Why Halloween Will Hurt Your Deen Zainab

Why Halloween Will
Hurt Your Deen
Zainab Akbari, Hiba Akhtar, Zara Tariq
Al-Huda International Institute English
Tafseer Course
Class of 2011
The Evolution of Halloween
In today’s world, Muslims are constantly being put in situations in which giving in to
Shaitaan is not only easy but also quite enjoyable. We listen to music, follow trends and
join in practices that are originally forbidden in Islam. Unfortunately, many of us give in
to our surroundings and in doing so, fail to remember our deen and what we are
permitted and not permitted to do. One such example is the celebration of Halloween.
Filled with customary games and practices, many people join together on this day to
dress up in costumes and take part in the celebration of evil spirits, ghosts and demons.
People spend money on costumes, decorate the exterior of their houses in spooky
decorations and children go door-to-door asking for candy.
Although present-day Halloween is considered a day for fun and frolic, this day is
originally predated to the Celtic beliefs of Samhain, the mark of the end of summer, and
the New Year, both of which were celebrated on November 1st. Among these
celebrations, it was believed that on the night before, witches and evil spirits would roam
the earth. In an effort to protect themselves from possible demonic persecutions, people
would disguise themselves as witches and spirits during the night. They would leave food
out for the spirits in hopes that in doing so, they would be protected from any harm
entering their homes.
This same ritual was practiced by the English years later calling it “All Souls’ Day Parade”.
Poor families would go door-to-door asking for food. In return for food, they would be
asked to pray for the deceased relatives of that family. If they were given a generous
amount of food, the promise of making prayers would be made. In the contrary, if food
was not given, those people would be considered bad and were given a trick. This is where
the present day ritual of trick-or-treating is considered to have derived from.
Along with dressing up and asking around for food, the Celts would carve faces in turnips
and place a candle inside of it. When the candle would be lit, an illusion of a frightening
face would be revealed which was thought to scare off the devils and prevent them from
entering your home. In later years, when the Irish first arrived to America, they substituted
turnips with pumpkins due to the fact that pumpkins were more predominate than
turnips. Today, we carve faces into pumpkins and light them and refer to them as “Jack-OLanterns”. Although today they are not used as a tool to keep away devils but as a form of
decoration, the creation of it is all the same. These rituals later travelled past the border
onto Canada, where these same rituals are practiced today.
From then on, every October 31st in America and Canada has been filled with spooky
festivities. Amongst all this celebration and chaos, are Muslims who are left with the
decision of whether or not they should join. It is very easy for Muslims to succumb to
pressure and join in on the festivities, however it is essential that we remember our limits
and prohibitions set by Allah (SWT). In doing so, we will understand that the punishment is
far worse than the enjoyment.
The Islamic Perspective
Islam is a complete religion and a guide for Muslims to live their lives by. Any aspect of a Muslim's
life is somehow affected by the teachings of Islam, and this includes celebrations and holidays.
Allah (s) has been merciful to the Muslim Ummah by blessing it with the Islamic holidays Eid-ulFitr and Eid-ul-Adha, which last three days each. In these days, Muslims are encouraged to
attend a special prayer in congregation, wear new clothes, visit with family and friends, give gifts,
and eat delicious, special foods.
Celebrating Eid is a form of Ibadah, as a Muslim's faith is dependent on his submission to Allah. In
the same way, absolutely abstaining from partaking in the celebration of holidays which are
unIslamic, for example, Halloween, is absolutely a requirement for Muslims.
Allah's gift of the two Eid holidays clearly shows Muslims that we are not allowed to take part in any
other holidays, especially Halloween. It is even forbidden for Muslims to congratulate
disbelievers on such holidays, and to return such greetings if greeted in the name of an unIslamic
practice. This is an obvious indicator of the idea that Muslims should also absolutely not attend
their holiday parties. Doing any of these things will communicate the idea that our faith accepts
and encourages their acts. And holidays like Halloween are based around absolute disobedience
of Allah's commands and Islam's tenets. How can we, as Muslims, partake in them at all? Even
"just for fun?”
