Thursday, October 30, 2008

Muslims and Halloween.....I don't get it

So, tomorrow is Halloween (let's throw a party....NOT)

I don't get it! What I mean is I don't understand this new (or maybe just to me) concept of Muslims celebrating Halloween. I mean, don't get me wrong I celebrated it back in the day when I was a kid. I even dressed up as a Ninja Turtle or something (Donatello, I think) but I think the last Halloween I celebrated was when I was 6. After that, I think my dad or the Imam at the masjid put a stop to it or something. Besides, as my parents like to say "times have changed, you can't trust people now a days." I remember coming home with my sack full of candy and then having it meticulously searched by my mom and dad before I could eat it. But that is besides the point! The point is, for years we've been told about the Haraamness of Halloween and I totally agree with it..I think its totally pagan and haraam in every way, what I don't get is how and why Muslims have started to delve back into celebrating makes no sense. And as if the haraamness comes from going out into the streets and dressing up as someone, lets have a costume party at the masjid on HALLOWEEN! What is happening to this ummah?

I had a conversation with Mr. Possiblity about this matter. He apparently attended a Halloween party this week. He validated it by telling me that it was an event for his masters program....khair. He could tell that I was annoyed by what he had said and then asked me what the big deal was. What's the big deal??? Are you kidding me?? You just told me that you engaged in this kafir/pagan party and now you're asking me what the big deal is?! Needless to say I haven't spoken to him in a week. URGH.

To some people - Like Mr. Possibility - Dressing up as someone you're not and attending a party where everyone else is dressed up as someone they're not is not a big deal. And perhaps when you say it like that it isn't a big deal, but when you look back to see why you're dressed up and why you engage in that practice you'd have to be an idiot to not see the danger and sin in it. Or perhapse I'm the idiot...only Allah knows. The way I see it, its better to just stay away completely.

As for Mr. Possiblity...I wish he would change, not for me...but for himself, for the sake of Allah. I told my parents that I would TRY to make it work. And if it does, Alhamdulilah and if not Alhamdulilah...Allah (SWT) is the best of planners.


Salaam said...

Salaam alaikum sister,

Where is your heart when you pray, sister? Where is your intent focused? Is it focused on Allah (swt)? Good.
Now where is your heart when you trick-or-treat? Where is your intent focused? Is it focused on honoring pagan gods? No? Good.

People open up the history books and talk about this pagan stuff, but I, like the great majority of Americans, have no concept of Halloween as anything other than a secular activity that helps me engage civil society. It's an opportunity for me to visit neighbor's homes and gain more knowledge about the non-Muslims that live in my neighborhood and may interact with my child.

Participation in past Halloweens has given me information from other adults in the neighborhood on who the bad kids are, what homes to avoid, possible drug dealers, etc. This is important and valuable information to have if you let your child interact with non-Muslims. I can better enjoin the good and forbid the evil, if you will, by participating in a civil, secular event that empowers me to walk up and down the neighborhood ringing doorbells, visiting homes.

If you want to give the fearfully insecure alarmist interpretations power over you, then you need to go "all in" on the "dar al-Islam, dar al harb" view of the world, and totally segregate from the rest of the society - which is also a really bad idea, since it makes it easy for haters to persecute us when we've already gone so far to make ourselves "the other." said...

I wouldn't say I would like to segregate myself or my family from the rest of society, and I don't think I do that now either. I mean, I am a nurse, I interact with society on a daily basis on more intimate grounds than most Americans do, I attend classes at the local University, I work with local organizations both Muslim orgs and non-Muslim orgs, so segregation is not what I'm pointing towards.

One who uses the theory of interacting with society and engaging in civil interactions could also say that it is okay to go to a bar, pub or club just as long as you don't drink, smoke or dance (not trying to point accusations at you, just stating my thoughts). And while to the average person it might not seem sinful, I can't help but think how powerful Shaytan is in those settings. While Halloween has nothing to do with zinah (insha'Allah) I am reminded of the story of Barsisa:

My point being, the best thing to do is to stay away from fitnah, no matter how minute the fitnah may be.

