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Quran and Sunnah

The Humor of the Messenger of Allah

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Bismillah

If we were asked to name instances where the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam displayed bravery, shed tears or gave advice to his Companions, we would be able to do so easily. But how many of us can name at least three times where the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was seen laughing or making others laugh?

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Muslims need to lighten up and embrace this sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Righteousness does not equate to frowning and looking scary—not only is it counterproductive, but it’s against the sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The scholars and du’aat who truly follow this sunnah today are the ones who are loved by the people because their humor brings out their gentleness and approachability, such as Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullah who gave some extraordinary answers during his classes that are still being shared by his students.

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was complete in all aspects of his character and had a great sense of humor that even makes us laugh today.

From his life we also learn the etiquette of laughter and humor. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam did not normally laugh to a point where his molar teeth were seen (except for a few instances) or laugh so hard that he would shake. Furthermore, unlike nowadays, he did not seek humor in making fun of others or in a vulgar fashion regarding vulgar topics. He also narrated to us that we should not lie  to make people laugh, “Woe to the one who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him.” [Abu Dawood]. Read more on the conditions of permissible joking here.

We must also keep in mind that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was moderate in his laughter, just as he was moderate in all facets of his life. He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam warned us against laughing too much, and told us of the danger it poses to the heart when he said: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing deadens the heart.” [Tirmidhi, ibn Maajah]

Let’s look to the life of the Messenger of Allah and share a few beautiful accounts that show his sense of humor.

A Smile

Jareer ibn Abdullah Al-Bajali radi Allahu anhu narrated, Allah’s Apostle did not screen himself from me since my embracing Islam, and whenever he saw me he would receive me with a smile. Once I told him that I could not sit firm on horses. He stroked me on the chest with his hand and said, “O Allah! Make him firm and make him a guiding and a rightly-guided man.” [ibn Maajah, Graded Saheeh by Shaykh Albaani in Saheeh ibn Maajah]

Points of benefit:

a) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam made each of his companions feel special. This is an attribute of a successful teacher, as each of his students will feel they have a special place with him.

b) Think about it: do you know anyone who smiles at you every time you see him/her? SubhanAllah, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was a mercy for all of creation. Jareer radi Allahu anhu said that since he accepted Islam, the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa salaam would always smile at him. Try for one day to smile in the face of one person and see how it goes.

c) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was easily accessible to the people. It is hard for us nowadays to reach an influental person, yet the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was readily available for his followers. As teachers and Imams in our communities, we should reflect upon this nature of our Messenger alayhi salaatu wa salaam and intend to act upon it.

d) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam made duaa for Jareer, even for something as small as sitting firmly on his horse. This is a reminder for us to always turn to Allah in every situation, make duaa for ourselves and others, even if it’s something that we feel is insignificant.

The She-Camel

Anas ibn Malik radi Allahu anhu narrated that a man came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I want you to give me a camel to ride upon.” The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “All that I can find for you is a child of a she-camel.” The man turned around and walked away, disappointed that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam wanted to give him a baby camel upon which to ride. The Prophet sal Alalhu alayhi wa sallam then called him back and said, ‘And is not every camel (be it old or young) the child of a she-camel! [Abu Dawood, Graded Saheeh by Albani in Saheeh Abi Dawood]

Points of benefit:

a) The Companions regularly asked the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam for help/assistance, as they knew he would help them.

b) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam called him back to explain the joke. Imagine having the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam explain his joke to you!

Old Women in Jannah

Hasan radi Allahu anhu narrated that an old woman went to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and asked him to pray to Allah for her entry into Jannah. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “O mother of so-and-so, no old woman enters Paradise.” On hearing this, the old woman returned weeping. The Prophet sal Alllahu alayhi wa sallam then called her back and said, Did you not hear the saying of Allah:

إنَّا أَنشَأْنَاهُنَّ إِنشَاءً

فَجَعَلْنَاهُنَّ أَبْكَارًا
عُرُبًا أَتْرَابًا

“Verily, We have created them (maidens) of special creation. And made them virgins. Loving (their husbands only), (and) of equal age.” [56:35-37]

Points of benefit:

a) Women had access to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

b) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam gave tafseer of the ayat from Surah Waqi’ah. Regardless of the age the believing woman died in, she will enter Jannah young.

c) Instead of giving her a straight answer, “yes you will enter Jannah”, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam made the answer special for her—telling her that she will not only enter Jannah but will enter it in a state of youth.

d) The old woman, radi Allahu anha, cried profusely when she thought she was denied entry into Jannah.

