Halaloween

Fatima and Baber have a spat over carving pumpkins at the Mosque. Amaar decides that halloween can be celebrated as long as it has an Islamic twist. The kids could dress up as a fig, or a date or an olive.

I’m of the opinion that our neighbours are our friends and we should share in their holidays and festivals. We invite them for Eid celebrations and they come with open arms to join us in our festivities. Why can’t we do the same?

What does your family/muslim community think of halloween? Do they celebrate it? With or without a muslim twist?

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27 Comments

Filed under Episode 4

27 responses to “Halaloween

  1. fatima

    The olive and fig costumes were hilarious !

  2. Mustafa Gungormus

    Allah strictly warns beleivers not to adopt traditions or practices of Jews or Christians.(Maide-51) This verse does not implement that all social or trading relationships must be cut with non-Muslims. We know that Muhammed (pbuh) has signed treaties or had commerce with non-Muslims. The point is muslims must avoid adopting non-Muslim traditions. For example Muhammed (pbuh) has said “Jews and Christians don’t dye their hair and beard. When your hair turns white, dye your hair with henna so that you don’t look like them” (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal). I also heard that He (pbuh) shortened his hair when Jews grew their hair, and grew His hair when Jews shortened their hair. (Couldn’t find a good source for this) I think these are enough reasons not to celebrate Halloween.
    Besides, in essence, Halloween is a religious festival and celebrated as “All hallows’ eve” (the eve of all saints’ day). I don’t see a reason why a muslim should celebrate a Christian religious festival.

  3. Many Christians don’t celebrate Halloween either seeing it as more of a Pagan festival. The Neo-Pagans have indeed adopted the holiday to some extent.

    Here are websites encouraging Christians not to participate in Holloween.

    http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/halloween.html

    http://www.nisbett.com/holidays/halloween_christian_perspective.htm

    http://home.computer.net/~cya/cy00061.html

    http://www.theopedia.com/Halloween

    But here is another site stressing that the holiday does have Christian roots.

    http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Oct2001/Family.asp

    In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day.

    The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the “communion of saints,” which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.

    Obviously there is much debate about the holiday even among Christians.

    This website talks about how to celebrate Holloween in a Christian way.

    http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/ss/halloweenaltern.htm

    Should Muslims celebrate Holloween? Well being a non-Muslim I can’t say. But the Christian experience with this festival is to try to convert the holiday into something that promotes their religion. I believe that is what Pope Gregory IV was trying to do when he placed a Christian celebration on that date. He hoped by giving the Pagans a Christian reason to celebrate this would convert them into his religion as they wouldn’t have to give up some of their traditional roots but these roots could be transformed from something Pagan to something positive. So perhaps Amaar has the right idea. Celebrate the holiday but do it in an uniquely Muslim way.

  4. jim

    Apparently, the term Halaloween isn’t as new as as it may seem. It has been coined for a while now.

    Yahoo! Answers has some discussions on it:

    http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index.php?qid=20061026223053AAk1Y26

  5. Scott

    As a Christian I can add that many Christians do not view Halloween in any sort of religious context, despite the fact that it may have originated as such. To many, it has evolved simply into a secular event where people (mostly young and some older) will dress in costumes, and a day for handing out candy to children, nothing more. The religious connotation doesn’t exist for many.

  6. Tajuddin

    Our Deen is clear about avoiding the participation in things that are strictly contrary to Islam (kufr)…these don’t necessary have to be acts of worship – for example in what was mentioned above, jews did not not dye their hair as an act of worship…Halloween is clearly a religious-connotated holiday with its roots in paganism and hence shirk…it is a no-brainer that Muslims not participate in it…however the show does make a point about the challenges we face vis-a-vis a different, and diverse, culture…

  7. Rayan

    I’m sorry but once again, reading into Islamic edicts in a literal manner that does not take into consideration the established framework of logical process in Islam is against Islam.

