Channel: The Baba Ali Show
Special guest Sheikh Yasir Qadhi joins the Baba Ali Show to discuss about joking in Islam. It covers the following interesting areas:
- How the Sahabas and the Prophet ﷺ made jokes
- The fiqh when doing comedy
- What lines we should not cross when we’re joking around
- What type of jokes are not allowed in Islam
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Bahubali Show Episode Seven joking in Islam. This podcast has been brought to you by half our Dean calm and Muslim marriage website designed for those who want to find that other half privately because the only people that should know you're looking to get married or people who are looking to get married. Try half our Deen today. Sometimes you're hanging out with your brothers and everyone's having a good time. And if someone starts teasing someone, everyone laughs Haha, except for the one guy who's being made fun of who's laughing a bit differently. Hey, hey, you look over and you see is kind of hurting him. But you don't say nothing. Not a word. It makes you wonder who's worse? The
person teasing or the person not having the courage to say anything. Ever wonder how far you can take a joke in Islam? Well, it's time to find out.
In a world where cultural Muslims have confused the masses, and speakers are forced to be politically correct.
Hey, man, why Oh, serious. This is just a podcast.
Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Bobby Lee. I've done around 200 shows all around the world, I basically get paid to stand on stage and make people laugh. Unlike most companies you see on TV, I have to keep my content within the boundaries of Islam. I mean, I try to stay away from mocking any religions or making ethnic jokes or even lying. I'm constantly thinking to myself, am I telling the people the story the way it happened? Or was the last thing I just said accurate? Now you're probably wondering to yourself, Why am I so self conscious? That's because I realized that I'm going to be accountable for every word I'm saying on or off the stage. But that pressure is nothing
compared to the awkwardness I sometimes feel with my friends when they're making fun of each other. As weird as it sounds. This is how guys bond with one another. As soon as the joking is done, we move on to the next subject as if nothing was ever said. Sometimes I'm the person being made fun of and most of the time I can take it but that's because I know it's not being done out of spite but it gets really awkward when I see someone being teased as affecting them and I feel terrible for not saying nothing. Today's guest is shift yesterday. He has his bachelor's in Hadith and his master's in theology from the Islamic University of Medina and he has his PhD in Islamic studies from Yale
University. He's here today to enlighten us on this rare topic, joking in Islam. Welcome to the bob Ali show as salaam aleikum wa Alaykum wa sallam where it was a lie about a chef, you also know that you are a very, very well known shake. I give you your introduction already. But uh, hamdulillah I think almost all my listeners already know who you are. I got a chance to know this Jeff on a personal level before I actually attended any of his lectures. It's one thing to listen to his lectures as another thing to know the person behind the lectures and I can tell you that this man is Mashallah. It's an amazing human being and the character and the way he conducts himself is as
amazing. So that's one of the reasons I actually wanted him on this. Hey, don't forget him also funny as well. In fact, some of my own jokes.
