Watch What You Say: Don’t Poke Fun or Be Sarcastic

Colorful speech bubbles“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

I wanted to share with you a reminder that we all need, in regards to guarding and respecting the gift Allah (swt) has given to us- our tongues. The ability to speak is an incredible gift from Allah (swt), and it’s an honour from Allah (swt). And, what we learn from the verses is that, the best use of our speech is to remember Allah (swt) by the words He taught us. Our speech, in any matter, should be inspired by the speech that Allah (swt) has honoured us with, i.e., His Quran.

we sometime don’t realize the value of things that we have, specially our tongues.

Now, we’re all humans and we make mistakes. And, we sometime don’t realize the value of things that we have, specially our tongues. We say things, we make comments and social settings among family and friends and things like that. We completely cross the line sometimes that we don’t realize the magnitude of that problem. And because, Allah (swt) takes good time to mention this particular problem in the Quran, it should make us appreciate that this is not a light matter.

In this regard, there is a reminder from Surah Al-Hujurat, verse number eleven. It is addressed to those who believe, and the first thing Allah (swt) says is that, those of you who believe, don’t let any group among you or any nation, collectivity poke fun at any other group. Don’t be sarcastic against each other. Now, making fun of someone and being sarcastic against someone, especially nowadays, is considered as a sign of intelligence… ‘that guy is really funny!’, ‘ that guy makes a lot of funny jokes!’, or ‘he makes lot of sarcastic remarks that are like a rapid fire, they come out of him one after another!’. And, when people around you laugh at your joke, it’s pretty much an ego boost; so you come up with a next disc or a next sarcastic remark or an inappropriate joke, and you feed off the humour, and you get caught up with it.

Allah (swt) is telling us in this Surah that this is something that can take away the very fabric of brotherhood that we enjoy among each other. Allah (swt) says right before this verse that believers are nothing, but brothers among each other; so make reconciliation among your brothers. And, fear Allah (swt) so you are shown mercy. Be conscious, aware and in awe of Allah (swt) so you may be shown mercy.

The previous verse tells us to make reconciliation among each other, and the very next verse reminds us to watch the way we speak to each other.

The previous verse tells us to make reconciliation among each other, and the very next verse reminds us to watch the way we speak to each other. Don’t be sarcastic with each other. Don’t make insulting comments in the name of humour against each other. It is very casual to say or talk about how short someone is, or how ugly they are, or how they dress, or what kind of car they drive, or what school they go to, or what kind of a job they have. It’s very easy to pick on someone’s flaws and make them the point of ridicule.

An excerpt from a lecture transcript published on – edited and posted by Hiba with permission.

“Twins of Faith” – An Epic Experience

ToF-logo-2-293x300O you, who believe, be supporters of Allah (swt)…” (61:14)

“The Twins of Faith 2014” conference was a life-changing experience. Helping in the cause of Allah (swt) was something I had longed to do. This conference was my chance. This was the first time I had volunteered in such an event. The tension and excitement were both at their peak before the event.

I was first given the job to sell tickets. I had to go to my school, friends and family members and tell them about the event, convincing them to come. Believe me, it was no walk in the park. I only managed to sell five tickets to my family members. In school, none of my friends were interested. I was really disappointed. I told them about how beneficial and gratifying it would be, but still I got a response in the negative. I gave up all hope and started thinking what a Fitnah filled world it was, but I remembered that our job was to remind people – Allah (swt) is the One, Who can change the hearts. So I kept reminding them and they finally got interested, but it all ended in vain, when their parents did not allow them. Frankly, I was quite upset but I kept my calm.

Now about the responsibilities I had on the day of the event. I was an usher at the registration desk. We were summoned to “Marriott” at 7 o’clock in the morning, so we headed for the venue right after praying Fajr. It was still dark outside. It seemed like a small job to perform, just like a drop in the sea, as the older volunteers were assigned all the hard tasks; however, I found satisfaction in the fact that one should not belittle his good deeds. The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” (Muslim) Furthermore, we were told in the weekly meetings that deeds were based on intentions, and I did it solely for Allah (swt). The rewards of deeds are based on the intentions (Bukhari). Time and again we were reminded to keep a smiling and cheerful face, as it makes the people feel welcomed, and it also is a Sunnah. The event was a blast and a great learning experience. They told about the rights of parents, how they are the easiest route to Jannah, and the rights of children. Even though many problems arose, everybody had a great time. The volunteers and the team members handled every situation calmly, always showing a jovial demeanour.

