This is the amazing story and examples of the greatest prankster to live during the life of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم .
There was a man at the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم who used to get drunk so much that he kept on coming back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم kept having him flogged?.And it got to a point that one time ‘Umar رضي الله وتعالى عنه cursed him because he was so frustrated with seeing this man bought to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم over and over and over again because he kept getting drunk. And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said ‘do not curse him, because verily he loves Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم’.
His name was Nu’ayman ibn ‘Amr رضي الله تعالى عنه from the tribe of Al-Najjar from the Ansar from Madinah. Nu’ayman is an extremely interesting character. And can be easily classified as the funniest sahabi that ever lived.He was one of the veterans of Badr. He witnessed Uhud. He witnessed Khandaq. He witnessed all of the major battles with the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم . He became one of the closest companions to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He married the sister of ‘Abdulrahman ibn ‘Awf رضي الله تعالى عنه. He was very close to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. But he had a habit of pulling pranks on the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself and on the Sahaba over and over and over again. And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم always appreciated that.
One time, for example, there was a large caravan that was coming from outside of Madinah and they had some fruit, some delicate expensive exotic fruit. And Nu’ayman رضي الله تعالى عنه took the fruits and gave it to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as a gift. And he told the guys that he took the fruit from, ‘look I’ll pay you guys later. This is a debt and in sha Allah I’ll pay you later.’ So he took the gift to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ate it and enjoyed it and then whenever they came to Nu’ayman demanding repayment, Nu’ayman said, ‘I didn’t eat it. The Messenger of Allah ate it. You should go to him and request it from him.’ So these guys went to the house of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and they say, ‘We want the money for the fruits.’ And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says, ‘What are you talking about? That was given to me as a gift!’ They said, ‘We want the money for the fruits.’ So Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم called Nu’ayman and said, ‘Nu’ayman, didn’t you say that this was a gift from you?’ And he said, ‘O’ Rasool Allah I wanted you to eat it and I wanted you to be the first to try this fruit because I felt like you were the most deserving but I didn’t have the money. So O’ Rasool Allah , pay the man.’ And Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم he laughed صلى الله عليه وسلم and he paid the men.
If you really look at his life, subhanAllah you see some extreme examples. Once Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم had a man who was sitting with him in his home. This was a Bedouin man and he tied his camel outside of the house of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. And the Sahaba knew that Nu’ayman was the prankster. So they just kind of drew Nu’ayman’s attention and said, ‘Hey Nu’ayman check it out. There’s a camel there.’ So Nu’ayman took the camel and he slaughtered it. And he decided to make a feast out of that man’s camel. When the man came outside of the house of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم he started to scream. He said, ‘Where did my camel go?!! Where did my camel go??!’. And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked the Sahaba and the Sahaba told Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم that Nu’ayman was the one who took the camel and he slaughtered it. Nu’ayman was hiding in a ditch and he covered himself in dirt and palm leaves and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم went to him and he picked him out of the dust and he dusted his face off and Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was laughing with him. And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم actually ended up paying the man the value of his camel and more and then the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a feast on the camel that Nu’ayman had slaughtered. So Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم appreciated this man and all of the pranks that he used to pull and his personality and the laughter that he would bring to the Sahaba.
