Mockery and Ridicule

Overall Meaning: Meaning of mockery and ridicule:
Sukhriyah linguistically: It is ridicule, it is the verbal noun of sakhira minhu wa bihi (he mocked him by and for a thing), meaning that he has ridiculed him. [964] Tahdhib al-Lughah, al-Azhari (7/77); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (4/352).
Sukhriyah technically: It comes to mean disdain. It is also said it is debasement, belittlement, and highlighting faults and defects in a way that they would be laughed at. This may be through imitating others’ statements and actions comically, or through hinting and nudging. [965] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (p. 192); al-Tawqif `ala Muhimmat al-Ta`arif, al-Manawi (p. 192).
Istihza’ linguistically: It is the verbal pronoun of istahza’a yastahzi’u (he ridiculed another and ridicules him), meaning that he mocked him. [966] Taj al-`Arus, al-Zabidi (1/509), with minor adaptation.
Istihza’ technically: It is mockery, which is to take words and deeds lightly and playfully, as opposed to seriously. The one who mocks others is he who dispraises their traits and actions that takes them outside the realms of serious consideration. [967] al-Fatawa al-Kubra, Ibn Taymiyyah (6/22).

Difference between mockery and ridicule and some other characteristics: [968] al-Furuq al-Lughawiyyah, al-`Askari (p. 50, 275, 493).
● Difference between mockery and ridicule:
Ridicule takes place without there being an act committed to be ridiculed by. Mockery implies an act that has taken place due to which one is mocked.
● Difference between ridicule and play (la`ib):
Mockery entails tricking and debasing the one being mocked. It is also done with the animate. Play on the other hand may be with the inanimate. In this regard, Allah, exalted, attributed mockery to the disbelievers in their treatment of the prophets. He says for example, “Whenever leaders of his people passed by, they would mock him.” (Hud: 38)
● Difference between ridicule and humour (muzah):
Humour does not necessitate belittling the person one is joking with, nor believing he is worthy of belittlement. A follower may be humorous with his leader, but this does not mean that they are belittling them nor believing they are worthy of being belittled; rather, it implies amicability. Ridicule necessitates belittling the one being ridiculed and believing they are worthy of belittlement.

Prohibition of mockery and ridicule in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
❖ Allah, exalted, says, “Believers, no one group of men should jeer at another, who may after all be better than them; no one group of women should jeer at another, who may after all be better than them; do not speak ill of one another; do not use offensive nicknames for one another. How bad it is to be called a mischief-maker after accepting faith! Those who do not repent of this behaviour are evildoers.” (al-Hujurat: 11)
❖ He, sanctified, also says, “Woe to every fault-finding derider who amasses riches, counting them over, thinking they will make him live forever. Not at all! Such a person will certainly be tossed into the Crusher.” (al-Humazah: 1-4)
❖ `A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, said, “I said to the Prophet ﷺ, ‘It is enough for you in Safiyyah that she is such-and-such’, meaning that she was short-statured. He replied, ‘You have said a word which would change the sea if it were mixed in it.’ On another occasion I imitated a man before him mockingly. He said, ‘I do not like that I imitate anyone even if I should get such and such in return.’” [969] Reported by Abu Dawud (4875) and al-Tirmidhi (2502). Ibn Daqiq al-`Id in al-Iqtirah (118) and al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Abi Dawud (4875).
❖ Ibn Mas`ud, Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he was picking out some twigs to be a miswak from its tree. He had thin shins, and when the wind blew, they became visible. The people laughed at him. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “What are you laughing about?” They said, “Prophet of Allah, from how thin his shins are.” He said, “By the One in Whose Hands is my soul, they are weightier in the Scale than Uhud!” [970] Reported by Ahmad (3991) and Ibn Hibban (7069). Al-Haytam said in Majma` al-Zawa’id (9/292), “Its narrators are those of the authentic.” Ahmad Shakir authenticated it in his analysis of al-Musnad (6/39). al-Albani also authenticated it in Silasilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah (2750) through its many routes.

Quotes of the Predecessors and scholars on mockery and ridicule:
❖ `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Allah be pleased with him, said, “If I were to mock a dog, I would fear that I would turn into a dog. I dislike to see a man free without exerting himself in matters of this or the next life.” [971] Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (35704) and Ibn `Asakir in Tarih Dimashq (33/170) and this is his wording.
❖ Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, Allah be pleased with him, said, “If I were to see a person on the road suckling from the teeth of a sheep and I mocked him, I would fear that I would not die until I did the same.” [972] Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (26057).
❖ Al-Qurtubi said, “Whoever calls his brother by some name or mocks him, he is a transgressor.” [973] Tafsir al-Qurtubi (16/328).
❖ Al-Safarini said, “Whoever is haughty with his brothers, belittling any of his colleagues, or mocks or ridicules any of the believers, he has borne the weight of clear sin.” [974] Ghidha’ al-Albab, al-Safarini (p. 134).

Impacts and harms of mockery and ridicule: [975] Understood from al-Akhlaq al-Islamiyyah by `Abd al-Rahman al-Maydani (2/223).
1- Severing societal bonds that are founded upon brotherhood and compassion. 
2- The seeds of enmity and hatred are sown. 
3- Begets vindictiveness. 
4- Whoever mocks the people incurs the wrath of Allah. 
5- A Muslim mocking others causes him to lose his good deeds in the next life. 
6- Mockery removes the jester’s poise and decency.

Forms of mockery and ridicule:
1- Speaking ill of each other. 
2- Name-calling. 
3- Making others feel insecure and jeering them.

Causes of mockery and ridicule: [976] Understood from al-Akhlaq al-Islamiyyah by `Abd al-Rahman al-Maydani (2/223).
1- Arrogance which is always accompanied by neglection of rights and belittling people. 
2- Desire to destroy others’ status. 
3- Finding glee and laughing at others’ misfortune. 
4- Belittling others and their work, physical features, dispositions, families, lineage, etc. 
5- Having free time and seeking to make others laugh.