SHAFAQNA- One thing me and the humans of this world like to do is laugh and joke. It is innate that we like to giggle and laugh to a point that we spend money to watch a comedy movie or a standup comedy show. This prevalent issue is pointed out in the traditions and sayings of the Ahl Al-Bayt (PBUT). In some cases they dispraise and criticize laughter and joking. For example, Imam Al-Sadiq (A.S) said: “Laughter causes loss of faith like the water dissolving the salt.” “Laughing for no reason is a sign of ignorance.” He also said: “Do not joke or quarrel with your friend. Jest is like abuse and the cause of hate and enmity.” He also said: “Do not expose your teeth in laughter when your bad deeds are there to put you to shame. You cannot prevent yourself from the onslaught of death!”(1)
Most scholars state that there are ways to hold on to both sayings and there is no contradiction between the two sides. This goes back to understanding what is the “bad” joking and the “good” joking. There are three certain ways of joking that are considered bad and they are the ones meant in the dispraising sayings.
2- Excessively joking as Imam Ali (A.S) stated “Excessively joking topples dignity.”(4)
3- If the joke was hurtful and disrespectful towards someone like in the Hadith we mentioned above.
At the end of the day it is like how Alama Al-Majlisi stated in Ain Al Hayat: “A mu’min will have gracefulness on his face even if he is sad at his heart. A person remaining morose all the time is not good. A Mu’min must keep a broad forehead, pleasant mien, and good nature. He should also have a good sense of humor. But all this should be in moderation.”
1. Ain-Al Hayat v2 p722. Ain Al-Hayat v2 p73
3. Mezan Al-Hikma v9 p 140
4. Mezan Al-Hikma no.18892