Do not mock or make fun of others (DW# 912)

Verse 11 of Sura Hujarat says: O you who believe! Let not one people deride another; it may be that they are better than they. Nor let women deride other women; it may be that they are better than they. [Holy Quran 49:11]

This verse advises the believers from engaging in expressing contempt for, ridiculing, teasing or laughing at others in a scornful manner. It is interesting that although "people" includes women, here Allah swt has chosen to address the women separately. Scholars explain that it is to make doubly sure that believers do not engage in this destructive and hurtful behaviour and also because both genders may laugh at each for different reasons.

Scholars also explain that this verse includes all kinds of communication meant to belittle or laugh at someone, whether it is through words, subtle body language or even imitation. As long as the intention is to ridicule or make others laugh at the person, the offending behaviour would be captured in the scope of this verse.

The verse before this one obligated the believers to make peace between themselves and this verse points to some key ways that peace and harmony between people is eroded and relationships soured.

While sometimes mocking and laughing at others is considered to be "just harmless fun" the verse reminds us that Allah considers this a very serious matter. 
Research in the psychology of healthy relationships confirms that contempt and ridicule is a toxin that poisons even the happiest of relationships.

Islamic scholars have compared mocking others to putting a knife through their soul, and murdering their morale and confidence. Just as stabbing the body would be deemed extremely serious, we must be equally mindful of such assaults on another’s soul.

A hadith from Imam Sajjād (as) puts it very strongly indeed: From among the sins that bring down the wrath of Allah are oppression done by one who is aware, trampling on the rights of others, and mocking and ridiculing others.

It is so easy to go down the path of making fun of someone who is different from us. Let us remind ourselves through this verse at how seriously God looks at this conduct towards His beloved creatures, and practice refraining from engaging in such hurtful behaviour.

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