Conversation with Sidra on Islam and Chilin
By Memoona Ghani, Engage Minnesota
It is a general sentiment among people (Muslims and Non-Muslims) that Islam has no room for having fun. It is not true. Islam does allow having Halal (permissible) fun, but within some boundaries. There is no free pass to all things. And taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture shows that it all leads to good morals and ethics which leads us to become better people. Why do we worry about having fun anyways? The fact is we need a way to keep our minds and bodies healthy, a way to come alleviate the stress and a way to improve relationships.
The topic of Chilin is very important to kids, teenagers and young adults. I always wonder how does this particular category fit within the boundaries of religion or does such a boundary exist?
I recently attended a seminar on the rulings of having fun in Islam held by AlMaghrib institute. I know the name of the seminar might sound kind of heavy but yes there are rulings of Chilin in Islam, that some practicing Muslims adhere to. Instead of sharing my thoughts, I decided to chat with a teenager and listen to her thoughts after the lecture.
Sidra Islam attended different seminars offered by AlMaghrib, despite being in school and having studies and many activities. Here is her experience from the class, Fiqh of Chilin. The term Fiqh means Islamic judisprudence or rulings.
Memoona: Tell me a little about yourself.
Sidra: My name is Sidra Islam and I’m a fifteen year old American Muslim, born and raised in Minnesota.
Memoona: What did you do this weekend?
Sidra: This past weekend, I had just taken a class with Al Maghrib. My family and I took it together, and it was a great experience! The class was about how to chill and have fun while still being a good Muslim. Although many people may think Islam is a really strict religion and does not allow you to have fun, that’s actually not the case.
Islam allows people to have fun, just with some limitations and boundaries. As long as you follow the rules of Islam and don’t forget about your responsibilities, it’s all good.
Memoona: Can you give some examples of limitations and boundaries?
Sidra: For example, you shouldn’t forget to pray your five daily prayers, or forget about your responsibilities to your family, school, or work. You can still do all the things you enjoy, just don’t forget your responsibilities. It’s okay for us to be entertained, but not to be consumed by entertainment.
Muslims can have fun in some of the ways other people do. We can play and watch sports, play video games, watch TV, and travel. However, there are some limitations. For example, Islam prohibits drinking, smoking, and the use of recreational drugs. Those are harmful for your body and can have lasting negative effects. God commands us to stay away from what is harmful.
Memoona: So we can use our time to have good time as we want?
Sidra: Time is precious, so wasting several hours watching sports or games does not even make sense. Although playing sports is better than watching it. That has limitations too. Although we are restricted from doing some things, there are still a lot of other things we can do. Some ways I like to have fun are going places with my family, hanging out with my friends, or going shopping. We shouldn’t get too attached to material things. We should hold the world in our hands, not our hearts.
Memoona: How do you balance your time?
Sidra: Easiest way is to count the hours spent on playing and other fun activities and compare that time with the time spent on our jobs, tasks, chores and responsibilities, including homework. If the time spent on fun activities is more than time spent to fulfil our responsibilities, then we should try to fix that.
Memoona: Any other wisdom?
Sidra: In addition to that we should not be hurting others or ourselves in the process of having fun. Backbiting of spreading rumors in the name of fun is not allowed in Islam. One is answerable for their actions.
Memoona: Anything else you learned?
Sidra: This weekend I learned that even though I’m a teenager living in America and I may not be able to do all the things other kids can, I can still have fun while following my religion. I think this is something important for everyone to know, and I’m lucky to have been able to benefit from the class.
Memoona: Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Memoona Ghani works as a Business Analyst at the University of Minnesota. She did her Masters in Software Systems from University of St. Thomas. She lives in Maple Grove.
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