The best thing was that we were within close proximity with the shaykhs. We got the best seats in the house, right next to the stage. The dinner with the shaykhs was great, as they related their lifetime stories. It was a highly learning experience. The meetings were fun, and everybody had a great sense of humour – we were helping in the cause of Allah (swt), while being social and active in the community.


Twenty Tips for a Successful Marriage

happy-marriageMarriage is not only about love; it is also about trust. If you are not able to trust your spouse then there can be no love in the relationship. Today’s generation does not know the meaning of marriage. Marriage is an exceptional bond that binds you in a relationship such that whether you have a small tiff or a major problem, you try to overcome it with mutual understanding.

Even the Shaitan is envious of a married couple who ties the knots in a bond that is unbreakable. Every day he sits on his throne ordering his Shaitan servants to go and make the humans go astray. After they accomplish their evil mission, they go to their master and happily tell him about whom they managed to mislead. But the Shaitan (Iblis) is not very happy with their performance. However when one of his servants tells him that he has caused a rift between a husband and wife, he gets excited and praises that servant of his. Allah (swt) has created this couple and through Nikah they are in a special internal bond that is unbreakable. Allah (swt) hates the word divorce whereas the Shaitan (Iblis) loves to break this relationship.

Today’s generation should always think before they start an argument with their spouse; maybe it is the Shaitan who is trying to cause a rift between them. Always sit and talk about your problems to one another. Try to be patient even if your spouse isn’t. A husband-wife relationship is like a car with tyres on each side; when one of the tyres inflates, the car cannot be driven further. So keep this in mind and build such a strong relationship that even a hurricane is unable to shake it. Our Prophet’s (sa) dealing with his wives is an ideal example for us to follow and succeed.

Here are some helpful tips for a successful marriage, Insha’Allah:

  1. Trust and help each other; be good and stay positive.
  2. Please your spouse and make him or her feel special always. For example, cook his or her favourite food or dine out at his or her favourite place.
  3. Be humorous, playful, helpful, respectful and entertaining.
  4. Never bring your past mistakes in your present.
  5. Encourage and give hope to your spouse.
  6. Do not compare each other even over tiny things.
  7. Surprise your spouse with something new. For example, give gifts to each other.
  8. Spend quality time as much as you can.
  9. Look beautiful for your spouse.
  10. Listen carefully and obey sincerely.
  11. Avoid fighting, ignoring, lying, doubting, misbehaving and getting angry.
  12. Be open and discuss your problems/worries with your spouse. Also, make eye contact while speaking.
  13. If one of you is angry, the other should be quiet.
  14. Don’t argue. Simply say ‘Sorry’ whether it’s your mistake or not.
  15. Always make Dua to make your marriage successful and your relationship/ bond strong.
  16. Always be thankful to your spouse.
  17. Say ‘I love you’ to your spouse.
  18. Understand each other by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  19. Respect your spouse and be a garment for him or her everywhere.
  20. Eat together, be together and pray together.

The Etiquette of Joking

jokeMunqidh As-Saqqar presents the Islamic perspective on the seemingly harmless act of joking.

Generally, people believe that those who carry a happy-go-lucky attitude and indulge in excessive laughter are genuinely successful people. They may be the spark plug of a party but there is also a critical downside to this behaviour. Getting carried away to any extreme is strongly disliked in Islam, even if it means cracking jokes and making others laugh.

One may argue that laughing simply brings a few happy moments into the lives of others. However, it hardly stops there. This innocent intention unconsciously and at times deliberately hurts feelings, injures relationships, and creates animosity. Likewise, the person initiating excessive laughter loses his dignity and becomes impassive to other’s feelings.

