There are many myths and legends surrounding the April Fool’s Day and almost all of them look quite compelling, especially when compared to the myths circulating on the internet, and given currency to by some of the columnists in Pakistan, regarding the victimization of the Muslims by Christians on this day. There are several such stories circulating on the web but the top three will be discussed here.
Fall of Granada and Christian conspiracy:
Granada was one of the most glorious cities ruled by the Muslims in the past. It was the heart of Muslim Spain containing some of the most beautiful monuments built by the Umayyad caliphs of the region. The conspiracy theory regarding the fall of Granada says that the Muslims were unbeatable in Spain some 1000 years ago. When the Christians of Spain realized that they could not defeat the Muslims in a combat, they finally decided to introduce liquor and tobacco to the Muslims, according to this theory. When in 1492, the Muslim fort was finally taken by Ferdinand and Isabella; they celebrated the day as April Fool’s Day because according to this theory, Christians conspiracy had worked.
To discredit this theory, the very fact that Muslims surrendered on 12th of January and not 1st of April is enough. However, there is more to it. Truth is that the Europeans were introduced to tobacco after quite some time and Muslims were introduced to liquor way before 1492.
Muslim massacre by Spaniards:
Another story says that when Muslims were being shipped back from Spain after the fall of Granada in 1492, they were given guarantees of security by the Spaniards. But when they were in the middle of the sea, all of them were massacred by the Spanish crew of the ship.
The theory is again highly misleading as Muslims were not ordered to evacuate Spain until 1609.
Bahadur Shah Zafar presented with his son’s skull:
When the last king of Mughal dynasty Bahadur Shah II, or more commonly known as Bahadur Shah Zafar, was sacked by the East India Company in 1857 as a result of the mutiny in India, he was exiled to Burma, currently Myanmar. It is said that he was presented with his son’s skull as breakfast on April 1st and that it was an act of celebrating April Fool’s Day by Major Hodson.
This theory also remains ill-founded. Although Bahadur Shah was presented with his son’s skull but that was in accordance with the Nowruz celebrations, a Persian festival that was regularly celebrated in Mughal India. Although the festival also starts on March 21 and this is quite possible that the skull arrived a few days late given the means of transport in those days, the fact remains that it was in accordance with Nowruz and not the April Fools’ Day.
The latest: Tipu Sultan s death
In a stream of conspiracy theories, the latest one has been coined by none other than the Punjab government s spokesperson Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri who has said on Tuesday that Muslims should not celebrate April Fools Day because Tipu Sultan, the eighteenth century Muslim ruler of the Mysore kingdom, in Southern India, also embraced martyrdom on 1st of April.
Although remedies as banal as facts cannot cure the disease that the conspiracy theorists suffer from, the sad fact is that this theory, too, is ill-founded. Sultan Fateh Ali Khan Tipu, or Tipu Sultan, actually embraced martyrdom on 4th of May, 1799.
Reality of April Fools Day:
According to most historians, April Fools’ Day started to be celebrated in the sixteenth century when the Pope declared 1st of January as the start of the New Year replacing 1st April, which was previously believed to be the first day of the year. There were some people who refused to celebrate the New Year on 1st of January and stuck with 1st of April. These were the people who were started to be called as April Fools by those who had abided by the Pope’s verdict and had started to celebrate the New Year on 1st of January.
However, there is nothing concrete. Even this theory is contested by many others but one thing is for sure that all the myths about Muslims being fooled into massacre by the Christians on 1st of April stand completely baseless.
The most beautiful of all these theories is that of the Earth’s indigenous people celebrating the arrival of the spring season and playing pranks over each other to enjoy the festival, or whatever that would be. This must have been for all the people across the globe and something that would unite the people living throughout the world in those days unlike the theories that divide the people today.
Muslims got fooled this day would render you fooled by ... the myths & stories that have fooled our minds regarding April Fool.