    Halloween has evolved and become a secular holiday where children genuinely enjoy themselves. Be mindful of Islamic things (i.e. Don’t dress as the Devil or a Cheerleader) but to read deeper into it paranoia and making life needlessly difficult on you and your children

  8. Me

    I agree with Rayan.
    Halloween may have been a pagan festival at one point, but certainly has moved away from that and become a secular holiday. When you dress up and go collect candy, you are not worshipping a different god or condoning a different religion. Its not about pagan gods or Christianity. Its a cultural event, and its about being a bit silly and having fun.
    Think about it! A fair number of non-religious / cultural traditions that we take for granted today and consider “Muslim”, were actually in practise before Islam, and later were condoned by prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and so were continued by Muslims. One of the examples being the “Valeema” party/dinner that the groom’s family arranges after a wedding.

  9. Anon

    Here is a video about Holloween

  10. Tajuddin

    Sorry but it is a poor comparison comparing a walimah and Halloween…a walimah is a party and has always been a non-religious celebration…Halloween is pagan/christian in its origin…we can try and water it down by asserting what it is today, but in light of the prophetic proclamation that there are 2 holidays (not 3 or 4 or 5, etc) for the Ummah, the question of celebrating Halloween is rendered moot…

  11. Sara

    Halloween – it is nothing to do with Religion, Real Christians, Real Muslims, Real Hindus do not participate in such things

  12. Ali

    Tejuddin – what about the party of “Henna” (known as “Mehndi” to others)? The tradition of putting henna on a woman during a wedding or other major life events traces back to 5000 B.C.

    And, consider boxing day sale. Sure, Christmas is a Christian holiday, but some its traditions are quite pagan. Is it haram to go to the futureshop boxing-day sale?

    Collecting candy on Oct 31 has as little to do with Halloween as buying a computer on Dec 26 has to do with Christmas.

  13. Ali

    Consider this…

    Is it haram to make it a point to have a picnic on May 1st each year? What if I designate May 1st as the Official Picnic Day? What if the reason I chose that day was because on one May 1st, many years ago, I was having a picnic and a very special guest joined us by surprise? Will God still punish me for selecting this day to throw a picnic each year?

    What if we choose October 31st as the day our children dress up and collect candy because it happens to be the day that the neighbours are prepared for it?

    Is Christmas still a celebration of the birth of Jesus if it is only a time of year that we buy presents for one another? What defines a holiday? Is it the decorations? The name of the occasion? Or is it the belief? If all I do during Eid is eat Ma’amool and buy new clothes and hand out cash to children, am I still “celebrating” Eid? Or do I have to do Eid prayer for it to count? Does a pagan’s trick-or-treating count as worship? Or do they have to light bonfires and communicate with spirits for it to count?

    When the profit (sAws) talked about celebrations, what was he referring to? Was he indirectly banning all other celebrations? Are family dinners haram? Or does he define celebration as a day of prayer and practice?

    I believe that Eids are holy occasions during which time certain religious practices are due, much like fasting is due during Ramadhan. If we aren’t associating any religious practices with non-religious holidays, then are those non-religious holidays a sin to celebrate?

  14. Zaraf

    Assalamualakum

    I would have to agree with what Tajuddin is trying to explain to everyone.

    Ali, you are trying to bring a comparison of that pinic day thing. The whole issue here is not that you are doing it, but rather, WHY are you doing it? Are you having a picnic on May 1st just because that is the ONLY time you and your friends can get off of work together, and it tends to be the only time the weather is nice and clear? And if an alternative day appeared, then it would be suitable? Or are you chosing May 1st, and it HAS to be May 1st. No ifs, ands, or buts?

    In the first case, you are doing it, simply because it is a convinient time. In the second case, you have started a “bidah”. Sure, it may seem harmless right now, but that’s how all bidahs start. Give it a few generations, and they start thinking that doing that is part of Islam.

    I come from a Pakistani background, and Pakistan is like bidah central. You gave the example of the “Mendhi”…yes, this is a bidah. This came originally from Hindu culture, and through the general mixing of traditions and such, you get things which seem to have religious context, but actually have no basis.

    An example I’ll give is something called “chay-lem”. Forty days after someone dies, family members get together and read Quran and have a big dinner, etc. There is no basis in Islam of this, yet when I approached some of my relatives about this and why they shouldn’t be doing it, they retort with what I expected. “What’s wrong with it? Its not like we’re doing anything bad! We’re reading Quran and remebering the dead, blah blah blah.” Then lo and behold, we have chay-lem as something which MUST be done. Some will even go so far to claim that Muhammed (pbuh) did it (and of course, there is NO evidence to support this claim).

