1512

Khutbah No.

The Etiquettes of Joking

Khutbah Title

General Morals & Rights

Secondary Topic

Admonition, Etiquettes  & Morals

Primary Topic

67

Khateeb’s No.

Munqidh As-Saqqaar

Khateeb’s Name

Nasim Chowdhury

Edited By

Hazem Ragab

Translated By

 

ÇáãÒÇÍ

Summary

1)     The circumstances under which joking is dispraised.

2)     The circumstances under which joking is prohibited.

3)     How the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would joke.

4)     How his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, joke.

5)     Joking with ones’ family.

 

 

A Muslim is naturally expected to be serious, as he was not created for the purpose of joking and amusement. When joking diverts a person from the purpose of their creation, which is to worship Allaah, it becomes dispraised. Another reason to make joking dispraised is when it is excessive and makes a person laugh too much which in turn leads to the heart becoming hardened; the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Do not laugh too much because excessive laughter kills your heart.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah & Ahmad). Waheeb Ibn Al-Ward looked at some people as they where laughing on the day of ‘Eid Al-Fitr and remarked: “If Allaah has forgiven these people, then these are not the actions of grateful people; If they were not forgiven, then these are not the actions of those who are fearful.”

 

A Muslim requires his heart to be alive and tender; a heart which heedlessness cannot find its way into, to be able to strongly execute his struggle against Satan. Excessive joking will lead his heart to such heedlessness. Satan pledged to distract man and misguide him, as Allaah says that which translates as: “Iblees [Satan] said [To Allaah]: By Your might, I will surely mislead them all. Except, among them, Your chosen servants.”(Saad: 82-83).

 

Moreover, we must know that heedlessness is a characteristic of the disbelievers. Allaah says that which translates as: “Then woe, that Day, to the deniers. Who are in [empty] discourse amusing themselves.” (At-Toor: 11-12). “So leave them to converse vainly and amuse themselves until they meet their Day which they are promised.” (Az-Zukhruf: 83). “Then leave them in their [empty] discourse, amusing themselves.” (Al-An’aam: 91),

Then, on the Day of Judgement, the disbelievers will be asked that which translates as: “What put you into Saqar [i.e., Hellfire].” (Al-Muddaththir: 42), they will reply with that which translates as: “…We used to enter into vain discourse with those who engaged [in it].” (Al-Muddaththir: 45).

 

Our righteous predecessors seriously warned against this type heedlessness, Abu Ya’laa used to say: “Are you laughing while your funeral-shroud may be being prepared?” Muhammad Ibn Waasi’ asked some people: “If you saw a man in Paradise crying, would you be surprised?” they replied ‘Yes’,  he said: “The one who laughs in this life, not knowing what his consequence is in the next one, is more surprising than that.”

 

Excessive joking makes one lose their dignity and even the foolish people around the one joking will eventually despise them. ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “He who jokes, people will despise him.” Muhammad Ibn Al-Munkadir said: “My mother once told me: son, don’t joke with children for that will make you lose your dignity.” Sa’eed Ibn Al-‘Aas said: “Don’t joke with a noble man because he will hate you, or an inferior man because he will humiliate you.”  Husayn Ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmaan said: “We were told that joking removes one’s dignity and breaks friendships.”

 

In addition, joking could cause hatred to enter the hearts, as ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul Azeez, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “Fear Allaah and don’t joke because it causes hatred and would make an inferior person despise you. Instead, talk about Qur’aanic verses and discuss them, if this is difficult, then at least carry out a decent manly conversation”. Khaalid Ibn Safwaan said: “People used to say, everything has its seed, and the seed of enmity is joking.”

