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Permissible Entertainment in Islam


Islam is not just a set of rituals but a complete code of life. It provides guidance on every aspect of a believer’s life. Islamic teachings encourage the believers to adopt a natural way of life. It is natural for individuals to feel dull and tired after a busy day or week at work or school. We all need to unwind and rejuvenate after working hard for a long time. Islam recognises the need to feel refreshed to start another activity with renewed energy and motivation. In today’s world, the need for entertainment is affected by the extravagant demands set by society. The believers need to educate themselves on the permissible means of entertainment in current circumstances.

The Prophet’s (PBUH) Example

There are various forms of entertainment the believers can take from the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). A study of his life and his interactions with children and family members highlights the importance of recreation in Islam. According to many reports, the Prophet (PBUH) used to spend pleasant time with his family. He used to joke with his wives and have a light-hearted chat in his free time. There are hadiths mentioning the occasions when the Prophet (PBUH) had a race with Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her). Similarly, the companions have narrated how the Prophet (PBUH) treated his grandsons and other children in the street and made them happy by racing or playing with them.

The above examples emphasise the importance of spending quality time with one’s family and spreading kindness at the same time. This is crucial for building good relationships, which contribute to an individual’s happiness and well-being in return.

Halah Entertainment in Islam

The believers need to understand the concept of Islam and entertainment in depth. Being a natural faith, Islam encourages recreation that leads to a healthy body and mind. There are many forms of entertainment that are permissible in Islam, some of which are discussed below.

Roleplay Amongst Children:

A’ishah (R.A.) narrated the following hadith regarding playing with dolls.

“I used to play with dolls in the house of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I had friends who would play with me, but when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came in, they would hide themselves from him, but the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would call them to play with me.” [Bukhari 6130]

The above narration tells us that children’s role-play should be encouraged. This type of play is known for fostering social skills, the use of imagination and the development of other creative skills.

Sports as a Form of Recreation:

Participating in different sports is a healthy form of entertainment and a good way of staying fit. There are some recommended sports as well. Spending time building one’s strength by swimming, horse riding, and racing is recommended in Islam. It is narrated from the Prophet (PBUH) that he said:

“Everything in which there is no remembrance of Allah is idle play, except four things: a man playing with his wife; a man training his horse; a man running between two lines (as in a race); and a man learning how to swim .” [An-Nasai]

There are other sports, like wrestling, archery, and fencing, that are commendable and advisable for Muslims. It is likely that the companions would have practised these because of numerous benefits and the need to learn warfare skills at the time.  It is also reported in a hadith of Abu Dawud (4078) that the Prophet (PBUH) wrestled with a companion and brought him to the ground. In another hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

 “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good.”  [Muslim 2664]

Social and Outdoor Activities:

Nature walks, cycling, eating out, and permissible social gatherings are other forms of Halal entertainment in Islam. A refreshing walk in a beautiful garden or near a lake is a great way of energising our bodies. Similarly, going out with good friends for a meal or a chat within the prescribed limits of faith is sometimes required to blow the cobwebs away. Numerous recreational activities are allowed as long as they are done within the injunctions of the faith. This applies to get-togethers and family meetups, which should be free of alcohol, forbidden music and intermingling.

Nasheeds and Poetry:

Arabs at the time of the Prophet (PBUH) used to have a great appreciation of poetry. There are reports from many companions that they composed poems on occasions that emotionally affected them. Hassan ibn Thabit was a famous poet companion of the Prophet (PBUH). It was also traditional at the time to compete in verses on the battlefield, particularly at the start of a duel.

There is another example of entertainment through poetry from the Prophet’s (PBUH) life on the occasion of Eid. It is reported that two young girls were singing or reciting poems about a past battle in the house of Aishah, where the Prophet (PBUH) was resting. The Prophet (PBUH) did not stop the girls but rather gave the following answer to Abu Bakar (R.A.), who was astonished to see this.

“Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr, for every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid, the people of Islam.”

Reading and Games:

Reading books and playing games that do not involve excessive waste of time and inappropriate graphics are also legitimate means of entertainment. Reading is a great hobby that paves the way for other useful skills, such as comprehension and writing. Apart from that, games have become a big part of today’s world. If chosen wisely, these can be included in healthy entertainment activities for both children and adults. Parents can play some games with children to nurture strong bonds and teach kids how to play games safely.

While it’s important to unwind and make use of entertainment, Muslims are still required to fulfil their obligation to Allah (SWT) by donating to charity accordingly. Muslim Aid receives your donations to a number of causes and puts them towards helping those in need. 

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