And he does have a sense of humor by shala. It was funny to tell the listeners where we got this idea for this topic from we were a GPU. I don't know if you remember this or not. We were at the buffet for the breakfast. And I remember you were sitting with Chef Yusuf esters, and yourself. Hey, Baba, Ali, come over here for a second. I'm like, Yeah, what's up, you're like, I had this topic I want you to do for your videos. This covers topic of joking or teasing in Islam. I'm like, you're a chef. How come you don't cover it? If I cover it? My kids may not listen, but kids will definitely listen to you. So I was like, Okay, I'll try to cover it. I remember that. Because that was like
years ago, my my boys would love to listen to you. And they'd be always searching for your YouTubes and laughing, laughing their heads off. And of course, when it comes to me, they would go to sleep because I'm obviously their father and who wants to listen to his own father give a lecture, right? So I said, Why don't you give a lecture so that my kids can listen to this topic? It's a weird conversation. But I didn't forget. And although I didn't start the videos as I wanted to, I still remember that. And that's why when I started my podcast, that's one of the first things that was in my head. I said, I need to talk to chef Yosef idea. See if I can get him on the podcast. hamdulillah
you said yes. So we're Today's topic is that we're gonna be talking about joking. In Islam. We're talking about teasing Islam. I oftentimes see brothers tease each other and we cross the line and it gets awkward because no one really corrects the brother. No one really stopped. So we kind of go with the flow. I want to ask you in Islam, did the sahabas joke around? Did they tease each other? And what point was the Islamic line drawn? So the concept of laughing joking teasing having a good time? Actually, we find this in the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed some a lot of I sent him himself. I mean, the fact of the matter is that our prophets I send them would regularly smile and sometimes
laugh and even sometimes be playful and marry and just like salt too food. Too much salt spoils the food and too little salt makes the food bland. Well
Similarly, humor, and you know jesting and whatnot and playfulness. They have a role even in the lives of the most serious and the greatest of people. And some people are more prone to humor than others. And even amongst the Sahaba, there were some who are a little bit more, let's say, you know, joking, or jokesters than others. And this is human nature. Every society has a few people, and everybody knows them to be a little bit more if you like, you know, just full and playful. But the point is, even our Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, he actually, you know, craft a few good jokes and those jokes, who are well known in this era, I mean, many of us have heard of the line that he
said to the old lady, when a very old lady comes opening up to him and says that, you know, unless you're a law, you know, make sure that I can enter gender. And so the process of said, Don't you know, oh, dear old lady, that old ladies don't enter. Right? And she starts like, you know, oh, my God, what do you mean? What are we going to do now? And then, of course, the punch line for her was, don't you know, my dear lady that Allah azza wa jal will change you back to the prime of your youth, and you will enter agenda, you know, when you're a young lady rather than an old lady, so old ladies don't enter agenda. And that's a joke.
And agenda, young ladies enter agenda, and you will become a young lady. And there's so many other jokes as well. In fact, there's even an incident where the process that I'm actually played a type of prank, let's say a type of just that there was a hobby, the process of greatly you know, life because he was himself a very joking person. And one day the process of literally crept up from behind him and jumped from behind his back and held onto him and he was in the marketplace, right? And that he was selling his own goods in the marketplace, and the Profit System held onto him, and then said that who's gonna buy this advocate from me pretending? Now, the Arabic word could mean a
slave, but here he meant the slave of a lot and not the slave of other people. Yeah. Now, Ethan in the process of his jokes, he never told a lie like the old lady not going to agenda. Yes, old ladies don't go to Agenda young ladies go to agenda, right. Yeah, he says, who's gonna buy this ad from me? And when the Sahabi turned around to see who it was, it was none other than the processor. So he joked back and he said O Messenger of Allah, I'm gonna get a cheap price who's gonna possibly want to buy me right?
And then the process and said no, rather, your price in the eyes of Allah is very high. Right? What a beautiful story. Well, joke. Imagine being that so happy that somebody surprises you, you and literally hugs you from behind, and then you hear that, Oh, this is a slave selling himself who's gonna buy him right? It really shows the playful nature of the process and that many of us don't really think about, there are many other you know, examples. In fact, they're even books written about, you know, these types of humorous incidents in the life of the Prophet so a lot more and he will send them the point being that in all of these, we noticed a number of things First and
foremost, he never crossed the boundary. What are the bounds, you know, hurt somebody's feelings. Number one, let's see. That would be the biggest if you like negative to actually cause pain, inflict, inflict a type of genuine, you know, feeling of loss or feeling of hurting one's pride, hurting one's ego being denigrating being sarcastic. That would be how long you're not allowed to do that. Number two, he never lied. He never ever told a lie. Now, I want to be very clear here. You're a comedian Bob Ali. Yes, sometimes give jokes that are not true. So the typical joke of well there was an American there was a British there was a Spanish you start like that, right? It's never
really it's never true. Like there is no American British spent is that how long had technically that is not how long Why is it not? How long because it is understood by the context that you're not telling the lie. Everybody knows this is a fable right? Yes, everybody know However, our profit system being the perfect human that he was as perfect as humanly possible nothing came from his mouth other than the truth. So his quote unquote jokes were not these types of one liners that are not true, even though it is head on yourself saying here Yeah, understood, like the perfection is that those types of humorous things are left aside, however, it's understood that they're, you know,
