HUMOUR IN HADITH
Prophet Muhammad (sas) said: “Even a smile is charity.”
Since Islam is defined as way of life the scope of Islam and life should be fully convergent. As Islam is based on human nature, it also fully takes into account that nature, in its entire dimension. As a reflection of many different types of extremities among us as Muslims, some have divorced Islam in search of their jest and fun. Others, due to their “love” for Islam, have purified Islam and their life from any humorous dimension: So, no fun or humor.
The latter group is petrified by a reminder from the Prophet Muhammad “O followers of Muhammad! By Allah, if you knew what I know, you would weep much and laugh little.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, #627]The unintended impact of this Hadith has been that we forgot to have a sense of humor altogether. Indeed, the more religious we are, the less we laugh. On top of this, I have observed that the more religious and scholarly Muslims are, their faces are stiffer, even when they have their pictures taken. Life is more than just weeping and crying. There might be some proportionality, but there is plenty of lighter dimension of life as well. So, go ahead, cry a little, laugh a little.The Prophet usually had a very friendly, inviting disposition. He smiled, and laughed as situations “naturally” warranted. Just like he did not try to artificially induce tears in his eyes, he did not suppress his laugh during situations that were humorous.
Those Hadith that indicate Prophet’s smile or laugh are very special to me, as those Hadith lightens me up when I need a little lift. Those Hadith also brightens my day every so often.
There are also valuable lessons to be learned from these Hadith. Taking life and Islam with a balanced dose of jest is what the Prophet – ordered.
The first few sayings of the Prophet below are to give you an idea about the Prophetic perspective in this regard. This collection is not necessarily to make you laugh your heart out, but merely to introduce that sense of humor is quite integral to our human life and so is also to us as Muslims.
1. The Prophet used to smile, rather than laugh …
He generally used to smile rather than laugh Aisha, wife of the Messenger of Allah said: I never saw the Messenger of Allah laugh fully to such an extent that I could see his uvula. He would only smile, … [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 3, #5079] [Note: Whether he smiled or laugh depended on the situation as illustrated by the Hadiths quoted below.]
2. The Prophet’s smile and companions’ laughing sessions …
Narrated Jabir ibn Samurah: Simak ibn Harb asked Jabir ibn Samurah, “Did you sit in the company of the Messenger of Allah?” He said: Yes, very often. He (the Prophet) used to sit at the place where he observed the morning or dawn prayer till the sun rose or when it had risen; he would stand, and they (his Companions) would talk about matters (pertaining to the days) of ignorance, and they would laugh (on these matters) while (the Prophet) only smiled. [Sahih Muslim, #1413]
3. Go ahead make your dear ones feel good!
Narrated Hadhrat Fatima , The Prophet told me something secretly (during his fatal illness) and I laughed. [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Chapter 68 on smiling and laughing] 4. You should be jestful with your family! Narrated Ibn Mas’ud: “Mix with the people on the condition that your Deen is not jeopardized, and be jestful with the family.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter 81 on “To be cheerful with the people”] 5. The Prophet used to laugh too; sometimes till his front teeth were exposed…
Hadhrat Abu Dhar reported that the Prophet said: “I know the last of inhabitants of Paradise to enter it and the last of the inhabitants of Hell to come out it. He is a man who would be brought on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: Present his minor sins to him, and withhold from him his serious sins. Then the minor sins would be placed before him, and it would be said: On such and such day you did so and so and on such and such day you did so and so. He would say: Yes. It will not be possible for him to deny, while he would be afraid lest serious sins should be presented before him. It would be said to him: In place of every evil deed you will have good deed. He will (then) say: My Lord! I have done things that I do not see here.” I indeed saw the Mesenger of Allah laugh till his front teeth were exposed. [Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, #365]
6. Sometimes laughing is just not right…
Narrated Aisha: Some young men from the Quraysh visited Aisha as she was in Mina and they (audience) were laughing. She said: What makes you laugh? They said: Such and such person stumbled against the rope of the tent and he was about to break his neck or lose his eyes. She said: Don’t laugh for I heard Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) saying: If a Muslim runs a thorn or (gets into trouble) severe than this, there is assured for him (a higher) rank and his sins are obliterated. [Sahih Muslim, #6237]
