Laughter and playfulness in Islam

The Place of Joy, Happiness, Laughter, Recreation and Relaxation in Islam

“For, to speak out once for all, man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.” (J. C. Friedrich von Schiller, Letters upon the Aesthetic Education of Man, Letter XV, 9)

 

As a follow-up to the the entry entitled Self-Discipline in Islam, I was asked “what is the place of joy, laughter, and relaxation in Islam, in comparison to self-restraint, discipline and control?”

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Self-Discipline in Islam

“self-regulation failure is the major social pathology of our time.” (Baumeister, Willpower)

As it often happens during or around the month of Ramadan, I had a conversation with a colleague at work who was interested in understanding why Muslims fast. I explained to him that Muslims fast for a number of reasons, including:

  • Their belief that God has ordered them to fast;
  • It develops their compassion and empathy towards the less fortunate;
  • It improves self-control;
  • It is considered a great spiritual exercise of purification;
  • It is a reminder of the weakness and dependence of our selves on the continuous graces of God;
  • It has intellectual benefits, such as helping with focus and attention;
  • There are important health benefits;
  • Etc.

I did not know it at the time, but the point about self-discipline and control seems to have really spoken to him. As I was leaving work yesterday, we crossed paths again, near the door. He shared with me how our short conversation got him thinking about self-discipline, and its importance in our lives. He even showed me a book that he had started reading 4 days ago (The New Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren), and he was interested in learning more about it, and as a result of our little chat, he ended up asking me whether any local imams gave talks about the topic from an Islamic perspective or even had programs to acquaint non Muslims to Islam…

The truth of the matter is that the topic is incredibly important, and yet our Islamic programs, libraries and institutions lack greatly in this respect. So I thought that I would at least jot down some preliminary thoughts about the topic of self-discipline or self-control in Islam for now – and hopefully this will be the seed for a book or a series of lectures one day…

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Good to know about your Muslim friend: food

This is an 8th entry in the series of Things that are good to know about your Muslim friend. Make sure to read the first seven entries if you missed them, and which had to do with:

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Good to know about your Muslim friend: dancing and music

Music and dancing in Islam

This is a 5th entry in the series of Things that are good to know about your Muslim friend. Make sure to read the first four entries if you missed them, and which had to do with:

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