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Halloween – Innocent Fun-Time, Spooky or Shirk?


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Halloween – Innocent Fun-Time, Spooky or Shirk?

Zaynub Zafar

Too often, we are in the dark about the background of occasions and holidays like Halloween, Easter, etc. Don’t think this is a trivial matter because once you find out why these are celebrated, you will think twice about getting yourself or your kids involved in it.

Before you wish someone Happy Halloween and become a part of the celebrations, won’t it be great to take a quick look into its origin? I mean, it’s only logical to KNOW about a thing before celebrating it. Agreed?

Here goes – bismillah!

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The festival of Samhain was a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Roman and Christian influence:

By 43 AD, “Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory.” For the 400 years, they occupied Celtic lands, two Roman festivals: Feralia (the commemoration of the passing of the dead) and a day to honor Pomona (the Roman goddess of fruits and trees). The apple was served as a symbol for Pomona and might have been incorporated into Samhain by the practice of “bobbing for apples”.

When “local people converted to Christianity during the early Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church often incorporated modified versions of older religious traditions in order to win converts.” Pope Gregory IV wanted to substitute Samhain with All Saints’ Day in 835, but All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2nd) which is closer in resemblance to Samhain and Halloween today, was “first instituted at a French monastery in 998 and quickly spread throughout Europe”. [1]

In the 16th century, “Christian village children celebrated the vigil of All Saints’ by doing the Danse Macabrloi. The Seven Brethren whose grizzly death is described in the seventh chapter of the deuterocanonical book of Second Macabees” is also said to have resulted in children dressing up in grizzly costumes to signify these deaths. [2]

What is Halloween made of:

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns.

Part of the history of Halloween is Halloween costumes. We find it innocent enough to let our children dress up as a Vampire or a Frankenstein at the parties held at a house or the very least, attend the school functions because the teacher says “it’s mandatory”. But we forget or are oblivious to the fact that the practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. This was done so that the spirits of the dead would not recognize people. The Druids would actually sacrifice animals and sometimes humans and dress in these animal skins. Wearing these clothes, they would engage in fortune-telling. Another explanation is that today, children who dress up, represent these spirits.

Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). Today, when kids are offered treats by neighbors, this goes back to the time people would offer food to appease the spirits.

Halloween can be a time for MAJOR Shirk (making partners with Allah Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala ). There are games and rituals which involve fortune-telling. Young people, for instance, try to see what their marriage prospects are by using omens like apple pairings that are thrown over their shoulders, or nuts being burned in a fire.

Jack-o’-lantern started off as a legend associated with a man of Irish origin named Jack who supposedly enjoyed playing pranks on the Devil. After his death, Jack did not go to Heaven or Hell and therefore, had to wander the earth carrying a lantern which gave him some light to see where he was going. Pumpkins that were hollowed out and had candles lighted inside did the job and they were also supposed to scare evil spirits away.

The Islamic stance is clear:

When you look a few of these evidences, (there are a whole lot of them), you get the clear Islamic stance towards Halloween:

“Say: ‘None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allaah…’” [al-Naml 27:65]

This leaves no room for Halloween fortune-telling; and “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [3] puts an end to all the Halloween hype.

In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, it says:

“The clear evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah – on which there is consensus among the early generations of the ummah – that there are only two Eids or festivals in Islam: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Any festivals other than these, whether they are connected to a person, a group, an incident or anything else, are innovated festivals and it is not permissible for the Muslims to celebrate them or approve of them, express joy on them or help with them in any way, because that is transgressing the sacred limits of Allaah Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala …”

And to top it off, it becomes totally out of the league for us Muslims when it includes pagan-origins. It may seem very alluring to you with all the hype, and it may also be very difficult for you to stand apart from the mainstream crowd, but no matter how much fatwa shopping we do, how many ever “moderate” versions we try to seek, there is still just two words for it: not permissible.

And since it attracts children mostly, what with all the free candy, it becomes increasingly essential for parents to be proactive and handle the situation wisely.

Here are some handy tips for parents:

1. Be open and tell them the origin of Halloween and why our religion can’t allow it. Telling them the reason of banning it in the house will convince them more than any other lame excuse you could come up with.

2. Whenever you take away something from someone and leave a gap, never forget to provide them a suitable alternative. In this case, get your children to anticipate Eid more or get them involved into some other halal fun activities.

3. Another way is to keep them entertained on a daily basis. Sports, baking, hanging out with friends and food of their choice should be a regular-fun-thing in their time table. This way, they will not be so keen to seek it elsewhere.

4. Last but not the least, keep them away from school when Halloween parties take place. Because no matter how many times you tell them it’s wrong, they are bound to get influenced to be a part of its festivities. Remember, what your children SEE influences them more than what they HEAR. Your advice will not affect them if their environment preaches otherwise.

Closing Thoughts:

The Halloween hoop-la is crazy and seems like it takes over everyone every year. But instead of going with the tide, we need to educate ourselves and especially our kids about it and tell them why we do not become a part of its festivities. It’s not a bad thing to be different. Our religion gives us fun-off times (Come on, you just celebrated two Eids!) and-that should be enough for us. Having fun is absolutely permissible but going to extremes to have it and on the way trampling our beliefs is not only revolting but also implies our extreme lack of faith and lack of pride in our religion.

Moreover, it can promote useless phantom fears in the minds of our children and affect their psychology by getting them desensitized to the idea of begging/asking people for things. Hopefully trick or treat does not look so tempting now. It’s important to stay clear from these dangerous festivals because when we become a part of these things, we bear witness to that which is AGAINST our basic Aqeedah (creed). Watch out.