But one time, he took it even further than that. Umm Salama رضي الله تعالى عنها, she narrates a very funny incident that took place. She says, “Abu Bakr رضي الله تعالى عنه he wanted to go on a journey. So he decided to take Nu’ayman ibn ‘Amr and Suwaybit ibn Harmala, another Sahabi with him on that journey. And Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was still alive. And he put Suwaybit in charge of the food. When they were on this journey, Nu’ayman says to Suwaybit, ‘Look I’m hungry. Can you give me some food?’ And he says, ‘Until Abu Bakr comes and gives me permission you can’t touch this food.’ So Nu’ayman got upset and decided to take his revenge out on Suwaybit in other ways. So he goes to a group of people that was passing by and he says ‘Hey look, I’ve got this slave that I would like to sell to you but he’s really intelligent, he’s Arab and he’s going to insist that he’s free whenever you take him. So do you want him or not?’ And they said, ‘Ya sure we’ll take him.’ So he said, ‘OK I’ll sell him to you for 10 dirhams.’ So he takes them to Suwaybit and says, ‘There he is.’ So they jump on Suwaybit and they start to capture him and lock him up and Suwaybit says, ‘I’m free! I’m free!’. And they say, ‘Ya your master said you would say that.’ And Nu’ayman was just sitting there and watching and not saying a word. So Abu Bakr رضي الله تعالى عنه came back and he found Nu’ayman and the companions and he said, ‘What happen to Suwaybit?’ And so they told Abu Bakr رضي الله تعالى عنه what happened to Suwaybit and so they went after him. Nu’ayman wasn’t planning on keeping Suwaybit in slavery forever. It was just a temporary thing to teach him a lesson. So they went after that tribe and Abu Bakr رضي الله تعالى عنه gave them back their money and they freed Suwaybit. Then they went back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Now that’s a big thing. They went back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and Umm Salama رضي الله تعالى عنه she says, that Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and his companions laughed for an entire year over than incident because of how funny it was.
And this continued even after the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. He had his status and the Sahaba always came to expect pranks from him. And in the time of ‘Uthman رضي الله تعالى عنه he pulled another extreme prank. In the time of ‘Uthman رضي الله تعالى عنه there was a blind man in the masjid once who needed to urinate. So, obviously in that time someone would go and would guide the blind man outside of the masjid. So Nu’ayman said, ‘Let me take care of it.’ Nu’ayman went to the blind man, he took him to the other corner of the masjid so when the man urinated everybody came running at the man. So the man got scared and he said, ‘Who was the young man that brought me here in the first place?’ They said, ‘It must’ve been Nu’ayman.’ He said, ‘Where is Nu’ayman? I want to teach him a lesson! Somebody take me to Nu’ayman.’ So Nu’ayman came back to the man, he changed his voice and he said, ‘You’re looking for Nu’ayman?’ He said, ‘Ya.’ So he grabbed the man by the hand and he took him to ‘Uthman رضي الله تعالى عنه, the Khalifah. And the man jumped on ‘Uthman رضي الله تعالى عنه. And they pulled ‘Uthman رضي الله تعالى عنه away. And ‘Uthman رضي الله تعالى عنه was laughing because he had understood what had happened. And Nu’ayman ran away.
So subhanAllah you see that this man shows us a few things. First, he shows us that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Companions were people that were capable of having fun. They were people that were capable of laughter. But of course with its conditions. Now you could say that Nu’ayman always pushed it to the extreme but at the same time Nu’ayman رضي الله تعالى عنه knew his limits and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم came to expect that type of laughter and those types of pranks from Nu’ayman and he always paid for his pranks, literally. And the Sahaba expected those types of pranks from Nu’ayman and he was a joy to have around. And it shows us that our deen is not all serious. Our deen has laughter too. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم smiled and he laughed but of course he observed the conditions of joking where he never lied صلى الله عليه وسلم when he joked.
So let’s appreciate the different types of personalities in sha Allah that we have in our community and let’s build in sha Allah a good relationship with everyone. And think about it, this man witnessed Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and he witnessed the second pledge of ‘Aqaba. This was a righteous man. So this righteous man was able to joke in that way. But as the sources say, as Al-Dhahabi rahimaho Allah says, ‘When the fitnah took place between ‘Ali رضي الله تعالى عنه and the others, Nu’ayman رضي الله تعالى عنه could never smile and laugh after that. So it also shows you that he wasn’t a man that was disconnected from reality because of his joking and his laughter. He was still very much connected to the condition of the Ummah.
We ask Allah سبحانه وتعالى to grant us the balance of the Sahaba, the balanced personalities that the Sahaba’s had. And we ask Allah سبحانه وتعالى to make us an Ummah that is pleasing to Him and the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. And we ask Allah to raise us with Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Companions and to allow us to play practical pranks on each other in Jannah inshAllah.
Narrated by Sheikh Omar Suleiman.