Moderate laughter is like a balm for the soul.
It is comfort for a mind that is tired from hard work. It is a sign of a good-natured disposition. It is an indication of a balanced state of mind and it is evidence of a pure and clean heart.
When the Prophet (saw) would enter the place of his family, he would smile, he would laugh, and even he would joke around with his wives and other family members. He would bless them with his good company, his kind words, and his loving demeanor.
The most deserving people of his good company and gracious demeanor were his family, his loved ones, and his companions. And to be sure, they were truly blessed, for whenever they met him, they had the good fortune to look upon a cheerful and smiling countenance. As a result of his cheerful demeanor and good manners, he captivated the souls of his companions, who loved him with all of their hearts.
The Prophet (saw) would joke, but even when he said something that was funny, he told the truth, never telling a lie in order to make others laugh. His smile, his good humour, his cheerful disposition – all of these, for the companions, were like the gentle handoff a caring mother as it passed gently over the head of a beloved son. When the Prophet (saw) would joke with his companions, they would feel revitalized, with a new sense of vigor and energy in their souls.
By Allah, in attending his gatherings, they had no worldly motives, no hidden agenda of gaining some worldly benefit. No, by Allah, in going to meet him, they hoped not to gain from him gold or silver or any other worldly treasure; instead, all that they desired was to be in his blessed company – that was enough for them, and that was all they wanted.
Jareer ibn Abdullah al-Bajalee (ra) said:” It never occurred that the Messenger of Allah (saw) saw me without smiling at me.” Jareer was taking pride in the great gift that the Prophet (saw) bestowed upon him – the gift of his love, compassion, and cheerfulness.
For Jareer, a simple smile from the Prophet (saw) was worth more than the world and all of its treasures, and more than any other good memory he could possibly have imagined. A simple smile from the Prophet (saw) filled Jareer’s soul - any souls of any other
companions, for that matter - with peace and happiness.
Do not think that I am overstating the matter; one would have had to be alive during that era to truly appreciate what it meant to be the recipient of the Prophet’s smile and attention. Imagine that if you were to meet a famous person or someone you regard highly, and then imagine how it would feel if that person were to actually speak to you, never mind simply greet you.
Then imagine the happiness you would feel at that moment and how you would cherish that memory for the rest of your life. And that is the case regarding a common man. And imagine receiving attention – and not just attention, but an actual loving smile – from the Messenger of the Lord of all that exists, and in so doing, you might better appreciate the above-mentioned saying of Jareer.
In his laughing, in his joking, and in his playing, the Prophet (saw) was moderate, having struck a perfect balance between the extremes of a man who always has a frown on his face and a man who constantly laughs and jokes around without taking life seriously.
The Prophet (saw) would laugh when it was appropriate to laugh, just as he cried when it was appropriate to cry, or became angry when it was appropriate to be angry. One thing, however, is certain: he would not laugh immoderately, or to the point that his body would either shake or rock back and forth.
It is authentically established that the Prophet (saw) said:” Beware of laughing, for indeed frequent laughter kills the heart.” (Ahmad). It is related in various narrations that the Prophet (saw) would sometimes joke with his companions. For instance, on one occasion, a man said to the Prophet (saw):” O Messenger of Allah! I want you to give me a camel to ride upon.” The Prophet (saw) said,” All that I can find for you a child of a she-camel.” The man turned around and walked away, disappointed that the Prophet (saw) wanted to give him a baby camel upon which to ride. The Prophet (saw) then called him back and said,” And is not every camel (be it old or young) the child of a she camel!” (Ahmad)
(To be continued)
(Prepared by Dr. ‘Aid Al-Qarni)