Halloween or ‘Halaloween’: Should Muslims Celebrate?

halloween1

It’s All Hallows’ Eve! Excited children and adults, of all races and religions, around the globe are putting on their costumes, gathering candy, watching Halloween movies, and carving pumpkins. 

Is Halloween only about trick-or-treating and indulging in the sugary, delicious candy afterward? Many Muslims, in both Western and Middle Eastern countries, have begun to contemplate, “Is it okay if my children celebrates Halloween, since the holiday is linked to pagan origins?”

There are many Muslims who believe that Halloween is no longer a religious Pagan celebration, since the modern interpretation of the holiday focuses mostly on tricks and treats, along with dressing up and attending a few parties with friends.

Numerous Muslims continue to take their children trick-or-treating (they might even dress up too) since they remain dedicated to Islam. However, it’s not uncommon for Muslims, both in the West and the Middle East, to look for tips on how to approach their children and families concerning the celebration of Halloween.

Can Halloween be deemed as ‘Halaloween’ and what do Muslims in the U.S. and the Middle East think about that concept? I wanted to find out and asked a few Muslims to give me their opinions on the matter.

MUSLIMS CAN FOCUS ON GENEROSITY DURING HALLOWEEN
For me personally, I’ve never seen that celebrating Halloween has anything against Islam; there is nothing wrong with little kids trick or treating, wearing costumes, and getting an excuse to eat extra traditional Halloween sweets.

Maybe the heathen origin of the celebration is the reason why some consider it “against Islam”. I am not quite sure how can we get around it, however, since Islam is a religion that is highly committed to the idea of giving and charity.

Maybe we Muslims should place significance on a good deed to be done on that day, like giving treats to kids in need instead of walking from house to house taking sweets. Maybe some kids would go to local hospitals or orphanages in their costumes and not necessary take anything, but give away gifts and treats to everyone they visit with.

For me personally, I’ve never seen that celebrating Halloween has anything against Islam; there is nothing wrong with little kids trick or treating, wearing costumes, and getting an excuse to eat extra traditional Halloween sweets.

This would be a lovely chance for Muslims to practice their faith and for children to celebrate Halloween in a very good way, which will help them build their characters to be giving and generous. (Esmee Y. from Cairo, Egypt)

Halloween Muslims

HALLOWEEN SHOULD BE ENJOYED BY EVERYONE
October 31st is a day that I have always looked forward to! I have never thought Halloween was against Islam or that I should not celebrate the day because I am Muslim.

I remember my mom would always dress me up in cute, homemade costumes when I was younger and I really enjoyed it! I always looked forward to going trick or treating with my dad and brother, and then going through all my candy at the end of the night.

I have never thought Halloween was against Islam or that I should not celebrate the day because I am Muslim.

There is no other holiday like it! It is still one of my favorite holidays because I love the mystery of dressing up as someone else and being able to express yourself in a unique way.

I think it’s an amazing holiday and it should be enjoyed by all kids and adults, regardless of their religious beliefs. Happy Halloween! (Maria R. from Chicago, U.S.A.)

Halloween Islam

A CONTESTED CELEBRATION, HALLOWEEN IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT
Halloween is one of the very controversial celebrations in the Middle East and North Africa. I believe that the celebration is very sectarian too and restricted to certain social classes, which should be richer, exposed to some sort of foreign education systems and interested in cultural exchange.

However, I think that all classes consider it as more of a bal masquée; a lovely opportunity to gather in fancy costumes over food, drinks and music; where everyone has fun and takes (cool) photos for their social media, nothing more serious nor concrete than this.

I can confirm that in the Middle East the All Hallows’ Eve never looks like it does in the United States. You won’t find little children in their Halloween costumes strolling around saying ‘trick or treat’, or jack-o-lanterns adorning front yards, or ghoulish decorations in shop windows.

With the tedious rise of fundamentalist discourse; many celebrations and cheerful occasions are starting to be questioned and condemned. It is not the idea of halal or haram as it more of it is (Islamic) or not.

They are recalling the Western Christian origins of the celebration and emphasizing the fact that the (saint) notion as adopted by Christianity is not embraced by Islam. Nevertheless, fundamentalists have nothing to do with the real essence of any religion.

I can confirm that in the Middle East the All Hallows’ Eve never looks like it does in the United States. You won’t find little children in their Halloween costumes strolling around saying ‘trick or treat’, or jack-o-lanterns adorning front yards, or ghoulish decorations in shop windows.

This group also objects to the celebration of mother’s day, labour day, women’s day, or any other celebrations than the two Islamic feasts. Apart from this, foreign schools hold cheerful costume parties for their students.

You can also find costume house parties and some parties in night clubs, as well as in fancier destinations. (Heba E. from Alexandria, Egypt)

Halloween Islam

ALL HALLOWS EVE CAN BE A MIXTURE OF CULTURES AND RELIGIONS
I have never heard of “Halaloween” to be honest! I’m not sure my experience is normal in all honesty. We never really participated in Halloween, but my mum would always buy sweets for the kids who would come to trick or treat, and a load for us!