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah: "Congratulating the
kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them
on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and
so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like
congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as
congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual
relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they
do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his
disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah.”
The Prophet (saw) has said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them."-This should be enough of a
warning to let us know that we, as Muslims, need to stay as far away as possible from
Halloween. Giving gifts, receiving candies, and throwing parties may sound like a lot of fun, but
do we really want to bring harm upon our iman simply because we want to be like others? And
the Prophet (s) implies through this statement that imitating and joining non-believers in their
acts of disbelief even affects our identity as Muslims. We become "one of them." Is compromising
your identity as a Muslim worth one day of dressing up and getting candy?
Another question to ask yourself is, "by celebrating Halloween, am I coming closer to my Lord?" On
Halloween, kids dress up and go door to door asking for candy. This is like an escape from reality
for the them. However, as Muslims, there is no escape from reality! Our children should know
that there is no break from being a believer. Also, our children should be taught that we have
only two holidays that we can celebrate: both Eids. These days are the focal point of our
celebrations, and for our children, they should be more exciting than the Christmases and
Halloweens their friends are celebrating. One of the best ways to help children love their faith is
to encourage them to practice it. And the Satan-glorifying roots of Halloween cannot compare to
the beautiful stories and sacred acts that the Islamic holidays are based on.
Basically, in Islam, the bad and good in life is already told to us in the form of the Quran and
Sunnah. We’re told about the do’s and don’ts of life.If we stray, we’re bringing harm upon
ourselves and our children. Our children are the future of the Ummah. We need to prepare
them and help them understand the harms of participating in Halloween, and the benefit from
staying away from it. Islam doesn’t teach us to fool others and escape from our focus in life.
Instead of becoming like the non believers and celebrating with them, we need to educate
ourselves and our children about what we, as believers, should really be doing.
What you can do instead of
celebrating halloween
Refraining from celebrating Halloween doesn’t mean subjecting yourself or your
family to feeling like outsiders with nothing to do. Make use of Halloween night
to do good and come closer to Allah. Use the day to strengthen your relationship
with your family. Spread the message about Islam. There are infinite deen- and
family- friendly activities Muslims can partake in on Halloween. Here are just a
few, for kids, teens, and parents…
Halloween Tips for Teenagers
Give Dawah"There should be a number of you who actively call people to righteousness;
who encourage goodness
and forbid evil. These are the ones who shall prosper." (Qur'an 3:104)
As a Muslim, it’s your duty not just to refrain from unislamic practices like Halloween, but
to enlighten
others by spreading the message of Islam. Halloween is an ideal occasion to do just this.
Choosing not to
celebrate Halloween is just that- your choice.
•Explain why you don’t celebrate Halloween. Let your peers know that you have
something better to believe in. And do it with confidence. They may not agree with
you, but they will respect you.
•Host another event on a different day. Invite your friends over for dinner and let them
ask you questions about your beliefs. This will let them know that your reluctance is
with the practice of Halloween, not your friends. This can be done for other occasions
too- Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Prom, etc.
•Do some side research about Halloween. Let your friends know of its evil, pagan
origins. Chances are many of your peers, who may regularly go to church or synagogue,
weren’t aware of what Halloween truly stands for. This could encourage others to
avoid partaking as well.
Strength in numbers! Find a buddy.
“The believing men and women are allies of one another. They
advocate righteousness and forbid evil, they observe the Contact Prayers
and give the obligatory charity, and they obey God and His messenger.
These will be showered by God’s mercy. God is Almighty, Most Wise.”
(Qur’an, 9:71)
Friendship is truly one of Allah’s greatest blessings for mankind. The friendship of
someone who understands you, tries to live their life according to Islam, motivates
you, and accepts your motivation could be just what you need to gain some support
during Halloween season. This won’t make you feel as if you’re the only one
sticking to your beliefs.
Make plans for the night of the 31st when everyone else will be celebrating. Have a
game night, order pizza, or watch a movie together. This way, you won’t feel as if
everyone else is out having fun and you’re stuck at home and bored.
