Halloween is a Christianized version of the pagan Celtic festival called Samhain – named after their god of the dead. It celebrated the Day of the Dead which happened to be the last day of their calendar and the end of summer – October 31. On this night spirits of the dead were supposed to visit the earth and their priests (Druids) would try to appease Samhain by sacrificing crop and animals in bonfires. The Druids were believed to talk to the dead spirits who helped them foretell the future. This helped give hope to people during the long, dark and cold winters.
In the AD 800s, Pope Bonifice IV changed this pagan festival and made November 1 All Saint’s Day or All Hallow’s (Holy) Day – a day in which they remembered all the Christians who died for their faith. The night before was called All Hallow’s Eve which became Halloween.
Origin of Halloween Traditions
The Halloween costume is worn because in the past it was meant so that the spirits of the dead who were roaming the earth would not recognize people who would disguise themselves as one of them.
The Druids would go from house to house demanding specific food to offer to the spirits in order to calm them. If their demands were met the household would be prosperous. If not they would suffer misfortune. This is the origin of “trick or treat”.
A Celtic legend described a man called Jack who enjoyed tricking the Devil. After his death, his spirit had to wander the earth carrying a lantern to show him the way. Pumpkins with candles represented his lantern – Jack o’ lantern. They were also supposed to scare spirits away hence odd looking faces were carved on them.
Every year people spend billions on candy and costume. A survey in 2005 found about $3.29 billion was spent on Halloween ten years ago. Contrast this with the United Nations World Food Program stats:
More than 800 million people go to bed without food everyday
- One child dies every 5 seconds in the world from hunger
Today, many Satan worshippers and occult groups ritualistically recognize Halloween as the Devil’s Day.
Over 60% of costumes are sold to adults who become outrageous exhibitionists.
The Islamic Perspective on Halloween
Islam is against following pagan, superstition and idolatrous practices of old.
“We have sent them the truth, but they indeed practice falsehood” (Quran 23:90)
The Quran says that magic harms and brings no benefit (Quran 2:102).
As Muslims, we must cling to the Sunnah of the Prophet (SWAS) as our way of life and deny all invented matters.
“You must keep my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is innovation and every innovation is misleading” (Bukhari)
The Prophet (SWAS) warned his Ummah, not to follow the practices of other nations.
“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” (Bukhari)
“Whoever imitates a nation is one of them” (Abu Dawud)
What Should We Do on Halloween?
· Educate ourselves and others about the reality of Halloween
· Refrain from belief in any superstition of Halloween
· Avoid supporting Halloween customs by not buying costumes, decorations and candies
· Refrain from participating in any Halloween ritual including trick or treat, Halloween parties, etc.
o Not handing out treats to other children; instead, keep the porch lights off and do not open the door
o One could instead put a box holder with pamphlets describing the reality of Halloween.
Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick’s Advice to Muslims on Halloween
· Avoid it. It’s a night of evil. Satan is our open enemy and we do not play with evil.
· Trick or treating is really kids begging for candy. Prophet Muhammad (SWAS) disliked and discouraged begging.
· Remember, some Satanic movements have engaged in dangerous acts, like rape and kidnapping on Halloween.
· Despite our position regarding this holiday, we must respect the right of those who believe it is a part of their religion or consider it to be just a little fun.