Have Fun, but Keep a Balance

Muslim boys and girl

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

We Muslims in particular seem to be a nation of extremes. On the one hand we have our stricter brethren who tell us that it’s haram to have fun, and that even laughing is disliked. On the other end we have plenty of young people whose main interests seem to be Facebook, clubbing, and “hanging out”. Not to mention our corrupt “kings” and “princesses” who own private planes stocked with French wines, and spend millions at the blackjack tables in Monaco.

We need a balance. Our Ummah is convulsing, and these are times when every Muslim must be dedicated to da’wah and jihad (by which I do not mean violence, but the constant struggle for spiritual improvement and social reform).

At the same time, for those of us who do take our deen (Islamic way of life) seriously, not everything we do has to be about worshiping (in the devotional sense of the word) or helping people. Nor does it all have to be work and earning money for our families. It’s okay to have hobbies, to have fun, to relax now and then in halal ways. Ali ibn Al-Khattab (ra) said, “The believer’s time has three periods: the period when he is in communion with Allah, the period when he manages for his livelihood, and the period when he is free to enjoy what is lawful and pleasant. And the last part is a tonic and refreshing for the other parts.”

If our work itself is also enjoyable and fun, then ma-sha-Allah, we are blessed with the best of both worlds.

The Prophet (sws) and Entertainment

Once Abu Bakr (ra) came to visit his daughter, Aishah (ra), the Prophet’s wife. He found two maids singing. He told them off and reproached his daughter, saying: “Is Satan’s trumpet to be heard in the Prophet’s house?” The Prophet (sws), who was reclining on a sofa, revealed his face and said to him: “Leave them alone, Abu Bakr, for these are Eid days.” The Hadith mentions that this took place at the time of Eid Al-Adha, when pilgrims perform their Haj rituals.

Another time a delegation from Abyssinia came to see the Prophet (pbuh) and pledge their loyalty to him. These were some of those who adopted Islam as a result of the da’wah done by the Muslims who emigrated there. The Abyssinians wanted to entertain the Prophet with a show of their folk dancing. This took place in the mosque, with Aishah watching from her position behind the Prophet, placing her head on his shoulder.

Can you imagine that happening now? People would be horrified and would accuse the masjid of blasphemy.

On another occasion, the Prophet was informed by his wife that she attended an Ansari woman’s wedding. He asked her: “What entertainment did you have? The Ansar enjoy a bit of entertainment.” Aishah indicated that there was none and the Prophet said that they should have had some singing. He even suggested the words to sing.

There were several occasions when the Prophet either suggested that there should be some singing, or approved of it, or corrected people’s attitude when they expressed disapproval. The Prophet was with his wife, Umm Salamah (ra), when a maid of Hassan ibn Thabit (ra) came in, with her hair untied and a tambourine in her hand. Umm Salamah reproached her, but the Prophet said: “Leave her alone, Umm Salamah. Every community has their festive occasion, and today is our Eid.”

On another occasion, the Prophet was at Aishah’s place when a woman came in. The Prophet asked Aishah whether she knew the woman, but she said she did not. The Prophet said: “This is the singer of this clan. Do you like her to sing for you?” She did some singing.

Keep a Balance

Allah created us and He fathoms our needs. One of our human needs is to laugh sometimes, to chuckle and giggle and see the ridiculous side of life. This allows the mind to collect itself and the spirit to smile, Alhamdulillah. And sometimes we need to forget all our cares, to be exhilarated, to hang out with friends and chat and tell stories, or swim in a lake, hike in the woods, go bowling, play table tennis, read a novel, attend a poetry reading, and wet our toes at the beach.

Of course, many of us go too far and need to reel it in. I’m talking about ordinary Muslims now. We neglect our prayers, but we don’t neglect our movies, music, iPods, dining out, taking trips, playing sports, and shopping. In that case we need to reverse the dynamic, and spend less time being diverted and more time worshiping Allah and working fee-sabeel-illah. When it’s time for salat, put down that iPhone. When Ramadan arrives, turn off the TV and devote more time to dhikr and Quran reading. Don’t spend your afternoon watching two rental movies back to back. Make time for contemplation and Islamic study.

