The noble scholar Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al Uthaymeen rahimahullaah commented:
And if you were asked about (the meaning) of al hasad (envy), then the answer would be:
That from the scholars are those who said:
Al hasad is to wish for Allaah’s blessing upon someone to come to an end.
This is how most of the scholars have explained it.
And Shaykh ul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullaah said:
Al hasad is that he hates that which Allaah has blessed someone else with, even if (the one with hasad) does not wish that (blessing) to come to an end.
So if a person hates that which Allaah has blessed someone else with, by way of knowledge or status or wealth or offspring or family, then this is al hasad, this is al hasad – that you hate that which Allaah has blessed someone other than you with.
If you wish that you should have this blessing – meaning that you have the like of that which Allaah has blessed someone other than you with, then listen carefully to the reply:
Allaah,the Most High, said:
And do not wish for that with which Allaah has blessed some of you over others. For the men is the reward of that which they have earned, and (likewise) for women is the reward for that which they have earned. And ask Allaah of His Bounty.
Soorah an Nisaa (4) aayah 32
This is the solution. That with which Allaah has blessed some of us with over others, then we should not wish that we have it to the exclusion of people other than us – nor should we hate that which Allaah has blessed (that other person) with.
But rather ask Allaah of His Bounty – the One who gave to someone other than you has Full Ability to give the like of that to you (as well).
So if you see that Allaah has given knowledge to a person then do not hate that, especially if that is knowledge of the Sharee’ah – because if Allaah has bestowed the blessing of Sharee’ah knowledge upon a servant and he fulfils that which is obligatory upon him by way of spreading the knowledge and calling people to goodness, then this is from Allaah’s blessing upon you yourself.
This is because you (also) love that the Sharee’ah of Allaah should be propagated amongst the servants of Allaah – is this not the case?
So if it is propagated by you or by other than you, then this is (all) good –so why should you hate it?
But if Allaah has favoured him over you with knowledge and calling to goodness,then ask Allaah from His Bounty.
(Quoted in Wasaayaawa tawjeehaat li tullaab il ilm p48 – 49 of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al ‘Uthaymeen rahimahullaah, translated by Nasser ibn Najam)