Recreation within Limits

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Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) narrates:

I once went with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on one of his journeys when I was still a young girl and light in weight. During the journey, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) saying, “Proceed ahead.” After the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had proceeded ahead (and we were now in seclusion), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to me, “Come! Let me race with you!” We therefore raced and I beat the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the race. On this occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not say anything.

Some time later, when I picked up some weight, and I had forgotten (the previous race), I went with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on one of his journeys. During the journey, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) saying, “Proceed ahead.” After they had proceeded ahead (and we were in seclusion), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to me, “Come! Let me race with you!” We therefore raced and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) beat me. On beating me, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) began to smile and said, “This is in return for that (i.e. I beat you on this occasion, whereas you beat me on the previous occasion).” (Musnad Ahmad #26277)  

Lessons:

1. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had no need for racing and other forms of recreation. Hence, one of the reasons for which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) engaged in racing on this occasion was to show the Ummah that recreation, provided that it is in moderation and kept within the parameters of Deen, is allowed in Islam.

2. When our respected mother, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), raced with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), it was done in complete privacy and seclusion, thereby maintaining the highest levels of hayaa and hijaab and not violating any command of Allah Ta‘ala in the process. It is thus clear that before engaging in recreation, be it in the form of exercising, cycling, swimming, etc., it is necessary for us to first ensure that no law of Allah Ta‘ala will be broken. If the activity will inevitably lead to the law of Allah Ta‘ala being broken then the activity will have to be abandoned. Similarly, when going on holiday, care and precaution has to be taken to ensure that we do not go to places which are not in keeping with the demands of hayaa.

3. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) bore a responsibility to which no other responsibility can possibly compare in importance and the dedication required – the responsibility of imparting Deen to the Ummah. Despite this grave responsibility, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) made the time for his respected family, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), and ensured that he gave her attention and quality time. Unfortunately, there are many people who become so obsessed with recreation and entertainment that over and above neglecting the rights of Allah Ta‘ala,  they neglect the rights of their wives and children and fail to give them adequate quality time. 

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