And if your argument is that it allows you to visit your neighbors homes and what not, my advice would be to befriend your neighbors, send them food once in a while, invite them to your house to celebrate Eid and engage in the festivities of Ramadan and invite them to the masjid. Halloween is not the only holiday that allows you to get to know the people living next door to you.

Wallahu Alam

Anonymous said...

excellent response to "Salaam"

Salaam said...

Salaam alaikum,

Jazakallahu khair, again and again, I am struck by your consistency in proceeding in the world from a place of kindness and compassion. Your response was a kindness to me as a reminder of fitnah where another might have flamed me. And it was a kindness to the neighborhood to suggest introducing Islam, but I think you changed the subject from the safety factor to Dawah.

I should add that my situation is unusual in that I am divorced and my daughter lives with her mother during the week in a different town and neighborhood from the one I live in, therefore I have poor opportunities to know the neighbors or the children in her neighborhood, so I value this opportunity because there are few others.

She lives in a townhouse complex where people of all different backgrounds and at all different life stages live and are used to going about their business and mostly ignoring each other. It might be possible for me to rent the day room and hold an Eid celebration, but I suspect the religious underpinning of the event would keep a number of people away (still a great idea though for those who would come, mashallah). said...

Brother Salaam,

First of all I want to reiterate that if anything that I said in my responses to you came off as judgmental or harsh, please forgive me, it was not intended to come out that way.

I will refrain from continuing on the Halloween discussion and just make one point. You mentioned somewhere in your last comment that I changed my point from a safety issue to an issue of dawah. and while you are right I would like to show my thought continuum.

My dislike for Halloween has nothing to do with physical safety, but more of a spiritual safety i.e. stay away from fitnah and insha'Allah Allah will protect you. I shined light on the dawah factor for a couple of reasons: 1. it is way in which you are allowed to easily engage in conversation/interactions with your neighbors without celebrating Halloween and 2. Because as Muslims, spreading dawah is our duty, it is the right our non-Muslim neighbors have over us. I can go on and on about this, but perhaps I will save all that typing for a future post insha'Allah.

Mad Muslima said...

yaaaaay my turn to comment!!!

ok first of all...i totally bow down and commend u on this article. once a group of women and their daughters were at a dinner and this situation came up. only THREE of us said halloween is haram and the rest said we were crazy and overprotective.

let them think what they want but i spoke my piece and so did u in this. i know how u feel abt mr. possibility, cuz my mr. sunshine THREW the party! i got mad but what can i do? as time passes he seems more and more wrong =/ .. khair

anyway second of all...u are right and inshallah we always stay on the right path that leads to Allah, and not to, the wrong way to Allah, thru consistent lacking and allowing the rules to break and bend for the sake of our comfort and traditions.

no offense to any other commentor, but halloween was not celebrated by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) so how can we add it to our traditions as muslims?

i work at the masjid on friday nights and so my kids were beggin me the week b4 to explain the OKAYness of halloween and instead i explained about the prophet and the reasons we celebrate in islam (achievement like fasting or HAJJ) and i asked them what they achieve in halloween and they themselves said they no longer wanted to go and THEY ALL SHOWED UP on halloween to class at the masjid! and i was so proud that i even brought them candy and passed it out

so they got the best of both worlds and im glad that someone else in this world sees this path

keep up ur posts! i LOVE em :)
may allah always give u strength to keep on this path ur heading and bring us all with u!!!!! ameen

Salaam said...

Salaam aleikum,

For some reason I was reminded of your response when I watched this video of Imam Suhaib Webb:

LIke I said at my blog when I posted this, I don't agree with Imam Webb on everything, but if I lived near his mosque - or had an Imam like him in one of my local mosques - I would have a home mosque again.

Regarding Halloween: Consider this a Dawah question from me insofar as it is the kind of thing that causes me to stumble and and get stuck in the deen. I don't usually ask these kinds of questions to Imams or friends because it feels kind of "gotcha," and it's bad adab to be impertinent like that. On the other hand, it's sitting here in my mind and I'm getting stuck on it - and if I'm getting stuck on it, maybe 10 other brothers and sisters are getting stuck on it.

