Jokes! Or Not.

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Rahim

By God's grace, I have the right to be called khala, a very honourable term in my humble opinion. Khala refers to one's mother's sister, who, ideally, is the next best thing to a mother (likewise, a father's brother is ideally the next best thing to a father). I try to teach the little people who call me khala tidbits of useful things when I can, one of which is that we can't be silly in three situations: praying, eating, and studying. Everything else is free game for silliness, and I'll gladly join them in that.

I suppose I've simplified the world by limiting seriousness to those three domains, but I think if most children practiced that, they would be well on their way to learning what it means to be a well-mannered individual, God willing. Perhaps I'm mistaken, and only hope that should I ever be blessed with the responsibility of caring for children, I'll be enlightened as to how to raise them decently.

As for adults, I think we need to broaden our horizons and think deeper about seriousness and jokes. My words here are primarily for myself, though this reflective piece has been inspired by some people's use of the term "fob" (an acronym for "fresh off the boat") or other derivatives of the word such as "fobbish" all of which I cannot tolerate as I consider them condescending, demeaning, and bereft of any useful place. I realize that this word is often used lightly without much consideration of its implications, but we cannot afford to be blind to what we say of others and its effects.

Let's consider one simply profound aspect of the character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, his family, and his companions. It is said that he (peace be upon him) was seen by the people as one who was at ease, free of worries, and with a cheerful disposition. However, we know that there were many things that weighed on him. I consider his cheerful disposition the fruits of his dependence on his Lord and his desire to create a comfortable environment for the people where they could feel less burdened by the world around them. It is from him, upon whom be peace, that we learn that a simple smile is considered an act of charity, given its positive effects on others.

Interestingly, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was not known to laugh much. As he is reported to have said, "By God, if you knew what I know, you would weep much and laugh little." Habib Husayn As Saqqaf explained that laughter is a characteristic of those who are heedless (al ghaafileen wa al baatileen).

For those of us who laugh easily, I imagine our sense of humour and the things within which we find humour all need to be reassessed with deeper insights.

And for those of us with serious dispositions, I imagine our sense of seriousness needs to be considered in light of how it may affect those around us and whether these effects are beneficial or not.

One cannot expect to find perfection amongst humans as it is a quality of the Creator and only reflected in creation as He wills. But ill-mannered, mean, regularly depressive, and hurtful behaviour towards creation does not befit the human spirit nor the human purpose.

And success is from God alone.


Anonymous said...

Assalam a'laikum,

Mashallah...very nice work.

May Allah bless us all.

Ameera said...

That was such a perfect summary and a fresh look at humor and laughter in the light of Islam. Jazakillah! I now understand that I must laugh lesser because I tend to laugh or giggle a lot. On the other hand, I must not put on a steel face of dull seriousness that repels people... something between those two extremes, yes, InshAllah.

What you're doing with the kids is great, MashAllah, and I'm sure as a Khala (certainly that title does carry a lot of weight), you could influence the lives of your nephews or nieces in wonderful ways InshAllah!

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam

Ameen to your du'a.

Sister Ameera, thanks for your comment. It's always a pleasure hearing from you!

I suppose, as with everything, it's the actions that really count and not so much the words. So let's hope that such reflections will result in improved behaviour, insha'Allah.

As for the kids, I don't get to see them as much as before, and I doubt they're able to take much from me.. but perhaps I just need to work harder to live up to the name Khala, insha'Allah!

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]