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April Fool’s Day – Removing the Muslim World’s Misconceptions

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Intro: For the past several years, some highly emotionally charged stories regarding the origin of the April Fool’s Day have been circulating all over Pakistan, and to a great extent, the entire Muslim world.
Since most of our fellow Pakistanis and Muslim brothers seem very keen to take up such stories without really bothering to verify them, so we thought we’d write a little feature on it.


Falsifying the April Fool stories that we hear in Pakistan (and the Muslim world):

Several stories about the origin of the April Fool’s Day have been circulating in Pakistan, usually through text messages but sometimes through emails and blogs.

We shall falsify the two major ones here:

1.     FAKE THEORY NO. 1: Reported online with the name of a fictitious scholar ‘Aasim Ibn ‘Abdullaah Al-Qurawayti,  the most famous story is summarized below:

           “When the Muslims ruled Spain, approximately one thousand years ago, they were a force that could not be destroyed. the disbelievers sent their spies to Spain to study and find out the secret of the Muslims’ strength, who attributed it to their taqwa.

           To break this strength, the Christians began to send wine and cigarettes to Spain for free.

           The faith of the Muslims began to weaken,and the western Catholic Christians subdued the whole of Spain and put an end to the Muslim rule of that land which had lasted for more than eight hundred years. The last stronghold of the Muslims, in Grenada, fell on April 1st; hence they considered this to be the “trick of April."

FALSIFYING THIS THEORY: The last stronghold of Granada fell not on 1st April, but on January 2, 1492, when Muhammad XII of Granada surrendered the Emirate of Granada, the city of Granada, and the Alhambra palace; following the Granada wars. 

Moreover, it would be worth mentioning that cigarette was not yet invented when Isabella and Ferdinand were planning to take over Granada in the 1480s. In fact, tobacco itself was not yet known to the Europeans.  

Furthermore, Reconquest was not so easy as to have been accomplished by making Spanish Muslims addicted to smoking cigarettes. It took almost 500 years of ceaseless Christian military campaigns in spite of anarchy and dispersion of power that had prevailed in Muslim Spain since the fall of Spain’s Umayyad dynasty in 1031 CE, and 11 years of cleverly crafted strategy of Ferdinand-Isabella team to unseat an incompetent Muslim monarch.

2.      FAKE THEORY NO. 2: In 1492 when Spain was captured, the Christians promised the Muslims that they would be transported to Africa safely; but they were burnt alive in the ships on 1st April, and hence they celebrate the April Fool’s Day to spite us.

FALSIFYING THIS THEORY: Although Spain was captured in 1492,  the Muslims were not expelled until the 16th century. 
In addition, the order to expel the Muslims was given on 9th April, 1609. So once again, this event is clearly not linked to the 1st of April!

The Actual Origin of April Fool’s Day:

There is more than one theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day.

The most credible of these theories states that the tradition began in 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1583. The transition was in accordance with the orders of Council of Trent, the 16th century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church.

People who were not aware of the transition kept on celebrating the New Year during the last week of March through 1 April instead of 1 January. And they became the objects of jokes and hoaxes such as placing a paper fish on their backs and was also called "poisson d'avril" (April fish) meaning an easy to fool person.

(Some people disagree with the above theory, stating that the OLDEST mention that we find about the April Fool dates back to 1392 in Chaucer’s book “Canterbury Tales”. That is explained as below:
In Canterbury Tales, the "Nun's Priest's Tale" is set “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two”. Readers apparently believed this line to mean "March 32", i.e. April 1. Somewhere in the storyline, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox; implying to the reader’s that this refers to April Fool’s Day

 Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, “Syn March was gon thritty dayes and two.” Thus the passage originally meant 32 days after April, i.e. May 2, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381.)

____________

The Absolute Verdict:

The above discussion makes it clear that the April Fool's Day is not a tradition made to spite the Muslims.

 Reacting to these rumours over the internet, Abdul-Halim V, has rightly remarked on Planet Granada blog: "...sometimes I get the feeling that as a group, Muslims need to develop a lot more critical-thinking and need to learn not to pass on everything we hear from so-and-so as the truth".

8 comments

  1. Very informative. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great facts! dunt know y such tales get famous anyways!

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  3. Very interesting! Though April fool should be condemned around the world despite of its origin and bla bla. I liked the way you took this discussion into. More Muslim oriented.
    Good way to protect Muslim ummah from mockery.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you all for liking the article and taking the time to comment :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow! reading this article gave me a lot of knowledge.

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  6. finally a proof that the stories were fake...

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pathan april fool joke gone :(
    the blogger seems to be a pathani.

    ReplyDelete

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