I’ve been a few times with friends and younger siblings, but it’s not that big of a deal anywhere I have lived. I had an Eid party themed around Halloween one year, which the kids enjoyed and everyone dressed up, but it’s explained that we don’t celebrate Halloween as such.

Like anything, we can take what we enjoy or like about it. I come from a mixed family, so I do spent Christmas with my mom’s Muslim family and try to go during Easter too, which many Muslims wouldn’t necessarily celebrate, but I do for my family as they’re special occasions. (Amna Abdul from London, England. Founder of MENA Women’s Platform)

pexels-photo-211358

SHAYK DR. YASIR QADHI’S VIEW ON MUSLIMS CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN
(As seen on Facebook) Halloween weekend is upon us, and as usual observant Muslims will need to decide what is the best course of action to follow. A few pointers:

– I do view this issue to be a legitimate area of ikhtilaf and ijtihad. While I have my own opinions (to follow), we need to realize that the usool of our religion allow various people of ijtihad to come to different (and at times, contradictory) opinions.

Therefore, whatever your views are, please understand and genuinely tolerate and even respect other points of view that are espouses by religious authorities.

– Celebrations that are not inherently religious (which means they do not involve venerating false gods or devils) are permissible in and of themselves as long as other impermissible matters do not occur within them.

Therefore, a Muslim may participate in and commemorate days such as a national day, or personal milestones in one’s life. [I plan to write a longer article about this one day, and I am fully aware of the fatwas to the contrary].

– Celebrations that are religious in nature, and are intended to commemorate false gods cannot be followed by Muslims. Therefore, Christmas or Diwali should not be observed by Muslims.

– Some celebrations are not as easy to categorize and are ambiguous. They have some elements of false religions but perhaps those elements are absent or unknown to the vast majority of people who participate in such celebrations. The origins of a festival are important, but what is decisive in deciding whether a celebration is permissible or not is the way that it is perceived by those who practice it.

Celebrations that are religious in nature, and are intended to commemorate false gods cannot be followed by Muslims. Therefore, Christmas or Diwali should not be observed by Muslims.

The predominant understanding and intentions are critical, not its origins. [This is why the ‘mehndi’ wedding celebration that is practiced by the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent are permissible despite the fact that in origin they are Hindu rituals].

– While it is undeniable that Halloween has pagan roots, the predominant intention and cultural understanding of this festival has no religiosity in it whatsoever. Rather, most children dress up in costumes of actors and cartoon characters. Therefore, I can understand the argument of those jurists who say that Halloween has lost its religious component.

– Nonetheless, I do not fully agree with this, because the essence of the festival is in fact to commemorate the spirits of the dead and to ward off evil demons (i.e., jinns). And to this day small subgroups of druids and Satanists celebrate this day as a Holy day.

– Therefore, it is my humble opinion that this celebration should not be encouraged amongst our children, regardless of how innocent many others believe it to be. The least that can be said about it is that it is makruh even if the child goes dressed up as a fictional cartoon character, and that it would be impermissible if the child were to pretend to be an evil jinn.

– While we ourselves should not encourage our children to participate, there is a great benefit in being friendly with neighbors and visitors who come to our doors wanting candy.

There is absolutely no hint of venerating false gods when we distribute candies. Therefore it is permissible to give sweets and chocolates to those who come to our doorstep. And Allah knows best.

While we ourselves should not encourage our children to participate, there is a great benefit in being friendly with neighbors and visitors who come to our doors wanting candy.

http://plusquotes.com/i…/quotes-img/o-HALLOWEEN-facebook.jpg

Where do you live and what do you think about our modern interpretation of Halloween? Have you thought about Halloween being a controversial issue for Muslims living in both the West and the Middle East? Please share your thoughts!

Whitney Buchanan

Whitney Buchanan

Middle East Collective Founder

Whitney Buchanan is an American analyst on Gender Issues and MENA Affairs, currently based between Cairo and Berlin. She is also the founder of the Middle East Collective.

2 Comments
  1. Congratulations Whitney! Such a particular piece of writing. I like the idea in relation to the timing and of course the innovation in gathering various view points. As I can see social media turned out to be full of costume captures, caricatures, recipes, art and literature celebrating the All Hallows’Eve. I think aside from the idea of halal or haram, which is very naïve really;the Halloween is of a very Romantic notion and it evokes artistic and literary inspirations. However, In Egypt we happen to be midst a sugar crisis, do you think the Halloween should be with no treats for this year, till the economy flourishes once more? I think something like this happened during WWII.

  2. What I see is that people are wishing to take from other religions/celebrations if it suits them. So if it suits one or for the sake of their children often parents will adopt Halloween celebrations. Mehndi night is borrowed by muslims. Hindu’s do mehndi night for a herbal reason to protect from small aliments of stress -it is a herbal remedy and has a purpose. Although Mehndi is present in the Koran as a drink given by the prophet for the ill the wedding ritual is borrowed from hinduism whether it was for herbal remedies or the joy of the celebration is another question.

    If to celebrate dead is okay than why not celebrate Halloween. If to celebrate new years is okay than why not celebrate Diwali (Indian New Year)- are we not an understanding and inclusive as people or do we want to be ignorant and self centred only in the religion we know. Besides are all religions about being a good person, being accepting and understanding of fellow beings?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*