7. The Prophet’s kiddy talk!
Narrated Anas bin Malik , The Prophet used to mix with us to the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine (he had a bird called Umair), “O father of Umair! What did do the Nughair (a kind of bird)?” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, #150]
8. Asking the Prophet for a camel
Anas said: A man came to the Prophet and said: O Apostle of Allah! give me a mount. The Prophet said: We shall give you a she-camel’s child to ride on. He said: What shall I do with a she-camel’s child? The Prophet replied: Do any others than she-camels give birth to camels?” [Sunan Abu Dawood; Vol. 3, # 4980; also #4981; #4982]
9. The tale of a stubborn animal…
Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: Ali ibn Rabi’ah said: I was present with Ali while an animal was brought to him to ride. When he put his foot in the stirrup, he said: “In the name of Allah.” Then when he sat on its back, he said: “Praise be to Allah.” He then said: “Glory be to Him Who has made this subservient to us, for we had not the strength, and to our Lord do we return.” He then said: “Praise be to Allah (thrice); Allah is Most Great (thrice): glory be to Thee, I have wronged myself, so forgive me, for only Thou forgivest sins.” He then laughed. He was asked: At what did you laugh? He replied: I saw the Apostle of Allah do as I have done, and laugh after that. I asked: Apostle of Allah , at what are you laughing? He replied: Your Lord, Most High, is pleased with His servant when he says: “Forgive me my sins.” He knows that no one forgives sins except Him. [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 2, #2596]
10. What is there to laugh about a good use of Qur’anic logic …? Amr ibn al-As said: I had a sexual dream on a cold night in the battle of Dhat al-Salasil. I was afraid, if I washed/bathed I would die. I, therefore, performed Tayammum and led my companions in the dawn prayer. They mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah, He said: ‘Amr, you led your companions in prayer, while you were sexually defiled? I informed him of the cause which impeded me from taking a bath. And I said: I heard Allah say: “Do not kill yourself, verily Allah is merciful to you.” The Messenger of Allah laughed and did not say anything. [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 1, #334]
11. The laugh at the case of an unyielding hapless chap … A man broke his fast (intentionally) during Ramadan. The Messenger of Allah commanded him to emancipate a slave or fast for two months, or feed sixty poor men. He said: I cannot provide. The Apostle said: Sit down. Thereafter, a huge basket of dates was brought to the Messenger of Allah. He said: Take this and give it as sadaqah. He said: O Messenger of Allah, there is no one poorer than I. The Messenger of Allah thereupon laughed so that his canine teeth became visible and said: Eat it yourself. [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 2, #2386]
12. A Dollyy conversation and a hearty laugh!.. Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: When the Apostle of Allah arrived after the expedition to Tabuk or Khaybar (the narrator is doubtful), the draught raised an end of a curtain which was hung in front of her store-room, revealing some dolls which belonged to her.He asked: What is this? She replied: My dolls.
Among them he saw a horse with wings made of rags, and asked: What is this I see among them? She replied: A horse. He asked: What is this that it has on it? She replied: Two wings. He asked: A horse with two wings? She replied: Have you not heard that Solomon had horses with wings? She said: Thereupon the Apostle of Allah laughed so heartily that I could see his molar teeth. [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 3, #4914]
13. A drunken tale …
Ibn Abbas said: The Prophet did not prescribe any punishment for drinking wine. Ibn Abbas said: A man who had drunk wine and become intoxicated was found staggering on the road, so he was taken to the Prophet . When he was opposite Al-Abbas’ house, he escaped, and going in to Al-Abbas, he grasped hold of him. When that was mentioned to the Prophet , he laughed and said: Did he do that? and he gave no command regarding him. [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 3, #4461]
14. A pillow talk…
Adi bin Hatim said: When the verse ‘Until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread’ was revealed, I took a white rope and a black rope, and placed them beneath my pillow; and then I looked at them, but they were not clear to my. So I mentioned it to the Apostle of Allah. He laughed and said: Your pillow is so broad and lengthy; that (what is being referred to) is blackness of night and whiteness of day.” [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 2, #2342]
15. Troublesome thoughts?
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: AbuZumayl said: I asked Ibn Abbas, saying: What is that I find in my breast? He asked: What is it? I replied: I swear by Allah, I cannot speak about it. He asked me: Is it something doubtful? and he laughed. He then said: No one could escape that, until Allah, the exalted, revealed: “If thou went in doubt as to what we have revealed unto thee, and ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee.” He said: If you find something in your heart, say: He is the first and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent, and He has full knowledge of all things. [Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 3, #5091