Q) I have a muslim student in my class at university and he never comes and sits with us nor does he come out to the night club/leisure with us. My question is why does islam teach people not to enjoy them selves and be miserable all the time? cheers.
A) Praise be to Allaah.
The idea of your writing to an Islamic website is a good idea in and of itself, which shows that you are on the right path of asking about what you want to know. You have done well by doing so, and we are enjoined to commend the one who does well, and to praise his actions if they are good.
For our part, we are happy to answer your questions and queries, not only about this matter, but about everything that you want to know about this religion, or everything that you think you should know.
We would like you to pay attention to what we are going to tell you, and we are sure that you are not just asking for fun, or to impugn the rulings of the Islamic faith. We think that you are only asking because you want to know more.
We would like to answer your question by making a few points, and we think that you are able to understand what we are saying.
What would you think if a woman came to offer you condolences for the death of a relative of yours, wearing a swimsuit? Would you accept that? We think that the answer would be no, it is not acceptable, because the occasion requires the one who comes offering condolences to wear clothes that suit the occasion, doesn’t it? The question is: what is it that has restricted this person’s freedom of dress and requires him to wear one type of clothing and not another? It is customs and traditions, is it not? So one is not free to do whatever one wants in all circumstances, rather custom sometimes prevents a person from doing something and puts some limits on his freedom.
What would you think if a person was eating with you at the same table, and during the meal he burped? Would you accept that from him? We think that the answer will be no, this behaviour is not acceptable, because this action is contrary to good table manners, is it not?
Question: What is it that limits the freedom of this person and prevents him from doing this action whilst eating? It is good taste and manners, is it not? So a person is not free to do whatever he wants whilst eating food with others, such as burping, sticking his fingers up his nose and so on, because good taste requires certain things from him, and prevents him from doing others.
What do you think if a driver drives his car opposite to the flow of traffic, or parks in a place where parking is not allowed? Would you accept that from him? We think that the answer will be no, those actions are not acceptable, because doing that is objectionable and unacceptable; the right to drive is not based on his whims, and not all places are good to park in, is that not so? Question: What is it that limited this driver’s freedom and prevents him from driving opposite to the flow of traffic and prevents him from parking in that spot? It is the law, is it not? So a person is not free even to drive his car however he wants or to park wherever he wants, because the law dictates that the traffic should go a certain way, and prevents parking in certain places.
So you can see that customs and traditions, good taste and the law all have some authority over people, by preventing them from doing certain things and obliging them to do others. So it is nothing strange that God or religion should have some authority over people. We see what our Lord or our religion forbid to us, and we refrain from it and regard it as prohibited. This is the issue in a nutshell. We think that you will understand that the prohibition of the Lord and of religion is more important than all the things we have mentioned, and it is more important to pay heed and refrain from those things, because He is the Creator Who has decreed that we should be His servants and we have accepted Him as our Lord, legislator and ruler.
What the Muslim student is ding by not going to the nightclub and not drinking alcohol – he is only doing that for the sake of Allaah Who has forbidden that to him.
Moreover, you are objecting to that Muslim student not going to the nightclub and not enjoying himself with you. We ask you: Are there any limits to this enjoyment or is it without limits? We will be more frank with you: Would you accept for your girlfriend among the female students to be the girlfriend of another student or a teacher? Would you accept for someone else to be intimate with her as you are? We know about a lot of the cases of murder that happen in secondary schools and colleges because of such actions. There is no need to answer us, because we have seen and heard and read about fights that often end in killing, and all of that is because of competing to win the heart of a female student. Is that not so? So what is the enjoyment that you are calling for? Why do you prohibit this kind of enjoyment to students or teachers who want be intimate with the same female student, and she may also want that?
If you go against sound human nature and the reality in which you live, and accept for other students to be intimate with the female student who you are in love with, would you agree for the same thing to happen with your wife? We hope that you will not be angered by this question, all we want to do is explain to you that there are contradictions in your society, whereby you call for fun and enjoyment, but you limit it to things that have to do with yourselves and your whims and desires, and if a Muslim refuses to do that because of his religion, he is made a laughing stock and criticized. Moreover, there is a reference to a similar question in our religion. Do you know what that is? A young man came to our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and asked him for permission to commit fornication. Yes, he asked for permission to commit fornication with the daughters and womenfolk of other people. Do you know what our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him? He said to him: “Would you accept it for your mother? Would you accept it for your sister? Would you accept it for your daughter?” and each time the young man said no, that he would not accept for anyone to commit fornication with his mother, sister or daughter, and each time the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: “And by the same token, people do not accept it for their mothers, sisters or daughters.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed for him, and when he left him, fornication was the most hateful of deeds in his mind.
