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April 19, 2014 | Jumada Al-Thani 18, 1435
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IslamiCity > Articles > Leisure and Sports in Madinah during the Prophet's Time
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Spending free time by practicing certain sports that entail no harm is strongly recommended by Islam, so that Muslims can keep fit and make their bodies healthy and sound. Once fit, the body is bound to contain a healthy mind too, and the cultivating of sound morals in it, then, becomes a less challenging proposition.

Leisure and Sports in Madinah during the Prophet's Time
1/7/2014 - Social Religious - Article Ref: IC1401-5651
Number of comments: 1
Opinion Summary: Agree:1  Disagree:0  Neutral:0
By: Dr. Spahic Omer
IslamiCity* -

Madinah's view form uhud Hill.

In Islam, people are not allowed to overtax their bodies. Since bodily energy has a limit, it cannot withstand long excessive pressure. Even excessive 'ibadah (worship) has been shunned for the same reasons. Whenever a person gets exhausted because of his work, study, or any other occupation which is aimed at fulfilling his needs and the needs of his family as well as the community (Ummah), he is to take a break and relax. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "... Your body too has its rights on you; your eyes too have their rights on you."

Spending free time by practicing certain sports that entail no harm is strongly recommended by Islam, so that Muslims can keep fit and make their bodies healthy and sound. Once fit, the body is bound to contain a healthy mind too, and the cultivating of sound morals in it, then, becomes a less challenging proposition. The Prophet (pbuh) said that children should be taught swimming, archery and horse-riding. He also said that a strong believer is better and more beloved by Allah than a weak one.

During the time of the Prophet (pbuh), the Muslims used to spend their leisure time at home, in private gardens, in mosques, and in some open and public areas in the city of Madinah. 

At home

In Islam, the best recreation is that which is a family affair where one spends his free time talking, joking, sporting and playing around with his household. Indeed, the best model to us in this regard is nobody else but the Prophet (pbuh). A'ishah, one of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh), said that while she was on a journey along with the Prophet (pbuh), she had a race with him and she outstripped him on her feet. However, later when she became somewhat fleshy, she again had a race with the Prophet (pbuh), but now he outstripped her. He said to her afterward: "This is for that outstripping."

Once a man called Aqra b. Habis presented himself before the Prophet (pbuh) who was playing with and kissing his grandson Hasan. The man was astonished to see this and said: "O Messenger of Allah, you also cuddle children. I have ten children, yet I have never shown any affection to them." The Prophet (pbuh) replied: "What can I do if Allah has deprived you of love and compassion." The Prophet (pbuh) also said that if a man plays with his wife, such is one of the best forms of amusement.

Indeed, this is one of the reasons why the house in Islam is recommended to be as spacious and comfortable as considered necessary for meeting all the family needs. There is nothing wrong in making a spacious and comfortable house for the sake of facilitating the attainment of some noble goals in it, while at the same time staying away from the influences of vice and sin. Admittedly, a big house can function better than a small one. The former's potential is a lot greater. The functions of a big house can easily be increased and diversified, something that is very difficult to achieve with a small house. It stands to reason that an excessive and unnecessary asceticism in housing, whereby the required performances of the house institution might be severely affected, is not recommended.

Moreover, that was one of the reasons, too, that dictated the proliferation of courtyards as an integral part of Islamic domestic architecture in most sections of the Muslim world, as soon as the pure Islamic architectural identity started to assert itself. Apart from all the technological and environmental advantages that courtyards could offer, they, in addition, warranted almost all the advantages desired to be enjoyed in a dwelling: they were the places for carrying out domestic works and errands, for manufacturing some products, for cooking, for keeping small domestic animals, for planting vegetables, flowers and trees, for both children and adults to play, for entertaining guests, for discussion and study, for safe and undisturbed day or night relaxation and retirement -- for both men and women -- away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, etc. 


Hence, the Prophet (pbuh) once said that of man's happiness are a good wife, a spacious house, a good neighbor, and a good mount. Similarly, he said that the house is where potentially both fortune and misfortune lie. Fortune lies inside the house when, along with a few other factors, it is spacious, and misfortune comes to the house when it is narrow. The Prophet (pbuh) himself prayed to God to forgive him, make his house more spacious and bless his sustenance. Once a companion Khalid b. al-Walid complained to the Prophet (pbuh) that his house was too small to accommodate his family and its needs. At this, the Prophet (pbuh) asked him to build more rooms on the roof of the existing house and to ask God for abundance.

At home, the people of Madinah used to conduct their favorite legitimate pastimes, play and sing during the two 'Ids (Festivals), have wedding celebrations, celebrate births, rejoice at the return of a traveler, socialize, etc. An atmosphere of joy and happiness was always intended to be thus generated, and very often by means of singing and playing, so as to comfort the soul, please the heart, and refresh the ear. 

A'ishah, one of the Prophet's wives, said that the Prophet (pbuh) came to her apartment during the 'Id Festival while two girls were singing beside her about a war which had taken place between the tribes Aws and Khazraj before Islam. On entering, the Prophet (pbuh) lied down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr, A'isha's father, came and spoke to A'ishah harshly, saying: "Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (pbuh)?" The Prophet (pbuh) turned his face towards him and politely said to leave them because it was a festive occasion ('Id). 

A'ishah also narrated that she once prepared a lady for a man from the Helpers (al-Ansar or the natives of Madinah) as his bride and the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Haven't you got any amusement (during the wedding ceremony) as the Helpers like amusement?"

When the Prophet (pbuh) returned from one of his military expeditions, a black slave-girl came to him telling him that she had made a vow if he returned safe and sound she would play a tambourine (daff) and sing in front of him. The Prophet (pbuh) replied: "If you had done so, then go ahead (play and sing), otherwise I would not let you do it." So, the woman played and sung until all of Abu Bakr, Ali b. Abi Talib, Uthman b. 'Affan and Umar b. al-Khattab entered the house. Umar b. al-Khattab was the last to enter and when he did the woman stopped playing and singing. Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) disclosed that even Satan is afraid of Umar, and that was the reason why the woman did not stop until he entered. 

Some people used to have cats and even birds as pets at home. A companion of the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Hurayrah, or "the kitten man", was so called because he was very fond of cats and often had a kitten to play with. The Prophet (pbuh) loved cats too. 

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