The Holy Prophet’s Sense of Humor
January 22, 2008 § 26 Comments
It is well known that the Prophet Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) was indeed the perfect man. He was a devoted seeker of Truth, a warner and exhorter, a person of good cheer and pleasantness, a brilliant leader, a courageous and yet reluctant warrior, a statesman par excellence and the teacher of teachers. He was a compassionate ruler and spiritual leader, but many do not know that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) had an extraordinary sense of humor!
Indeed, the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) would laugh and joke often. He enjoyed playing with children, especially his grandsons Hasan and Husayn (RA). The Prophet allowed his grandson to climb atop his back while he was in prostration as reported by al-Hafid Abu-Na’im (RA) on the Authority of Abu Bakr (RA) saying,
“The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) was leading us in prayer. Hasan, who was still a child, would come to him while he was in prostration, and sit on his back or sometimes on his neck. The Prophet (s.a.w.) would lift him tenderly. When the prayer was finished, they (the Muslims) asked him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! You are doing to this boy what you do not do to another person?’ ‘He is my basil,’ he replied.””
The Prophet’s playfulness was also coupled with a beautiful sense of humor. He smiled often and would make jokes with members of his community. For example,
“Once, an old woman came up to him and asked for paradise. He said, “Old women do not enter the paradise.” The woman started crying. As she started leaving the room, the Prophet, showing his subtle sense of humor, stopped her and said, “Old women will become young before entering the heaven.” (Tirmadhi)
Another recording of the Prophet’s life describes him laughing and joking with another man. The hadith says,
“A man broke his fast (intentionally) during Ramadan. The Messenger of Allah (saws) 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 charity.” 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.”
The Prophet brought an uplifting spirit that penetrated the hearts of people. There is a story mentioned about the Prophet and a common merchant that tells us just a little about the spirit he carried,
“One of his companions was Zahir, who used to trade in metal objects. Once the Prophet was passing by the bazaar, he saw Zahir and playfully grabbed him from behind and said, “Will anyone buy this slave?” Zahir laughed and said, “O Messenger of Allah, whoever buys this slave will be in loss.” The Prophet smiled and said, “In Allah’s eyes, your value is high.”
On another occasion a man approached the Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) and asked him for a camel ride. The Prophet said, “I would give you a camel’s child”. The man said, “O Messenger of Allah. What will I do with a camel’s child?” The Prophet smiled and said, “Is there any camel who is not the progeny of a camel?”
In summary, the Holy Prophet, the perfect man (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) was an image of admiration. He was clear and resolute in matters of importance and obtained the highest character as the Qur’an tells us,
“Verily you are of a high and nobel character.” (68:004)
But he also was a dear friend and beloved companion. His sense of humor brought warmth and love to those who were around him. He never passed someone without a smile and his high achievement of good manners have become the example and traditions of Muslims the world over. This is the Prophet Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) and his tradition of good humor. May we all work intensely toward achieving good manners and a healthy sense of humor, amin.
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