1- MSN Learning & Research- Halloween
2- Source: History of Halloween 29 Feb. 2001. Indiana University. 12 Oct. 2002
3- Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4031 (classed as saheeh by al-Albaani)


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Is celebrating events like Aprils Fools Day and Halloween (which are not directly linked to any religion) permissible?



In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Even if April fool’s day and Halloween are not related to any religion (although some have linked them to Zoroastrian and Roman religious practices respectively), it is strictly not permissible to celebrate them. They contain many elements which are forbidden in Islam. 


And Allah knows best.

Mufti Faizal Riza

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what is this night about? and as a nu muslim,how do i approach it?



Halloween is a festival which originates from Ireland. from an Islamic perspective halloween has no basis at all and thus the day is of no significance at all. If people who celebrate this day cause any disturbance, we must tolerate this with due respect and patience. However, we must refrain on all accounts from indulging in any kind of celebration etc. please refer to the Hadith listed below:


‘whoever imitates a people, then he is from among them’.


‘Aalima K. Lorgat


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“Hello” to Halloween?

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

Islam is a complete way of life. Its wisdom is profound. What Islam prescribes and what it prohibits is always of tremendous benefit for humanity as a whole.

Every year, on the evening of October 31st, millions of children in the Western world paint their faces, dress up in costumes, and go door to door collecting treats. The adults often decorate their houses with ghostly figures, carve scary faces on pumpkins, and put candles in them to create “Jack-O-Lanterns.” Unfortunately, among the millions of people indulging in this custom, many are also Muslims.


Halloween originated as the Eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter and the first day of the New Year among ancient pagans of the British Isles. On this occasion, it was believed that supernatural forces gathered together, that the barriers between the supernatural and human worlds were broken. They believed that spirits from other worlds (such as the souls of the dead) were able to visit earth during this time and roam about. They also believed that on October 31st, the lord of the dead gathered all the souls of the people who had died that year. The souls upon death would dwell in the body of an animal, then on this day the lord would announce what form they were to take for the next year.


When Christianity came to the British Isles, the church tried to take attention away from these pagan rituals by placing a Christian holiday on the same day. The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, acknowledges the saints of the Christian faith in much the same way that Samhain had paid tribute to the pagan gods. The customs of Samhain survived anyway, and eventually became intertwined with the Christian holiday. Through social networking, mass media, television etc this custom has become popular internationally.




In Islam any practice which does not have its origins in Divine Scripture and The Sunnah is totally prohibited. This applies to many Pagan practices such as Halloween, Valentine’s Day etc.


Virtually all Halloween traditions are based either in ancient pagan culture, or in Christianity. From an Islamic point of view, they all are forms of idolatry (shirk). As Muslims, our celebrations should be ones that honour and uphold our faith and beliefs. How can we worship only Allah, the Creator, if we participate in activities that are based in pagan rituals, divination, and the spirit world? Many people participate in these celebrations without even understanding the history and the pagan connections, just because their friends are doing it, their parents did it ("it's a tradition!"), and because "it's fun!"

So what can we do, when our children see others dressed up, eating candy, and going to parties? While it may be tempting to join in, we must be careful to preserve our own traditions and not allow our children to be corrupted by this seemingly "innocent" fun. When tempted, remember the pagan origins of these traditions, and ask Allah to give you strength. Save the celebration, the fun and games, for our 'Eid festivals. Children can still have their fun, and most importantly, should learn that we only acknowledge holidays that have a religious significance to us as Muslims. Holidays are not just excuses to binge and be reckless. In Islam, our holidays retain their religious importance, while allowing proper time for rejoicing, fun and games.


Allah Ta’ala, The Most Wise says in the Qur’an :

"When it is said unto them, 'Come to what Allah has revealed, come to the Messenger,' they say, 'Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following.' What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?" (Qur'an 5:104)

"Has not the time arrived for the believers,  that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)

“We have sent them the Truth, but they indeed practice falsehood” (Qur’an 23:10).

The Noble and Last Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

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

“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)”

 “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.” (Hadith-Bukhari)


As Muslims we should not participate or condone such evil customs as Halloween. It is the duty of every Muslim parent to educate their children to refrain from practising falsehood and not to imitate others in their futile customs and festivals. If the children are taught to be proud of their Islamic heritage, they themselves will, if Allah wills, abstain from Halloween and other non-beneficial celebrations.  </ p>

As Muslims let us be convinced of our Deen is indeed the best and purest way of life…so do not say “hello” to Halloween!

May Allah Ta’ala guide us onto the straight path…Ameen.


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Q. What is the Islamic ruling on celebrating Halloween?
(Question published as received)
A. The celebration of Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.
Concerning Halloween, The Encyclopaedia of Religion writes: “On this occasion, it was believed that a gathering of supernatural forces occurred as during no other period of the year. The eve and day of Samhain were characterized as a time when the barriers between the human and supernatural worlds were broken. Otherworldly entities, such as the souls of the dead, were able to visit earthly inhabitants, and humans could take the opportunity to penetrate the domains of the gods and supernatural creatures. Fiery tributes and sacrifices of animals, crops, and possibly human beings were made to appease supernatural powers who controlled the fertility of the land.” (pp. 176-177)
In terms of Shariah, it will not be permissible to participate in the celebration of Halloween as it is based on satanic practices and beliefs. As Muslims, we are required to preserve our beliefs and not imitate un-Islamic practices.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “Whoever imitates a nation will be amongst them” (Abu Dawood)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 
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