April 1st is not a legal holiday but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day that tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness.
The day is marked by the commission of good humored or funny jokes, hoaxes and other practical jokes played on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, et cetera.
In many countries the jokes only last until noon, and someone who plays a trick after noon is called an “April Fool”. But what do religions have to say about this day?
Morally, it is uncivilized to make a fool of a normally intelligent person.
From a Muslim perspective, too, it is unethical as a celebration, whatever its provocation, even if the prank is as harmless as telling someone his shoestring is untied.
“Lying is a characteristic of hypocrisy and Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) strictly forbade lying at all times,” said Imam Abdul Hamza Karangwa of Kanombe.
According to Allah’s Messenger, “Let he who truly believes in Allah and the Last Day speak good or be silent.”
“He has specifically cursed the person who lies to make people laugh, when he said: ‘Woe be on one who speaks and lies in order to make people laugh, woe be on him,’” emphasized Imam, Karangwa.
“Even though the Bible does not contain any direct command against observing the traditions of April Fool’s Day, one can examine certain Biblical principles to know that God does not approve of tricks even if they are innocent and physically harmless. Lies are designed to embarrass or humiliate others,” said, a Jehovah’s Witness elder in Kigali who preferred anonymity.
When it comes to having fun or playing practical jokes at another’s expense, it may prove to be beneficial for Christians to remember the principle that Jesus Christ set forth: “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them.
The spirit behind April Fools’ Day is exactly opposite to the Christian way of life.
According to Pastor James Kakande of True Vine Ministry in Kimironko, “Christians are not supposed to engage or celebrate this day.”
“Pranks played on April Fools’ Day in the name of harmless fun are usually set in motion through lies, often leading to misunderstanding and confusion thus violating one of God’s Ten Commandments: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour,” the pastor said.
Before playing a practical joke on someone, ask yourself, ‘How would I like to be the object of the joke?’ The Bible counsels that we should never receive pleasure at the expense of someone else’s embarrassment or hurt.