not everybody's going to be perfect and there's nothing wrong I eat it is not sinful for a person who is known to be a comedian or for anybody in the context of comedy. So if somebody says, Hey guys, I got a funny one. And then he begins right you know, there was a man or, or there's a priest and a rabbi and an Imam, for example. Right? You begin that way. It's not Kathy or lying, because everybody knows that this is a joke yet. What does the Hadees say that the process and promised a house in paradise are the one who gives up lying even if he's joking? Wow, what kind of monster head right? Which means there's like a higher so the point of saying even if he's joking, because you
know, when you joke, you're not quite lying, because it's not a candidate yet the one who gives up even that, do you think he's ever going to lie in actual life? Think about it. If you are so
conscious that even your jokes get 100% true, then how are you possibly going to lie about money or about you know anything of this world or the acid or anything of this nature. Therefore, we say that these types of jokes that are one liners and understood to be fables and false and whatnot, they don't technically come under Kazim in the sense that you are Catholic or sinful, yet to abandon them is better. Hence, the Islamic ruling on them would be that this is a type of MCL or something to be a better to be avoided. Okay. Nonetheless, to be very clear, it is not how long when would it be how long we said if you hurt somebody's feelings, if you say something that is not understood or known
to be a joke, ie an actual kind of an actual lie, and a person thinks it is truthful, and most importantly, and that's really the big red line. If you crack a joke that seems to go against the is or the honor of Allah azza wa jal or his messenger or his Shetty. That's what luggie not just a small or even a major sin. Sometimes that could even be a type of gopher a type of rejection, because you do not joke about Allah subhanho wa Taala or about his messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam in a manner that puts them down because why they are sacred symbols. I mean, think about it, you don't joke about let me give an example of just any, you know, normal, rational, decent human
being joke about the integrity of his mother, think about it. You wouldn't I mean, if you have a shred of human decency, right? I mean, yours that you understand what I say integrity, I just say 100% any shred of decency, whether you're Muslim, or Catholic or atheist or agnostic, it doesn't matter any shred of human decency, you just don't do that. Because you love your mother, your mother, you wouldn't possibly cross that line? Well, the respect that is due to Allah and His messenger is obviously infinitely more and therefore we never stopped for a lot, drag them down to the level of a cheap joke, to do so frankly, is an indication not just of a lack of knowledge. But
you know, to be even more, you know, blunt, it's actually a lack of a man because a man means you will respect a man, his messenger. And what really distresses me in the era that we're living in is that many of our young men and women, they seem to just absorb the predominant culture around us where there is no sacredness, there is no sanctity even of religion and they absorb this attitude and they then apply it to Islam, and you will find people cracking jokes about the religion of Islam and the rituals of Islam. Now, here's the point let's make a clear distinction. It is a fine line. If somebody makes fun of you praying Baba Ali, your prayer and somebody says Oh, look at that guy
praying and he mimics you This is perhaps wrong get sarcastic you know if it's putting you down it will be how long but if somebody were to mimic the Sadat and make fun of the Salah sarcastically that is no longer just a sin if you make fun of prostrating to Allah imagine right you're making fun of the greatest act of worship then all of a sudden you're going beyond just you know making fun of Baba Ali now here's the problem where does one draw the distinction between making fun of Baba Ali sada and making fun of sada especially when you're a comedian on YouTube, right? And you just have a video where you're mocking the such that I might be mocking Baba at least touch them, right? But
another teenager watches that video. And he begins to mock the sentence that itself and that's why it's a very dangerous thing here that you need to be careful about. Now, of course, we're not talking about mocking those people who don't pray properly. Maybe that's one form of Dawa for teenagers, maybe, okay, guys, don't just pray like a chicken or something. And then you mark that, Okay, I understand where that's coming from. And perhaps there's some leeway over there. But I'm talking about again, making fun of the hijab making fun of any aspect of Islam making fun of you know, any type of thing that Allah azzawajal has commanded. One needs to be very careful because the
person who cracks the joke might be making fun of another individual, but the listeners might just move on to the next step, which is to make fun of the commandment itself. And that's, as I said, a very very big and dangerous red line to cross. It's actually sounds very scary. I was concerned when I first started doing comedy I didn't want to lie because I came across to Heidi's that said that although curses those who lie to make people laugh, well, probably one needs to understand what is the meaning of that heady? It's not meant to be the the comedians who understand that their audience understands that they're just cracking a joke. What is meant is you say, a lie that people think are
true, people equals lies are true. And then they find it like, you know, funny, and then he goes, Oh, you know, I was just kidding with you guys. I didn't really, you know, mean to, you know, put the other person down or do this and that so the intent here when a comedian such as yourself or anybody stands up on stage, and he begins with his act, everybody knows that is not an actual credit, because credit means that the person thinks you're telling the truth. You understand the difference between so it's you what you're doing as a comedian is more akin to fables. Yes.
