Halloween: Harmless or Haram? An Islamic Perspective

31 10 2007

Every year, on the evening of October 31st, millions of children across
North America paint their faces, dress up in costumes, and go door to
door collecting treats. The adults often decorate their houses with
ghostly figures, carve scary faces on pumpkins, and put candles in them
to create “Jack-O-Lanterns.” Unfortunately, among the millions of North
Americans indulging in this custom, many are also Muslims. This article
will shed some light on the significance and origins of Hallow’een, and
why Muslims should not participate in it.

Origins of the Hallow’een Festival

The ancient Celtic (Irish/Scottish/Welsh) festival called Samhain is
considered by most historians and scholars to be the predecessor of what
is now Hallow’een. Samhain was the New Year’s day of the pagan Celts. It
was also the Day of the Dead, a time when it was believed that the souls
of those who had died during the year were allowed access into the “land
of the dead”. Many traditional beliefs and customs associated with
Samhain continue to be practiced today on the 31st of October. Most
notable of these customs are the practice of leaving offerings of food
and drink (now candy) to masked and costumed revelers, and the lighting
of bonfires. Elements of this festival were incorporated into the
Christian festival of All Hallow’s Eve, or Hallow-Even, the night
preceding All Saint’s (Hallows’) Day. It is the glossing of the name
Hallow- Even that has given us the name of Hallow’een. Until recent
times in some parts of Europe, it was believed that on this night the
dead walked amongst them, and that witches and warlocks flew in their
midst. In preparation for this, bonfires were built to ward off these
malevolent spirits.

By the 19th century, witches’ pranks were replaced by children’s tricks.
The spirits of Samhain, once believed to be wild and powerful, were now
recognized as being evil. Devout Christians began rejecting this
festival. They had discovered that the so-called gods, goddesses, and
other spiritual beings of the pagan religions, were diabolical
deceptions. The spiritual forces that people experienced during this
festival were indeed real, but they were manifestations of the devil who
misled people toward the worship of false idols. Thus, they rejected the
customs associated with Hallow’een, including all representations of
ghosts, vampires, and human skeletons – symbols of the dead – and of the
devil and other malevolent and evil creatures. It must also be noted
that, to this day, many Satan-worshippers consider the evening of
October 31st to be their most sacred. And many devout Christians today
continue to distance themselves from this pagan festival.

The Islamic Perspective

Iman (faith) is the foundation of Islamic society, and tauheed (the
belief in the existence and Oneness of Allah) is the essence of this
faith and the very core of Islam. The safeguarding of this iman, and of
this pure tauheed, is the primary objective of all Islamic teachings and
legislation. In order to keep the Muslim society purified of all traces
of shirk (associating partners with Allah) and remnants of error, a
continuous war must be waged against all customs and practises which
originate from societies’ ignorance of divine guidance, and in the
errors of idol worship.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) issued a stern warning: “Whoever
imitates a nation is one of them!” (Abu Da’oud). Muslims should heed
this warning and refrain from copying or imitating the kufar in their
celebrations. Islam has strongly forbidden Muslims to follow the
religious or social customs of the non-Muslims, and especially of the
idol-worshippers or those who worship the devil. The Prophet (s.a.s.)
said: “By Him in Whose hands is my life, you are ordered to enjoin good
and forbid evil, or else Allah will certainly afflict you with torments.
Thereafter, even your du’a (supplications) will not be accepted.”
(Tirmidhi). From an Islamic standpoint, Hallow’een is one of the worst
celebrations because of its origins and history. It is HARAM
(forbidden), even if there may be some seemingly good or harmless
elements in those practises, as evidenced by a statement from the
Prophet (s.a.s.) “Every innovation (in our religion) is misguidance,
even if the people regard it as something good” (ad-Daarimee.). Although
it may be argued that the celebration of Hallow’een today has nothing to
do with devil-worship, it is still forbidden for Muslims to participate
in it. If Muslims begin to take part in such customs, it is a sure sign
of weak iman and that we have either forgotten, or outrightly rejected
the mission of our Prophet (s.a.s.) who came to cleanse us from
jahiliyyah customs, superstitions and false practises.

