Layla Al Obaidi, a researcher who specialises in ancient civilisations said in an interview to Arabstoday that her book “Humour in Islam” won the Sheikh Zayed Award this year because it was the first study of its kind.
She said that to research religion was like walking in a minefield.
Obaidi said: “My book carries a message to the believers of the 21st century with content that says life is based on binaries, like laughter and sorrow, light and darkness. Half of these binaries are abandoned and not spoken about."
She also insisted that all her work was factual.
The author explained that her work “was not based solely on collecting humourous quotes, but it was for the enlightenment of today’s readers”.
Obaida added: “Humour is present in all areas of life, there is no harm for the believers to live at ease and get to know the other side of Islam, which is not just intimidation and punishment.”
She said: “I went back to the very beginning of Islam, when people were newcomers to it, and I wanted to know how people were embracing this religion in huge numbers willingly, not forced. I found out that the personality of the Prophet was distinctive with a special approach in dealing with others.”
She added: “Through analysis I could discover that humour was an approach adopted by the Prophet in communicating and dealing with people, and in facilitating their lives. This is the spirit of Islam, which has been ignored over time."
On the references she cited, Obaidi said she was lucky because those who talked about this subject were rare.
She added that the book was being distributed in all the Arab countries except Kuwait. "I not know why the book was banned there," she said.