 

Joking becomes prohibited and not only dispraised when it involves Islamically unlawful behaviour such as:

 

·        Scaring Muslims: Some of the Prophet’s companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, were once on a trip with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and one of them was sleeping. A group of the companions took some of the sleeping ones arrows, which he kept for self defence, and hid them. When he woke up, he was frightened, due to losing them, so they started laughing. Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam asked them: “What makes you laugh?” they replied: “Nothing, its just that we took this man’s arrows and that scared him.” Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “It is not lawful for a Muslim to scare his fellow Muslim.” (Ahmad & Abu Daawood). He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “Don’t take your brother’s stick, whether jokingly or seriously. If one of you finds his brother’s stick, then let him return it to him” (Ahmad & Abu Daawood).

 

·        Lying while joking: The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Woe to the one who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him, woe to him” (Tirmidhi, Abu Daawood & Daarimi). He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “A slave would utter a word meaning no harm except wanting to make people laugh, and it would cause him to go down in Hell as far as the distance between the Heavens and the earth.”(Ahmad) Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that people said to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “You joke with us.” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “I do but I only say that which is true” (Tirmidhi & Ahmad). Abu Umaamah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “I guarantee an abode within the boundary of Paradise for the one who refrains from arguing even if he was correct; and an abode in the middle of Paradise for the one who abandons lying even in jest; and an abode in the sublime part of Paradise for the one whose manners are honourable.” (Abu Daawood).

 

·        Joking that may cause harm to others: Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “None of you should point his weapon at his brother, as Satan may provoke him (to hurt his brother) and as a result, he would fall into a pit of Fire.” (Bukhaari). In another narration, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “He who (even) points at his brother with a piece of iron is cursed by the angels until he puts it down, even if the other was his blood brother.” (Muslim).

 

 

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to joke, and there are many examples for this, so this certainly indicates that joking is lawful, provided it does not contain any of the prohibitions mentioned.

 

Jaabir, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “Whenever the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would receive revelation or preach to us, I would think to myself, due to his appearance:  ‘he is warning people against a punishment that will definitely befall them’. But, when that was finished, you would see that he had the happiest and most cheerful face, which was his nature.”  (Al-Bazzaar).

 

The Prophet’s joking was not merely for entertainment, but would include teachings and instructions for his companions. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would joke at different times for different reasons:

 

For the purpose of endearment, there are many stories that illustrate this point:

 

 

Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that a man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and said: “Give me an animal to ride on” the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “I will give you the son of a female camel” the man said with astonishment: “What could I do with the son of a female camel?” (i.e., thinking that he would be given a camel too small to ride). Thereupon, the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “What do female camels deliver except camels?” (i.e., that every camel, even if it is fully grown, is the product of a female camel). (Abu Daawood & Tirmidhi).

 

 ‘Awf Ibn Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said, “I went to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam during the battle of Tabook while he was in a leather Qubbah (a small tent-like structure used for sitting in before war). I greeted him with Salaam and he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam responded and said: “Come inside” I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, all of me?’ he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “All of you” so I entered” (Ahmad & Abu Daawood).  ‘Uthmaan Ibn Abi Al-‘Ataakah commented that ‘Awf Ibn Maalik asked this question because the Qubbah was very small’.

 

Ka’b Ibn Murrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “I heard the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam saying, “Shoot at the enemy; Allaah will elevate he who shoots and his arrow reaches the enemy, by raising him by one step in Paradise” Ibn An-Namaam, may Allaah be pleased with him, asked: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what is this step?’ he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied with humour: “It is definitely not like your mothers doorstep; Indeed the distance between two steps in Paradise is one hundred years”” (An-Nasaa’i & Ahmad).

 

Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated: “There was a Bedouin named Zaahir whom the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam loved and he was ugly. One day the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam approached him from behind as he was selling some merchandise and hugged him and teased him saying: “Who would buy this slave (i.e., Zaahir)” Zaahir replied: ‘You would not get much for someone like me’  the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “But you are precious in the sight of Allaah.” (Ahmad).

