As a person who has grown up a Muslim, I don’t understand why this question may come up for some people; can Muslims have fun and joy?
Before anything, Muslims are human beings with the same needs that all human beings have, such as eating, sleeping, working, earning money for a living and enjoying their life. It is after having all these primary needs that they choose to follow a specific framework in their life; Islamic lifestyle.
As far as I have observed and studied the issue of fun, entertainment, and joy in non-Muslim cultures, it is usually based on weekends at bars or nightclubs, spending all time gossiping, chattering or dancing and coming home drunk and tired.
Or some families go out for a family meal at a restaurant. Some may go on a picnic or camping in nature. Some families plan parties at home with friends or relatives.
Another activity which is called fun in non-Muslim cultures is having fun and spending time with the opposite sex. Some youth would like to have their personal vehicles to play their favorite music tracks and hang around with friends in their cars. Staying home and watching movies or playing video games is also another form of entertainment.
Now, let’s see what the status of fun and entertainment is in the Islamic lifestyle! And what the difference between Islamic and non-Islamic lifestyle is.
There are many verses in the holy Quran that mention this worldly life is nothing but play and diversion [i]. But does it mean that we have to take this life as fun and entertainment? Of course not. The aim of calling this worldly life as play and diversion is to draw our attention towards a more important lifestyle: a useful lifestyle that guides us towards success in this world and the afterlife. Allah says in the Quran:
“Leave alone those who take their religion for play and diversion and whom the life of this world has deceived …” (6: 70).
Therefore this world should not entertain us so much that we forget why we have come to Earth, where we are going after death, and what the whole goal of living in this world is.
Talking about the goal of life does not mean that Muslims should spend all their time working and praying. There are many narrations that recommend Muslims to divide their day into four parts. Imam Reza (AS) says: “try to divide your day into four parts; one part for praying and communicating with your Lord, one part for earning lawful (Halal) money for a living, one part to communicate with your religious brothers who will help you know your deficiencies, and a part to entertain your soul with lawful pleasure, and in the fourth part you will gain liveliness to fulfill other three duties.” 
Therefore Muslims should set aside a part of their time to have fun, rest and have lawful (Halal) pleasure, as well as spend some considerable time with their family, talking to children to find out if they have any issues, reading different books and keeping themselves up to date. Specifying some time to pleasure and entertainment helps people have a more organized plan to fulfill their duties.
Muslims should plan their lives in a way that they would find no spare time. Spare time makes people feel useless, and then they would try to find some ways to get rid of those times. That is usually where aimless entertainment enters one’s life.
Allah says in the Quran: “So when you are done, appoint,” (94: 7), that in some interpretations means when you finish one task, you have to start a new one.
That new task might be planned as having fun, of which I will bring some examples later on in this article. So, it is important that Muslims plan their lives in a way that they find no spare or unused time in their day.
The most important point in having fun from the Islamic point of view is that one should choose a sort of entertainment that does not harm one’s self and others.
So if you have a careful look into the Quranic verses that name some kinds of pleasure forbidden, you can realize that those may lead into harm for the person him/herself and people around him/her.
Therefore, any entertainment in which people use drugs or alcohol, such as parties in which alcohol or drugs are used, or even nightclubs and bars that are the exact places for these kinds of entertainment are totally rejected in Islamic lifestyle.
Also, any Entertainment related to gambling is forbidden (Haram), simply because in gambling there is harm for at least one person. Also, all kinds of entertainment that divert our attention from a Godly life are forbidden (Haram).
The type of entertainment that a Muslim chooses should not be against the laws of Islam such as modesty. A Muslim should not have an aimless pleasure and as mentioned in the Quran; “Indeed Allah does not like the boasters.” (28:76)
The least usefulness that a form of entertainment should have for a Muslim is to refresh his/ her soul and to strengthen his/ her body.
See the second part: What is Lawful (Halal) Fun?
[i]“The life of the world is nothing but play and diversion, and the abode of the Hereafter is surely better for those who are God-wary…” (6:32)
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol.75, p.346
Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world, with many apparent similarities between their beliefs. However, there is a crucial difference among some sects of Christianity and Islam, which is the question of the divinity of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Christianity is usually regarded as a Monotheistic religion, some of its denominations, though, hold that Jesus (PBUH) is a part of Trinity and is God. But Muslims believe Jesus (PBUH) is a human being. They love prophet Jesus (PBUH) and honor him as one of the greatest prophets, yet for them, Jesus (PBUH) is not God nor the son of God.
According to the verses of the Quran and what Muslims believe, God is One and unique in essence, attributes and actions, and is not like any of His creatures. So having a child, which is the reproduction of a similar one, is impossible for Him. “The originator of the heavens and the earth—how could He have a child when He has had no spouse? He created all things, and He has knowledge of all things” (6:101).
