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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This Guy’s relationship tips: General Characteristics of the Husband

I was recently asked to give a lecture, or a series of lectures, on the topic of marital issues in our communities. So the notes I prepared were organized to present the issues one may encounter before getting married first, such as the characteristics to look for in the husband and the wife; celibacy; getting to know the spouse before the marriage, etc. And then address issues encountered once married.

I thought that I would share these notes on this blog, as they may perhaps be of interest to some readers… The following is a first entry in a series of entries on the topic of Introduction to Islamic Teachings on Marital Issues: the general characteristics of the husband.

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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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D. Miguel Ruiz. 1997. The Four Agreements – A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. A Toltec Wisdom Book

A couple of weeks ago, a colleague at work mentioned having acquired this new book, and then on Friday, mentioned having just finished reading it, thanks to a very long wait at a medical clinic. This is not the type of book I typically spend any time on, so let me tell you why I did.

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This guy’s relationship tips: don’t expect too much (part 2 of 2)

This entry (part 2 of 2) is about unrealistic expectations we impose on the role our spouses are supposed to play in our relationship…

In Part 1 of this entry, we covered the following roles we expect our spouses to step into automatically once we are in a relationship:

  • religious and spiritual leader;
  • psychotherapist;
  • best friend;
  • business partner;
  • intellectual stimulator;
  • personal life coach; and
  • romantic lover.

There are a few more to cover…

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This guy’s relationship tips: don’t expect too much (part 1 of 2)

This entry (part 1 of 2) is about unrealistic expectations we impose on the role our spouses are supposed to play in our relationship.

We all have a fantasized, idealized version of the human being we want to spend the rest of our life with. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is even healthy. We are all entitled to have the image of our perfect partner in all dimensions of life. We all deserve to be happy with them. And as we forge our way through the ups and downs of life, it is perfectly fine for us all to think about what kind of partner we need by our side, to complement and complete us. We should all have some idea of what we want and need in life, and what our standards are. But this can quickly slip into very unrealistic expectations to which we adhere too rigidly, and which we try to impose on ourselves and on them.

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This guy’s relationship tips: don’t let anything outside of you two dictate your relationship (part 2 of 2)

This specific entry (part 2 of 2) is about letting one’s cultural, social, and familial environments dictate, directly or indirectly their spousal relationship. If you’re not ready to examine the sources of your thinking about your spousal relationship, then don’t bother wasting both of our times…

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