Is Halloween haram?
Halloween is not a religious festival
Halloween is not a religious festival, though it appears to have its origins in pagan and later Christian traditions. It is a secular celebration.
Traditionally it is thought that the Celts believed that on the night of 31st October, the ghosts of the deceased returned to the world. Historically, it may have been a day to mark the end of the harvest and the onset of winter and over time, 1st November became the Celtic New Year.
Later it became Christianised as Pope Gregory III designated 1st November as the day to celebrate All Saints Day, and the evening before it was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.
Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes and eating treats. It became a secular tradition.
Nobody celebrating it today – at least in the UK, does so under the banner of Christianity or paganism.
I am not saying that you should therefore celebrate Halloween, or that you have to participate in it. However, I do not think anyone participating in Halloween is worshipping an idol or evil.
It is not a day related to worship. If you stopped anyone at Halloween and asked them why they were dressed up, going trick or treating or carving a pumpkin they would not reply they are worshipping the devil or anything religious at all.
Can children dress up, go trick or treating or carve a pumpkin at Halloween?
There is nothing wrong with carving a pumpkin – it is not a symbol of worship. Though it would be preferable to carve it with a smile instead of a grimace or frown.
Many children want to go out and collect sweets. This is fine if they are doing it in a safe environment, accompanied by an adult. As long as you are not causing anyone harm, or incurring any harm, and people are enjoying themselves it is permissible.
Is celebrating Halloween kufr?
No one is saying that you have to go out trick or treating, dress up or carve a pumpkin, but it is not right to call anyone trick-or-treating kufaar, as you cannot label others or stamp something haram unless you have evidence that this action is haram.
Can you dress up as a witch?
It is up to your choice. It wouldn’t be my choice. We should avoid ghoulish, bloody, horrible costumes.
What are the limits of celebrating Halloween?
Viewing Halloween as a day of mild fun and amusement, without any religious significance is fine.
The limits for any celebration are that they should be decent and promote anything bad – cruelty, nakedness, violence. The environment should be safe, we are not permitted to scare anyone and as believers should remain polite and courteous especially when interacting with neighbours.
In general, allowing children to knock on your neighbours’ doors and receiving sweets or giving sweets is acceptable, beyond that, adults celebrating it and going overboard – spending excessively (wasting money is haram), holding parties and giving this day great imminence would be wrong.
We need to draw the line here. Muslim countries who are promoting Halloween and having parties should re-focus on their priorities and values and what they are teaching their future generations.
Is it permissible to watch horror movies?
Halloween is often a time for horror movies. Are they haram? It depends on the movie. Some are fine, others have inappropriate sexual content. The concept of the horror movie itself is fine for those who like this type of film. Just like funfair rides, some people love them and others hate them. It is a personal choice as long as their content is within the limits of what is permissible.
Many people consider Valentine’s Day to be haram. This is generally based on emotion. As Valentine’s Day is part of Western Culture and Islamically we do not have a day when people express love, it is assumed that this must be haram.
One might argue that Halloween like Valentine’s Day must be haram on the basis that Ibn ’Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
He who imitates any people is considered to be one of them. (Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban)
On this basis, one could say wearing a suit and tie is haram because it is imitating disbelievers, and not the dress of Muslims. That conclusion would be wrong, because wearing a suit or tie is not related to belief. As long a dress fulfils the criteria of Shariah it is considered permissible. The hadith does not apply to everything. It only applies to matters related to ibadah. For instance, wearing a cassock or a cross would be haram, because that is imitating a priest or a Christian. Those items are related to belief.
How far can we integrate while keeping our values?
If a festival involves worship and rituals, for instance a Diwali party where pooja (worshipping idols) will take place, then we cannot attend such functions and events. However if there a fireworks party, then you could attend.
Allah created us all as humans, but we are all different and we do not want to be identical copies of each other. We should be proud of who we are our and comply with the guidance and principles Allah gave us and promote what is good and forbid what is evil and please Allah. Where something is not against the Shariah we are permitted to participate within our boundaries.
Make Eid special
Within the year, in countries where birthdays, Christmas and Halloween are surrounded by much excitement and hype, we should make an effort to make Eid a day of fun and happiness for our children, without indulging in excessiveness and making it focused on materialism and consumerism.
Our children should look forward to Eid and also understand its religious significance. They should not have the impression that Islam is boring and yearn instead for non Islamic festivals.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Culture vs Islam (Western Culture) 2020
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Shaykh Haytham Tamim
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Why not listen to all the recordings on the Culture vs Islam course?
- Belief in Angels
- Is it wrong to cry when someone passes away?
- Ghazali on Contentment with His Will (rida)
- Colonial condescension, hypocrisy and Islamophobia – Qatar 22
- What is the best of three options when there is backbiting?
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