Some Muslims do not know that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him-PBUH) was fairly social when dealing with people. The fact that the prophet (PBUH) used to joke does not even cross their minds. They think he was always wearing that ‘serious face’. Because of that, some practicing brothers and sisters, suddenly become ‘serious’ and they stop throwing those ‘sweet old jokes’. Sometimes it is disturbing to see that the more religious the person becomes, the more ‘serious-faced’ they become. Kids start running away from them.
But is this how our prophet (PBUH) taught us? How were his dealings with people?
It is amazing to realize that the prophet (PBUH) used to play with kids and he, sometimes, would jokingly give beautiful nicknames to them i.e. the Prophet (PBUH) would display the best form of treatment with children.
Anas bin Malik – may Allah be pleased with him – had a younger brother, and the Prophet (PBUH) would play with him and nickname him Abu ‘Umayr. The child had a small bird that he played with. Whenever the Prophet (PBUH) would meet him, he would joke with him saying, “O Abu ‘Umayr, what happened to al-Nughayr?” meaning, the bird.
He would be kind and playful with children. Whenever he would meet Zaynab bint Umm Salamah, he would playfully say to her, “O Zuwaynib! O Zuwaynib!” Whenever he passed by children playing, he would greet them. Whenever he visited the Ansaar, he would greet their children and place his hand on their heads out of compassion. Upon the return of the Muslim army from Mu’tah, the Prophet (PBUH) along with the rest of the Muslims and their children met them on their way back to Madinah. When the Prophet (PBUH) saw the children he said, “Take the children and carry them, and please pass me Ibn Ja’far.” They passed ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far on to him and he held him in his arms.
One day as the Prophet (PBUH) was performing ablution, there came to him Mahmud bin al-Rabi’ who was only five years old. The Prophet (PBUH) took some water in his mouth and jokingly blew it out in his face. (al-Bukhari)
Generally, the Prophet (PBUH) was lively and merry with everyone. He would always try to make people happy. He would always be easygoing with everyone so that people would not become bored in his company. A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) wanting a camel to ride on for a journey or expedition. The Prophet (PBUH) said to him jokingly, “I will give you an offspring of a camel.” The man became surprised and thought of how he could possibly ride a camel’s offspring that could not carry his weight. He said, “O Messenger of Allah! What would I do with a camel’s offspring?” The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Does a camel give birth to anything but not an offspring?’ Meaning; I will give you a grown camel, however, no doubt, it is still another camel’s offspring!
A woman once came to the Prophet (PBUH) complaining about her husband, so he said to her, “Is your husband the one whose eyes are white?” The woman became worried and thought that her husband had become blind, in light of what Allah said about Jacob, “His eyes whitened from grieving so much…” meaning, he became blind. She went back to her husband terrified and began to look into his eyes carefully. He asked her what the problem was.
She said, “The Prophet (PBUH) said that there is whiteness in your eyes!”
The man said, “O woman! Did he not tell you that the whiteness in my eyes is more than the blackness?” meaning; everyone has whiteness and blackness in his eyes.
The Prophet (PBUH) would react positively to whoever joked or bantered with him and he would smile.
Once ‘Umar bin al-Khattab came to the Prophet (PBUH) who was at that time angry with his wives, due to their demanding of more allowance. ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – said, “O Messenger of Allah! If you recall us when we were men of the Quraysh, we always controlled our women. If any of our women were to ask for more allowance, we would have jumped up and grabbed her neck! But when we came to Madinah we found the women controlling their men, so our women began to learn these tricks from their women!” There upon the Prophet (PBUH) smiled. ‘Umar continued to speak and the Prophet (PBUH) continued to smile.
We read in various Ahadith that often the Prophet (PBUH) would smile till his molar teeth would show. He was indeed an extremely kind and friendly companion.
It should also be noted that Islam only permits jokes without adding lies to them.
The Prophet (PBUH)) said: “Woe to the one who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood).
The Prophet (PBUH)) said, warning against this kind of behaviour (of lying) which some jokers are accustomed to: “A man may say something to make his companions laugh, and he will fall into Hell as far as the Pleiades because of it.” (Narrated by Ahmad).
If we were to train ourselves to embrace such skills, we would surely taste the sweetness of life.