Parent Category: Library
Category: Opinion and Analysis

Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-03-20


The Easter weekend will soon dawn and with it comes a series of public and school holidays. A time to take a break from the hectic schedules of the proverbial rat race. However are Muslims inconspicuously celebrating the traditions and festivities that are attached to these holidays?

During the Easter holiday, the ‘hot cross buns’ and Easter eggs fill the trolleys of shoppers and are consumed by the dozen not to mention pickled fish which has also made it onto the dining table.

So can Muslims eat hot cross buns, Easter eggs and all other foods that might be associated with this religious period?

According to Mufti Siraaj Desai from Radio Islam, hot cross buns are permissible. “Normally we take the fatwa of Hazrat Mahmood Saab Rahmatullahi when people ask him about these buns… So Hazrat Mufti Saab said, ‘there is no religious connotation to this particular thing. It has just become a normal custom to make this stuff at this particular time of the year and because you’re eating it, and you are not using it because it has some religious significance.’ So it will be halaal and permissible to buy, to sell and consume hot cross buns,” said Mufti Desai.

As for Easter eggs, Mufti Desai echoed a similar sentiment saying it’s the same with Easter eggs. “It’s a chocolate, it’s a sweet. So if children eat it, there’s nothing wrong and it will be permissible,” said Mufti Desai.

With regards to the pickled fish Mufti Desai said that its not permissible if the intention of a person is they can’t eat meat on the occasion because they’re celebrating Easter. “If people are saying that, ‘no we are eating fish because we want to abstain from meat; we don’t eat meat during Easter time’ that is haraam. It’s a religious thing with the Christians that they don’t eat meat because they feel that Prophet Isa (AS) was crucified and that’s his flesh ‘so we don’t eat meat on this particular occasion.’

However Mufti Desai reiterated, “if you go into the shop, and because this thing (pickled fish) is available (or on sale), you bought it and you ate it; you’re still eating meat, you don’t have any belief about or, is not the custom that we don’t eat meat this time of the year, then it would be permissible.”

Another contentious issue is April fool. Don't be a fool this April by succumbing to the idiosyncrasies of a custom that ridicules even an educated person to stoop to a level an animal would not dare thread.

The history of April fool’s Day is not totally clear. No exact date can be found which prognosticate the first official celebration of this "holiday". There are, however, many tales regarding the reason the tradition is practiced.

One tale states that it is a day the Spanish celebrate in remembrance of the day that they defeated the Muslims and swept them from power in lower Spain. According to this narration, the Christian army could not conquer the Muslims there and sent spies to discover why. They discovered that the Muslims were strong on faith and obedient to Allah (SWT).

The tradition goes on saying that the Christians sent in alcohol and tobacco, which the Muslims used and became the means in which they lost their obedience to Allah (SWT). Then the Christian army invaded lower Spain and conquered the Muslims on the first of April and began celebrating April Fool’s Day ever since.

As this story has been circulating between Muslims strengthening their beliefs about the history of this day it is deemed appropriate to clarify the history of April fool’s Day. The truth of the matter is that this story is not true in many aspects.

The history of April fool’s Day or All Fool's Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 (New Year’s week) to January 1.

These people were labeled "fools" by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on "fool errands," sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April fool’s Day has taken on an international flavour with each country celebrating the"holiday" in its own way.

Although it may be viewed as harmless fun, pulling a prank on the 1st April or sending Easter greeting cards, wishing Christians a Happy Easter, you are (as a Muslim) doing more harm than good. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never adopted the ways of Jahiliyyah (ignorance) to try and bring people to Islam. And even if you’re just trying to be polite and neighbourly, you are actually undermining the principles of Islam and keeping people in misguidance.

Regardless of the history of April fool’s Day or not, there still isn’t any sort of a reason for a Muslim to practice such a foolish and insignificant tradition which flagrantly transgresses the commands of Allah and our beautiful religion of Islam.

Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (May Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet Muhammad of Allah (PBUH) said, " I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah (Paradise) for one who abandons lying even for the sake of jest.'' - [Abu Dawud].