Once upon a time there lived a princess. I mean, are we going to say that you can't tell these fables to our kids? I mean, you know, even kids, no, this is just a story. You know, it's not something that's a thing. So we want to be a little bit careful about not making Islam too strict and not making is the hell, how long. So I said, and I said very clearly, this is my crew, but it is not. Until now. I've been so scared to death of making sure everything I say is accurate. I'm so self conscious. Even when I'm speaking in the back of my head, I'm thinking to myself, what I said right now was inaccurate. Did this really happen? Am I exaggerating? Am I being sarcastic? Maybe I
don't remember correctly. I'm going through this whole paranoia, and no one ever has any idea what's going on in my head. All they see me is laughing and they're laughing. And I guess it's that fear inside of me to make sure I don't want to displease Allah subhanaw taala by what I'm doing on stage, because even though I'm off stage, or on stage, I know every single word that I'm saying, I'll be accountable for so knowing this, and don't get into context, what I'm saying it makes me feel a bit more comfortable. They show love, and it makes me less paranoid as well. So I want to ask you a separate question, because I see one thing a lot of brothers doing and they make jokes. And I don't
know if this joking is allowed or not, but something like husbands will make jokes with their wife about a second wife. I don't know if their joke is because they're testing their wife to see how they're going to react because they Oh, if you're offended, I was just joking. If you're not offended, let's talk these types of jokes. And I've said this very clearly to my students, when I teach them about these issues. I asked my students the men's when you know, when it's used to brothers, I say yeah, if what my dear brothers, what do you think you will accomplish by cracking jokes about potential second wives in front of your wife, our Prophet sallallahu Sallam never once
joked about, you know, getting married to more women, you know, in front of his wives. And I'm not making fun of the concept. I'm not saying if somebody doesn't wants to do it stuff, realize Makoto, I'm not saying that you want to do it, do it like the process and him did it properly, right? But joking in front of your wife about other women. Imagine if your wife joked about other men, your blood would boil, you would lose control, right? You would get so angry, like how dare you talk about? Well, then your wife's feelings are more sensitive than yours. And it's just not gentlemanly. It's not in conformity with the Sunnah to make fun of the feelings of your wife in this in this
regard. And I would say that this is of the types of jokes that no decent, respectable husband would do that he's just going to joke constantly about, you know, harp about, oh, you're not good enough for me, let me take another woman, what type of husband you know, does that do you think it's going to increase the love of your wife and increase the marital bliss in the household? And again, I'm not saying stuff, but a lot not making fun of the concept. I'm saying a man should have enough self decency and respect not to trivialize the emotions of his wife in this manner. And if a person feels the Islamic requirements are met, and it is allowed and whatnot, then he should approach it in a
mature and respectful manner, and not in a just manner. So I would say, again, I'm not saying it's haram or sinful, but I'm saying it's simply not of the etiquette of a good husband, and what did I process and I'm saying, the best of you in manners are the best of you to your wives, and I am the best to my wife. And I have no problem saying that any husband, who teases his wife in a manner to hurt her feelings, and taking on another wife is definitely going to hurt your feelings is not acting like a good husband. Very well said. And this is just a reminder for myself, this reminder for all the husbands that are listening, so you don't you mentioned something while you're answering
