By Abbas Ali Khan Sial
Fun and entertainment are two words that resonate with all of us. A rising voice in Islamic societies in the 21st century is regarding the validation of entertainment in Islam as the issue of lack of availability and accessibility of ‘halal’ entertainment options arises. People often tend to question how they may enjoy themselves all the while upholding the values and essence of Islam. Islam talks about keeping a balance in every aspect of life, but people usually counter this problem in two ways; either they completely negate all worldly pleasures or they go for entertainment regardless of whether it is Islamic or un-Islamic. This, however, is not the solution and places the youth of today in a very precarious and confusing situation.
We also tend to think that to stay aligned with Islamic principles, we should abort enjoying ourselves and that having fun is un-Islamic or something that should be avoided at all times. This is not the case at all. There are a lot of Halal forms of entertainment that one can pursue all the while keeping away from un-Islamic practices. So here I have gathered a few of such forms that could help you cheer up when bored.
1) Making time for Family
One of the best forms of entertainment one could look forward to is to spend time with their family. There is no better feeling than recovering from a long day’s tiredness in the company of your loved ones. It is the most soothing form of relaxation, something which is joyous and rewarding at the same time, thus negating the prevalent misconception that Islam is against the pursuit of all forms of human pleasure, wanting us to live a dull and boring life.
Spending time with family is not only a great source of relief for an individual but also helps strengthen and unify the household by acting as a constant reminder of the presence and unwavering support of your loved ones. You can go home from a long tiring day of the semester, sit with your family for a while, talk about your day and listen to them about theirs with empathy. This way you can enrich the emotional bond you share with them. You can play some enjoyable games with them. For hostelites, it could be talking to their family over a phone call at the end of their day, calling their parents and sharing out loud all that they have had that day. It would help to deepen the love and trust, and also bring peace of mind on both sides. This would also relieve your family from worrying about you when you are miles apart.
There are many examples of this from Holy Prophet’s ? life; he played, joked and raced with his wives, they would tell him stories, and he would play with the children and make them laugh. The Holy Prophet ? said: “When a Muslim spends something on his family, intending to receive Allah’s reward, it is regarded as a charity for him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 5351) What can be more precious than your time? This highlights the importance of family life which seems to be diminishing in modern life.
2) Spending time with Friends:
Hanging out and having fun with friends is a very enjoyable activity; it includes eating out, going on trips or just having good conversations with your pals. Humans are social creatures and they enjoy being in a circle of people they connect to. But it is sometimes frowned upon thinking that it could lead us astray. So the question then becomes, is this act of recreation un-Islamic? Certainly not, as long we are in the right company and are not indulging in anything prohibited by Islam. Our company takes the utmost importance in this regard as it is something that shapes our actions to a colossal extent. Human thoughts tend to be very permeable; so in a good company, our friends could remind us to perform our prayers in between a captivating conversation, whereas in a bad company, they could make us watch a movie during obligatory prayer time. This is perfectly captured in Holy Prophet’s ? words which say, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so be careful whom you befriend”. (Jami? at-Tirmizi: 2378) So you should invest your time in choosing the right kind of friends. Other than that, there is nothing wrong with having a good time with your friends as long as they are concerned about upholding Islamic principles.
3) Playing Sports
Another very important source of entertainment endorsed by Islam is engaging in sports and other healthy physical activities. Physical sports enhance one’s skills of sustaining pressure, improve one’s reflexes, and also help in staying fit and active, thus preventing a person from becoming lazy and obese which has been disliked in Islam. Holy Prophet ? himself recommended or participated in sports like foot races, horse races, wrestling, swimming and archery. It comes in a hadith that a strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer. (Sahih Muslim: 2664) There is also a narration where Ai?sha (may Allah be pleased with her) says: “I competed with the Messenger of Allah (in running) and overtook him. Later, when I had put on some weight, I once again competed with him, but this time he overtook me and said: ‘We’re even now’.” This highlights the fact that there is nothing wrong with participating in sports. At LUMS, we have a lot of opportunities which we should make time for out of our packed schedules. We can go to the aquatic center, gym, or track for jogging. We may go for any other sport where we can enjoy on our own, have quality time with our own selves to renew our sense of autonomy and feel the freedom from worry. So the next time you want to go for a run in the park or play football with your friends, you shouldn’t think twice.
4) Listening to Nasheeds:
Many of us see music as fuel for the soul and can’t even think of leaving it despite knowing its confirmed prohibition in Islam. It has permeated our lives so much so that we cannot go a day without it. We listen to the same old songs on repeat while also feeling guilt sometimes for displeasing Allah SWT, but we do not see a way out. Thus the last form of entertainment that I want to discuss is the solution to this dilemma, i.e. listening to Nasheeds. This is something that can not only help you relax from your hectic schedule but can also become your first step towards leaving music. Nasheeds or Naats (poetry) without music or without effects that imitate music are allowed, but we should watch out that they don’t occupy all our time, make us heedless of Qur’an or make us miss our obligatory duties. So Nasheeds which are void of music can be used as an alternative to music, and then later we can move on to enjoying the recitation of Qur’an, as Qur’an recited in a nice, melodious voice has the effect of moving heartstrings. So now you have your perfect replacement for music that you can undertake without the fear of coming in the way of your religious duties.
Fun and entertainment cannot be separated from our lives. Running away from them would only make us go weary. There is no harm in employing ways for our recreation staying within the limits prescribed by Islam. So here, I have tried to point out some of them. Following them will Inshallah make you cheerful and help you enjoy life to the fullest without the fear of committing an evil deed.