On the other hand we have sayings that praise laughter and joking. For example, the story of the man who would come to the Prophet (pbuh) with a present and say give me the price of my present (as a joke) so the Prophet (pbuh) would laugh (his laugh was a smile not a loud sound) and whenever the Prophet would fell gloomy he would state “where is that man if only he was here to make us laugh” another example, is the saying Imam al-Sadiq (A.S) who stated “Every Believer has Du’aba” and when asked what Du’aba is he replied “good sense of humor”.(2)
Most scholars state that there are ways to hold on to both sayings and there is no contradiction between the two sides. This goes back to understanding what is the “bad” joking and the “good” joking.
There are three certain ways of joking that are considered bad and they are the ones meant in the dispraising sayings.
1- If the joke was unlawful (contains backbiting, lying, ribald language or behavior, and so on) so if it was otherwise it would be the good kind. The Prophet (pbuh) stated “I joke but state only what is rightful”(3)
2- Excessively joking as Imam Ali (A.S) stated “Excessively joking topples dignity.”(4)
3- If the joke was hurtful and disrespectful towards someone like in the Hadith we mentioned above.
At the end of the day it is like how Alama Al-Majlisi stated in Ain Al Hayat: “A mu’min will have gracefulness on his face even if he is sad at his heart. A person remaining morose all the time is not good. A mu’min must keep a broad forehead, pleasant mien, and good nature. He should also have a good sense of humor. But all this should be in moderation.”
1. Ain-Al Hayat v2 p72
2. Ain Al-Hayat v2 p73
3. Mezan Al-Hikma v9 p 140
4. Mezan Al-Hikma no.18892