Composed by Adnan Khalid (Darul Uloom London Student)
As April draws near, non believers around the globe celebrate a holiday on the first of the month known as April Fool’s Day. The traditional practice of this day is to play some sort of practical joke on someone and make him the “April Fool”.
Pranks performed on this day range form the simple, (such as saying, “your shoes are untied!”) to the elaborate. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, “April fool!”
The history of April Fool’s Day is not totally clear. No exact date can be found pinpointing the first official celebration of the holiday. There are, however, many narrations regarding the reason the tradition is practiced. One narration states that it is a day the Spanish celebrate in remembrance of the day that they defeated the Muslims and swept them from power in lower Spain. According to this narration, the Christian army could not conquer the Muslims there and sent spies to discover why. They discovered that the Muslims were strong on faith and obedient to Allah. The tradition goes on saying that the Christians sent in alcohol and tobacco, which the Muslims used and became the means in which they lost their obedience to Allah. Then the Christian army invaded lower Spain and conquered the Muslims on the first of April and began celebrating April Fool’s Day ever since. As this story has been circulating between our Muslim brothers strengthening their beliefs about the history of this day I deemed it appropriate to clarify a few points about the history of April Fool’s Day. The truth of the matter is that this story is not true in many aspects.
First, let us confirm the historic fact that Muslim rule in Spain ended on the 12th of January in the Christian year of 1492 A.D. April Fool’s Day was not heard of until over sixty years later. The most authentic reports according to Christian historical books such as Encyclopedia Britannica as well as many others trace the roots of the holiday back to 16th century France. Prior to the year 1582, the new year was celebrated for eight days, starting with the 25th of March. The celebration culminated on April 1st. With the reform of the Christian calendar under King Charles IX, through the influence of Pope Gregory, the Gregorian calendar was introduced, and New Years Day was moved to the first of January. However, due to lack of communications in those days, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the most obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. These backward people were classified as “fool” by the general public and were often subject to some ridicule. Hence, the tradition of April Fool’s Day began.
Second, we should acknowledge the fact that tobacco products were not even invented until after the time of the fall of Muslims in Spain. According to the State College in Framingham, they quote that smoking of any kind did not exist in Spain until after it was brought back from the New World in the times after King Ferdinand of Spain had come to power. Tobacco use did not become widespread until the 19th century.(Introduction to human biology, Framingham State College, Roger N. Morrissette, Ph.D.)
So regarding the rumor claiming that April Fool’s Day is a celebration of the take over of Muslim Spain, it is clear the whole thing is a fabricated story. It is in fact a lie made by the nonbelievers to mislead Muslims and in realty create a “Muslims Fool Day”! True Muslims would never propagate lies especially when it comes to the history of Islam. It is our duty to educate our brothers on these kinds of topics.
Regardless of the history of April Fool’s Day or not, there still isn’t any sort of a reason for a Muslim to practice such a foolish tradition. It is a in reality a holiday created by the enemies of Allah to prove how really foolish they are by denying the truth revealed to the world through the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). As Muslims it is our job to avoid imitating the nonbelievers in all aspects of life and this includes celebration of their holidays. No matter how hard you try to please them you will always fail unless you become one of them. And to become one of them is to earn Allah’s wrath. And to earn Allah’s wrath is to condemn oneself. Allah says in the Qur’an, “And never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their millat (traditions, ways, religion, etc.).”(Chapter 2, verse 122)
Dear readers! Know that Islam is the only religion, which is free from faults and innovations. Such an easy religion to follow is Islam. The Prophet said, “Indeed religion is easy”(Bukhari). Allah just asks that we obey Him and His messenger sallalahu alaihi wasallam. Yet we try to go out of our ways to be obedient to those cursed people who have shown disobedience to Allah. What a pity for him who chooses to enjoy the pleasures of the world over the pleasures of the hereafter. By imitating the nonbelievers, all we do is show people that we are one of them and that they are beloved to us as we to them. The Holy Prophet said, “ A person will be raised on the Day of Judgment with whom he loves.” So whom do we prefer to be raised with, the Noble Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam and his companions or the celebrators of April Fool’s Day? The answer is obvious to all. In this age of innumerous trails and tribulations, we must try our hardest to stay steadfast on the straight path shown to us by our Beloved Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam, which is the only path with guaranteed success from Allah. In the long run, he will be successful who avoids such useless practices that are nothing more then a waste of time. May Allah keep us pure from such deceptions and avoid making us the “April Fool”. Ameen.