Halal Fun in the Ancient Muslim World

Ismail Kamdar

Channel: Ismail Kamdar

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We have a really fascinating lesson that we're going to get into now. And it's on a topic that I honestly don't think anybody has taught before, in terms of modern teaching, maybe in the past data. But as far as recent teaching is concerned, I don't think anyone's covered this topic. And that's a look at the past times in entertainment that was popular in the Muslim world.

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Believe it or not, the Muslim world or other place where people had fun. This picture, for example, shows us one of the most popular sports in the ancient Western world, which is elephant Polo. In some countries, this is still a sport. In some Western countries, this is still a common pastime, elephant polo, they literally ride around in elephants, trying to score goals, who will win the ball, it's, it's something many of us don't even know exists, but you are the popular part of Muslim culture and remain so in some countries right until today. And the point of this is to show you that our history is not all wars, and battles and politics. There are other sides of our history, which

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for some reason, nobody talks about. And again, this course is all about talking about those parts of our history. So today, we're going to look at the history of fun and games in the Muslim world. And to get started, let's take a look at what does Islam have to say about recreation about having fun. And of course, many of you may know the first book I ever wrote when I was 22 years old, was having fun, the halal way entertainment in Islam. And again, it's a topic that I've been passionate about from a young age. Because I grew up in a environment where we were taught that having fun is haram. And when I studied the Quran, when I studied at Eastern specifically, when I studied history,

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it completely contradicted that teaching. Right. So what is Islam teaches Islam teaches us to take care of our basic human needs. One of those human needs being having fun and relaxing. The Prophet salallahu Salam had fun, the Sahaba had fun. There is absolutely nothing in the Quran or Hadith that says It is haram to have fun. It is haram to enjoy yourself. So all Islam calls upon is balance, live a balanced life a time for this a time for that time for a bad time for work, time for family time for fun. And one of the Sahaba was feeling guilty that when he was with his wife and children, he forgot about about Ibadah and about worshipping Allah and he just got caught up in enjoying

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himself with them. And when he explained this to the practice, lawyers love the proper slice, I'm talking just normal. He told him that's normally tuned to the time for this. And the time for that this is the translation of the hadith is a time for this having fun, the time for that worshiping Allah balance. That's what it's all about. Our religion does not tell us not to have fun, you should not feel guilty to have fun. If you are living a productive life. I personally make time for fun. If you look at my daily schedule, I have time for my writings for my cost recording for my management work for homeschooling my children for all of this, but I also have time to relax and enjoy myself.

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Because that is something that you need to do in order to be your best in order to be effective in order to have a balanced and happy life. Reality is that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and the Sahaba they had many, many fun activities. If you look at how they live their lives, despite all the difficulties going on around them, debt, and war, and enemies and hypocrites and spies and dealing with all these things. They still have fun. You still hear stories of them running races with their wives and having horse racing and having wrestling and singing why building the masjid and seeing why building the trench and children running around in the streets chasing each other?

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It was it's something that's natural, it's something completely natural. So I understand how we have in this day and age, some Muslims who believe that, you know, kids should be worshipping Allah all day, and there's no place for funding in Islam. That's not what Islam teaches. That's not what the Quran teaches. That's not the practice of the prophets like some of the sahaba. And that's never been the case at any point in our history. And it all goes back to the principles of fake the principles of Islamic law, one of the most basic principles of Islamic law is us Lupita Sheikh Khalifa that the original state of anything is permissibility meaning when it comes to the halal

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things of this world, when it comes to things of this world in general, everything is permissible, unless it is something that Allah has prohibited or it's something harmful to you. So if something does not harm people, there's nothing in the Quran nothing in the Hadith that prohibits it. We do not have the right to make it haram just because we don't like it or because we have some strange understanding of Islam. So this is what Islam teaches us about having fun, it's natural. It's a human need. If you live a balanced life, there's nothing wrong with doing it. And majority of ways of having fun of Halal except for those which are listed in the Quran or hadith of Haram are those

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which are harmful to society, like taking recreational drugs or

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Smoking cigarettes these things people do them for recreation, but they are haram because they are harmful for your health. Right? So that's the principle to apply. So the Muslim world now what do you look like in terms of recreation? Well, believe it or not, having fun was normal. In the Muslim world, doing things for fun was completely normal. Again, some of us have this warped idea that the Muslim world was you know, ever you went, it was just old, ya know, they just all AMA and Mujahideen and people making liquor, children sitting and studying Quran. Reality, it was normal people, people who went to the Machida previous although they went home, they play the game of chess, they they

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wrestled with their friends, they, they went to the theater to watch a performance of poetry performance or musical performance. They lived normal lights balance between worshiping Allah doing their work, and enjoying time with their family and friends. It was completely normal. They had theaters, they had famous entertainers, we'll talk about one in the in the lesson on music, like real celebrities that shaped the culture. We think this is a modern thing. No in in Islamic Spain, they were celebrity singers, male and female, who shaped their culture, or they had popular sports, by certain sports were very popular in the Muslim world at that time.

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The things they used to do for fun, were mostly playing board games, particularly chess and sports. But there were other things they did for fun as well. So for example, if you look at some of the great inventors in Islamic history,

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three of the most famous inventors were known as the bamboo Musa brothers, right, they were these three brothers, who invented many, many things, some of which were important scientifically, but over 100 of which were things they just invented for fun, right they invented fun devices like a puzzle boxes and puzzles and, and different things that people could fiddle around with and solve. And these were entertainment, you know, things that basically twice that people used to buy to entertain themselves. So they invented overhand a coastal 100, different fun and entertaining, puzzle devices and toys. And

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it's quite interesting. When you look at the Islamic history, it doesn't seem like anybody considered these things to be haram, except maybe a small minority of people, by the way, just normal parts of life that everybody did, you know, and nobody seemed to have a problem with it. So what was most popular what are the most popular pastime? This list may surprise some of you towards the ending, but obviously wrestling, right from the time of Rasulullah, sallAllahu, alayhi wasallam. At any point in our history, wrestling seems to be amongst the most popular sports in two ways, both as a competition and as a show. So today, we know we have amateur wrestling, which is a competition

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and we have professional wrestling, which is like a show where people are just putting on a performance to entertain the crowd. In the Muslim world. Both of these existed right in the Muslim world, we had actual competitions with people wrestling each other to the ground. But we also people who like get in front of a crowd and do moves to each other just to entertain the crowd, you know, a wrestling show. So interestingly, both of these concepts existed in the Muslim world. And these were very popular pastimes, either to compete in these things or to watch these things. The other popular sports were archery and polo, polo being both horse polo and elephant Polo. These were popular

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sports people used to competing or watch and remain so in many parts of the Muslim world, particularly elephant polo and hospital. Now,

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the most popular board game in the Muslim world was chess. And we'll talk about this a bit more in the next slide.

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Muslims love chess because it's a very strategic board game right to today. I myself personally, the games I enjoy in terms of video games or board games as a strategy games, games that engage your mind and test your mental abilities. It seems that historically, this is what Muslims love, they love games that test their mental abilities and which requires strategy. So chess became the most popular board game in the Muslim world. And so this is very curious. I find this really fascinating because again, I grew up in a society and many of you may have as well where people tell us chess is haram but it is a very popular belief in the Muslim world today. People see you playing chess they

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get very angry and they tell you things like you're playing with idols and this is haram and how can you do this and the treated as if you are competency now drinking alcohol or gambling?

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Honestly, I've no idea where this originated from I have a theory about it, but no proof for that theory, but reality is

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a drought our history. Very, very few scholars actually said haram about Yes, very, very few. Most of them were silent about it, and many of them did say some things about it, but those statements were misquoted. Right. What do you mean Muskogee? Well, for example, someone told me that Imam Malik said the church is haram.

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But when I checked me when Mr. Malik's actual statement, he said I don't like it. That's all he said. Or there's no good individual benefit in it.

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Now these kinds of statements doesn't mean he regards you as haram. He just he regarded as for him personally for waste of time. So we can't take statements like this from scholars and say he means It's haram. No. The whole amount of the past like Imam Malik Mr. Abu Hanifa Imam Shafi they were very cautious about using the word haram. They will not use it until they were 100% convinced that something haram otherwise they would make a general statement like I don't like it. It's not beneficial is better to avoid it. But they will not say haram. Unlike us today we overuse this word today we overuse the word haram everything we see we say haram. Haram means ALLAH has prohibited so

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unless you are 100% sure that in the Quran or Hadith Hala has prohibited this. Don't use the word haram. Right. So there's a lot of this quotation regarding this issue. And much quotations even though Hadith I mean, people say but it comes into at least HSC haram. This is baffling to me because chess was invented about 400 years after the Prophet sallallahu the son passed away. So how can you possibly be a hadith prohibiting it, it didn't even exist at the time. So I went into this, I looked into it and I found two things. Number one, a lot of fabricated had thesis on this topic. Right? I mean, perhaps the majority of her thesis stating that chested haram fabrications. But the

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few that people pointed out in Sahih Bukhari Sahih Muslim were completely mistranslated, the Arabic does not include the word chess at all. Now it's talking about some other game that existed in the time of the Prophet slaley Islam, which doesn't exist today. Right? So there's no English translation for it, which was used for gambling, a form of gambling. And he's saying that specific gambling based game era.