With Allah you are Expensive

Anas ibn Malik radi Allahu anhu narrated, A Bedouin called Zaahir was selling his commodities in the market. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam approached him from behind and, clasping his arms around Zaahir, challenged him to release himself from the grip. Then the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam called to those who passed by, ‘Who wants to buy this slave?’ Laughing and still in the Prophet’s grip,  Zaahir responded, ‘There is no market for me. Nobody would want to buy me,’ [due to his age and deformed body] The Prophet replied, ‘But with Allah, you are priceless and invaluable.’ [Narrated by Ahmad]

Points of benefit:

a) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam suprised his companion by coming from behind him, as if to wrestle him playfully.

b) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam took the time out to publically visit someone who was considered from the lower class (Bedouins). He visited Zaahir radi Allahu anhu while he was working in the market.

c) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in a joking manner attempted to sell Zaahir, although he was not a slave. He showed the people who were around that he and this Bedouin were friends.

d) He comforted and raised the morale of Zaahir radi Allahu anhu by saying with Allah he is ‘ghaalin‘ (expensive and invaluable) after he said no one would be interested in buying him.

The Race

A’ishah radi Allahu anha narrated, “I went out with the Prophet on a journey. At that time I was a young girl and was quite slender. The Prophet 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.” [Narrated by Ahmad]

Points of benefit:

a) The wives of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would accompany him on journeys.

b) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam sent his army ahead so he and his wife could have some privacy.

c) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was romantic throughout his life. We see here that he not only raced with A’ishah during an early time in their marriage, but he remembered this game they had from the past, as if he was keeping score, and intiated it again.

d) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam did not tell A’ishah that she lost the race because she had gained weight, although she knew that was the reason.

e) Traveling causes fatigue, yet the Messenger of Allah alayhi salaatu wa salaam phsyically exerted himself to have some fun with his wife.

These few accounts show the loving nature and fun side of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. O Allah, send your peace and blessings upon our Prophet and Messenger and grant him al Fadeelah and al Waseelah.

We’ve lost the chance to see the smile of the blessed Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, so let’s not lose our chance in the aakhirah. May Allah ta’ala unite us with His Messenger in Firdaws al ‘Alaa, Ameen.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. bintwadee3

    August 12, 2009 at 11:44 PM

    Masha’Allaah. I just have to say Sr. Amatullah, I always enjoy reading your posts. Somehow, they brighten even the brightest of my days. (Brightest is not a typo :] ). May Allaah always put barakah into your work. Ameen.

    Its always so refreshing to read ahadith such as these. Sure we know them and have heard them, but no matter how many times we come across them, they never touch our hearts any less than they did the first time. The way the Rasul sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam used to treat his wives are always dear to my heart. I don’t know if its because in our times, we hear of so many sisters whose fathers and brothers aren’t as close with them as they grow older. Alhamdulillaah I’ve never had a problem with that. My father still tells me he loves me, and every night before we sleep, my younger brother (15) yells out to the house “I love you guys” then flurries of “I love you” go back and forth lol. And alhamdulillaah my brothers still hug me, though for the younger ones, I kind of have to impose the “obey your elder” rule cause it’s not “cool” lol.

    The point is, Islam is so complete and beautiful and just so miraculous that what might appear to be a small, insignificant thing will actually go a long way in the end. Sorry for rambling on. I’m just feeling all mushy right now :).

    Jazaakillaahu Khayra!

    Hoping to cross paths with you someday, bi idhnillaah,
    -ME

    • Amatullah

      August 13, 2009 at 3:23 PM

      I ask Allah ta’ala to accept it.

      MashaAllah your family sounds awesome ukhti :) In my culture (alhamdulillah my family is not that way), families do not show their affection for each other…It’s “weird” to hug your dad or your sibling. Allahul Musta’aan!

  2. Mercy

    August 12, 2009 at 11:59 PM

    Assalama ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullaih Wa Barakatuh,

    This is really well written and heart-warming, Masha’Allah. JaazaakiAllah Khayr Amatullah.

    Wa’alaykuma Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

  3. MR

    August 13, 2009 at 12:13 AM

    The Sunnah of LOL.

    Haha.

    Good post.

    • Ibn Masood

      August 13, 2009 at 6:45 AM

      Haha “Sunnah of LOL”

      excellent

    • slaveofAllah4lyf

      August 13, 2009 at 9:11 AM

      LOOOOL

  4. Arif Kabir

    August 13, 2009 at 12:17 AM

    JazaakumAllahu Khayran for sharing that with us. By the way, for the last story, the Hadith only mentioned that it was a journey, but in the points of interest, it said that the Prophet told the ‘army’ to go forth. Was that mentioned in the explanation of the Hadith perhaps?

  5. Amad

    August 13, 2009 at 1:26 AM

    What an incredible man… truly a mercy for mankind… jazakillahkhair for sharing…

  6. Ahmed

    August 13, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    Heartwarming. A very refreshing post, and a topic that seems rarely discussed! JazechAllah khair.

  7. 'Uthmaan

    August 13, 2009 at 5:22 AM

    Truly excellent post. JazakAllah Khayr!

