In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
When it comes to the topic of April Fools Day, the first thing I ask myself, why would one begin a month with lying to people? The aim of this month’s article is to act on the hadith related by Muslim: ‘The religion is good advice’ where it will entail the origins of April fool’s day and why Muslims are prohibited to celebrate it in Islam. Every article written for me by me first and foremost before you.
The Origins of April Fool’s Day
There are many theories that exist in regards to the origins of April Fool’s Day. One of the sources suggests that the ancient cultures celebrated New Year’s Day on the 1st of April. In 1582, a Pope by the name of Gregory XIII requested a new calendar which today is called the Gregorian Calendar to replace the previous Julian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar consisted of rearrangement of the months and transferred the New Year’s Day to 1st January. However, in other countries in Europe, such as France, many people rejected this idea of changing the date of New Years day whilst others were not aware of the changes made. Thus, they continued to celebrate it on the 1st April. They were mocked, sent on fool’s errands and were tricked into believing something false.
The French termed this day as ‘Poisson d’Avril’ which translates as ‘April Fish’. Many French children occassionally stuck an image of a fish on the back of their friends and cried when they were caught.
Another historical source suggests that April Fools corresponds to the Hindu festival of Holi. The celebration takes place in March and originally lasted for 5 days. However, today, it is celebrated within a space of two days. The first day, bonfires are lit whereas the second day coloured powder and/or water is thrown over each other. In relation to the story of Holi, a prince called Prahlad worshipped Vishnu; whom Hindus believe is the supreme God. Prince Prahlad was persecuted by the demoness Holika; where the name Holi is derived from who tried to kill Prince Prahlad with bonfires. However, despite being immune to fire she consumed all the flames and Prince Prahlad was not hurt. Thus it is a celebration of defeating evil.
Other sources revealed that it was related to the fall of the Muslim empire in Spain specifically Granada. The Christian armies wanted to get rid of the Muslims. They setup a cunning plan where they told the Muslims who resided there that they could leave their homes and sail away safely and peacefully in ships that resided on the quayside. The Muslims did not believe at first and wanted to check the ships to make sure everything was okay. When they were satisfied they made preparations to leave. However, on the 1st of April, the Christian armies fired their homes and the ships and killed all the Muslims including women and children. Thus, according to this source, it is celebrated on this day in Spain and other countries for their success.
Looking at the above theories, celebrating this day has no basis in Islam. Why I say that? Hmm. Islam is clear and Allah (God) subhanahu wa taala has given us the Quran and Sunnah as our guide. We should not ‘adhere’ or ‘adapt’ ourselves into things we know is not mentioned there; just because we live in a particular place such as the West. It is not about ‘being strict’. It is about using our initiative and asking ourselves; is it worth doing something we know it is not right? For Allah subhanahu wa taala says in the Glorious Quran:
“And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follow other than the believers way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in the hell -what an evil destination (4 : 115)
As our Beloved Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
‘Whoever imitates a people is one of them’
So why is tricking people considered wrong?
Tricking people into believing something that is false is lying. Simple. Lying is one of the worst sins in Islam and comes under the category of ‘major’. When one is telling the truth, he is doing something that Allah subhanahu wa taala will be pleased with. However when one person lies, Allah becomes angry. This can be stressed in the following hadith:
Three (are the persons) with whom Allah would neither speak nor would He absolve them on the Day of Resurrection: the aged adulterer, the king who lies and the proud beggar.
Islam has taught mankind to be honest and not lie where Allah subhanahu wa taala says in the Quran:
“Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.” [Surah-Zumar 39:3]
Ibn Mas’ud radi allahu anhu narrated from the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam said: “Truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man keeps on telling the truth until he is written with Allah as Siddiq (a truthful person). Kadhib (lying) leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to hell-fire. A man keeps on telling lies until he is written with Allah as a liar.”
Okay, does that mean joking is prohibited?
No. A man said to Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah (may Allah be pleased with him), “Joking is not right, it is to be denounced.” He replied, “Rather it is Sunnah, but only for those who know how to do it and do it at the appropriate time.”
Thus it is about stricking a balance for as an ummah we need to unite to increase the love between us and have fun, but we should also focus on our purpose in life for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much.”
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “Did the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) laugh?” He said, “Yes, and the faith in their hearts was like mountains.”
Okay, so how would I know if my joke is permissible?
Here are the top 6 questions to ask yourself wrapped up with evidence from the Quran and Sunnah.
Is my joke making fun of Islam?