Muslims are enjoined to neither imitate the behaviour and customs of the
non-Muslims, nor to commit their indecencies. Behaviour-imitation will
affect the attitude of a Muslim and may create a feeling of sympathy
towards the indecent modes of life. Islam seeks to cleanse the Muslim of
all immoral conducts and habits, and thus paving the way for the Qur’an
and Sunnah to be the correct and pure source for original Islamic
thought and behaviour. A Muslim should be a model for others in faith
and practice, behaviour and moral character, and not a blind imitator
dependant on other nations and cultures.

Even if one decides to go along with the outward practises of Hallow’een
without acknowledging the deeper significance or historical background
of this custom, he or she is still guilty of indulging in this pagan
festival. Undoubtedly, even after hearing the Truth, some Muslims will
still participate in Hallow’een, send their kids “trick-or-treating,”
and they will try to justify it by saying they are doing it merely to
make their children happy. But what is the duty of Muslim parents? Is it
to follow the wishes of their children without question, or to mould
them within the correct Islamic framework as outlined in the Qur’an and
Sunnah? Is it not the responsibility of Muslim parents to impart correct
Islamic training and instruction to their children? How can this duty be
performed if, instead of instructing the children in Islam, parents
allow and encourage their children to be taught the way of the
unbelievers? Allah exposes these types of people in the Qur’an: “We have
sent them the Truth, but they indeed practise falsehood” (23:10). Muslim
parents must teach their children to refrain from practising falsehood,
and not to imitate the non-Muslims in their customs and festivals. If
the children are taught to be proud of their Islamic heritage, they
themselves will, insha Allah, abstain from Hallow’een and other
non-Muslim celebrations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas,
Valentines Day, etc. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) said: The Final Hour
will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations
and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit (inch by
inch). (Bukhari). Islam is a pure religion with no need to accomodate
any custom, practise or celebration that is not a part of it. Islam does
not distinguish between “secular and sacred;” the shari’ah must rule
every aspect of our lives.

“You must keep to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided
Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every
new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading.”
(Bukhari)

“When the people see a person committing a wrong, but do not seize his
hand to restrain him or her from the deed, it is likely that Allah will
punish them both.” (Abu Da’oud, Nasa’i, Tirmidhi)

“Whoever imitates a nation is one of them.” (Abu Da’oud)

What to do on Halloween.

We have established, beyond doubt, that the celebration of Hallow’een is
absolutely forbidden in Islam. It is HARAM. The question arises as to
what to do on this night. Muslim parents must not send their kids out
“trick-or-treating” on Hallow’een night. Our children must be told why
we do not celebrate Hallow’een. Most children are very receptive when
taught with sincerity, and especially when shown in practice the joy of
their own Islamic celebrations and traditions. In this regard, teach
them about the two Islamic festivals of Eid. (Eid-ul-Fitr is fast
approaching, and this is the perfect time to start preparing them for
it.) It must also be mentioned that, even Muslims who stay home and give
out treats to those who come to their door are still participating in
this festival. In order to avoid this, leave the front lights off and do
not open the door. Educate your neighbours about our Islamic teachings.
Inform them in advance that Muslims do not participate in Hallow’een,
and explain the reasons why. (Give them a copy of this flyer if needed.)
They will respect your wishes, and you will gain respect in the process.
“A person who calls another to guidance will be rewarded, as will the
one who accepts the message.” (Tirmidhi)

Finally, we must remember that we are fully accountable to Allah for all
of our actions and deeds. If, after knowing the Truth, we do not cease
our un-Islamic practises, we risk the wrath of Allah as He himself
warned us in the Qur’an: “Then let them beware who refuse the
Messenger’s order lest some trial befall them, or a grevious punishment
be afflicted upon them!” (24:63). This is a serious matter and not to be
taken lightly. And Allah knows best. May Allah guide us, help us to stay
on the right path, and save us from all deviations and innovations that
will lead us into the fires of Hell.