    Do you know where the whole celebrating birthdays came from? Back in the Dark Ages, the common people used to view the world as “Nature Vs. Us”. Every year that they would survive, they would see it as a victory. “We conquered over nature for another year! Hurrah!”. And thus they would celebrate the day of their birth. However, Muslims don’t think like this (or at least, they shouldn’t be). Muslims know that their time of death is written even before they are born, so for them, their life is just ticking away. Tick, tick, tick. Every year you grow is a year you’ve LOST of your life, which you will never get back. So if anything, your birthday should be a time for you to reflect over the past year, and analyze what you have accomplished. Have you come closer to Allah (swt)? Or have you been doing nothing but striving for this world (dunya) or just wasting your time? Of course, like everything else, these birthday celebrations became commercialized, and now birthdays simply have the whole “I’m getting presents” feel around it. I’ll admit that when I was younger, my family used to celebrate birthdays. But when we discovered that it was not part of Islam, we immediately dropped them. End of story.

    So I hope you can understand what I am trying to describe. Even though things may seem harmless, they are the seeds of corruption for the future. Stick to the middle path in Islam, and don’t venture near the edges, lest you fall off the path.

  15. Ali

    See, that is my point exactly. In the prophet’s time, when they spread the message of Islam among the different tribes and different ethnics, they were changing a people’s religion, and not their custom or way of life. Traditional practices, such as the pagan tree or the bonfire for halloween, had to be abolished because they were, at that time, still practiced with spirituality. In those days, these traditions were practiced because people believed in their origin. And so yes, back then it would have been wrong to continue practicing that tradition.

    Today, though I insist Christmas is still practiced religiously, I do not believe that the original message that gave birth to “Halloween” has survived through the generations. As you put it, this is only a commercial holiday. Can you not compare it to the Dubai annual shopping festival? Halloween is a mere exchange in the commerce market and is being promoted because companies can keep their shareholders happy. They are not preaching it as a faithful practice and so this is not why people participate in it, they participate because it is a custom. (Whereas Christmas continues to be advertised and announced globally as a holy and religious event, practiced by most people from belief, not custom).

  16. Zaraf

    Assalamulakum,

    Regardless of whether or not they are practiced commercially or religiously, they are still not to be practiced. As I mentioned before, they may seem harmless enough right now, but give it some time and it could grow to become something quite wrong. In Islam, the path towards an evil is also forbidden. Why is dating (in the Western sense) in Islam forbidden? It leads to the greater sin ‘zina’ (adultery/fornication). Likewise, celebrating events that are not part of Islam regardless of if there is any religious significance or not, should NOT be practiced.

    This is an issue that is in the “grey” area…so why do people insist on treading into the grey area which may or may not be correct, when there is a clear black and white available for them. As Muslims, we have two celebrations. Eid ul-Fitr (at the end of Ramadan), and Eid ul-Adha (during Hajj).

  17. Ali

    I’m going to steer this very deep… And I apologize that it’s a double post and it’s long.

    happy shareholders = funding for company = development (expansion? technology? RESEARCH?) = development and evolution of societies

    We have done this for milleniums, it is our innate nature to develop. That was the power of speech [teaching Adam “the names”] that was given to mankind, allowing us to trade information and to preserve it – to accomplish larger things than what one mindset can accomplish.

    Stephen Hawking has an excellent essay on speech as the mechanism for development of our species. The holy Qura’an told us this hundreds of years ago.

    If you look at it this way, we celebrate Halloween because we have built societies that innately choose to practice customs collectively in order to develop our own species and understand our origin. Though it can be argued that Iblis’ influence is the one leading to such actions of mankind, there is no religious evidence to suggest that the power of communication and speech was not for our development. It is our nature to follow custom. Was Islam the message to change people’s customs? Or was it to change belief? Customs in the ‘new world’ like drinking wine must be avoided, but why a participation in halloween, the commercial holiday that humans have sustained only to fuel their development?