the last question. And you mentioned like, even when the person is speaking, do you think it's fair for those people, like if any speaker is giving a lecture, and if they make a joke, and it's taken the wrong way? And it's people's like, I'm not gonna attend his lectures anymore? We can't even joke around sometimes because people will misunderstand it. Exactly. I actually am a very strong proponent of public speakers in particular and Islamic personalities in particular being extra careful of their jokes. Why? Because and this is something that a mentor to the both of us usually use of esters. I remember when I first started giving that work, you know, he took me aside and he
said, You know what, I want to give you some pieces of advice, you know, and one of the things he said, and he's a very funny man, he's always joking and whatnot. One of the things he told me was if you say a joke and you've offended one person, then that's one person too many you've offended. He get rid of the joke. Wow. Okay, so I try my best to be very conscious not obviously, having said that, sometimes people get offended for the wrong reason or the misunderstood. That's a separate issue. But if you talk about another group, another ethnicity another gender. I mean, men especially have to be extra extra extra careful about cracking jokes about women. That's just not I mean, it's
easier for me to crack jokes about men because I'm a man and nobody's gonna say oh, you know, it's like of your own I cracked more jokes about Pakistanis because I'm proxxon you're Indian right then I do on Arabs because you know, it's understood it's a little bit more open in your own culture. Talk about your own culture. Yeah, nobody's gonna accuse you of like, you know, you're used to it is your your people, right? Yeah. So the point being, one needs to be cognizant, one needs to be conscious of one's own status, one's own background, one's own heritage, one's own gender, all of this, how can I crack jokes that might be interpreted to be denigrating to women or you know, at
another ethnicity, one needs to be
Extra conscious and careful and not open up the possibility of evil thoughts coming because it is a part of our religion to not give people the ammunition to ruin your reputation for no reason. best example we have the prophet SAW Salem is walking at night with his wife, Sophia, and it's dark, nobody can see who it is. And two Sahaba passed by and they see it's the process of so they're embarrassed because he's it this way. So they rush on away. And he said, slow down, you should know this is Sophia with me. And they were so embarrassed. They could only say, Yeah, rasulillah meaning of course, we didn't assume anything. But he said shape on runs through the body of a human just
like his blood. And I didn't want you to get any bad thoughts, basically, right? So imagine our process of walking with his own wife, and he wants to tell the people Hey, you know, guys, this is my wife here. This is the point that a person preserves his dignity and self respect and decency. So how much more so if somebody's going to say, oh, that share, he's always putting down, you know, if he's box that he's putting down arrows, if he's ever he's always putting in a box, that might not be true. He just might be cracking jokes, but then you're giving ammunition right to people that don't like you. So totally agreed, a person of authority and respect and knowledge needs to be even more
conscious of what he says and the types of jokes that he cracks. Sometimes I want to do a joke on stage, but I'm afraid how it can be misunderstood, because I'm trying to make a point. And they may think I'm making a different point. For example, this is not my joke, but one thing has said is that if women rule the world, there'll be no more wars, they'll just be a bunch of countries not talking to each other.
