Truth About April Fool's Day
And Muslim Representative Method of Scientific Inquiry
By Muhammad Tariq Ghazi
MMG (Muslim Media Group)
An email often goes around that warn Muslims again April Fool observation by claiming that this tradition originates from the event of Christians victory over Muslims in Andalusian Spain. It proposes that Europeans made fool of Muslims by introducing Liquor and Tobacco to them and thus gradually weaken them through its indulgence. The author busts the myth with correct version of history and common sense and explain the origin of April Fool's Day. I never knew that 1 April 2007 would be a day of reckoning, in a dubious style though. As a child I might have played the fool on the fool's day by saying what I would believe was funny to someone I loved - like my brothers and sister. Nobody stopped me from those innocent escapades, for they were perhaps as innocuous, or as harmful, as watching an occasional movie - ordinarily at an interval of six-seven months - like Sohrab Modi's "Pukar", or Mehboob Khan's "Humayun", or Nanubhai Vakil's "Hatim Tai". But in later years the April fun did not amuse us older children any longer as we found the annual practice very boring. Gradually I realized that not many people around me were taking April Fool's Day seriously: rarely anyone would try to make fun of gullible peers. This year, however, the day of fools dawned out of blue. I was astonished to know that some educated Muslims believed that the European tradition of All Fools Day was, in their view, to celebrate the fall of Spain's last Muslim principality of Granada. What a funny story, I said to myself. I don't know when this "belief" had crept into Muslim "knowledge bank", but some friends informed me that this grapevine might have spread about 20-30 years ago that Granada fell to the Christian forces on 1 April and since then the Christians have been remembering this as the day when they had "fooled" the Muslims. And how did those Christians make fool of the Muslims? Well, as the story goes, they sent to Granada "spies" to first study Andalusian Muslims' habits and life-style and then making them addicted to liquor and cigarette smoking in order to recapture Granada. What a wonderful way of winning battles and capturing countries. May I divulge the secret that most of the modern Spaniard drink alcohol and many of them smoke cigarettes too. Do the Christians really believe that Muslims are and were stupid and they were easy prey to be made fool of? Even if such Muslim stupidity was really the primary cause of the loss of Andalusia in 1492, aren't they showing a greater degree of imprudence now in 2007 to remind the Christian masses to mark April 1 as the day of Muslim foolishness with increased passion? Nevertheless, rumors being circulated in the cyberspace on this issue point to two other dimensions: one academic and the other ethical. Morally, no doubt, it is uncivilized to make fool of a normally intelligent person. From a Muslim perspective, too, it is unethical as a celebration, whatever its provocation, even if the prank is as harmless as telling someone his shoestring is untied. From this same perspective, it is all the more disgraceful as this practice encourages people to tell a lie, even if they are innocuous. Every Muslim may sometime refer to a Hadith of the Rasool-Allah, sall-Allah-u alaih-i wa sallam, and must be aware that Hadith scholars do not entertain a report from a liar. For a Muslim, therefore, it is the greatest punishment to be excluded from reporting a statement of the Rasool-Allah. Therefore, if the claim that April Fool's Day is connected with the fall of Andalusia is untrue and historically unfounded, a narrator of this claim stands the risk of being disqualified of quoting from the Prophet Muhammad. Academically, the issue requires investigation in order to ascertain the claim. When I rejected this claim on a...
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