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Poisson d’avril – Global Day of Lies!

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Quick Background

The Europeans call “April Fool” poisson d’avril (April fish). That could either be because:

  • The sun moves from the zodiacal house of Pisces to the next house,
  • Or because the word poisson, which means fish, is a twisted meaning of the word passion, which means suffering, “so it is a symbol of the suffering endured by Jesus (peace be upon him), according to the claims of the Christians, and they claim that this happened in the first week of April.

April Fools’ Day is observed throughout the Western world. Primarily, it’s about playing pranks on each other. And how did it originate? The theories surrounding that are many. Whether it came into being due to some pagan ritual, some change in the French calendar (when a man refused to accept it and was made a laughing stock for others by being made fun of) or the Spanish retaliation against the Muslim glory (when they saw the Muslim rule prosper in Spain, they made a plot to weaken the Muslims and took the day their plan succeeded as a day of celebration) does not matter. What matters is the Islamic ruling on lying – the only thing to be done on this day! 1

Joking around and having a good time is no crime. In fact, it is extremely necessary to unwind and keep the mind healthy. Our religion too promotes playing around. Take this little example:

It was narrated that Ibn umar RAu said that the messenger of Allah SAWS said,

‘I joke, but I speak nothing but the truth.’” 2

The problem starts when we limit fun to only that which is forbidden, like lying, for example. Everything has its limits and whatever crosses the limit always goes haywire. Jest and fun should be done in moderation, otherwise the consequences can be devastating. We should bear this in mind because our religion promotes moderation and balance. 

Jest and fun should also be done in moderation

One example of taking the matter of joking with others too far is on the “famous” Le poisson d’avril – April fools’ day. Surprised, huh? Let me explain.

Someone telling you that you have a flat tyre or switching salt with sugar could be termed innocent. Some might argue that they are harmless. Primarily, it is a day of light hearted fooling around and jesting; and people enjoy it and laugh. However, when the jokes are taken a step too far and result in something bizarre, people don’t find it funny anymore.

When taken a step too far, this is what you get:

“Florida country radio morning-show hosts Val St. John and Scott Fish are currently serving indefinite suspensions and possibly worse over a successful April Fools’ Day prank. They told their listeners that “dihydrogen monoxide” was coming out of the taps throughout the Fort Myers area.” 3

“Police say Angela Timmons, 54, who works at Virginia Colleges in Spartanburg County, texted her daughter just after 10 a.m. claiming she ‘could hear gun shots being fired inside the school.’ However, the daughter, April Timmons, who lives in New York couldn’t get hold of her mom after receiving the message and, c-oncerned, the 34-year-old proceeded to call 911 to report the incident. Sheriff’s deputies swarmed the college where they discovered that no shooting had occurred. Sheriff Chuck Wright told WPTV that he was expecting to find a serious situation as he approached the school. ‘I’m thinking Columbine High School, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech,’ he said. However, the daughter soon called back after receiving a second text from her mom explaining that it was a prank.” 4

Funny? Definitely not.

Islamic viewpoint:

Our religion’s stance is crystal clear. We will focus on the following points, which are sufficient for you to stop having anything to do with this day:

1. Lying – even as a joke:

It was narrated that Mu’aawiyah ibn Haydah said: “I heard the Prophet SAWS   say:

‘Woe to the one who talks to make the people laugh and tells lies, woe to him, woe to him.’” 5

2. Scaring others:

‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Laylaa said: the companions of the Messenger of AllahSAWStold us that they were traveling with the Messenger of Allah SAWS. A man among them fell asleep and some of them went and took his arrows. When the man woke up, he got alarmed (because his arrows were missing) and the people laughed. The Prophet SAWSsaid, “What are you laughing at?” They said, “Nothing, except that we took the arrows and he got alarmed.” The Messenger of Allah SAWS said: “It is not permissible for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.”
6 Blog Post-Inside poster-April fool

3. Promoting the habit of lying in our children:

This is not a trivial matter, rather the fuss made over it is genuine. Why you ask? Because these little things leave a deep and long lasting effect on the minds of our children. They learn it is OK to lie, cause pain and frighten others. Needless to mention, our religion looks down upon all such practices, whether done in jest or otherwise.

Allowing the children to play such pranks on one hand, and advising them to be truthful, honest and kind on the other would confuse them. Also, it is essential to note that children emulate what they see rather than what they hear. And we don’t want them to grow up to be liars. So no compromises here.

The Messenger of Allah SAWS  said:

‘Whoever says to child, ‘Come here and take this,’ then does not give him something, this is counted as a lie.’” 7

Bottom line:

So after knowing the Islamic stance and the disasters that this fooling around can lead to, either we love this day or hate it. Either we are a part of it or we leave it. Maybe you’re one of them who has been fooled your entire life into believing that April Fools day is actually OK and even fun. It’s not.

“O you who believe! Fear Allah SWT, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)” 8

  1.  For more information, you can refer to Shaykh Saalih Al Munajjid’s book on April fool or http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools’_Day
  2.  al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 12/391, classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jami, 2494
  3.  http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com
  4.  http://thestir.cafemom.com
  5.  narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 235. He said: this is a hasan hadeeth
  6.  Ahmad 22555, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jami’, 7658
  7.  Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4991, classed as hasan by Shaykh al-‘Albaani in Saheeh al-Jami’, 1319
  8.  al-Tawbah 9:119

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