Question is, if we can't participate in Halloween because it has ancient ties to a now (mostly dead) religion, then why don't scholars forbid participation in the Olympics? The Olympics came into being to honor the ancient Greek gods. Just like with Halloween, there may be some marginal irrelevant people out there who still believe in the Greek gods, but it is largely a dead religion.

Nations participate in the Olympics for the purpose of friendly, peaceful competition and to facilitate better relations with the rest of the human race. WIth Halloween, the competition factor isn't there but there certainly is a factor of engaging and become more knowledgable with the non-Muslim community around you.

To me, this contradiction looks like one of the "religious complexes" that Imam Webb mentions in his ISNA speech.

To me, it looks like the prohibition is more cultural: For a scholar who lives down the street and around the block from Al-Azhar, Halloween is useless and serves no purpose so he forbids it. All the information and civil functions that Halloween provides me (meet the neighbors, know the neighborhood) are met and satisfied for him in other ways out of the structure of that community. This community isn't structured that way. The Olympics however, is desirable and allowed since it facilitates national pride and brings the Muslim nations closer to the rest of the world, therefore worth supporting and paticipating in.

As an alternative, I could go door-to-door and invite people to an Eid celebration, but that might come off like religious missionary work, and religious missionaries are not popular in the US (see the mormons and Jehovah witnesses).

I don't know about the "slippery slope" argument, that if you accept this rationale for Halloween you're also accepting it for bars and clubs. Bars and clubs have a social function, and socializing in the West is all about haram and zina. Trick-or-treating is something you do with children in the community, and even in the West no one has purposeful intent to structure haram and zina into child activities.

Be curious to hear from you and Mad Muslimah et al about this.


Samia said...

How is Halloween Haraam? Well, when many adults celebrate halloween, isn't it in a form of a party, where everyone is dressed in costumes getting drunk? That can't be right.
I don't know how exactly it is haraam for children. I feel it is wrong. I do appreciate that it wasn't something celebrated during the prophet's (pbuh) time but I also appreciate that it is a difficult thing for a mother living in the west (with no muslim community) to explain to her child when all the other kids are celebrating it. said...


Insha'Allah I will make try and get to the point as I have to be at the hospital and I'm trying to watch the news on the Election.

Brother Salaam, I am not a scholar and my knowledge of history is not that great, that being said I will refrain from answering your question. Your point did make me think, however. But as it stands, I do not have enough knowledge to even comment on the ruling of Olympics if we use the same view as I did Halloween.

As for Sister Samia. You agree that the "partying" drinking, clubbing and whatever else comes with Halloween is Haraam (or this is what I got from you). I will focus on this point first (note: I am not a scholar, so I will use logic instead of religion). If something is haraam for an adult, how is it that it is okay for a child? and vice versa? It's like telling your child that they shouldn't use bad language or watch rated R movies but its okay for mommy and daddy to do it. IF its haram for one human its haraam for all (wallahu alam).

For those who read my blog and my comments you know I bring up the hadith about the strangeness of Islam a lot, but I will do it again: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam started as something strange and it will go back to being strange as it started, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”

This Hadith, subhan'Allah has given me strength in many aspects of my deen. And when I read it I can't help but become saddened by the number of Muslims in western countries who try so hard to blend into the western culture (notice I did not use the word Assimilate).

With all due respect, if a mother truly cares for the deen of her child and is truly concerned with raising good, strong god-fearing children the least of her worries would be how to explain that Muslims shouldn't celebrate Halloween. I think stopping a child at a young age is better than allowing them to do something and then trying to stop them when they hit makes no sense. I mean, you don't wait for your child to grow up to tell him its bad to lie or steal, you stop the action before it becomes a habit.

:: Princess :: said...

Sister HB - well done on your comments!

Desert Princess said...

Enough respect to you sis..for knowing exactly what you believe in and having the courage to follow through on it without shying away.

