Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I had read hadiths that say one should not scare another Muslim. I was wondering what that means? For instance, as kids, we would jump out and say “boo!” to our siblings, startling them as a form of play. Is that sort of thing not allowed?
For instance, my wife really likes this cheap gadget that startles somebody (or surprises them) a bit when they enter a room. I feel like it would make the startled person laugh and think it would be a nice eid gift. Is this allowed?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
Yes, it would be permitted to purchase such a gift for one’s spouse.
The hadith in question is narrated by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan, “It is not permitted for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim”.
With regards to what you mention about children’s playing, this, too, is permitted. Such gestures, even with respect to adults, are harmless as long as they stay within the bounds of propriety and would not literally frighten or alarm others such that it causes distress. Though, this is rarely the case.
However, going beyond generally accepted limits and annoying another person would fall into the realm of the impermissible because of the fact that it would be regarded as hurting them. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani