The Prophet’s Good Humor

attitudeThe world we live is not a piece of cake.  Challenges in our lives, whether at work, school or home, respectively, can sometimes burden us or weigh us down.  Enhancing one’s spiritual and physical health help, but just as important is having a healthy sense of humor about things that may occur in our lives.  The ability to laugh things off and laugh at ourselves is important.   This post will narrate a humorous event from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him).

One of the beloved companions of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) was Al-Nuayman ibn Amr (May Allah be pleased with him).  You can read more about Al-Nuayman ibn Amr here and here.  Nuayman was a decorated veteran of the Battle of Badr, Uhud, and Khandaq, among other military engagements, yet retained a light sense of humor about him and enjoyed playing practical jokes on his friends.

As stated on Wikipedia:

He belonged to the Banu an-Najjar of Madinah and he was among the early Muslims of the city. He was one of those who pledged allegiance to the Prophet at the Second Pledge of Aqabah. He established links with the Quraysh when he married the sister of Abdur Rahman ibn Awl and later Umm Kulthum the daughter of Uqbah ibn Mu’ayt. She had obtained a divorce from her husband az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam on account of his harshness and severity.

Once an-Nuayman went to the suq and saw some food being sold which appeared to be tasty and delightful. He ordered some and sent it to the Prophet as if it were a gift from him. The Prophet was delighted with the food and he and his family ate of it. The vendor of the food then came to an-Nuayman to collect the price of it and an-Nuayman said to him: “Go to the Messenger of God it was for him. He and his family ate it.”

The vendor went to the Prophet who in turn asked an-Nuayman: “Didn’t you give it to me?” “Yes,” said an-Nuayman. “I thought you would like it and I wanted you to eat some of it so I had it presented to you. But I don’t have any dirhams to pay the vendor for it. So, pay, O Messenger of God!”

The Prophet had a good laugh and so did his companions. The laugh was at his expense, literally, for he had to pay the price of the unsolicited gift. An-Nuayman felt that two benefits came out of the incident: the Prophet and his family ate food that they enjoyed and the Muslims had a good laugh.

This narration displays the blessed humor of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) and his forebearing and generous spirit (al-haleem and al-kareem).

If it was someone other than the noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him), they would have most probably handled it differently.  Imagine someone sends you a delicious meal and tells you its a gift for you and your family.  You enjoy it, but afterwards are asked to pay a bill for what was supposedly a gift.  How would you handle it?  Would you get upset that someone played a trick on you?  Or would you handle it differently?

Many people would have reacted angrily, and probably have been right.  However, that is not how our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) handled it.  When the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) found out from Nuayman (May Allah be pleased with him) that he “wanted [the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) to eat some of it … [but didn’t] have any dirhams to pay the vendor for it,” the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) had what would be considered a wonderful sense of humor by any honest and objective standard.

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Instead of getting upset, the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Himresponded with laughter, good spirits and mirth.  He recognized that Nuayman was well-intentioned and was motivated out of love for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him).  The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him) didn’t leave Nuayman empty, but full.

Muslims and non-Muslims alike can learn from the character of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him).  Its good to smile.  Its good to laugh at the appropriate times.  Its good to overlook the minor stuff, and in the grand scheme of life many issues we perceive as big problems are in actuality minor.  The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Himlaughed and smiled.  We should laugh and smile too.  It’s the Islamic tradition.

 

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