The Concept of Fun in Islam


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَومٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَى أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاء مِّن نِّسَاء عَسَى أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الاِسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surat Al-Ĥujurāt (The Rooms): 11]
 

Let us have fun, not make fun of others 

Let us be crystal clear: Islam does not forbid us from having clean, wholesome fun. What it is opposed to, however, is making fun of others.

Islam is balanced and encourages Muslims to search for sources of healthy fun, as it does not want us to paint ourselves with a dismal gloomy appearance, no, not at all.

The list of the different ways of having fun is endless, from playing board-games to climbing trees, to cycling and swimming, to visiting relatives and friends, cooking together, or just pondering over a crossword puzzle.

Different people of different times and ages have to be creative in looking for decent forms of entertainment. At the same time, it is important to avoid extravagance, laziness, idleness and luxury.

Remember, Hazrat Umar (رضى الله عنه) said: “Get used to a rough life, as luxury does not last forever.”

So avoiding entertainment such as singing accompanied by musical instruments is imperative, as it is against the seriousness, strength and honour of a Muslim.

Let us look at the different examples seen during the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), in which he demonstrated the permissibility of outdoor activities for women:

It was narrated from Jabir that his maternal aunt was divorced, and she wanted to go out to some date palms of hers, but she met a man who told her not to do that. She went to the Messenger of Allah and he said:

“Go out and take the harvest of your date palms, for perhaps you will give Zakah or do some good (give voluntary charity).” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

And yet there are other times when family problems are taking their toll and one of the spouses are angry, and so some gentle joking on the part of one person may relieve the tension in the air and cheer everyone up.

We see that our Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was playful with children as well as his wives, however choosing appropriate times for joking:

Among the stories related in the books of hadith is the report that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to joke with the small child of one of the Sahaabah (Companions), a boy called Abu ‘Umayr, who had a small bird he used to play with.

One day he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saw the child looking sad, so he said, “Why do I see Abu ‘Umayr looking sad?” The Sahaabah told him, “The nughar (a small bird, like a sparrow) which he used to play with has died, O Messenger of Allah.”

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) began to gently joke with the child, saying, “O Abu Umayr, what happened to the nughayr?” (Nughayr: diminutive of nughar. In Arabic, this is a play on words, because of the rhyme between the boy’s name and of the bird.)

[Narrated by al- Bukhari]

Once, Aisha (رضى الله عنها) was talking very boldly with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) when Abu Bakr (رضى الله عنه) happened to enter upon them. He grew so angry at his daughter’s behavior, that he wanted to beat her! – but the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prevented him. After Abu Bakr (رضى الله عنه) had left, he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) remarked: “See, how I saved you.” [Gist of a hadith from Sunan Abu Dawood]

This reflects the playful relationship between a husband and wife!

It is reported that the Prophet’s companions remarked, “O Messenger of Allah, you joke with us?” Rasoolullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied, “Yes, I do not say but the truth.” [Reported in  Shama’il Muhammadiyah]

The Sahaabah saw nothing wrong with joking or having fun, as they saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), their leader and teacher, occasionally doing so.

The many delightful stories about their sense of humour reflects the easy-going nature of the first Islamic society, and how far removed it was from boringness and gloom.

In al-Adab al-Mufrad, Imaam Bukhari reports from Bakr ibn ‘Abdillah who said: “The Companions of the Prophet used to throw melon-rinds at one another, but when the matter was serious, they were the only true men.”

This is moderate, Islamically-acceptable humour which does not go beyond the bounds of truth, and it serves its purpose of refreshing hearts and minds.

Recently, I read this incident which I felt reflects how happiness and fun can be found in the most simplest of things:

“A man came into the mosque, followed by his four sons. He looked very severe, with a long beard and a frown on his face. His sons ranged in age and height as they followed him, the tallest first and the youngest last. The boys showed the greatest respect for their father and he, in turn, knew the great duty he had been given of bringing them up well.

They prayed together on entering the mosque and they then lay down in the heat of the afternoon. After a while, the youngest boy, who must have been about six years old and could not lie still for too long, began to tickle his father’s toes.

After a few moments, father and all four sons were hugging and tickling and kissing one another. This brought smiles to the faces of all around, but it also made us give thanks to Almighty Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).

We could thank Him (سبحانه و تعالى) for the good example of this family praying together, respecting and caring for one another, but also filled with joy and happiness at being together. What a pity a television camera could not have shown these Muslims!”

– Idris Tawfiq

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About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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One Response to The Concept of Fun in Islam

  1. Salam.
    never knew some of the incidents mentioned in the post but really like the way message is conveyed as Islam do allow such things which nurtures the relations! because sometimes what we think fun is actually the way of mocking someone else!
    proud to be a Muslim. 🙂

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