Quran says: “If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allaah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed” [al-Tawbah 9:65-66]
This is also linked to making fun of some Sunnahs such as wearing the beard, hijab, shortening of one’s garments; for Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in al-Majmoo’ al-Thameen, 1/63:
“The matters of Divine Lordship, Prophethood, Revelation and religion are sacred matters which are to be venerated. It is not permissible for anyone to show disrespect towards them, whether by mocking them to make others laugh or to poke fun at them. If anyone does that, he is a kaafir, because this is indicative of his disrespect towards Allaah and His Messengers, Books and Laws. Whoever does that has to repent to Allaah for what he has done, because that is a kind of hypocrisy. So he has to repent to Allaah, seek His forgiveness, mend his ways and develop fear of Allaah, veneration towards Him and love for Him in his heart. And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Is my joke actually true?
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Woe to the one who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him.” [Narrated by Abu Dawood]
Does my joke scare people?
It was narrated that Abu Layla said: “The companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that they were travelling with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and a man among them fell asleep. Some of them got a rope and tied him up, and he got scared. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘It is not permissible for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.’” [Narrated by Abu Dawood].
Does my joke mock others or entail any unkind/sarcastic remarks about how one looks, how they walk or even involve backbiting?
Quran: “O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it to insult one’s brother after having Faith” [al-Hujuraat 49:11]
According to Ibn Katheer, this means that when someone is looking down/belittling or making fun of them. It is haram and is one of of the characteristics of the hypocrites.
Hadith in relation to mocking: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not express malicious joy towards your brother’s misfortune, for Allaah may have mercy on him and you may be stricken by the thing you made fun of.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi].
Hadith in relation to remarks: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Muslim is the brother of another Muslim, he does not wrong him, let him down or look down upon him. Taqwa (piety, awareness and fear of Allaah) is here” – and he pointed to his chest three times – “It is sufficient evil for a man to look down upon his Muslim brother. Every Muslim is sacred to another Muslim, his blood, his property and his honour.” [Narrated by Muslim]
Hadith in relation to backbiting: Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “[Backbiting is] your mentioning about your brother something that he dislikes.” [Narrated by Muslim]
Am I joking excessively?
Joking too much opposes the serious nature of the characteristic of the believers.
Imaam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The kind of joking which is forbidden is that which is excessive and persistent, for it leads to too much laughter and hardening of the heart, it distracts from remembrance of Allaah, and it often leads to hurt feelings, generates hatred and causes people to lose respect and dignity. But whoever is safe from such dangers, then that which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do is permissible for him.”
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas said: “Set a limit to your jokes, for going to extremes makes you lose respect and incites the foolish against you.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart.” [Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7312]
Am I choosing the right time?
So let’s conclude this month’s topic article of April Fools. When you are invited to tell jokes or play tricks, just remember that Allah is watching you and the angels are writing!
“O Allah! Show us the truth as truth so that we may follow it, and show us falsehood as falsehood, so that we may abstain from it.” Ameen.
When I ask myself this question, who did Allah bless us with that introduced us into the world? taught us? cared for us during good and testing times? played a major role on who we are today? By the permission of Allah subhanahu wa taala they have provided us academically and financially? The answer is our parents. Why am I talking about parents? In this day and age, the elderly are being neglected. They are being placed in a care home where one is unable to communicate due to language barriers and family members are not ‘free’ to visit. They are being treated as a servant looking after the house, whilst the couple is relaxing. They are being bullied by their own children claiming ‘they are old’, ‘useless’, ‘forgetful’, mocking them and accusing them of acts in which they never performed. Oh my Allah, really? Yes and it does occur in the Muslim community and the UK society as a whole regardless of religion and ethnicity. Disrespecting parents has become widespread, the hearts have hardened, and the relatives have become estranged. According to Age UK organization:
The status of our parents is vital in Islam as shown in one of the hadith below:
Abu Umru ash-Shaibaanee who said, “The owner of this house narrated to us,” and he indicated with his hand to the house of Abdullah, that, “I asked the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam ‘which action is the most beloved to Allaah?’ He said, ‘Prayer at it’s correct time’. I said, ‘then which action? ‘He said, ‘birr to the parents.’ I said, ‘then which?’ He said ‘Jihaad in the way of Allah’ Abdullah said, “He told me these, and if I had asked further, he would have told me.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The hadith above implies that praying on time. Salah (Prayer) and Jihad (Struggle) are important duties of a Muslim. Birr (good treatment, kindness) towards parents is mentioned alongside it which further indicates the importance of parents.
Another hadith that emphasises the importance of parents:
Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A person came to Messenger of Allah salla allahu alayhi wa salam and asked, "Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?'' He salla allahu alayhi wa salamsaid, "Your mother". He again asked, ``Who next?'' "Your mother", the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam replied again. He asked, "Who next?'' He (the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam said again, "Your mother.'' He again asked, "Then who?'' Thereupon he salla allahu alayhi wa salam said,'' Then your father.''