From the Islamic perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to consider human form for Allah. This is also acknowledged in the bible as Jesus (PBUH) said once when he was among his followers: “You have never heard His voice at any time nor seen His form” John (5:37).
Muslims believe Jesus (PBUH) was created just as Adam (PBUH) was created without a father. And that his life as a human began miraculously by Allah just as He created Adam (PBUH) the first time. If Jesus Christ (PBUH) was God, then how could he be born of his mother, Saint Mary? Or how could he die in the hands of humans? Also, if God could take human form, wouldn’t there need to be another God to run the universe? These ideas are explicitly rejected in the holy Quran: “There is no god but Allah, and indeed Allah is the All-mighty, the All-wise” (3:62)
We, human beings, need to have children for various reasons. We would satisfy many of our desires, having them, like our sensual or emotional needs. Some of us might want to have one to assist us with our works and needs. Some might seek a name after death, etc. None of these, however, would make any sense about Allah, who is the Creator of the universe, the All-mighty and the All-sufficient: “O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah—He is the All-sufficient” (35:15).
The other reason that proves Jesus Christ (PBUH) is not God or the son of Him is that he was a human being with all human attributes and requirements. He was in his mother’s womb for some time; he was born; he would eat, drink and sleep and was nothing different from all other human beings except that he was the messenger of Allah: “The Messiah, son of Mary, is but an apostle. Certainly, [other] apostles have passed before him, and his mother was a truthful one. Both of them would eat food. Look how We clarify the signs for them, and yet, look, how they go astray!” (5:75).
More importantly, Jesus Christ (PBUH) himself never claimed that he is a God and has to be worshipped. In fact, he said the contrary in Mathew (15:9): “They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Or, in Numbers (23:19), he said: “God is not man… or a son of man”. In many other verses, he admitted that he was only an apostle of God, not God, nor the son of Him, and there is only one true God: “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only TRUE God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” John (17:3).
You see, there are serious contradictions and misconceptions between different verses of the New Testament and also what Christians believe about Prophet Jesus (PBUH). But what the holy Quran suggests is clear: “Say, ‘He is Allah, the One. Allah is the All-embracing. He neither begat, nor was begotten, nor has He any equal.’” (112:1-4) And that Jesus (PBUH) was a prophet, born without a father, just as Adam and Eve were born without parents. Miracles were given to him by Allah to convince people that Allah, the only true God exists.
Medicine is one of the well-respected fields of science in the holy religion of Islam, to the extent that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) mentioned it along with theological studies as two main branches of knowledge . However, as in any branch of practical science, there are specific moral codes that Islam obliges people who are involved in them to observe.
Accordingly, a Muslim doctor is not only concerned with his/her patient’s bodily health but also is responsible for his/her spiritual side. This is where doctors need medical ethics in their profession to fulfill their job satisfactorily both for themselves and patients, which ultimately brings with it God’s satisfaction and contentment.
The first and foremost responsibility of doctors is to find a cure -if there is any- as fast as possible and to put the needs of their patients above their financial concerns. Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “the one who avoids curing the injury of an injured person, would be associated with the one who caused the injury. Since the injurer intentionally harmed the wounded person, and the one who avoided his/her treatment did not intend to cure him, thus he/she intended his/her destruction” . In other words, if a doctor neglects his responsibility and does not make enough effort to help the patient, he would be the cause of any harm that inflicts on him/her.
In their decision-making also, doctors should follow the codes of ethics. First of all, they should consider the patient’s opinion and then try to offer the best option to him/her, being always observant of his/her wellbeing and satisfaction. Islamic rules and regulations should play an essential part in the decision that doctors make - e.g., in the case of child abortion, euthanasia, etc. Moreover, they should try to be as kind and tolerant as possible toward their patients; the disease is severe enough for patients to make them anxious, add an impatient and rude doctor to that and imagine how they might feel.
Being a doctor, according to Islam, is not only a religious responsibility but also a social and humane necessity and a moral obligation . Therefore, a doctor should do his best to fulfill all those duties and should not be content with the mere financial benefits of the work or the social position that might be attached to his/her job.
Finally, the most important characteristic of an ethical work is to gain Allah’s satisfaction; in other words, if a person did something and his intention in doing it was God’s contentment and not financial matters and earning more money, the given effort would be worthy to be called ethical .
While a Muslim doctor believes in his/her power in curing the patients, he/she knows that the ultimate healer and decision-maker is Allah and all he/she does is in line with His will.
- Bihar ulanvar. Vol. I, p 220.
- Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi (The Sufficient Book). Vol.VIII. Tehran, Masjed Publication, p 345.
- Morteza Ameli, Medical Etiquettes in Islam, Jame’e Modaressin Qom publication, p 59.
- Morteza Mottahari, Taalim va Tarbiat dar Islam (Teaching and Education in Islam), Sadra publication, 23rd ed. p71.