With Islam being a strict religion one could be forgiven for thinking that Muslims are stony-faced people with no sense of humor, ready to condemn any action they consider evil, actions that non-Muslims will probably dismiss as nothing to worry about or may even find amusing. It comes down to what the humor itself. People laugh at different things depending on their own sense of humor, this includes Muslims and other religious people. So yes, humor is allowed in Islam as long as it doesn’t conflict with the teachings of the Quran and Hadith. Here are some examples of humor that would be considered harram (not allowed).
Making fun of someone might seem funny to the masses who share such content on social media but is forbidden in Islam, especially when the content applies to religious figures such as God, Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). People who laugh at this kind of mockery see it as a harmless joke and wonder why religious people don’t see the funny side. We saw the anger of the Muslims when two publications thought it would be funny to print mocking pictures of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) such as the one with him having a bomb in his turban.
Non-Religious and less-dedicated religious people can’t understand the love religious people have for God and his Prophets, why they would care for someone they’ve never met and who lived hundreds of years ago. When people don’t understand something they see no harm in mocking it. We need to remember that making fun of someone can be offensive to that person even if it seems like a joke to us. Some people pretend not to be offended as they are worried that the mockery will continue. There are verses in the Quran regarding mockery as harram so it is best avoided.
Telling jokes and funny stories are all right as long as they are not offensive or blue and especially not mocking anybody.
I own up to be one of the many people who has fallen for the old “Long Stand” prank which left me very angry with the friend who played it on me. The joke where someone sends you to a supply store at work to ask for a “long stand” and you end up standing there for a long time until you realize you’ve been tricked. Young men starting work for the first time have often been the target of supply store pranks where they have been asked to collect such things as: a glass hammer or tartan paint.
Some people are gullible and become regular targets for pranksters who only see it as a bit of fun. They don’t stop to consider how their victims feel when they have been tricked yet again. The prankster also likes an audience to witness the prank as well as telling other people how they fooled their intended victim, which can lead to mass humiliation that can haunt the victim’s mind for years to come.
Winding someone up involves saying or doing something that causes the victim negative emotions such as anger, irritation or panic. Wind ups are often seen as pranks or jokes, and supposedly harmless by the deliverer.
The victim is deceived into believing something terrible which causes the negative emotion until the deliverer confesses it was a joke. If all goes well the victim sees the funny side of it, if not they are left upset and plotting their own wind up as revenge.
The prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Do not lie – even in jest”. He also said: “I may joke but I always tell the truth”. This applies to wind ups as they involve lying to the victim, even if you call it a joke after it’s finished. Acts of lies and deceit are strictly forbidden in Islam.
As long as the humorous action is not considered a bad deed or offensive in any way to others then there is no reason why Muslims cannot enjoy some form of humor.