    Muslims are coming to the Americas in increasing numbers and the muslim population is, innately, trying to colonize. (This sounds bad, this isn’t a threat that we’re proactively trying to take you white people over lol) But every “people” or “Umma” whether christian, muslim, hindu, or even just a political group, is innately trying to colonize the planet with their ideology and belief system as the means to continue and develop in the right direction – al mostaqeem.

    I’m NOT trying to give an answer as to whether or not muslims should participate in Halloween, I am simply asking a question: Where does the spread of Islam draw the line between change of belief and change of a local custom?

  18. Ali

    I did not “celebrate” Halloween as a child, I collected candy and wore a costume because it was fun.

    I celebrate Eid with prayer and doa’a, “a7yee” (Arabic word, not sure how to translate it, ‘liven’? in a religious sense, with prayer and doa’a and goodwill) because the prophet (saw) indicated that when the moon does such as such, we are supposed to react to it this way.

  19. Ali

    We’re talking a custom for pre-puberty children. It is not like Christmas that is practiced by adult believers. It is no different than a specific day of the year during which people take their children to the park because there happen to be fireworks there. If only pagans take their kids to see the fireworks on that day, are we not allowed to do the same?

    The people that believe in the spirituality of halloween do not do trick-or-treating, it is not the custom of halloween’s believers. People who believe that the portal to the realm of spirits on October 31 probably spend that night on a ouija board, or in a circle of salt or something, and they are probably adults.

  20. Ali

    In fact, I think it is a good thing. The only way to over-take a religious practice is to change it to your own custom. The Christians tried this with Halloween when they first took over the celts. They announced the next day as spirits day or something like that, in christianity. This was to reduce reduce the pagan meaning of the holiday. So when the pagans communicate with the spirits, christians and muslims and hindus go around collecting candy and commercialize it off the “belief” list.

  21. Ali

    Participation in christmas shopping has reduced the credibility of christmas as a religious holiday, unfortunately for christians, and is pushing it toward being a commercial event.

    Isn’t this a part of the spread of Islam? Eid is only becoming more popular, and now we are able to take those days off school or work. Halal is making it’s way to large grocers, mosques are increasing in number. Local religious holidays are becoming commercial events.

    What IS important to us as muslims is to conserve our practice of Eid as a holiday for it’s true meaning, and to maintain its credibility as a religious observance. Commercializing local (anti) holidays is a good thing for a religious take-over (assuming that this is the purpose of Islam and any other religion), but what we cannot do is to allow anyone else to commercialize ours when they want to take over. And this corresponds to the prophet’s order – if religion X, for example, attempts to spread and take over Islam, they would first do so by introducing a new practice to Eid. Perhaps commercialize it. If we start celebrating Eid in the way that people of religion X do, then we will have not followed the prophet’s order [don’t immitate the practices of the non-believers], and we will have sacrificed and lost the meaning of Eid.

  22. Ali

    Christians are for most part successful in taking a pagan holiday such as Halloween and turning it into something non-religious. Though, a few christians DO believe in halloween to an extent, and that is perhaps because the mechanisms of some christian doctrines wasn’t conservative enough to prevent those ideas from penetrating into the beliefs, and those christians did start believing in their pagan predecessor’s religious observance.

    (The Christians tried to incorporate halloween into their own beliefs by introducing it as “saints day”, or “spirits day”, this is what the prophet Mohammed told us not to do. What we are doing, instead, is contributing to making it commercial).

    This is the last of my posts, salam.

  23. Zaraf

    I’m not going to continue arguing with you on this since I’m only going to repeat what I’m saying, and you’re only going to repeat what you are saying. You make a good case for yourself, but this issue still remains in the grey area, and I still choose to stay away from the grey area. After all, we KNOW it is not a sin to NOT participate, but we don’t know if it IS a sin to participate. I’d rather be safe, than sorry. Especially when I can still live a fulfilling life without Halloween 🙂

    Assalamulakum.

