On laughter festivals and women’s hair attachments II

“O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames…

Brethren, a review of Arabs and Muslim history across times and climes shows that those who came after the Prophet sought to balance between merry-making and life full of grit and toil; they strove to evolve a balance between the affairs of the state and the needs of the soul. Arab literati and historians have even argued that “humor is a form of natural relaxation”. I equally recall that there would not have been what is known as the Arabian Nights or a Thousand and One Night of the Abbasid period were it not for the opportunity the nights afforded the Caliphs and the coterie of their followers to indulge in play, merrymaking and laughter.

Now while the above is true in Arab-Islamic history, I do not however know of an instance in the annals of Islam when indulgence in obscenities and falsehood became an important condiment in the “kitchen” of jokes and pun; Today, stand-up comedians fabricate jokes from the unreal, from the surreal; they market falsehood and blatant lies; they talk of sex and sexual relations with reckless abandon. In fact, the more the lies and the falsehood they “fabricate”, the more popular they become. For you and me, for those whose main reference in life is the Quran as Islam and Islam as the Quran, stand-up comedies, given the above instances become highly contradictory to Islamic ethics. I remember the tradition: “Woe to the one who speaks and tells lies in order to make the people laugh; woe to him, woe to him.”

But that is not all. There are issues too with the excessive laugher which the audience in these shows often have to indulge in. The comedian in these shows would not be deemed to have “delivered” and succeeded, unless and until the audience laugh and laugh until tears begin to cascade their cheeks. A stand-up comedy show in which the audience has not experienced cataplexy and unwanted elation is usually deemed not to have served its purpose. When you attend stand-up comedy shows, be prepared to piss in your trousers from excessive laughter.

During the show which I referenced during our sermon last week, an American female comedian was invited to the podium. As expected she did “the lines” she had prepared for the event. However, just before she left the stage, she threw some puns and sarcastic statements at the Nigerian female members of the audience. “You know I am an American”, she started. “Aside from my make-up, every other thing in me is natural. I do not have fake attachments on my head; I do not have fake artificial eyelashes on my eyelids…”.

When she made those statements, I immediately remembered the unfortunate incident of the death of a Muslim female Corp member a couple of years back. We were told that when it was time for the ritual birth to be performed for her, attempts were made to untie the attachments she had fixed to her hair before her demise. In the process, scalps of her head began to peel together with the strands of the attachments. The ritual birth soon became an experience in blood stains and stench. All efforts to make her journey to the hereafter as clean as possible became an inglorious pastime.

Brethren, why do our women hold tenaciously to the opinion that until they appear like white women, their beauty would be incomplete in comparison to the other? Why do our women continue to think that until they attach extra- artificial hairs to their eyelids, their femininity would suffer diminution?

The mother of the faithfuls, Sayyida A’isha (may He be pleased with her) once said that an Ansari girl who had been married became sick. She eventually lost almost all her hair. Members of her family and friends later decided to join her hair with false hair, so they asked the Messenger of the Almighty for his opinion. The Prophet is reported to have said: “The Almighty has cursed the woman who joins her or someone else’s hair with the hair of another man or woman) and the woman who asks for her hair to be joined with the hair of another.” When I chanced upon this, I asked my wife: “exactly where do they get these attachments?”. Her response was frightening. She said attachments are usually sourced from animals and dead bodies of women. She also said that some people do sell part of their hairs particularly those who are exceptionally endowed and blessed with hair among women. Nothing sells best and faster than the sacred, now I know. When I heard this, I immediately remembered yet another product of the “modern” world -sperm banks and sperm markets particularly in United States of America. Perhaps this should be for another sermon.

Let us bear it in mind that there is a unanimous agreement of scholars on the impermissibility of the use attachments to the hair except where there is a valid and legal basis for such. Remember yet another tradition in which the Prophet invokes the wrath on the Wasilah and the Mutawasilah (the hairdresser that adds the hair and the lady who asks for it.) While it is true that some other scholars have argued that attachments which come from ordinary wool, not from animals or human beings are permitted, the challenge is that nowadays the barrier between the lawful and the unlawful is no more clear for all to see. Leave that which you are in doubt, so says the Prophet, for that which you are not.

Ask that sister of mine: “exactly what extra beauty do the artificial eyelashes add to your femininity and for who and in whose name are these desecrations of the human body being carried out?”
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