Laughter and Jest of a Mumin
Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi
A mu’min will have gracefulness on his face even if he is sad at his heart. A person remaining morose all the time is not good. A mu’min must keep a broad forehead, pleasant mien, and good nature. He should also have a good sense of humor. But all this should be in moderation.
It is narrated from the Prophet of Islam (S) that excessive jesting puts one to shame and excessive laughter harms ones faith. If a person lies, the radiance of his face diminishes.
The Prophet Dawood (as) told to Prophet Sulaiman (as) three things, one of which was, “My Son! Don’t laugh much that on the Day of Reckoning one would rise a beggar because of this!”
It has appeared in the traditions that three things cause Allah’s ire: 1. Sleeping during the day without remaining awake in the nights. 2. Laughing without any cause for doing so. 3. Eating to ones satiation.
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) narrates that one who laughs much in worldly activities, will cry much on the Day of Judgment. There are many who cry in fear of Allah’s Retribution. They are the ones who will be happy on the Day of Judgment.
The Prophet of Allah (S) has said: I am surprised how one laughs who is sure of the retribution of the Hellfire? With excessive laughter the heart dies.
The Prophet of Allah (S) always kept his laughter to the extent of a smile. None heard him laugh loudly. Once he passed a group of persons laughing loudly, when he said, “O people! Excessive expectations and scarcity of good deeds have misled you. Think of your graves. Take lesson from the thought of inevitable death and the retribution of the Day of Reckoning!”
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) said that laughter causes loss of faith like the water dissolving the salt. Laughing for no reason is a sign of ignorance. He also said, “Don’t joke or quarrel with your friend. Jest is like abuse and the cause of hate and enmity.” He also said, “Don’t expose your teeth in laughter when your bad deeds are there to put you to shame. You cannot prevent yourself from the onslaught of death!”
O Abu Dharr! Two things are bad: 1. Laughing without reason. 2. Delay in offering the mandatory prayers because of laziness.
O Abu Dharr! Man knows that his inner instinct makes him commit mistakes day and night that put him to hardship and repentance. Then how one can laugh knowing all this? It doesn’t mean that he should always be morose and forlorn. A mu’min must be pleasant and smiling. But he should not laugh excessively. One should know that jesting much one loses his respect and excessive laughter reduces ones faith.
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) has said that people indulging in the futile worldly activities always keep laughing. They will cry on the Day of Reckoning. Those who cry out of the fear of the Retribution, will not cry in the Hereafter.
Jest and good humor in moderation is a part and parcel of good behavior and a sign by which a mu’min is recognized. Jest should be with the sole purpose of pleasing the mu’mins.