Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ways to Seek Righteous Companionship

1.       Visit Masajid Daily
For men, the masjid is a place they visit several times a day. They tend to pray with the same people on a daily basis for extended periods. With time, they get to observe the congregation and unconsciously get to know their habits, behaviors, likes and dislikes, strengths and weakness, etc. Thus the local masjid is a fertile ground to seek righteous companionship. The imam is often someone who has studied the deen for many years and as a public figure is living what he preaches. Befriending him is important to one’s development.

2.       Do Good Deeds Collectively
People cooperate with each other to carry out amaal as saleh in society. Good works come in a whole spectrum of initiatives whether it be building a masjid, donating an organ, drilling a well, financing an ambulance, setting up a soup kitchen or standing up to injustice. People who share a vision and are motivated to spend resources to improve society are certainly one’s you should associate with often. Perhaps the best work is doing dawah and there are ample opportunities to learn and teach your dawah companions. Similarly, I have observed that the people one does Umrah and Hajj with become lifelong friends. How often it happens that one meets such an individual in one’s city’s masjid and reminisce about the spiritual journey they undertook together.

3.       Seek Religious Knowledge in Groups
The status of a scholar is much higher than that of a worshiper. Those who teach and learn religious knowledge together develop deep bonds of brotherhood. Their interest in knowledge for Allah’s sake attests to their piety. They are struggling to develop good characters and manners. Who would not like to be in such company?

4.       Get Married for the Deen
One spends most of one’s life with one’s immediate family, so it is vital to ensure that they are righteous. Marrying a righteous spouse and having good in-laws is critical to enjoy beneficial lifelong companionship. When one has children one focuses on their proper tarbiyya. Establishing a daily family study circle brings blessings in a home. It makes it a visiting place for angels and a nurturing ground for righteousness. Such a home can be a virtual masjid. By inviting good people to it, one strengthens bonds with righteous family friends.

5.       Socialize Through Your Parents & Progeny

After one reaches a certain age, one’s parents become like friends. They genuinely wish the best for their progeny and know them inside out so they can be a good source of council and companionship. Similarly righteous friends of one’s parents who had beneficial impact on your upbringing can be a source of wisdom and advice. Just as one should befriend one’s parents, one should be one’s kids’ best friends as well and in turn seek good company for them. Their Islamic school friends can be ours as well. Other parents who enroll their children in Islamic schools have similar goals and concerns as ourselves. They can be excellent companions. Lastly one’s children’s teachers have the best interest in mind for our families. Their companionship is equally valuable.

The Reality of Halloween

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.

Halloween Today
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.