths as a whole; ii) 'ilm al-hadith; iii) Books of the hadith ash-sharif. iv) Al-hadith al-qudsi, as-sahih, al-hasan: kinds of hadiths (for which, see Endless Bliss, II).
[2] hadith-i qudsi: a hadith inspired by Allahu ta'ala but said by the Prophet.
[3] awliya: (pl. of Wali) a person loved by Allahu ta'ala.