A brother recently asked an interesting question concerning whether the prophet joked around ever? Did the Prophet enjoy laughing etc.?
It is a general observation that most people when they develop an inclination towards religion lose their sense of humor and become stern faced and thus an unpleasant company. The Prophet (pbuh) possessed an ideal balance in his personality. It is reported by Tirmidi:
Abd Allah ibn al Harith ibn Jaz says: I have never seen a person who smiled as much as the Prophet . (Kitaab al-Manaaqib)
According to Bukhari:
Jarir (ra) says: Whenever the Prophet saw me, he smiled at me. (Kitaab al Jihaad wa al-Siyer)
According to Ahmad Ibn Hanbal:
Abu Darda (ra) says: Whenever the prophet spoke to us, he had a very pleasant smile on his face.
The Prophet (pbuh) also encouraged the Muslims to keep a fresh and pleasant appearance, as such expressions can play a vital role in the interpersonal relations between individuals. Tirmidi reports:
Jabir (ra) narrates: I heard the Prophet say: Every good thing is a charity; and one of the good things is to meet your brother with a fresh smiling face. (Kitaab al-Birr wa al-Silah)
However, the Prophet who was an epitome of the personality that Islam wants to develop in its followers is rarely reported to have laughed. Tirmidi reports:
Abd Allah ibn al Harith ibn Jaz says: I never saw the Prophet laughing, his laughter was not more than a smile. (Kitaab al-Manaaqib)
It was so unusual to see the Prophet laughing that the few instances of his laughter have been reported in such words that they depict the event as an unusual happening. Abu Dawood reports:
Ayesha says: … He laughed I could see his molars.
Such a general attitude befits a person whose greatest concern is to save himself and his people from the fires of Hell. Such a person cannot have an epicurean attitude towards life. A person for whom the life of this world is his only chance for everlasting success, cannot take it lightly. Nevertheless, the Prophet (pbuh) taught us that the secret of this success is to maintain a balance in our general attitudes. If this life is not to be taken lightly, it is neither to adversely effect the social relations of an individual. It is for this reason that we find a number of instances (mostly reported in the books on Seerah) where the Prophet (pbuh) is also sometimes found playing harmless jokes with his companions, yet there is not a single instance where the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to ridicule, deride or mock any individual or group.
The Prophet (pbuh) was a normal man. He always presented himself as a normal man. He smiled, sometimes he even laughed and he had a sense of humor. With all these qualities, the Prophet (pbuh) was a man whose life revolved around the accountability of the Day of Judgment.
29th March 1998