Let’s try to find that wholesome balance that enables us to be worshipers, workers, family members, and also to have a little fun when we need it.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , Read 266 articles by
6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. SisterZ says:

    Lol Wael, your article reminded me of my MC Hammer and Rolling pin moment earlier this week, hehaha.

    And yes, we Muslims need to chillax a little, feel happy and look happy, so our fellow yet to become Muslims can be attracted towards our peaceful faith. Another thing I’d like to point out here is that whilst observing hijaab, lets also dress colourfully and dispel the myth that muslims are strict boring people who only wear black and never smile.

    Our Ummah has alot to offer, so lets greet everyone with a smile and be colourful both inside and out.


    • wael says:

      Great comments, thanks. You might want to tell the readers about the MC Hammer moment.

      You’re right about dressing colorfully. This is in fact something you see in much of the Muslim world. Cairo is a riot of color, including women in hijabs of all colors and styles. The exceptions are Saudi Arabia, where men wear white, and women wear black; and Afghanistan, where the women wear blue burkas. Ah, well. People who live in extreme environments (desert, mountains) tend to be puritanical, it goes with the territory.

  2. SisterZ says:

    Mmm ;0) lol

    Not that anyone would be bothered to know but I had a moment of madness as I was cooking my rather perfectly shaped chapattis two nights ago. All of a sudden MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t touch this’ sprung into my head and I broke out into a song and dance in the kitchen while waving around my rolling pin. Hahaha, I don’t know why but the song has always made laugh.

    And no, I’m not a great dancer, lol, so abit o’ sixties twisting hippy hippy shake, abit o’ zumba style crazy stuff and my own personalised moves go, anything goes.

    Haha 😉


    ps: I have alot more crazy stuff to tell, but only if you all confess too, lol.

    • wael says:

      Oh, I am known to be a nut. Once when I was married and I was at a restaurant with my wife and her mother, I tried pulling the tablecloth out from beneath the dishes, you know the magician’s move. The water spilled right in my mother-in-law’s lap.

      When I need to throw something away like a napkin, I have Salma go to the kitchen while I try to throw it from the next room into the trash can. If I miss, she picks it up and brings it to me for another try.

      When I pour water into a glass I like to do it from a few feet above the glass.

      We keep our cereal boxes in a high drawer above the stove, and I like to try to sit at the kitchen table and toss the cereal box so it lands perfectly in place in the drawer.

      I bought Salma a kite recently and I think I fly it more than she does.

      Sometimes Salma and I trade ugly faces. I make one, she makes one. At bedtime we take turns making up silly rhymes about going to sleep.

      I teach martial arts and my students never know what kind of crazy drill I will come up with next. It keeps things interesting. We practice in a large church hall that has a stage at the end with some musical instruments. We have heavy mats that we place on the ground to practice on. Once I had each student lift a mat and run to the stage with it (it’s a big building), set it down and practice twenty falling techniques on it, jump on the stage and play the drums for one minute, bear walk down the steps, ten more falls on the mat, then lift the mat and run back. That was rough. I finished last but I have an excuse because as I’m doing it I’m keeping an eye on everyone else to make sure their falling techniques are done right.


      • SisterZ says:

        The mother in law thing is very funny.

        And, oh, I like to do the water pouring thing too.

        I have done this so often to the same people that you’d think they’d be more wary: I kneel on the stairs just outside the bathroom and scare whoever comes out. They always jump.

        And when the kids are all together and playing in the garden, I’ve filled water balloons and thrown them down into the garden. So they get soaked and have a shock too, haha. Then they spend the rest of the day trying to get me back, but they can’t, cos I’m just too cool. B-) lol


  3. Arafat says:

    Wow…. The mother in stuff is pretty funny..

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