The Origin of "April Fool"?

At least since March 1997 the following message continues to be spread around on Muslim mailing lists (see below), newsgroups (*, *, *, *), and web pages (*, *, *).

The oldest version of it that I have found so far is displayed here (personal email addresses removed but otherwise exactly as received):



Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah

Subject: don't be fooled by APRIL FOOL !
Date: 28 March 1997 06:35

Al Jum'a, 19 Dhul-Qa'dah 1417(ah) -- (28 Mar 1997 ce)


     The Fall of Granada, Spain and 1st April - APRIL FOOL

In Spain, after centuries of Muslim rule*, the Moors were
overwhelmed by the Christian Army. However, the Moors were
fortified in their homes. The Christian armies wanted to get rid
of the Muslims somehow. They told the Muslims that they could
leave their homes safely and could take only the necessary things
from their homes. They were told they could sail away in the
ships anchored on the quay side. The Muslims did wonder if this
ploy was a trick. The Muslims were requested to go to the quay
side to check the ships. They did so and were convinced. They
then made preparations to leave. The next day, 1st April, they
took their essential belongings and walked towards the quay side.

The Christians looted their homes and then set fire to them.
Before the Muslims got to the ships, the Christians had set fire
to the ships as well. The Christians then attacked the Muslims
and killed them all:

men, women and children. They then celebrated this carnage. This
then became a ritual that was celebrated every year and that has
been carried on until this day not only in Spain but in other
countries, too. The Muslims celebrate 1st April as well as
playing jokes on others on this day through sheer ignorance of
the story. We should bring out the facts of the story to all in
order to put a stop to the practice of celebrating this bloody
and shameful episode.


No sources at all have ever been provided for this accusation.


April's fool was never a Christian festival whether in Spain or anywhere else. I dare say, no Muslim has ever found any other person celebrating "THIS event". We have to ask: Who exactly is celebrating "THIS bloody and shameful episode"? Obviously one cannot celebrate what one doesn't know. Reasons for feasts might possibly change over time, but each feast is celebrated by the participants for (their own) reasons that they are aware of and it can hardly be a celebration of something they are unaware of.

The entry from the Encyclopaedia Britannica (below) states that the custom of April Fool's Day goes back at least to Ancient Rome (before the advent of Islam) and that alone invalidates the malicious slander propagated by this story.

  April Fools' Day

  also called ALL FOOLS' Day, first day of April, named from the 
  custom of playing practical jokes or sending friends on fools' 
  errands on that date. Although it has been observed for centuries 
  in several countries, the origin of the custom is unknown. It 
  resembles other festivals, such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome 
  (March 25) and the Holi festival of India (ending March 31). 
  Its timing seems related to the vernal equinox (March 21), 
  when nature "fools" mankind with sudden changes in the weather. 

  On April Fools' Day all people are given an excuse to play the 
  fool. In France the fooled person is called poisson d'avril 
  ("April fish"), but the origin of the name is unknown. In April 
  the cuckoo, emblem of simpletons, comes, so in Scotland the 
  victim is called gowk (cuckoo). The custom of playing April Fools' 
  jokes was taken to America by the British. It has continued to 
  be observed by children and adults and sometimes involves rather 
  elaborate hoaxes as well as merely simple jokes. 

  "April Fools' Day" Encyclopędia Britannica Online 

Other web sites with comments and theories on "April Fool's" origins are: [*, *]

Most Muslims who are forwarding this accusation are probably only gullible and not malicious. However, it seems to confirm their own prejudices or else it wouldn't be so easily believed by many and then passed on. But the first person to make it up can hardly be anything else than an intentional liar with the purpose of inciting religious hatred. However, everyone who spreads this story is responsible for the increase of unjustified hostility from Muslims to Christians.

Further Muslim web pages with a different theory, but still blaming Jews and Christians with the invention of this custom: [*, *]

Further discussion, in particular an atheist claiming that a Christian invented these cruelties of Christians against Muslims, which is about as likely as Muslims inventing and spreading stories of Muslims torturing Christians to make Christians more impressed with the qualities of Islam. But if your greatest goal in life is wanting to blame others, such are the theories you will come up with: [*, *, *]

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