Joking in Islam

Three Points about Joking

Narrated AbuUmamah: The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:
I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right, a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking, and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good.
(Sunan Abi Dawud 4800)


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful…

Let us be reminded that while light-hearted, honest joking from time to time is permissible, there are indeed dangers in joking that many of us may not think about and therefore fall into, so let us be warned about them :


Indeed the Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) warned us severely against using lies in our joking, with his statement :

ويل للذي يحدث بالحديث ليضحك به القوم فيكذب، ويل له، ويل له

“Woe to the one who lies to make people laugh, WOE TO HIM, WOE TO HIM!”

Narrated Mu’awiyah ibn Jaydah al-Qushayri:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Woe to him who tells things, speaking falsely, to make people laugh thus. Woe to him! Woe to him !.

This is an authenitc hadeeth found in Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadeeth NO. 4990, At-Tirmithee (#2315), and others.
At-Tirmithee called the hadeeth hasan, and Al-Albaanee agreed.

Someone may say, “Well, its obvious this joke is full of lies, but I’m not the one who made it up, I’m just passing it on.”

The reply: The hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) that Imaam Muslim brings in the introduction to his Saheeh could apply here:

كفى بالمرء كذبًا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع

“It is sufficient for a man to be considered a liar when he relays everything he hears.”

Lies in general are impermissible, in joking or outside of joking.


There are three exceptions to the general prohibition of lying in Islam (Joking):

  • In established military operations (jihad) under a Muslim government

Even in these three cases it must only be used to bring about a benefit.

The point is that none of the scholars exempted joking as a permissible form of lying.


The Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

لا تكثروا الضحك، فإن كثرة الضحك تميت القلب

“Don’t laugh too much! For verily, excessive laughter kills the heart!”

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Do not laugh a lot, for laughing a lot deadens the heart.”

This is an authentic hadeeth found in Sunan Ibn Maajah Hadeeth No. 4193. Refer to Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (#506).

And (he) Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) also said:

يا أمة محمد! والله لو تعلمون ما أعلم لضحكتم قليلا ولبكيتم كثيرا

“O Nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him)! By Allaah, if you knew what I know, you would laugh little and cry much.”
[Al-Bukhaaree & Muslim]

So the Muslim who recognizes his priorities in life does not get caught up in excessive joking, for example, joke books or comedy programs on TV or radio, since these things will only weaken his heart, keep it away from Allah’s remembrance, or even kill it, and Allah’s refuge is sought.

3) INSULTING PEOPLE IN JEST (Satire, Sarcasm, Roasting, etc.)

The disbelievers have a custom of intentionally insulting a person to honor him (?!), they call it a “roast.” They gather the best comedians together to humiliate their “honoree” on his 50th birthday, or his retirement party, or other big occasion. And from their customs as well is to jokingly insult a friend, out of love or respect (?!), as you may have seen.

They might say, “This is my friend, Fulaan, the fat pig,” and they all laugh, or, “My wife, the old ball and chain…” or other derogatory terms that are actually words of insult in their origin.
They only spark hatred and do not achieve any goodness, so the Muslim must be the furthest away from this kind of action.


The Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

سباب المسلم فسوق، وقتاله كفر

“Insulting a Muslim is fusooq (sinful disobedience), and fighting him is kufr (ingratitude, a lesser kind of disbelief).”
[Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Or perhaps they may say these things without that person’s presence, then it is even worse. It falls into eating your brother’s dead flesh, the dreadful sin of backbiting.

And if someone said: “But it is understood by everyone to be good, honest fun…!”

The reply: Let us be reminded of Allaah’s Verse:

الخبيثات للخبيثين والخبيثون للخبيثات والطيبات للطيبين والطيبون للطيبات

( And bad things (filthy women, bad words, etc.) are for bad people, and bad people are for bad things. Good things (upright women, kind words, etc.) are for good people, and good people are for good things. )
[Al-Qur’aan 24:26]

And the speech of His noble Messenger Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam):

من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must speak with goodness or remain silent.”
[Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

With these brief and simple points, let an honest Muslim open his heart to a beautiful reminder about how his Religion gives him personal honor and upright character, raising him above the silly and shameful behavior of the disbelievers.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah protect us all.

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