Entertainment – as soon as we see this word in the various forms that it consists of today, it gives us a sense of happiness, a sense of belonging.
Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It has captured the hearts of every single human being on the planet. One may ask, how beneficial is it to the human race?
Entertainment comes in many forms. Such as gossip about celebrities, movies, novels, singing, partying, sports, and travel. Just to name a few. Like many other things in life it consists of positive aspects and also has some harm in it. The wise person is the one who navigates through the bad to earn the good whenever and wherever one finds it.
Let’s delve into the Islamic way of entertainment. What! Does that mean entertainment is allowed in Islam? Of course it is! However it consists of stipulations which are to help in the betterment and growth of individuals.
Let’s take a glimpse at how the early Muslims used to entertain themselves, and especially how the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would find entertainment.
Entertainment in the life of the prophet
It was narrated by ‘Aa’ishah that she took a woman on her wedding night to a man from among the Ansaar, and the Prophet (PBUH) said to her, “O ‘Aa’ishah, was there any entertainment (in the gathering)? For the Ansaar love entertainment.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4765.)
According to this hadeeth, the prophet not only encouraged but also took part in these happy occasions which involved entertainment. However, these occasions did not involve dancing, music, or mixing freely with the opposite gender. There were some guidelines. For instance the women would beat the Duff and sing, there were no other instruments involved.
How would the Prophet (PBUH) entertain his family?
In this hadith, it implies that having a joyful time with one’s family is very important. As the prophet (PBUH) used to engage in various things that would make his family happy. One should also strive to make his/her family content if it is merely by spending quality time together.
The prophet was a very approachable person. He was also very kind with the people around him and would enjoy social gatherings. Narrated from Jaabir ibn Samurah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would not get up from the place in which he had prayed Fajr until the sun had risen, and when the sun had risen he would get up.
They used to chat and talk about matters of the Jaahiliyah (pre-Islam era), and they would laugh but he smiled.
Abu Hurayrah said: They said: O Messenger of Allah, you joke with us. He said: “But I never say anything but what is true.” (Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad, by Shaykh al-Albaani no. 265. )
In the light of this hadeeth, one can see that the prophet (PBUH) used to joke around with his companions. Just like regular human beings. It is very hard to survive – actually quite impossible to survive without friends and family.
However, we must not forget the rules. Even in social gatherings there are certain rules that one must follow. One example is already given in the hadith and that is that while joking one should not speak falsely about anything. One would assume that it is a simple rule to follow but it actually covers a wide range of topics. For instance gossip. Although it is very entertaining to take part in such activities, one must refrain from such habits as it can become very harmful for the society.
Would the prophet (PBUH) enjoy his time with the youth?
Well the following hadeeth will shed some light upon this topic.
Ibn Maajah (144) narrated from Ya‘la ibn Murrah that they had gone out with the Prophet (PBUH) to a meal to which they had been invited, and there was al-Husayn playing in the street. Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) came in front of the people and stretched out his hands, and the child started to run here and there. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) made him laugh until he caught him, then he put one hand under his chin and the other on his head and kissed him.
This hadeeth displays the importance of being warm and loving with the youth. Which has many benefits. One of the benefits is the spread of love and peace in the community.
The Prophet (PBUH) would also enjoy live shows. An example of such shows can be found in the following hadeeth;
Ahmad (24334) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said on that day – i.e., the day when the Abyssinians played in the mosque: “The Jews should know that there is room for leisure in our religion. I was sent with a tolerant, monotheistic religion.”
Since Islam is a complete and perfect way of life. Henceforth when it comes to everyday life, there are guidelines put down by the Creator for one to follow. By doing this one is not constricting oneself in this vast atmosphere; however he/ she is freeing oneself from the harm that can come out of such kinds of entertainment. As one follows the guided form of entertainment one has fun and along with it gains the pleasure of the Creator, Allah (swt).
Everything that is a part of this world will one day be gone and the real goal of Muslims should be the pleasure of their Lord. As that was also the main goal of our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“Say (O Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds” (Al-An ‘aam 6:162).