-By Br. Feyoun Khan

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15 responses

1 11 2007
UmAbdurrahman, "Blanca"

Jazak Allahu Khair Sis for making this an awareness. It is unfortunate that many parents do want to please their children by giving in. I have seen this happen and it is wrong. Then again I dont blame the child but the parent who needs to scan their beliefs.

Intersting information and I hope parents respond to raising their child in an Islamic manner.
:)

30 10 2009
Jamie

Salam aliakum. well, listen to this. I work in a retail store in the children’s dept. This is my first year in this dept but not the first with the store as I have been there over 12 years. My supervisor insists that all of us in the dept dress up for Halloween. I told her I dont do Halloween. She said,”even if I bring you bunny ears or such?!” I said no. I dont celebrate Halloween. i am muslim. She was a little bothered by that. She said, “well, it makes it more fun for the kids if we are dressed up too.” I just shrugged my shoulders. I felt very uncomfortable. I went to her supervisor and she got it taken care of. I stood my ground though. Alhumduillah for everything, right? I was really afraid I would be moved to another dept.

1 11 2007
amatullah bint abdelghani

bismillah

salamauleikum ukhti!

barakLalhufeeki for this post! most of the muslims dont know how bad it is 2 celebrate the events of the kuffar,like halloween,birthdays etc…may Allah guide our ummah! Ameen!

waaaleikumsaalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu:-)

2 11 2007
adikbongsu

Alhamdulillah, a very informative article. :)

13 11 2007
Denice

I am still learning. Thank you for sharing.

14 10 2008
dwi

Assalamu’alaikum Wr.Wb.

I’m an Indonesian Muslim who live in the US for 3 months.. Thanks for the article, makes me aware of the unnecessary ‘party’ like the halloween.
[I should politely refused the coming halloween invitation then].

salam,
dwi

29 10 2008
`ayesha

thank you so much for this explanation, this really help me i will surely know how to advice my kids. may allah forgive us for all wrong doing

31 10 2008
paki

saalam

i hated halloween from the start but thanks for clarifing, can’t beleive kids and paents donot think that halloween is related to the devil why celebrate it

3 11 2008
connie

As a recent convert I made the mistake of donating some
money for local childrens party celebrating this event.I
had forgotten about the grim origins of this holiday .Its
best that children dont participate in this kind of thing

3 11 2008
bina ghufran

assalam o alaikum……..
there still is a confusion i dont understand what is the harm in just wearing costume leaving everything behind just to enjoy with other kids………ok dont go for trick or treat, dont decorate ur home but if ur child is going to school or daycare and he/she wears a costume just to enjoy is it still wrong.

14 10 2009
kkoko

salaam

this article really helped me understand how
Halloween is haram to celebrate

15 10 2009
Mohamed

Very strange, but I just saw my first post after posting my second. Not sure why I didn’t see it before, but it may have to do with responding the email first. Secondly, I just noticed that this is a blog for the sisters, so I won’t impose anymore.
My appologies and Assalamu ‘Alaykum.

1 11 2009
Sara

Saalam,

I am very grateful for this message. It did clarify that Halloween is haram. I do not understand why non-Muslims can celebrate such a evil day. I can see why children can like this day- for the candy but I cant see why the parents aren’t aware of the harm it is doing to their children….

Jazak Allahu

1 11 2009
Mehvish mahmood

I did not celebrate this year with my kids as they are getting older and have started thier Islamic studies. I am proud of myself for resisting the temptation n I see that my children respect me more as I made other efforts to keep them busy. Living in America, it is not easy not to be one with the culture on such harmless celebrations but we as muslims must think of how with action will effect our faith. We should not forget the day of judgement when we will be responsible for all of our wrong deeds.

6 11 2009
Fatimah

Asalaamu Alaikum,

This is a great posting. I have seen sisters make this mistake and this is a way to let them know this is wrong to celebrate.

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