And who was it who said Inna minal bayaani la-sihraa? My paraphrase: Surely, some forms of expression can be like magic. And he – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – surely introduced humanity to the two highest forms of expression and fun: the Qur’an and the Hadith.
What power! What beauty! What charm! And what fun!
And what a wonderful and blessed miracle!
Nature of Fun in Islam
What most people do not understand is that fun is a product mostly of the mind and not really of the body — even though some rigid Pavlov-Watson-Skinner-type behaviorists may dispute that.
To them, it is all a simple neurochemical activation of the selected parts of the human cortex – in the brain. To me, it is a more complex and elevated state of the mind – or of the soul or of the spirit, if you will, depending on the type of fun you are having.
And to me the two are mutually reinforcing and not exclusive: the body and the mind.
What many people may not realize, however, is that the fun Islam offers is clean, good, healthy, noble, decent, constructive fun. It is fun that is altogether “spiritual,” even when it appears to be most physically and corporeally based.
It is an amazing lift; it is a burst of energy and excitement; it is a flare of radiance and power; it is a soaring, scintillating, soothing experience, all at the same time, that your mind and your soul get; and it is something you are hardly able to put in words when you are having the kind of fun Islam gives you.
A Perspective from the Bible
Listen to what the Bible has to say about that indescribable state of psychological elevation and spiritual high – about that ineffable experience of pure fun.
“They are drunken,” says the Bible. “But not with wine.”
“They stagger,” says the Bible. “But not with strong drink.”
This is the Bible talking! So, what giddiness was it that swept them, even though they had touched no wine and consumed no liquor?
It is a familiar feeling to those who have allowed themselves to be totally absorbed in the Qur’an – on those occasions when the Qur’an calls you and connects with you. You are laughing and crying all at the same time. You feel the most wonderful you ever felt even as tears are streaming down your cheeks.
What a state to be in! And what fun!
And what a miracle from God Almighty!
When Your Eyes First Locked on the Ka’abah
Remember the day you first went to Hajj or Umrah? Those of you whom Allah blessed with that experience?
Remember how you were walking toward the Haram Sharif from wherever you were, wrapped in your Ihraam and saying all the prayers and chants you could think of? Your eyes were all over the horizon and you had no idea what lay under your feet. And then suddenly there it was, right in front of you, filling the sky and filling your eyes – and filling your soul.
The Ka’abah! Big, black and beautiful beyond words.
Your eyes locked on it and wouldn’t let go. And all of a sudden all consciousness was drained out of you and you knew and felt nothing except this incredible black beauty looming before your eyes.
Can you put in words your feelings at that time? Would you want to exchange that feeling, and that experience, for something a bit more “fun”? For something a bit more exciting or soothing or rewarding in this world?
Well, that is the kind of fun Islam offers those whose hearts have been lit up by its eternal flame – those whom God Almighty has pulled out from all kinds of “darknesses” into his own divine light.
As Allah himself says in the Qur’an: Yukhrijuhum minaz zulumaati ilannoor. Paraphrase: God Almighty brings them out of layers upon layers of different kinds and levels of darkness into light.
And as he also says in the same, beautiful, noble and incomparable Qur’an: Allahu noorus samaawaati wal ard. Paraphrase: God Almighty indeed is the light of heavens and earth.
At the Grave of Sayyidina Muhammad,
Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam
And how about those who have stood facing the grave of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, for the first time – or for the fifteenth time for that matter? Why don’t you ask them to describe their experience to you and then see what they have to say?
Ask them if they would like to relive that moment again. Ask them if they would like to exchange it for something else.
If you were ever there and if you ever lived that moment, you know what happened that day. And it is still vivid in your mind, as if it had happened only yesterday. There was no conscious thought; there was no visible speech. Instead, there was only a torrential downpour of silent tears. And there was, inside your heart, a churning ocean of emotions that can neither be named, nor described nor duplicated.
That one moment was worth a lifetime’s wait, was it not? Call it bliss, call it joy, or call it what you will, but it was probably the most “fun” you ever had or could have in this world all your life, wouldn’t you say?
Who Was It that Took All Fun Out of Life?
So who took out all fun from life – and deprived us of all the beautiful things with which Allah packed this world when he prepared it as a very special habitation for a very special person: the human being?
Here are the direct words of the Qur’an on the subject: Qul man harrama zeenatallahillatee akhraja li-ibaadih?
As for a paraphrase of what those words mean, I have already given it in the previous paragraph.