Many of us make jokes about the religion or about issues in the religion, and we don't even realize we are doing it.
Today, I have chosen to speak on a sin that most of us barely recognize when we commit it. It is the mocking of the religion of Allah. Many of us make jokes about the religion or about issues in the religion, and we don't even realize we are doing it. We joke about the man with multiple wives, we joke about the woman's hijab, we joke about our prophets and we joke about the kafir holidays (going to a Muslim and jokingly saying Merry Christmas). We find that we can make a joke out of everything, and we do. And we consider it insignificant. This is the sad part. Even though our beloved Prophet warned us:
Narrated Abu Huraira:That he heard Allah's Apostle saying, "A slave of Allah may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong, he may slip down in the Fire as far away a distance equal to that between the East and the West." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 484.
I read a joke that was circulating on the internet about the woman's hijab. It was making fun of women who cover less than perfectly. It was amusing, but that was the problem. We need to advise each other, not ridicule each other -- this joke hit the line of backbiting. I even fell prey to the joking syndrome. I once passed on a joke about the Friday Khutbah where the imam was less than perfect in his delivery of the khutbah. I did not see what I had done until after it was pointed out to me by a watchful brother on my email list, Jazahu Allahu Khyran. Our non-chalant attitude about jokes and their seriousness makes this an extremely easy sin to fall into.
Actually, if we took our Prophet' s advise, and did not seek to entertain each other with lies, we would avoid a large part of the problem. The other parts would be resolved by remembering the rights that our Muslim brothers and sister have upon us and by thinking about what we say before we say it.
For the Prophet told us: Abu Huraira told that when they said, "Messenger of Allah, do you make jokes with us!" He replied, I say nothing but the truth." (Tirmidhi)
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Jabir heard the Prophet say: A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe. Sahih Muslim: Book 1, Number 0065.
Narrated Malik: "Who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet." (i.e. abstain from dirty and evil talk, and should think before uttering). Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 157
Our tongues can land us in the Hellfire or they can save us from it. Rasool Allah said,
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd: Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 481.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet; said, "A slave (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 485.
We have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of joking about the deen. Allah warned us:
"Of the people there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day;" but they do not (really) believe. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves). When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "Why, we only Want to make peace!" Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not. When it is said to them: "Believe as the others believe:" They say: "Shall we believe as the fools believe?" Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know. When they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe;" but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: "We are really with you: We (were) only jesting."Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and give them rope in their trespasses; so they will wander like blind ones (To and fro). These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction, Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness. So they could not see. Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path). Or (another similitude) is that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning: They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder-clap, the while they are in terror of death. But Allah is ever round the rejecters of Faith! The lightning all but snatches away their sight; every time the light (Helps) them, they walk therein, and when the darkness grows on them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could take away their faculty of hearing and seeing; for Allah hath power over all things." (Al Quraan: 2:8-20)
And Allah says,
Beautified is the life of the world for those who disbelieve; they make a jest of the believers. But those who keep their duty to Allah will be above them on the Day of Resurrection. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will. (Quraan: 2:212)
I recognise this is talking about the non-believers and the hypocrites, but it contains a warning in it for us. This is the behaviour of the hypocrite and the non- believer, to say one thing in front of the pious and to say another in front of the non-believer, or to act in a way that is equal to saying this. I will provide you with an example. A Muslim is among other Muslims and he has a discussion about the necessity of hijab for the woman. Then, a few days later, he is talking to a non-Muslim who says -- oh, don't you think the women who wear face veil look like ninjas? And he makes ninja jokes with this person. This is mocking the Muslims and the religion. Instead of advisinng the person, and making the person realize that this is a beautiful part of Islam, he sinks to their level, telling them with his actions that its OK to disrespect Muslim women with these jokes. He is saying -- I am really with you, not them.
Or we have the Muslim who when polygamy is discussed, falls into jokes which may sometimes be quite distasteful, something which is specifically forbidden in Islam.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:The Prophet was not one who would abuse (others) or say obscene words, or curse (others), and if he wanted to admonish anyone of us, he used to say: "What is wrong with him, his forehead be dusted!" Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 58.
Abu Said Al Khudri reported that the messenger of Allah said, "On the day of Judgement of the people of Allah, in His sight, will accord lowest position to the man who consorts with his wife and then publishes her secrets." (Muslim)
This all amounts to mocking or joking about the religion of Allah, and Allah says,
In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the End of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah, and held them up to ridicule. (Quraan: 30:10)
Not only is it haram for us to make fun of the deen or elements of the deen, we are not to sit in the company of those who do so. Sit in the company of can have many connotations. It does not, in today's media-pervasive society have to be confined to physically sitting among the ones who mock Allah or His deen. It can be done by watching a TV show or listening to a radio program that does so. This is not confined specifically and only to jokes which do not specifically mention Islam. Any joke against God -- by any name, is a joke against Allah because regardless of their beliefs there is only one ilah and that is Allah. Also, when they joke about Moses or Jesus or any prophet, it is an insult to the deen we should not tolerate. When they joke about these things, even though they are wrong in their beliefs, we know better, and we know that these things are insults to great prophets of Allah. We have to set the example in respect to Allah and His prophets. We should not sit and listen to these types of jokes either in person or over some media medium. When Muslims are prortrayed in a bad manner, we should not participate by watching -- we should protest it as we should protest any insult to Allah and His great deen.
There is no excuse for being with those who mock Allah Allah and His deen, be they Muslims or non - Muslims.
For Allah says,
Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if ye did, ye would be like them. For Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith - all in Hell (Quraan: 4.140)
In short, we need to be careful about what we say as much and maybe even more than what we do. Our tongue can bring us Jannah or naar, and we need to guard it and use it in the best manner. The prophet's advise to us to speak a good word or remain silent is timeless. We can not ignore the tongue because it is a great source of fitnah for us. We can not say this is unimportant in the long run, because in the religion of Islam, nothing is unimportant. We can not be like the Christians and Jews, taking only that which we want to follow from the religion. We must take it as a whole.
After this it is ye, the same people, who slay among yourselves, and banish a party of you from their homes; assist (Their enemies) against them, in guilt and rancour; and if they come to you as captives, ye ransom them, though it was not lawful for you to banish them. Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? but what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life?- and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty. For Allah is not unmindful of what ye do. (Quraan 2: 85)
We can not say that something the Prophet commanded or warned about is unimportant, because it was important enough for Allah and His Messenger to address it, so it is important enough for us to follow it. Our religion is complete. Allah says,
...This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion... (Quraan 5:3)
Subhanak allaahuma wa bihamdik/Glory & praise/gratitude is to You OH Allaah, ash-hadu allaa illahaa illa Ant/I bear witness there is none that has the right to my worship but You, astaghfiruka wa a tubu Eellaik/I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You.