  8. Abu Tawus

    August 13, 2009 at 9:02 AM

    Salam and thanks for posting about such a rare but important topic. My personal favourite is the hadith reported by Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim that a person came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) and said: “I am destroyed, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked him what was the matter? He replied, ‘I had sexual intercourse with my wife in Ramadan’. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked, “Can you afford to manumit a slave?” He replied in the negative. He asked him, “Can you do fast for two successive months?” He replied in the negative. Then he asked him, “Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in negative. Then a basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) and he said to the man, take this and give it to needy people”. He said, ‘Should I give it to poorer people than we? There is no poorer house than ours between its (Madinah’s) mountains’. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Then feed your family with it”.

  9. ibnmasood

    August 13, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    I think I’ve actually heard a hadith or two where the Prophet (saw) smiled so wide you could see his molar teeth. Can someone please check my daleel on this one?

    Jazakum Allahu khairan

    • Amatullah

      August 13, 2009 at 3:22 PM

      Yes there are hadeeth about the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam smiling and laughing in that way, a mistake on my part to not mention those few instances. However, I based that statement on a description of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam by Hasan ibn Ali radi Allahu anhuma: “the most he laughed was with a broad smile, which showed his snow-white teeth.”

      Also, I’ve heard that we should not make this a normal habit (ie, laughing out loud so much) because there are only a handful of reports that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam laughed this way. Most of the time it was a smile.

      Jazaak Allahu khayran, I’ve made the correction in the post.

      • Sabirah

        August 31, 2009 at 7:56 AM

        So much for the “Sunnah of LOL” :-)

  10. Amatullah

    August 13, 2009 at 3:24 PM

    wa iyyakum to everyone.

    Feel free to share other topics from the life of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam that you would like to hear about :) We’re working on something special inshaAllah.

  11. Nihal Khan

    August 13, 2009 at 8:07 PM

    SubhanAllah, this was a VERY needed post. Jazakam Allahu Khayr, Sr. Amatullah!

    There are people out there who are turning away from the deen because we, as du’aat and Imaams, are not implementing this sunnah. These days we frown and turn away from someone who isn’t acting to our standards, but if we look towards the Qur’an, (correct me if I’m wrong) Allah (SWT) tells us that the Sahabah wouldn’t have come towards Islam if He (SAW) was hard with the believers.

    Our Ummah seems to have become experts in every Islamic field except Adab. I speak to myself before anyone else, inshaAllah.

    • slaveofAllah4lyf

      August 14, 2009 at 2:15 AM

      فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ ﴿آل‌عمران: ١٥٩﴾

      It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (Their faults), and ask for (Allah’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). (Al-e-Imran:159)

  12. Bint Amina

    August 13, 2009 at 11:34 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatu

    And Allaah ta’ala has said what means:

    “And We have sent you (O Muhammad (salAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallaam)) not but as a mercy for all the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyâ 21:107)

    His compassion and gentleness is manifested in this article well; beautiful reminders, maashaAllaah, jaazakiAllaahu khayr.

    I like the points of benefit style of the article as well; it’d be nice to see some future articles done in this format.

    BarakAllaahu Feeki ukhtee

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatu

  13. A Sister

    August 14, 2009 at 4:51 AM

    BArakAllahu Laki Sister Amatullah, I love you for the sake of Allah SWT.

  14. Saimah

    August 14, 2009 at 6:18 AM

    Mash’Allah nice reminder Amatullah! :) lol the she-camel story was pretty funny :)

  15. Alhamdulillah

    August 15, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    Jazak’Allah khayr for this joyful reminder. May we all be brought together with him and enjoy his laughter and smile in the next life, peace be upon him.

  16. varun

    August 16, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL9bRtJ3XDY

    A Short on the Racial Profiling experienced by Muslims-Americans post 9-11

    • Amad

      August 16, 2009 at 1:44 PM

      That was pretty good Varun.
      Thx for sharing.

  17. faatimah

    August 17, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    That’s beautiful. May Allah ta’ala give you blessings for sharing that with us all.

  18. Mohammad

    August 18, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Salaam this was really a beautiful article mashAllah. And sister want to get married?

    -edited. can you pls stop posting matrimonial ads.

  19. Anonymous

    August 18, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Salaamu ‘Alaikum,

    At the top of my head I was thinking of the story of the wives and the soup and painting each other’s faces…

  20. Faiez

    August 20, 2009 at 11:32 PM

    What if nobody finds your humor funny? Are you going against the Sunnah?

  21. Imaan

    August 29, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    As salamu alikum wa rahmatullah
    very well written MashaAllah…Today we muslims really need to be reminded the way of prophet (saws) and his (best )manners and the the way of living.MashaAllah How perfect Rasul Allah(Saws) was by the grace of Almighty Allah. May Allah give us taufeeq to Implement His teaching in our own life Ameen….

  22. Sabirah

    August 31, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    Jazakillahu Khayran Sr. Amatullah!

    Excellent article masha’Allah.

    An interesting article on the personal benefits of smiling:
    http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2009/04/just_smile_youll_feel_better_w_1.php?utm_source=nytwidget

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