Halloween: what’s our stance?

Asalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Unquestionably, there is much confusion surrounding Halloween amongst the Muslim community. What is our stance? Is it permissible to send my kids? What if it’s only fun, nothing serious? Wallahu alim in regards to some of the questions but I do believe a thorough analysis needs to occur before we ourselves or our children get involved with such things. Its incumbent on us and parents to do so as they will be held to account for their actions in front of Allah. Remember, we are amongst the party of Allah and the goal of every Muslim should be to hold on to this honorable and dignified status. Allah says:

وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
And We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah . Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful.

There are many amongst us in this part of the world that take time out of their busy schedules, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to celebrate a day known as Halloween. Now, I’m sure many of us as kids went out trick or treating or still do and many of our parents let us go out as well. However, there are also people amongsts us, and Muslims are included in this, that throw Halloween parties at their houses and dress up in costumes, leaving no trace of Islamic traditions that were given to us. We have become so engrained within the morals, values, and customs of this society that have we have forgotten the pure traditions that were given to us by Allah azza wa jal. We have lost our identity and thus have resorted to adopting the practices of those around us. I fully understand that much of the activities that take place are done in ignorance as well; people just know no better. So, it becomes our jobs to educate those Muslims and bring them closer to a better understanding and a better way of living.

Inshallah, this article will serve as an educational tool for the Muslims. I ask Allah to accept it and make it of beenfit to the people. Before I begin, I find it important to lay out some basic prinicples of the religion, thereafter I will talk about the issue of Halloween and the Islamic perspective on such practices.

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Allah says:

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ
Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam.

The religion that will be accepted by Allah on the Day of Judgement will be al-Islam. Allah has chosen to make Islam the final religion for all of mankind; it is the religion that confirms everything that was revealed before it and it is the final message that was revealed to the final Prophet of Allah, Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wasalam. As Allah says:

نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ
It is He Who has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what came before it.

The Qur’an is truth and everything in it and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam is absolute truth. Allah has made this religion perfect; free of any need to burrow from other cultures/traditions/religions because Allah has completed this religion for us and made it perfect. Allah says:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِيناً
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion

And it of no surprise that this perfect faith has been granted to all of mankind, because the essence of it carries out the purpose of our life. The essence of Islam is to submit ourselves to the one and only creator of the heavens and the earth and to worship Him alone. Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
And I have not created the jinn nor the human except to worship Me

And so Islam has been perfected by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Meaning we have no need to add or subtract from this religion; everything that Allah has provided for us (through the Qur’an and the authentic traditions of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam) in this package known as al-Islam is exactly what we need to succeed. And Allah has given us this perfected way of life so that we may carry out the purpose of our creation (i.e to worship Him) with ease.

With that, we shift our attention to the issue of Halloween.

II. HISTROCIAL INFORMATION REGARDING HALLOWEEN

Background

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain; from the Old Irish samain).The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.

History of the Name

The term Halloween is shortened from All Hallows’ Even (both “even” and “eve” are abbreviations of “evening”, but “Halloween” gets its “n” from “even”) as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day”, which is now also known as All Saints’ Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well. Like other vigils, it was celebrated on the previous day if it fell on a Sunday, although secular celebrations of the holiday remained on the 31st. The Vigil was suppressed in 1955, but was later restored in the post-Vatican II calendar.

Symbols

The carved pumpkin, lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween’s most prominent symbols in America, and is commonly called a jack-o’-lantern. Originating in Europe, these lanterns were first carved from a turnip or rutabaga. Believing that the head was the most powerful part of the body containing the spirit and the knowledge, the Celts used the “head” of the vegetable to frighten off any superstitions. The name jack-o’-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard-drinking old farmer. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him by carving a cross into the tree trunk. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth at night with the only light he had: a candle inside of a hollowed turnip.

III. WHAT IS SAID REGARDING CELEBRATING OR TAKING PART IN HALLOWEEN AND OTHER SUCH CUSTOMS

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wasalam issued a stern warning:

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

Islam has strongly forbidden Muslims to follow the religious or social customs of non-Muslims, and especially of the idol-worshippers or those who worship the devil. This is because the basis of our religion is to tesfify in the Oneness of Allah, it is to uphold tawheed, it is to give Allah His right of not associating and acknowledging any partners to Him. Allah is One and Only and the Muslim does not oppress himself by taking part in celebrations/customs of those people who associate partners with Allah azza wa jal. May He be Exalted. Far above is He from that which they associate to Him. Allah says:

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ
And when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah . Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.”

Allah says:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ
“…And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…” [al-Furqaan 25:72]

Allah describes the believers as “Worshippers of the Most Gracious” , saying: “And those who do not witness falsehood and if they pass by “Laghow” (evil play or evil talk) they pass by it with dignity” (the same verse quoted above). The scholars and interpreters of Al-Quran quoted Mujahed, Ad-Dhahak, Ikrimah and others that Laghow means festivities of the idolaters, ie, “Worshippers of the Most Gracious” do not attend festivities of the idolaters

In regards to the same verse, Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah rahmatulillah alay has said:

In regards to the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending them

This aaayah itself praises and commends those who do not witness falsehood, which has the meaning of urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals because they are called al-zoor (falsehood).

Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah sallalahu alayhi wasalam came and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play. He said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the days of ignorance.” The Messenger of Allaah sallalahu alayhi wasalam said:

“Allaah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha]
and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr].”
(Reported by Abu Dawood).

This indicates clearly that the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam forbade his ummah to celebrate the festivals of the disbelievers. The fact that the religion of the People of the Book is accepted does not mean that their festivals are approved of or should be preserved by the ummah, just as any acts of disbelief and sins are not approved of. Indeed, the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam went to great lengths to command his ummah to be different from them in many issues that are mubaah (permitted) and in many ways of worship, lest that lead them to be like them in other matters too. This being different was to be a barrier in all aspects, because the more different you are from the people of disbelief the less likely you are to do actions of the people who disbelieve. And this is a true statement because we are a product of our environment.

The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam 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).

As mentioned earlier, Islam is a perfect religion revealed by Allah azza wa jal to the Prophet sallalahu alayhiw asalam. When somethign is perfect in its true sense, it has no need to be added to or taken away from.

The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam said:

“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)

Ibn Uthaymeen rahmatulillah alay has said:

Muslims are forbidden to imitate the disbelievers by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet sallalahua layhi wasalam said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa’ al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem: “Imitating them in some oftheir festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak.”

Allaah is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent. (Majmoo’ah Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/369).

It must be made clear that this issue of Halloween is not like enjoying Family Day or possibly even Birthdays as the roots are not founded on pagan traditions or rituals. I can’t comment on the latter in detail though. Nonetheless, the issue comes in when the event represents something which is contrary to Islamic traditions, as is the case with Halloween.

By no means does this provide a through analysis, but inshallah it provides sufficient information to build a foundation off of in regards to the issue of Halloween

I urge everyone to look into the matter yourself if you need further clarification and if you have any comments/questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. Also, if you have additional information that would make this article mote beneficial, please share🙂

If you reached this far Jazakallah Khair! Please share with others.

Forgive me for anything I said that may have offended you. Anything good that comes out of this is from Allah and Him Alone. Anything bad or wrong comes from myself and shaytaan. Jazak Allah Khair.

Wasalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah

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