Humour in Islam
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Islamic sources on humour
Laughter, fun, and joking are permissible in Islam provided guidelines from the Quran and ahadith are followed. For humor to be in accordance with Islam, the joke should not be blasphemous and should be within the limits of adab (manners).
1) The Prophet used to smile, rather than laugh. Aisha, wife of the Prophet Muhammad narrated:
I never saw the Messenger of Allah laugh fully to such an extent that I could see his uvula. He would only smile.
2) The Prophet's smile and his companions' laughing sessions. Jabir ibn Samurah narrated:
Simak ibn Harb asked Jabir ibn Samurah, "Did you sit in the company of the Messenger of Allah?" He said: Yes, very often. He (the Prophet) used to sit at the place where he observed the morning or dawn prayer till the sun rose or when it had risen; he would stand, and they (his Companions) would talk about matters (pertaining to the days) of ignorance, and they would laugh (on these matters) while (the Prophet) only smiled.
3) Aisha also narrated:
The Prophet in his fatal illness, called his daughter Fatima and told her a secret because of which she started weeping. Then he called her and told her another secret, and she started laughing. When I asked her about that, she replied, "The Prophet told me that he would die in his fatal illness, and so I wept, but then he secretly told me that from amongst his family, I would be the first to join him, and so I laughed."
4) The Prophet encouraged to be jestful with your family. Ibn Mas'ud narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said;
Mix with the people on the condition that your Deen is not jeopardized, and be jestful with the family.
5) Abu Dharr al-Ghifari narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said;
...I indeed saw the Messenger of Allah laugh till his front teeth were exposed.
6) The Prophet discouraged laughing at inappropriate times. Al-Aswad ibn Yazid narrated:
Some young men from the Quraish visited Aisha as she was in Mina and they were laughing. She said: "What makes you laugh?” They said: Such and such person stumbled against the rope of the tent and he was about to break his neck or lose his eyes. She said: “Don’t laugh for I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: If a Muslim runs a thorn or (gets into trouble) severe than this, there is assured for him (a higher) rank and his sins are obliterated."
7) The Prophet encouraged jokes about the truth. Abu Hurairah narrated that;
When some of his companions said to Prophet Muhammad: "O Prophet Muhammad, yet, you also joke with us!" He replied: "Yes, I do. But I only tell the truth."
Prophet Muhammad said:
A man may say something to make his companions laugh, and he will fall into Hell as far as the Pleiades because of it.
8) The Prophet discouraged lying to make people laugh
Woe to the one who speaks and tells lies in order to make the people laugh; woe to him, woe to him.
9) The Prophet discouraged frightening anyone as a joke.
Once when travelling, one of the sahabah fell asleep, the others got some rope and tied him up. The man woke up and was frightened so Prophet Muhammad said: "It is not lawful to any Muslim to frighten another Muslim."
10) The Prophet discouraged joking or laughing excessively.
Prophet Muhammad said:
Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart.
Muhammad discouraged backbiting and inappropriate language:
(Backbiting is) your mentioning about your brother something that he dislikes.
The Muslim does not slander, curse, speak obscenely or speak rudely.
Jokes of Muhammad
Other instances include man who came up to Muhammad to ask him to give him a beast to ride. The Prophet jokingly told him, "I will give you the offspring of a she-camel to ride." He said, "O Messenger of Allah , what will I do with the offspring of a she-camel?" The Prophet said: "Are riding-camels born except from she-camels?" (Reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, as Sahih).
The Prophet’s companions would limit jokes, joke at appropriate times, and be cautious of joking.
Umar ibn al-Khattab narrated that;
Whoever laughs too much or jokes too much loses respect, and whoever persists in doing something will be known for it.— 
Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas said;
Set a limit to your jokes, for going to extremes makes you lose respect and incites the foolish against you.— 
A man said to Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, "Joking is not right, it is to be denounced." He replied, "Rather it is Sunnah, but only for those who know how to do it and do it at the appropriate time."
Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz said;
Fear joking, for it is folly and generates grudges.— 
In al-Adab al-Mufrad, Bukhari reports from Bakr ibn 'Abdillah who said: "The Companions of the Prophet used to throw melon-rinds at one another, but when the matter was serious, they were the only true men."
That it is He Who granteth Laughter and Tears.
O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.
If thou dost question them, they declare (with emphasis): 'We were only talking idly and in play.' Say: 'Was it at Allah, and His Signs, and His Messenger, that ye were mocking?' Make ye no excuses: ye have rejected Faith after ye had accepted it. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you, for that they are in sin.
Al Jihaz wrote a ‘Treatise on seriousness and playfulness.’ Ibn Qutaybah observed that early Muslims did not dislike joking. Writing in his Akhbar al hamqa ("History of Fools") the classical scholar Ibn al-Jawzi commented, "Humor serves as a much needed natural relaxation, and is approved for this purpose by many statements of Prophet Muhammad and the early Muslims."
Since 9/11, there has been an increase in the number of Muslim comedians and humor festivals. Prominent Muslim comedians include Azhar Usman, Ahmed Ahmed, and Dean Obeidallah. Azhar Usman blames the media for misrepresenting humor in Islam. "The fact is that within Muslim culture there is a strong tradition of storytelling, joking and laughing. The relationship between Islam and comedy goes to the roots of the religion." However, American comedian Mohammed Amer asserts that it is Muslims who have made a “terrible job” of communicating with the outside world.
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