Money is okay. It is funny, but here, I asked it, brother just today he says, Yeah, I can understand how Sis, you'd be offended with that. I said, Well tell me what's offensive about it. And he was kind of quiet. And I said, Okay, let's look at the joke. When men are ruling these countries, they are killing and they're starting wars. When women are ruling countries, they're just not talking to each other when they are mad at each other. Which one's worse? The guys or the girls? Yeah. So I see each gender looks at responding in a different way. One starts with aggressiveness, right? Physical aggressiveness, and one starts it with, I'm just not gonna talk to you. I'm giving you the silent
treatment. So is that really offensive to women? No, I just look at that as a gender as being different. So I find it funny, but I'm always self conscious. If I say this joke on stage, is it gonna be funny, or is it gonna be offended? And I don't know. Do you think our people are more hypersensitive these days? Or am I just being paranoid? I don't think I don't think we're any more hypersensitive, none of the other people. But I mean, we just have to be cognizant that the oma is Mashallah top to bottom is such a diverse community. We have so many ethnicities, so many people of different backgrounds, so many other issues. So I think it's just a matter of, you know, being aware
that people might possibly misinterpret or we didn't know about that joke, I'm not the best judge, you need to ask other people. I mean, I found it funny. I don't personally see it to be that offensive. But here's, here's another point about it is that you know, you develop your reputation. So if a person always jokes in a manner that is demeaning to one group or ethnicity, it's different than if a person is an equal opportunity to jokester, right? Yes. So if you put brothers down and put sisters down each in his own way, it's easier than if you concentrate on, you know, only putting one gender down or one ethnicity down, right? Of course, yeah. So this also needs to be taken into
account. A lot of more Muslims right now are on YouTube. And I'm not on YouTube, like I used to be. So now I'm doing more and more podcasts, but people are on YouTube. And then the level of joking is a bit different than when I was on YouTube. So in my content was about the stuff that we do as Muslims that has nothing to do with Islam. And the reason I made jokes about these things, with the hopes that people be ashamed of doing these things that we've become completely immune to these days, when you watch YouTube videos, it's a lot of pranks playing tricks on people. And I was just wondering, how does it sound view the prank. So again, it goes back to the relationship you have
with the person it's a very important thing here that will the person be genuinely hurt a will the person you know, actually find it funny. So any prank that is going to actually emotionally hurt, of course, physical hurt, that's understood, you don't physically hurt anybody. I mean, that's understood, but any prank that will potentially be, you know, bring about pain or whatnot. That's something that Islam would not allow, because we're not allowed to bring pain and suffering or actually hurt, you know, physically or emotionally another person. So the fine line here, you need to make a judgment call that will this little joke that I play actually bring about some comradery
some genuine friendship, or if it's between husband and wife, you know, it'll bring about a genuine love are something that's something that varies from couple to couple, or from friendship to friendship, and in the end of the day, you know, best but to err on the side of caution is always better in that regard. Okay, that's actually very good to know. I was just wondering, as a personal question, do you joke around with your family with your kids with your wife? Yeah, of course. Of course. I mean, you know, I have a funny side, which I know that's why I'm smiling right now.
On stage, I was a little bit more you know, conscious and whatnot. But yeah, I mean, my friends know me very well, but and even from my college days,
Like I've always liked to have a humorous side and we always try to crack jokes within the confines of the video. And of course, within friends, you're a little bit more open about you know, your your pranks and your jokes that we say to one another. And that's human nature. I mean, no doubt amongst your college mates, because I have my college friends to this day people that I went to college with before I was, you know, before I was asked to call the
regular guy in my shell, and I'm still I'm a regular guy, I'm the law. So I still have my college friends. And when we get together, obviously, we crack jokes about our college days, man, what we did you know, and our ups and downs and our, you know, politics and whatnot. So that's a part of life. And the reason I asked that question is because I think a lot of people think that the more religious you are, the more rigid you have to be. And it's very refreshing to know that even share yourself ID jokes around but again, within the boundaries of Islam. And I think that's something that I'm taking away with this. And I think a lot of people are learning from you on a human level
that shift yourself it is yes to share, but at home, he's sometimes just Yasser. And I'm all at home. I'm always
Oh, don't worry about that. And I don't want them to say Mama. In fact, my little girl whenever you like, you know, she finds it so cute when somebody calls me chef. Yeah, so she's like six years old, you know? So when she wants to joke with me somebody says you know who's Bob is like my Baba is Chef he asked me she's like joking about it for her. It's like, oh, who is this chick?
fil a should be humble handler. Well, with that. Id. I like to thank you so much for coming out to today's show. I view enlighten me, especially me as a guy who does comedy on stage. I actually learned quite a bit today and I didn't even know about some of the things you mentioned today. So hamdulillah is enlightened me and a lot of the people who out there joking with one another hopefully inshallah are more conscious of staying within the boundaries of Islam because if you do is better, and if you don't, there's consequences that come with it. So I'd like to thank all my listeners who have been listening to this podcast. If you have any questions or comments, please
post them on Bahubali show.com. Again, please share this podcast with your friends and hopefully, it will enlighten them as well. We are on iTunes type in Bubba alley show and this is Bob Ali reminding you just in case you forgot assalamu Aleikum