Create a pamphlet together which includes information about Islam and the truth
about Halloween. Distribute it when trick-or-treaters came around for candy.
Get to know each other more. Are you the only two who are always absent on Eid?
Do you both skip lunch to hang out in the library during Halloween? Perhaps the
similarities you share through Islam will help you do bigger, better things, such as
establishing jumah prayer in school, swapping sandwiches at lunch, and developing
a lasting friendship based on your faith.
Work on your iman
“Allah has promised those of you who have iman and do right actions
that He will make them successors in the land as He made those
before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their deen
with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear,
security…” (Qur’an 24:55)
Allah has promised us that strong iman will bring us success. Unfortunately, it often
feels like school and studying, afterschool activities, sports, volunteering, and
family obligations leave almost no room to really work on our iman. Take
advantage of Halloween night to work on your iman and knowledge of Islam.
Teachers usually make homework a little more lenient, and you have no
excuses- all your friends are out celebrating!
Review the surahs you have memorized. Begin memorizing a new surah. Ask
someone in the house to test you on your tajweed.
Pick an area of your life you need to work on: responsibility, being a better
friend, respecting others, doing well in school, are all examples. Find a lecture
from a sheikh you trust and see what Islam’s view is. This might help you drop
bad habits and adopt good ones forever.
Spend time with your parents! Have dinner with them and ask them how
they’re doing. Talk to them about your life. Let them know you care. One of
Allah’s strongest commands in the Qur’an is to respect one’s parents. It may not
seem like it, but it is a very important
Play Catch-up
"By (the token of) time (through the ages). Verily mankind is in a state of loss,
except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and (join together)
in the mutual teaching of truth and of patience and constancy.” (Qur’an,
Chapter 103)
In high school, homework and studying often gets pretty overwhelming. Between
school and other commitments, often not enough room is left to work on projects
and assignments. Let this time be constructive for you. If a project is due in a week,
or a test isn’t for a few days, it isn’t to o early to start practicing, studying, and
preparing. Catch-up time means just that, though. This means no hanging out in
front of the TV or laptop!
Work on bigger projects that need to be done, study for the SATs, do some work
early. How often do you get a chance like this?
Start a good book, work out, or work on a hobby you usually don’t have time for.
Improve these other skills!
Go online and look at potential colleges and careers. It’s never too early to start
looking into your future.
Count your blessings. And give thanks.
“That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and that which they
invoke besides Him is Al-Batil (falsehood, Satan and all other
false deities), and that Allah, He is the Most High, the Most
Great.” (Qur’an, 31:26)
Being a Muslim teenager surrounded by non-Muslim teenagers is never
easy. But Allah rewards His slaves for their sacrifices. Chances are, if
you don’t celebrate Halloween, there are probably many Western
cultural practices you also do not partake in. Take a second to step
back and see what you have gained from your efforts: self-control,
wisdom, stronger faith, practicality, a guilt-free conscience. These are
your gifts from Allah. Celebrate them!
Organize a Qiyam with other Muslims. Take turns making duaa and
giving thanks for the many blessings you have. Take a stronger
initiative in your school- organize a Ramadan bulletin board, begin
Friday prayers in your school.
Strengthen your resolve to please Allah, and apply this resolve to
other aspects in your life. You’ll be surprised at how easy your life
becomes once you get rid of the many distractions (Halloween is just
one exception.)
And Allah knows best.
How to Survive Halloween: A Guide
for Muslim Parents
Talk to your children about Halloween. Explain to them the
history of the day, and how it came to be, regardless of their age. Allow them to
come to terms with the facts and be able to make their own conscious decision.
This will result in more self-assurance from them and no guilt for you. And
answer their questions, regardless of how often they are asked. Remember, we
want to raise solid Muslims and Muslimahs, who have the tools to make lifestyle
choices in their future. There is no better time to allow them to start than now.
APPRECIATION: Parents, please be aware of and respect your child’s choice
(whether you proposed it or not) to skip out on Halloween for the sake of Allah.
