Halloween – An Islamic Perspective

Halloween – An Islamic Perspective

Ghouls, goblins, witches and monsters. The nights are cold and dark, and we’re surrounded by unsettling hues of orange. Who knows what might be lurking around the corner? Scary costumes, tricks and treats start to dazzle children as they walk through shops and watch their favourite TV shows.

Naturally, young people like to have a good time with their friends and don’t want to miss out on any fun. As young Muslims who want to strike a balance between their British and Islamic identity, how should they approach occasions such as Halloween?

Can they go out to trick or treat with their friends?

Will it really harm them to have a bit of fun?

Before answering these questions, we must understand the concept of halal and haram in Islam. Whether something is halal or haram is primarily decided by Allah سبحانه و تعالى and his Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. As Muslims who have submitted to Allah سبحانه و تعالى, we are ultimately required to adhere to the laws and commandments of Allah without resistance. The two sources that instruct us on these laws are the Quran and Sunnah, which guide us through everything we may encounter in life.

So, is celebrating Halloween permitted within Islam?

In a hadeeth in Sunan Abu Dawud, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم spoke about pre-Islamic festivals, explaining that the people of Madinah (known as the Ansar) would celebrate two festivals every year.

In another hadeeth, Anas (RA) narrates that when the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم came to Madinah, they had two days (festivals) on which they used to play, so he said: “What are these two days?” And they said: We used to play on these two days during Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic days). The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Allah has replaced them for you with something better than them. The day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr.”

This hadeeth explains to us that every non-Islamic festival has been replaced for Muslims by the two days of Eid. The hadeeth also clarifies our stance towards all other commercial and religious festivities such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day and Halloween etc. In short therefore, the answer to whether we can celebrate Halloween – or any other non-Islamic festivity – is that Allah سبحانه و تعالى has given us two days that are much better.

We must point out however, that Halloween has issues greater than just being a non-Islamic occasion. Its very essence is antithetical to the core message of Islam by being rooted in paganism and devil worship. A brief look at the history of Halloween will show you that its origins lie in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain which in fact was a festival brought about to appease and venerate the spirits of the dead, warding off evil demons & honouring the lord of Death.

Though it was originally celebrated as a pagan festival, Halloween today is far more commercialised, with major retailers feeding into the frenzy. Undoubtedly most people involved in Halloween festivities won’t be going out to worship or venerated the dead. Nonetheless, it’s important for Muslims to understand the origins of the festival and disassociate themselves from any links to paganism, however subtle.

Speaking about paganism in the Quran, Allah سبحانه و تعالى says:

We do not witness (participate) in paganism (zoor) i.e. shirk. (Surah Al-Furqan 25:72)

To summarise, Halloween is not celebrated by Muslims because:

  1. All non-Islamic (religious) festivals have been replaced by the two days of Eid
  2. Halloween is rooted in paganism (supporting shirk/idolatry)
  3. Muslims are not allowed to adopt or imitate the customs and rituals of other faiths.

Finally, we encourage all parents to sit down with their children and explain the seriousness of taking part in such events. We don’t want children to feel as though Islam doesn’t let them have fun, but we much teach them the principles that will help them navigate through life so that they can have fun in a manner that is permissible, harmless and encouraged. We must make the effort to focus on the occasions that Islam has provided us with and make them fun and memorable so that children don’t feel as though they require alternatives.

We pray that Allah سبحانه و تعالى grants us the wisdom and knowledge to live among our peers with mutual respect, understanding and harmony.

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