 

·        The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would also comfort his companions and cheer them up, as Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam once saw my young brother extremely upset, so he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam asked:  “Why do I see Abu ‘Umayr (a fond nickname that he gave him) so sad?” the people replied ‘His bird has died.’ So he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said comfortingly: “O Abu ‘Umayr what happened to your bird?”” (Ahmad).

 

·        Joking to reform the companions: “Khawwaat Ibn Jubayr Al-Ansaari was sitting with some women from the tribe of Banu Ka’b on the road leading to Makkah listening to their talk. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came across him there and asked him: “O Abu ‘Abdullaah, what are you doing setting with these ladies?” He replied: ‘I lost my camel and came looking for it’ (as a false excuse). The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam left him and went to take care of some affairs. After a while he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam returned and teased him saying: “O Abu ‘Abdullaah, has your camel given up running away from you yet?” Khawwaat said: ‘I was embarrassed and kept silent, and was avoiding him after that (because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam realised that Khawwaat was just trying to justify his sitting with the women), until we went back to Madeenah when he saw me in the mosque while I was praying, so he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam sat down next to me waiting for me to finish my prayer. Due to this, I prolonged my prayer, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Don’t prolong your prayer as I awaiting for you” so I finished my prayer, then he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said teasing me again:, “O Abu ‘Abdullaah, has your camel given up running away from you yet?” I was embarrassed and kept silent, so he stood up and left and kept avoiding him until one day he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam saw me while he was riding his donkey and said: “O Abu ‘Abdullaah, has your camel given up running away from you yet?” So I replied: I swear by Him Who sent you with the truth, my camel has never run away from me since I became a Muslim’ (i.e., confessing to his sin which the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was trying to teach him to do by his joke) so the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, O Allaah, guide Abu ‘Abdullaah.  After this, Khawwaat Ibn Jubayr Al-Ansaari became a much better Muslim”. (Tabaraani)

 

 

The companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam were the most serious of people and the least heedless of Allaahs commands, yet they used to joke. Bukhaari mentioned in his book Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, “The companions used to play with one another by throwing watermelon skins at each other, but when it was time for seriousness, they where real men”. Ibn Sireen was asked about the companions, “Did they joke?” he replied: “They were just like normal people (i.e. yes they did)”. Abu Salamah Ibn ‘Abur-Rahmaan said, describing the companions: “The companions never exaggerated in seriousness, nor were they heedless; they used to recite poetry in their gatherings and mention some incidents which took place during their pre-Islamic period and laugh, but if they saw any action against Islaam, they would become furious.” (Ibn Abu Shaybah).

 

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to joke with his wives and children. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, narrated: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam went on one of his trips and I accompanied him; he told his companions: “proceed ahead” while he and I lagged behind, then he said to me: “Let us race” so we did and I won - and he did not say anything. After some time, when I became heavier in weight, I went with him on another trip, and I had forgotten about the race. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told his companions, “proceed ahead” while he and I lagged behind, then he said to me: “Let us race” so we did and he won and started laughing and said, “This one makes up for the first time” (Ahmad).

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The best among you is the best in dealing with their family - and I am the best among you in dealing with their family”  

 

‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, was asked: “How was the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam when he was alone with his wives?” she replied: “He was just like any other man, except that he was the most kind, gentle and cheerful of them.”

 

“The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to line up the children of Bani Al-‘Abbaas and others and say, “Race towards me, and whoever wins will get something” so they would race towards him and he would roll over on the ground and the children would climb on his chest and roll on his back; and he would hug and kiss them.’’ (Ahmad).

 

‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was in my house and Sawdah, another of his wives, was there also. I had made some food, served it and asked Sawdah to eat it. She replied: ‘I don’t want it’. I said ‘I swear by Allaah that either you will eat or I will cover your face in it.’ She replied: ‘I will not taste it’. So I took some of the food in my hand from the plate and splashed it on her face, while the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was sitting between us. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam lowered his legs so that I could not get at Sawdah, then she took a portion of the food and covered my face in it. During all this, Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was laughing.” (Abu Ya’laa).