In another narration: "O Messenger of Allah! Who is most deserving of my fine treatment?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then your nearest, then nearest".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Both narrations highlight the rights of the mother three times more important than that of the father. In the Hadith Nawawi Book; Chapter 40. It states regards this hadith that reasons for this is because:
1 She is weaker than the father.
2. The following three troubles are borne exclusively by the mother while the father does not share them with her:
a) She carries the baby in her womb for nine months,
b) The labor pain which she suffers.
c) Two years' period of suckling which disturbs her sleep at night and affects her health. She has also to be very cautious in her food for the welfare of the baby.
The above mentioned hadiths are amongst many that put an emphasis on the importance of parents.
Furthermore, no matter how much the children have helped the parents when they are older; children are unable to repay what the parents did for them whilst they were young. Amongst the examples of hadiths are two below that highlights the eminence of parents and importance of their rights.
Abu Hurairah radi allahu anhu reported: Messenger of Allah salla allahu alayhi wa salam said, "No son can repay (the kindness shown by his father) unless he finds him a slave and buys him and emancipates him".
From Abu Buraidah that he was with Ibn Umar and a Yemeni man was making tawaaf of the House carrying his mother on his back saying, “I am her humble camel where her camel would have gotten frightened I will not”
Then he said, ‘O Ibn Umar! Do you think that I have repaid her?’ He said, ‘no, not even a for a single moan that escaped her during child birth.’
Then Ibn Umar made tawaaf of the house, then came to the Station (of Abraham) and prayed two rak’ahs. Then he said, ‘O ibn Abu Musa! Indeed every two rak’ahs expiate what came before them.’ [Saheeh Isnaad]
We should strive to listen to our parents because it counts as a ‘sin’ if one was to be disobedient as a hadith states that Abu Bakra states: “The Messenger of Allah salla allahu alayhi wa salam said, ‘shall I not inform you of the greatest of the major sins?’ [three times] They said, ‘of course O Messenger of Allaah!’ He said, ‘Associating partners with Allaah, Disobedience to the parents – then he sat, reclining – and the false statement.’ He kept repeating them until I said, ‘if only he would stop’” [Saheeh, Ghaayatul Maraam (277)]
What if one's parents told them to do something such as not praying, not fasting and so forth?
From Abu ad-Dardaa who said, “The Messenger salla allahu alayhi wa salam enjoined me with 9 things: Do not associate anything with Allah, even if you are cut into pieces or burned. And never leave the obligatory prayers deliberately, and the one that leaves them deliberately becomes absolved of protection. And do not drink alcohol for it is the door to all evil. And obey your parents, and if they command you to leave your worldly possessions then do so for them. And do not dispute/contend with the leader of the Muslims, even if you think you are right, and do not flee from the advancing army, even if you are destroyed and your companions flee. And spend of your property on your family. And never raise your stick against your family. And fill them with the fear of Allah.”
[Saheeh, Irwaa (2026)]
This implies that one should obey their parents unless if they ask you do something that opposes Islam and its teachings.
Besides kindness towards parents and obeying them. The Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam have mentioned on how to deal with the elderly. In the Quran it states:
And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do. [Quran 31:14-15]
A Hadith states:
“He is not one of us who is not merciful to our youngsters and does not respect and honour our elders“ [Al Tirmidhi].
He salla allahu alayhi wa salam said, “Any young person who is kind to an elderly because of his age, Allah will send him someone who will be kind to him when he becomes old” [Al Tirmidhi].
This indicates how Allah subhanahu wa taala put emphasis on thanking Him and to one’s parents for their involvement and sacrifice of raising him/her to be who they are today. In addition, to respect others regardless of age; young or small.
From Abu Hurayra, from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that he said, “May he be disgraced and humiliated, may he be disgraced and humiliated, may he be disgraced and humiliated.” They said, “who O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “the one whose parents attain old age, or one of them, and he enters Hellfire (by not serving them).” [Saheeh, at-Ta’leeq ar-Ragheeb (3/215)]
I want to dig deep! What are the root causes of elderly not being look aftered?
There are many reasons why this occurs, one of which is selfishness where one believes that fulfilling one’s personal needs comes before anyone else. Another reason would be that one finds a job elsewhere away from where their parents’ reside. Allah knows best.
So how could we as a community help the elderly for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa taala?
1. visit a care home/elderly home and shower them with love and care in your free time as their hearts are already in pain due to loneliness and health issues. You can bring your friends too.
2. If your parents are alive and they need help, please help them and show them kindness for they made many sacrifices whilst you were young. They may not need help but they may need your love, care and attention.
3. Raise awareness of this issue via social network and remind people of their duties towards parents.
Nor will you be requited anything except that which you used to do
[Surah Yasin 36:54]
The above ayah is a reminder that what he/she does to others will be done to him/her and he/she will be accounted for the actions that took place. Nothing should be placed before treating parents with kindness apart from the obedience of Allah subhanahu wa taala.
Anything good is from Allah subhanahu wa taala whilst anything bad is from myself and Shaytan al-rajeem.
This is where I will post my articles. I will do an article each month in sha Allah