Islam prohibits sinful speech, excessive laughter

Updated 07 June 2013

Islam prohibits sinful speech, excessive laughter

ISLAM prohibits sinful speech that intends to cause harm to other human beings. It also prohibits excessive laughter or extreme humor.
People in general do not think twice about what they are saying; they forget that every word they utter is being recorded and will have to be accounted for on the Last Day.
This attitude is the opposite of that required of a believer, which is described in the following Hadith:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the last day should either speak what is good or remain silent.” (Sahih Bukhari)
There are many forms of sinful speech, the most common of which is gossip. Gossip can be of two types: Backbiting, which means to talk negatively about a person who is absent, even if what is being discussed is true.
The second type is slandering, which means lying while speaking negatively about others. This category includes suspicion without evidence, mockery and looking for faults in others. Allah has prohibited all of the above in the following verse: “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is accepting of repentance and Merciful” (Qur’an, 49: 12)
These sins of the tongue, which people treat lightly, are actually the root causes of disunity among the Muslims. If we are constantly thinking negatively about, looking for faults in, and spreading rumors about our fellow Muslims, how can we ever expect our hearts to be united?
It is human nature to enjoy a good joke and laugh. Islam does not prohibit this; it does not expect us to be strict and serious all the time. It allows laughter and humor. On many occasions, it has been reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) laughed so much that his molars became visible, as in the following narration: “When the Messenger of Allah arrived after the expedition to Tabook or Khaybar [the narrator is not sure which], the wind raised an end of a curtain that was hung in front of Ayesha’s storeroom, revealing some dolls that belonged to her. He asked: What is this? She replied: My dolls. Among them, he saw a horse with wings made of rags, and he 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 (peace be upon him) laughed so heartily that I could see his molar teeth.” (A reliable hadith recorded by Abu Dawood)
However, there are limits. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has forbidden us from joking too much because it deadens the heart.
He said: “Do not laugh too much, for excessive laughter kills the heart [spiritually].” (Ibn Majah)
He also said: “If you knew that which I know, you would laugh little and weep much.” (Bukhari)
Thus, moderation is required even in humor. It is also vital to understand that there is a time for laughter and humor, and a time for seriousness and sobriety. The reason for this prohibition is that excessive laughter makes people take life less seriously, and they begin to see humor in everything.
It also makes them so accustomed to humor that they are unable to sit through any serious speech. Such people find lectures boring and do not attend anything beneficial simply because they do not find it funny. This is what is meant by excessive laughter killing the heart.
Consequently, the current norm of watching too many comedies and sitcoms is completely unacceptable. It is difficult to find a person who is accustomed to laughing all day who still takes Islam seriously. Muslims should realize that life is serious and that there are some things they cannot joke about; there is a time for laughter and a time for seriousness.
It should also be noted that jokes that mock or degrade any demographic group or individual are completely prohibited, as are fabricated stories that make people laugh, unless the audience knows that they are not true. Of course, the best jokes are the ones based on true, daily-life anecdotes. There is no harm in narrating such incidents to others to share a laugh.
Regarding mockery and degradation, Allah has informed us: “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 [that is, mention] of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent — then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an, 49: 11)
As for lying when making jokes, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Woe to him who lies to make people laugh. Woe to him! Woe to him!” (Abu Dawood)
Finally, the worst type of joke, which is forbidden, is one about Allah, His messenger or anything related to Islam. Such jokes take a person out of the fold of Islam and are regarded as kufr.
Consequently, certain practices that are rife among some Muslims, such as mocking the hijab (veil ordained by Allah for believing women), the beard or polygamy, among other things — amount to an extremely unacceptable sin and are considered equal to kufr. It is a sign of hypocrisy; a person claims verbally to be a Muslim, but inwardly hates Islam or certain aspects of it.
Moreover, medical science too prohibits excessive forms of laughter. Here is an extract from Wikipedia about the negative effects of excessive laughter:
Laughter is not always a pleasant experience and is associated with several negative phenomena. Excessive laughter can lead to cataplexy, and unpleasant laughter spells, excessive elation, and fits of laughter can all be considered negative aspects of laughter. Unpleasant laughter spells, or “sham mirth,” usually occur in people who have a neurological condition, including patients with pseudobulbar palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. These patients appear to be laughing out of amusement but report that they are feeling undesirable sensations “at the time of the punch line.”
Islam brings about the perfect balance of actions and anything in excess is surely harmful. Being humorous and laughing or smiling on halal (permissible) forms of jokes has been the sunnah of Prophet (peace be upon him). However, doing Ghulu in it was prohibited by him.

— Excerpts from Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar’s book, “Having fun the Halal way.”


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.