You are calling this Muslim to have fun, and we have asked a logical question: Would you accept for him to be intimate with your girlfriend whom you love? Would you accept for him to be intimate with your wife? Would you accept for him to be intimate with your daughter? We are quite certain that the incidents where unfaithful wives are killed happen because of the sound human nature that God has created in all people, whereby people refuse that and denounce it strongly, even if that leads to killing her or killing her and her lover, even if the end result is life imprisonment or execution. An unfaithful girlfriend is definitely not like an unfaithful wife, but even boyfriends do not accept for their girlfriends to be available to all people.
Islam brought rulings that are well-founded and most wise; they are in the best interests of individuals, societies and states. When Islam forbade sexual relations outside the framework of marriage, the aim was so that societies would be pure in heart and body. It is sufficient for you to know the huge numbers of those who are affected by sexually transmitted diseases which are caused by sinful and perverse relationships, concerning the prohibition of which there should be no difference among various religions. How many victims of AIDS are there? How many have been infected? How do those of them who have not died live? It is a wretched life and a terrible death that a person leads himself to when he pays with his life for a few moments of pleasure. Islam brought that which protects the Muslim’s religious commitment, heart and body, so the Muslim refuses to do haraam (forbidden) things and is content with that which Allaah has decreed for him, for He knows best what is in the best interests of people.
You should note that there is nothing in this world to feel regret for missing out on. For the Muslim, this world is a prison, and his Paradise and true enjoyment are in the Hereafter. As for the disbeliever, his paradise is in this world only, where he enjoys its delights, then his ultimate fate will be humiliation and loss.
Our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that when he said: “This world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the kaafir.” Narrated by Muslim (2956).
Our scholars explained it to us as follows:
Every believer who is imprisoned in this world and deprived of forbidden and abhorrent whims and desires is obliged to do difficult acts of obedience, but when he dies he will be relieved of that, and he will attain what Allaah has prepared for him of eternal delights and complete serenity that is not disturbed by anything.
As for the kaafir (disbeliever), he has whatever he gets of that in this world, although it is very little and it is disturbed by many problems and distresses, but when he dies, he will end up in eternal torment and misery.
Sharh al-Nawawi (18/93).
We hope that you will think about this matter and we hope that it will be the key that opens your heart to the truth.
Who told you that there is no enjoyment in Islam? We do enjoy ourselves, but it is with what Allaah has permitted to us. We enjoy much more than you enjoy – and think it is enjoyment – because there is no enjoyment in a haraam thing, rather true enjoyment is in permissible things. Sin is followed by a sense of regret, and the one who does it can never be happy. Look at your own situation to see the truth of this.
If you enjoy intimacy with one wife, we can enjoy intimacy with four wives. What is the matter with your people who denounce us night and day and insult our religion for allowing us this pleasure?
We enjoy life with our sons and daughters, hence you will see that Muslim families are large and have many children. What kind of enjoyment do you have in this respect?
We enjoy the love of our mothers and fathers. Do you know the reality of the relationship of one of you with his mother and father?
We enjoy delicious, permissible food, and we enjoy delicious permissible drinks, and the same may be said about many other aspects of life. What matters is that Allaah has permitted it to us and allowed us to enjoy it.
It is sufficient for us that we are happy and enjoy that to which Allaah has guided us, which is that we should follow the right path with which Allaah is pleased, and which was followed by the noble Prophets before us. This is the happiness of which millions of people are deprived, who accept for themselves to worship rocks or idols, or humans like them. Allaah has told us that the lives of these people will never be pleasant, and their hearts will never be at rest, because they have forsaken belief in the Oneness (Tawheed) of their Lord Who created them, and they have associated other gods with Him, so Allaah punishes them in this world with anxiety and He will punish them with constriction of their graves, then with the harshness of the gathering (on the Day of Judgement) and their ultimate fate will be Hell in which they will abide forever.
If you want to understand the truth of these words, then read the stories of those among your own people, or others, who entered Islam. Look at the great changes that occurred in their lives, and look at the great happiness that they enjoy now. This is the enjoyment that you should seek. Just as you call on us to have fun and enjoyment, we call you sincerely to come and find enjoyment with us, and follow the path of happiness, and taste true happiness that will be with you as you go to sleep and as you wake up, and will never leave you, until you enter your grave, until your Lord admits you to the abode of happiness, which is Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth.
We ask Allaah our Lord to guide you to knowledge of the truth, and not to cause you to die except in the religion with which He ended the divine messages.
And Allaah is the source of strength.