(5) April Fool’s hoax from ‘The Noose’ deemed haram

April Fool’s hoax from ‘The Noose’ deemed haram

By Shaik Kadir

Recently, a video went round in the social media, bringing giggles, surprise and irritation to many viewers.
The scene shows a bus with many passengers watching a quarrel, a family squabble.
It shows a man standing between two women, one of them wearing the tudung (headscarf), loudly berating both the man and the other woman who was younger and in casual wear.
Every word from the tudung-clad woman is heard clearly in the well-taken video, and it is obvious that the tudung-clad woman and the man are husband and wife, while the third person is a girlfriend of the man.
Read more: Real or staged? Woman catches husband red-handed on bus
The wife scolds her husband and the other woman, more so targeting her abuse at the younger woman, asking why she wants her husband when he is old, poor and has no money.
Both the man and the younger woman keep mum all along and all three alight at a bus-stop where obviously, the bickering would continue, even more intensely, perhaps with physical assault.
The domestic quarrel on a bus turned out to be an April Fool’s hoax.
April Fool’s jokes are nothing new; readers have come to expect the press and other media to carry hoax stories on this day.
Some Singapore school children play tricks on this day, as well, like shockingly telling a friend, “Hey, there is bird s*** on your hair!” and when the friend winced to clear it, the joker would say with laughter, “April Fool!”
These jokes are harmless and fun. At most, the “victim” gets embarrassed for falling for the joke and would lightly smack his friend in retaliation.
As for the “husband-and-wife quarrel in the bus” video, many Muslims who saw it found it distasteful, some saying that it is haram (sinful in Islam).
“Haram” has several connotations, including sinful, unlawful, prohibited, not gracious and harmful.
If the same bus scene is about two secondary-school boys fighting over a schoolgirl girlfriend, the scene might even be hilarious.
But in this case, the protagonists are adult Asians. Asians, whether they are Chinese, Indian, Malay or of any other Asian race, are conservative. And the traditional thinking is that people would not quarrel over domestic matters in public.
The wife, if she saw her husband holding hands with another woman in public, would tell off her husband when he returned home.
In this particular case, the husband and wife are Malay Muslims quarrelling in public, the wife wearing a tudung. Here, Islamic norms are affected.
If the whole scene was real, not an April Fool’s prank, viewers of the video would berate the tudung-clad woman for not being Islamic in her behaviour, although for the husband to have a girlfriend is also Islamically wrong.
But the focus is on the woman in this instance for destroying the self-respect of her husband in public.
In Islam, both husband and wife have to respect each other and any unpleasant or terribly wrong concern is to be settled at home between them or with a close relative as an arbitrator.
A quarrel in public, such as the one shown in the bus scene, where reputation and self-respect are at stake, and shame, anger and loss of self-control could result – such an encounter is haram (not allowed) in Islam.
Yes, the video was an April Fool’s hoax, but people were taken for a ride by this made-up story. There is untruth in the scene, and the lie would have been circulated for some time before it was announced as a prank.
In Islam, telling a lie is haram. The Quran says: “O you who believe, fear God and always speak the truth.” (33:69)
If it were a scene in a drama or a movie, the viewers would know that it is fictional, but the present case looks splendidly real.
Video recording these days is commonplace and it may even be done with the handphone. People easily record quarrels, bullying, rioting and accidents, and these videos are uploaded on YouTube and other social media, attracting viewers who make nasty comments, creating further anger, shame, harm and disputes.
In Islam, a day dedicated to important people or occasion, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Labour Day and so on are not prohibited, but certainly Islamic norms would not entertain a day dedicated to practical hoaxes as they border on tricks and untruths that could lead to unpleasant relationships and mishap.
Muslims therefore would see the depiction of the domestic quarrel in the prank video as haram (ought not to be featured).

(Shaik Kadir is a retired school teacher who has been writing for various publications since 1976. He is the author of several English books on Islam and the author of ‘A Kite in the Evening Sky’, an autobiographical novel set in Geylang Serai in the 1960s.)

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