Do Not Make Fun of People

A Heartfelt Plea

Do Not Make Fun of People

Chairman of Dawat-e-Islami’s Central Executive Committee, Mawlana Muhammad Imran Attari

There are many people across the world who debate over how to make society peaceful based on their own views. Many speeches are delivered on this topic and numerous articles are published. However, Islam’s teachings on how to make society harmonious are matchless. Therefore, if you wish to eliminate enmity, avoid argumentation, see a peaceful environment in your home and in the wider community and develop a caring society, wholeheartedly act upon Islam’s teachings relating to good conduct.

One of the issues we see in our society is where people make fun of others. Forbidding this reprehensive act, Allah Almighty states:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا  الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا یَسۡخَرۡ قَوۡمٌ مِّنۡ قَوۡمٍ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنُوۡا خَیۡرًا مِّنۡہُمۡ وَ لَا نِسَآءٌ  مِّنۡ  نِّسَآءٍ  عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّکُنَّ خَیۡرًا مِّنۡہُنَّ ۚ

O believers! Men must not ridicule other men, it is likely that the ridiculed are better than the mockers; nor must the women ridicule other women, it is likely that the ridiculed women may be better than the mockers;[1]

Meaning, the wealthy should not poke fun at the poor, people of noble lineage should not ridicule those from different backgrounds, the healthy should not make fun of the ill, and those with healthy eyes should not mock those who have a problem related to their eye. It is possible that those laughed at are more truthful and sincere than those who ridicule them.[2]

The Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم also forbade joking which involves upsetting another. He stated, لَا تُمَارِ اَخَاکَ وَلَا تُمَازِحْہُ “Neither argue with your brother nor ridicule him.”[3] Mufti Amad Yār Khan Naīmī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه states, “Poking fun at someone whereby it causes hurt is haram in every state. This is what is meant here, as causing harm to a Muslim is haram.”[4]

Greatest sin after polytheism

Note that just as wrongful killing, fornication and drinking alcohol have been deemed as the greatest sins after associating partners with Allah Almighty, [5] so too has making fun of people been declared the same. Sayyidunā Wahb b. Munabbih رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه states, “According to Allah Almighty, the greatest sin after shirk is making fun of people.”[6]

Islam’s ruling on ridiculing others

Detailing the ruling on making fun of people, ꜤAllāmah Abd al-Muṣṭafā رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه states, “To insult or humiliate a Muslim using words, gestures or any other method is haram and a sin, as it results in disparagement of a Muslim and is hurtful. Humiliating a Muslim and hurting him is severely haram and leads to the Hellfire.”[7]

The renowned spiritual guide and leader of Ahl al-Sunnah, Mawlana Ilyas Attar al-Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ states:

It is permitted to joke without transgressing the limits stipulated in Islam. Joking should not involve hurting a person’s feelings, causing someone harm or lying. Some people hurt the feelings of the person in front of them by making fun of them, and that person may hide his shame by laughing it off. Remember, being light-hearted is proven from the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم; however, this did not involve hurting people's feelings, causing harm or lying. Saving oneself from these matters whilst joking is very difficult. Therefore, it is better for us to avoid this. Moreover, a religious person should avoid excessive joking, especially before the general public, as it will deter people, and they will not be able to benefit from his knowledge.[8]

The following habits are condemnable, because they hurt people’s feelings, sow the seed of hatred instead of love, turn people against one another, distance people from one another and do away with respect:

* Poking fun at someone due to something that is passing (e.g. odd hairstyle or clothing).

* Making fun of someone due to something that is perceived as a temporary imperfection (e.g. poverty).

* Humiliating someone due to a permanent description, natural weakness or disability, which is not in the person’s control (e.g. to say, “He is deaf/hard of hearing/blind/cross-eyed, dark skinned, short/limps/speaks with a lisp”).

A person we ridicule is either of a lower status than us, the same status, or of a higher status. If he is of a lower status than us or subordinate to us, he will neither be able to speak in front of us whilst we make fun of him, nor will he be able to do anything. In fact, ostensibly, he continues to maintain outward respect for us. When such a person is unable to tolerate any more, he ends up doing something unimaginable. Maulana Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ states:

A resident of Kharadar, Karachi, informed me of an account from his area whereby a local reprobate used to make fun of a boy in front of others. The boy was unable to say anything out of fear. This was eating him away from within. Once, when that scoundrel made fun of the boy’s name or poked fun at him, the boy flipped out and took his words to heart, thinking, “How long will this wretched man torture me?” And so that boy acquired a gun from somewhere, took an opportunity, killed that scoundrel, and went on the run.[9]

If the person we made fun of is of an equal worldly status to us, then seizing an opportunity, that person will ridicule us. And at times, he may completely embarrass us in front of our subordinates or in a big gathering, causing us to lose our respect.

As for poking fun at our superiors, this is usually done behind their backs and is thus considered backbiting. If this person later finds out that we have said something about them, then in this case, the sin of backbiting and the sin of breaking his heart is also recorded in our book of deeds. Furthermore, such an action also brings harm to our worldly life.

My heartfelt plea to all is that in order to better our worldly life and Hereafter, avoid ridiculing anyone using words, signs or any other method. May Allah Almighty grant us the ability to act upon the teachings of Islam.

اٰمِیْنْ بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّٖن صلَّی اللہُ عَلَیْہ ِوَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ

[1] Part. 26, Surat al-ujurat, verse 11

[2] irā al-Jinān, vol. 9, p. 425

[3] Al-Tirmidhī, vol. 3, p. 400, hadith 2,002

[4] Mirˈāt al-Manājī, vol. 6, p. 501

[5] Al-Zawājir, vol. 2, p. 188; Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 6, p. 524, hadith 9803

[6] ilyat al-Awliyāˈ, vol. 4, p. 54, hadith 4721

[7] Jahannam Kay Khatrat, p. 173

[8] Madani Muzakrah 10 Rabi al-Awwal 1442 AH (27 October 2020)

[9] Madani Muzakrah, 2 Ramadhan 1441 AH (25 April 2020), Ba’ad Namz-e-Isha




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