    • Azzam

      Thank you very much Zaraf. The hadith below supports what you stated:

      On the authority of Abu ‘Abdullah al-Nu’man bin Bashir, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

      “The halal is clear and the haram is clear. Between the two there are doubtful matters concerning which people do not know whether they are halal or haram. One who avoids them in order to safeguard his religion and his honor is safe, while if someone engages in a part of them he may be doing something haram, like one who grazes his animals near the hima (the grounds reserved for animals belonging to the King which are out of bounds for others’ animals); it is thus quite likely that some of his animals will stray into it. Truly, every king has a hima, and the hima of Allah is what He has prohibited. So Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is good, the whole body is good, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

  24. Greetings friends! Actually to clarify some stuff about Christmas and Halloween and other holidays,
    Christmas isn’t necessarily celebrated on the date of Jesus’s actual birth, no one really knows that date, but the West marks it on the 25th of December, which fell during a Roman pagan holiday called Saturnalia, which marked the ‘birthday’ of the Sun, which Romans worshipped as a God, and they marked that day with a lot of behavior normally not at all acceptable such as slaves being the masters, and bad sexual behavior.
    The Christians substituted religious observances and the giving of gifts and relatively harmless feasting.
    Halloween indeed did come from the ancient Celtic day when the dead were supposed to visit.
    so the Church substituted a day called ‘All Saints’ and the word Halloween comes from ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ or the eve of All Saint’s day.
    People in Ireland and Scotland in particular used to mark this day with pranks supposedly done by ghosts. The perpetrators were children who normally would NEVER be allowed out at night. The candy and small change given was to bribe them not to play pranks, hence ‘trick or treat’!
    Nowadays All Saints Day not really marked religiously except by serious Catholics, who take that day to visit the graves of the dead, and leave candles and flowers by the grave.
    That is how it’s still done in most of Eastern Europe, including the Orthodox countries, where they never had a custom of pranks or costumes or ‘trick or treat’ probably because the Slavs marked their New Year in Spring, closer to our modern Easter.
    Some people like to say that they are ‘pagans’ and mark Samhain the Celtic New Year and the Feast of the Dead. There is no true paganism in Western Europe now, and the former paganism would not have resembled the ‘Wiccan’ thing so much as it would resemble Hinduism.
    There indeed are a lot of Christians who do not celebrate Halloween in it’s commercial American form for these very reasons. My family did but for fun not for any other reason.
    All the holidays of Christians are comercialized in the U.S. and one Jewish holiday Hannuka has been commercialized. That is a bad thing. I hope Muslims will resist this trend to commercialize their holidays. To observe is one thing, but to commercialize is another! 🙂
    While kids like toys and fun, and I have no problem with toys and fun for kids, I think it’s really important to sit down with kids and tell them the truth.
    My kids for example were told that Santa Claus isn’t real, there was a Saint Nicholas, and I got a book about him and didn’t much like him afterwards because he hated Jews and Muslims. In fact I couldn’t see much of why he was made a saint. Maybe on an individual basis he helped some Jews, but only in the hopes they’d become Christians. There are so many improbable stories about Saint Nicholas that one wonders about him!
    I explained that there was no Easter Bunny and that people have been decorating eggs that time of year since the CAVE days. They’ve found colored eggshells in caves inhabited by Neandrathal man! We still did some of those things, but put the focus on going to church on those days and on the religious side of it all.
    Back in the day, concessions were made to the pagans for the good of their souls, now it seems like the commercial world is a greater problem than the poor pagans ever dreamed of being. At least the pagans believed whatever it was they believed, the corporate world hasn’t got any belief but in money!

  25. I fully agree that halloween is unislamic, but it is ridiculous to say the same of soyem or chelum. This is the difference between Wahabism and the rest of muslim ummah. The former consider anything un-arabic as un-islamic, whereas the latter use logic and only consider those acts as unislamic that violate Islam. For instance, the wahabis are fine with monarchy as that is an age old Arab tradition but reject democracy as that was never practiced during the 7th century. The rest of us can see how monarchy – where once class of people are superior to another – violates the core of Islam , even though it is an Arab tradition, while democracy – same rule of law for all – while not Islamic but more closer to Islam ideals, even though it was never practiced by Arabs.

  26. Katja

    very informative. However one minor corrections. St. Nicholas couldn’t have hated Muslims. Prophet Mohammed was born in Arabia some 300 years after the death of St. Nicholas. Best regards

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