When are you gonna update? I'm waiting to hear what's happening with Mr P!

Samia said...

Thanks for your reply. I've been trying to get to your blog but ended up at your profile, which isn't available. I totally agree with everything you said. I'd just like to clarify some things.
I don't try to blend in with the Western culture. But at the same time I wouldn't like to cut myself off from them and would rather interact with them as the person/Muslim who I am. Reasons for this include that there is a huge Muslim community in London (where I live at the moment) who live off benefits, and just keep to themselves. Not very likable attitude is it?
Yes I do believe paryting for halloween in haraam and very lame but what I meant was trying to get that across to a young child is tough when all the kids around him are celebrating it. I think it is extremely tough being a mother. Using the right words and attitude to make a child understand without them getting upset about what they can't have is tricky. I've seen too many practising Muslim mothers who suffer from their childrens rebellion to religion and morals. So you get what I mean? At the moment I am studying and working and I've put in an incredible amount of effort to get where I am now, but I would give that all up if I feel it would affect how well I raise my kids.

Anonymous said...

People are quick to use the word "haram". I am sure Mr P was not even thinking of Kufr or Pagan practice when he attended the halloween party. There are many things that are a fitnah in this world, but not everything that is a fitnah is somehow haram. Life is a fitnah.

Amaat al Kareem said...

Excellent Points HB :)

there is a whole article that has been circulating the web (email wise) about how the shuyukh have labeled it haram and i think (could be wrong) a form of shirk. But the very least the form of kufr. Anyone interested I can dig it up for you.

As for Sr. Samia, I can understand while I dont have children but I do have a brother and alhamdulilah we've taught him from the beginning which acts are displeasing to Allah swt. Instead we engage him in doing different activities for the night and sometimes his school will have some type of activity during the day where he'll get his treats and then be done with it. I know its difficult for mothers, esp for those who are single mothers, to make the time to be creative and engage them in something else and they go down the "easy" path and just give in to the idea of taking them out to trick or treat. (Not you, but most parents in the west)

Everyones situation is different but when it comes time to stand in front of our Lord Subhanahu wa ta'ala, which would be more pleasing to Him to know? May you be rewarded for your intentions and for your sacrifices as a mother and may you be blessed with the knowledge to make wise decisions for you and your family. And Allah swt knows best.
Jazakum Allahu khair

Samia said...

Amaat Al Kareem:

Thanks so much for you comments. Good idea keeping them busy with other things. And Jazaki Allah for the very nice dua'as, inshaAllah they are mustajaab when I actually do become a mother inshaAllah. Sorry if I gave the impression of a worried sick mother, but I'm not even married yet :). I babysit my neice at times and I do have friends and family friends who have a tough time with their kids. So I think a lot of how it's going to be when I'm a mother (inshaAllah).

...Love said...

not gonna say that I condone Halloween but, for the 2nd year in a row (first time in my life actually) I've celebrated the occassion. Really it's just an oppurtunity of release. For me it's Daw'ah more than anything--living on a college campus where 'arab' and 'hijabi' count as costumes. :\

Me and my friends went last year as the "Haram Police" we handed out faux 'hasanat' tickets and even had handcuffs! We call it Halal-oween in an effort to keep the basic concepts without giving into the complete temptations of this dunya and immitataing the Kufar.

I find it to be a nice middle ground.

Anonymous said...

Br Salaam -

I totally agree with you and was totally pondering the inconsistency of scholars condemning Halloween while allowing Olympics' participation. Once again, picking on the weak while supporting the strong... I feel sorry for he little kids whose hypocritical parents celebrated it when they were young, acknowledge nothing bad happened to them nor did it negatively affect their Islam it then turn around and OPPRESS the children! Astaghfirullah...

And I know this was written years ago, but I sincerely hope Mr Possibility found someone else cuz this hijabee girl sounds like a judgemental, religious freak more intent onspreading hatred and division in the name of Islam, than someone who is a peaceful, civilized and sophisticated Muslim woman. he deserves better and I hope he got better!!!