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Amat Allah
12-22-2008, 03:07 PM
The Muslim has a sense of humour, which makes people like him. He
mixes with them and jokes with them when it is appropriate to do so,
without going to extremes or saying anything hurtful. Similarly, when
he is serious, he does not go to extremes of harshness and
strictness. His humour is within the limits of Islamic tolerance, and
does not go beyond the bounds of truth. This is the example of the
Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and the Sahabah in their jokes
and humour. It is reported that the Sahabah said to the Prophet
(sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam): "You are joking with us." He
said, "But I never say anything but the truth." (Bukhari)

How The Prophet (Sallallahu `Alayhi Wa Sallam) And The Sahabah Used
To Joke..

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) used to joke, but he never
said anything but the truth in his jokes. The Sahabah took the same
approach to humour. There are many delightful reports about the jokes
exchanged between the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and the
Sahabah. Among the stories related in the books of hadith and sirah
is the report that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) used to
joke with the small child of one of the Sahabah, a boy called
Abu 'Umayr, who had a small bird he used to play with. One day he saw
the child looking sad, so he said, "Why do I see Abu 'Umayr looking
sad?" The Sahabah told him, "The nughar [a small bird, like a
sparrow - author] which he used to play with has died, O Messenger of
Allah." The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) began to gently
joke with the child, saying, "O Abu Umayr, what happened to the
nughayr?" [Nughayr: diminutive of nughar. - author. In Arabic, this
is a play on words, because of the rhyme between the boy's name and
that of the bird. - Translator. This story was reported in
Hayat al-Sahabah, 3/149]

A man came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to ask him
to give him a beast to ride. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam) jokingly told him, I will give you the offspring of a she-
camel to ride." He said, "O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam), what will I do with the offspring of a she-camel?" The
Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "Are riding-camels born
except from she-camels?" [Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and al-
Tirmidhi, with a sahih isnad.]

Imam Ahmad reported from Anas (radhiallahu `anhu) that there was a
man from the desert people whose name was Zahir. He used to bring
gifts from the desert to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam),
and in return the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) would
provide him with whatever he needed when he went out to fight. The
Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "Zahir is our man of the
desert, and we are his town-dwellers. " The Prophet (sallallahu
`alayhi wa sallam) loved him very much, and he (Zahir) was an ugly
man. One day the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) came to him
whilst he was selling some goods. He embraced him from behind. The
man could not see him, so he said, "Let me go! Who is this?" Then he
turned around and recognized the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam), so he tried to move closer to him once he knew who it was.
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) started to say, "Who will
buy this slave?" Zahir said, "O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu
`alayhi wa sallam), you will find me unsellable." The Prophet
(sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "But in the sight of Allah
(subhanahu wa ta`ala) you are not unsellable," or he said, "But in
the sight of Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) you are valuable."

An old woman came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and
said: "O Messenger of Allah, pray to Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) that
I will enter Paradise." He said jokingly, "O Mother of So-and-so, no
old women will enter Paradise." The old woman went away crying, so
the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "Tell her that she
will not enter Paradise as an old woman, for Allah (subhanahu wa
ta`ala) says: (We have created [their Companions] of special
creation, and made them virgin-pure [and undefiled]) (Qur'an 56:35-
36)." Reported by al-Tirmidhi, it is hasan because of the existence
of corroborating reports.

One of the hadiths that reflects the Prophet's sense of humour and
enjoyment of fun is the report that Ahmad gives ftom 'A'ishah who
said: "I went out with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) on
a journey. At that time I was a young girl and was quite slender. The
Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) told the people, 'Go on
ahead,' so they went ahead, then he said to me, 'Come, let us have a
race.' So I raced with him, and I won. He let the matter rest until I
had gained weight. Later, I accompanied him on another journey. He
told the people, 'Go on ahead,' so they went ahead. He said to
me, 'Come, let us have a race.' So I raced with him, and he won. He
began to laugh, and said, 'This is for that."'

The Sahabah saw nothing wrong with joking or having fun, as they saw
the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), their leader and teacher,
occasionally doing so. The many delightful stories about their sense
of humour reflect the easy-going nature of the first Islamic society,
and how far removed it was from narrow-mindedness and gloom.

In al-Adab al-Mufrad, Bukhari reports from Bakr ibn 'Abdillah who
said: "The Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam )
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, or lessen the gravitas or manhood of a
person. Rather, it serves its purpose of refreshing hearts and minds.

An example of the Sahabah's sense of humour, which made the Prophet
(sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) laugh, is the report given by Imam
Ahmad from Umm. Salamah (radhiallahu `anha). Abil Bakr (radhiallahu
`anhu) went to do business in Busra, and with him were Nu'ayman and
Suwaybit ibn Harmalah (radhiallahu `anhuma), both of whom had been
present at Badr. Suwaybit was in charge of food on the journey, and
Nu'ayman said to him, "Feed me!" Suwaybit said, "Not until Abu Bakr
(radhiallahu `anhu) comes." Nu'ayman was a fun-loving man with a
sense of humour, so he went to some people who had brought livestock
with them, and said, "Will you buy a sturdy Arab slave from me?" They
said, "Yes." He said, "He has a big mouth, and he may tell you that
he is a free man. If that means that you do not want to take him,
then forget the matter, and do not cause trouble for me with him."
They said, "No problem, we will buy him." So they bought him for ten
young she-camels. Nu'ayman brought the animals back, and told the
people: "There he is!" Suwaybit said: "I am a free man!" They
said, "He has already told us all about you," and put a rope around
his neck and led him away. Then Abu Bakr came, and was told what had
happened. He and his companions went and returned the animals and
took Suwaybit back. They told the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam) what had happened, and he and his Sahabah would laugh about
the story for a year afterwards.

A Bedouin came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). He
entered the mosque and left his camel in the courtyard. Some of his
Companions said to Nu'ayman ibn 'Amr al-Ansari, who was known as al-
Nu'ayman: "If you slaughter it, we will eat it, because we want to
have some meat, and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam) will pay for it." So al-Nu'ayman slaughtered it. Then the
Bedouin came out and saw his saddle, so he shouted, "They have
slaughtered my camel, O Muhammad!" The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam) came out and asked: "Who did this?" They said, "Al-Nu'ayman. "
So he went looking for him, and found him at the home of Duba'ah bint
al-Zubayr ibn 'Abdul Muttalib (radhiallahu `anha), where he had
hidden in a ditch and covered himself with palm branches and leaves.
A man pointed to where he was and said, loudly, "I have not seen him,
O Messenger of Allah." The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)
brought him out of the ditch, and his face was dirty from where the
leaves had fallen on him. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)
asked him, "Why did you do that?" Al-Nu'ayrnan said: "The ones who
told you where I was, O Messenger of Allah, are the same ones who
told me to do it." The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) began
wiping his face and laughing, then he paid the price of the
slaughtered camel. [See Hayat As Sahabah, 3/154, 155]

There is no clearer indication than these and similar reports of the
lightheartedness and sense of humour that Islam wants its followers
to have. These qualities will make a person good-natured and
likeable, which will enable him to win people's hearts. No one needs
such characteristics more than the Muslim who seeks to call others to
Islam.

writer: Anas
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