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He's not talking about chess, because chess did not exist at this time. So much quotation of Hadith fabrication of Hadith. Most quotation of the scholars The reality is, there is no authentic evidence to say that Jesus is haram. And throughout Muslim history, it was the single most popular pastime in the Muslim world. Yes, you don't see any studies of Obama going and breaking the chessboard and boycotting the chess games and, you know, telling people to be arrested for playing chess for getting it banned from society. Nothing, nothing at all. In fact, even yesterday, that was a mapping of playing chess, right? It was like a norm, a complete and total norm. So the point I'm getting at

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is once again, be careful with the word haram. Don't just say this is haram that is haram, research, research, research, the Quran, the Hadith history, the exact words of the scholars don't just jump into these factors, because many times these fatwas that people made up in the past 100 years, fairly often, they really don't have a historical basis. I specifically noticed in the past 100 to 200 years, Muslims have been too quick to say this is haram or that is haram, even if the early scholars never said any such thing. And you know, it's fascinating about the game of chess, is that even the word we use today, checkmate has its origins in Persian Muslim culture. I mean, think about

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it, what does checkmate mean? It's not the English word. There's no real meaning to the word checkmate. It's actually the anglicized form of the Persian and Arabic phrase, Shah. Mata Shah means king, mother, those of you who know Arabic Mata means what Did Shah Mata The King is dead? You put your bead in opposition with the king is trapped. And you say Shah, Marta, the king is dead. But that's the end of the game. Right? And this got anglicized into the word checkmate. Fascinating. Very, very fascinating. So what can we learn from this? I really hope you found this fascinating, fascinating, as I said, I don't think anyone's done this before, tackle this part of our history,

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and showed how having fun was normal. Right? And so what this shows us is that our generation is really really walked in our understanding of entertainment and our understanding of history. Right? We have this idea that the Muslim world was just only are everywhere and they didn't just did he bother all day and you know, Muslims should only worship Allah and having fun is haram and stuck through that. How can you do fun things that this is not Islam. This is something that popped up in the past 100 or 200 years, and it's really had a very negative impact on the ummah. We must understand that Allah has only made haram, that which is bad for us. Everything else is halal.

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Right. One of the principles of Islam is that Allah wants life to be easy for us. Not difficult for us. Right? You read a lobby Kemal usara wala you read the Quran also. This is in Surah Al Baqarah. Allah subhanaw taala says when talking about fasting, Allah wants things to be easy for you. He does not want things to be difficult for you. This verse

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has been taken by the scholars of Islam as the general principle of fake. Fake is meant to make life easy for the Muslims. So when people come up with this new fake, where everything is haram, every form of having fun is haram. They are going directly against one of the most fundamental of this religion, which is it's supposed to make life easy for us. And these individuals are making life very difficult for us. So we have to educate people. We have to educate people so that the religion is easier for the next generation to practice. Because what's happened is many people in our generation who were raised with a strict, overly strict everything is haram version of Islam. Many

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of these people left Islam, or they stopped practicing Islam and just remained Muslims by name. They were chased away from the religion they were put off from the religion and religious people. You know, we have a society today where some Muslims are so scary, so strict, so mean, so harsh, so rough, so judgmental, that they make Islam look like this burdensome, scary, harsh religion that you'll never be good enough for. And because of them, many other people run away from Islam. But the reality is, this is not Islam. This is not what Islam teaches. This is not the Islam of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. In the early Muslims, they were far more relaxed, far more easygoing,

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far more understanding, and they allowed people to live normal lives, the time of Rasulullah Salallahu Salam at the sahaba. At the OMA years in the passage, the average Muslim would pray the Salah, they would make sure the business is halal. They would take care of their families, but they would go to work, they would have fun, they would hang out to their friends at the coffee shop. You know, once coffee was invented, they would, you know, play board games with their friends, they would do something fun with their families

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was far more chilled, far more chilled than the Islam that we have today. And so that's the lesson I want you to take from this. Islam is not the strict scary burdensome. Everything is haram mindset that some people have now that's the aim was understanding. Islam is what Allah has stated in the Quran. And what Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he Sahaba headstone had shown us in the example and I hope that this helps you to understand that better. So let's take this and teach this to our people and make this the dominant understanding of Islam in our times.