Children are children, and passing up free candy and a fun costume is never an
easy decision for young Muslims and Muslimahs. A little appreciation and
understanding, such as “Ahmed, I really admire you. You’re very brave to give up
Halloween, masha Allah. I know it isn’t easy, but I’m excited to see the reward
you get from Allah, insha Allah,” goes a long way.
Reward your children for the good choices they make. If your children
agree to skip Halloween, display to them that good actions earn reward. The
rewards are up to you- a new doll, a trip to the zoo, or a new backpack are just a
few examples. Here, you are demonstrating one of the fundamental concepts of
Islam- that he who does an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and vice versa.
When they are rewarded, make certain they know why. This will build in them an
inclination to do good.
MUSLIM FRIENDS: No child wants to feel like the “odd” one out, so one of the
most important things you can do for your child as a parent is to involve him with
friends who are also Muslim. For parents with children in Islamic schools, such an
environment is already built in. But for public school parents, finding a group
outside of school friends is imperative. Muslim kids can relate to each other,
ultimately resulting in a stronger sense of identity for your child and his friends.
Many masajid have youth programs, and Girl- and Boy-Scout troops run by
Muslim families are starting to appear in various communities throughout the
United States.
EMPHASIZE EID: Not just during Halloween, but Christmas and Valentine’s Day,
constantly remind your children that they are not left out of holiday fun because
of their faith. Muslims too have two very exciting celebrations to look forward tothe two Eids. For young parents, Eid is an opportunity to instill pride, excitement,
and an attachment to the deen in the hearts of their children. Dress your kids in
new clothes and explain them that it is in accordance with the Sunnah of the
Prophet (s), and that on Eid, he liked to have fun also. Decorate the home,
include gifts, and allow them to meet with their extended families. That way,
when Santa’s time rolls around, Muslim children will have in the back of their
minds that they are special, as they celebrate not one, but two Eids.
DAWAH: Get involved with the non-Muslim community: Involve your children
in Dawah projects. Politely find a way to communicate the message of Islam and
the truth about Halloween to parents. Create awareness about your presence as
a Muslim family in your child’s school. This year Ramadan and Halloween were
only a few weeks off, and many schools allow parents to do Ramadan
presentations. This is a great way to emphasize the importance of the holy
month to young Muslims, and to help them feel more comfortable about their
faith when with their peers.
And Allah knows best.
Halloween Tips for Kids
-Halloween is a day of Shaitan, so what better thing to do than get closer to Allah? Pick a surah
and ask a parent, or an older brother or sister to help you memorize it or learn the
meaning. Make duaa that Allah always keeps you away from celebrating un-Islamic
-Start something new this day. Maybe this could be a craft, or a new book, or a baseball
collection. That way, you can look at Halloween as an opportunity to begin something new.
-See if you can work something out to spend time with a group of friends. Maybe head over to
the park and play a game of soccer, or hang out at home with other Muslim friends when
others are celebrating Halloween.
-Do something special with Mom and Dad. Who likes Monopoly? Stay home and make
Halloween night just a fun family game night.
-Take extra care of your teeth! Halloween is a terrible day for kids, as all the new candy often
causes cavities. Practice healthy dental hygiene to stay ahead of the pack.
-Let people know that you aren’t celebrating Halloween because you have something much
more special to look forward to- Eid!
-Ask mom or dad to buy you one piece of special candy the day after Halloween. After all,
Halloween is un-Islamic. Candy is not! (when eaten in moderation.)
-Remind kids at school that there’s nothing wrong with being different. Be polite and
respectful, but let them know that Halloween just isn’t important to you.
-Remember that Halloween is a day when kids beg for candy. The Prophet (s) discouraged
begging for anything, and it is not a characteristic of a strong Muslim to beg.
-Head over to the masjid with Mom or Dad on Halloween. Chances are that other Muslim kids
will be hanging out there too.
-Remember to be proud of Islam, and that you don’t have to be sucked into celebrating a
holiday which is all about our arch enemy, Shaitan. Allah will reward you for your effort
insha Allah, and maybe one of your deepest wishes will be answered, as Allah loves to
answer the dua of those who try to become closer to Him!
Works Cited