A Muslim is 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 his creation, which is to worship Allah (swt), it becomes dispraised. Excessive joking, which makes a person laugh too much, leads to the heart becoming hardened. The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not laugh too much, because excessive laughter kills your heart.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad)

The heart of a Muslim has to be alive and tender, so that he should be able to execute his struggle against Satan. Excessive joking will lead the heart to heedlessness. Satan pledged to distract the mankind and to misguide them. Allah (swt) says: “Iblees (Satan) said (to Allah (swt)): ‘By Your Might, I will surely mislead them all, except, among them, Your chosen servants.'” (Sad 38: 82-83)

Moreover, heedlessness is a characteristic of disbelievers. Allah (swt) says: “Then woe that Day to the deniers. Who are in (empty) discourse amusing themselves.” (At-Toor 52: 11-12) On the Day of Judgement, the disbelievers will be asked: “What put you into Saqar (i.e., Hellfire).” (Al-Muddaththir 74: 42) They will reply: “…We used to enter into vain discourse with those who engaged (in it).” (Al-Muddaththir 74: 45)

Joking becomes prohibited, when it involves un-Islamic behaviour, such as:

Scaring Muslims

Once, a group of the Prophet’s (sa) companions were on a trip. While one of them was sleeping, some others took the arrows of the sleeping one, which he kept for self-defence. When he woke up, he was frightened, due to losing them, so the others started laughing. Thereupon, the Prophet (sa) asked them: “What makes you laugh?” They replied: “Nothing, it’s just that we took this man’s arrows and that scared him.” Hearing this, the Prophet (sa) said: “It is not lawful for a Muslim to scare his fellow Muslim.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawood)

Lying while joking

The Prophet (sa) said: “Woe to the one, who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him, woe to him.” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood and Darimi)

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that people said to the Prophet (sa): “You joke with us.” He replied: “I do but I only say that which is true.” (Tirmidhi & Ahmad)

Joking that may cause harm to others

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) 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.” (Bukhari)

Joking which transgresses the limits of Allah (swt)

Joking could exceed the limits and reach to a point of committing major sins, such as mocking Quranic verses, the Prophet (sa), Islamic rules or Muslim scholars – just like the hypocrites did on the day of the battle of Tabook, when they mocked the Prophet (sa) and his companions. Due to this, Allah (swt) revealed the following verses: “And if you ask them, they will surely say: ‘We were only conversing and playing.’ Say: ‘Is it Allah (swt) and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse; you have disbelieved (i.e., rejected faith) after your belief.” (At-Tawbah 9: 65-66)

On many occasions, the Prophet (sa) used to joke. This certainly indicates that joking is lawful, provided it does not contain any of the mentioned prohibitions. The Prophet (sa) did not joke merely for entertainment-his jokes included instructions for his companions.

Joking for endearment

“Once, the Prophet (sa) went to visit Suhayb (rta), who was sick with an eye ailment. When he entered, Suhayb (rta) was eating dates, so the Prophet (sa) said to him jokingly: ‘Are you eating dates, while you have a sore eye!’ He replied: ‘I’m using the other eye to see.’ Thereupon, the Prophet (sa) smiled.” (Ibn Majah)

Joking for reforming the companions

“Khawwat Ibn Jubayr Al-Ansari (rta) was sitting with some women from the tribe of Banu Kab on the road leading to Makkah listening to their talk. The Prophet (sa) came across him there and asked him: ‘O Abu Abdullah, what are you doing sitting with these ladies?’ He replied: ‘I lost my camel and came looking for it’ (as a false excuse). The Prophet (sa) left him and went to take care of some affairs.

After a while Prophet (sa) returned and teased Khawwat (rta) saying: ‘O Abu Abdullah, has your camel given up running away from you yet?’ Khawwat (rta) said: ‘I was embarrassed and kept silent, and was avoiding him after that (because the Prophet (sa) realised that Khawwat (rta) was just trying to justify his sitting with the women), until we went back to Madinah.

When he saw me in the mosque, while I was praying, he sat down next to me, waiting for me to finish my prayer. Due to this, I prolonged my prayer. He (sa) said: ‘Don’t prolong your prayer, as I am waiting for you.’ When I finished my prayer, he teased me again: ‘O Abu Abdullah, has your camel given up running away from you yet?’ I was embarrassed and kept silent.

I kept avoiding him until one day he saw me, while he was riding his donkey and said: ‘O Abu Abdullah, has your camel given up running away from you yet?’ 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 his sin, which the Prophet (sa) was trying to teach him to do by his joke). The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, O Allah, guide Abu Abdullah.’ After this, Khawwat Ibn Jubayr Al-Ansari became a much better Muslim.” (Tabarani)

The companions of the Prophet (sa) were the most serious of people, yet they used to joke. Bukhari mentioned in his book Al-Adab Al-Mufrad: “The companions used to play by throwing watermelon skins at each other, but when it was time for seriousness, they were real men.”