Halloween is a festival celebrated around the world on 31st October. It is a day which has become commercialised, most people being unaware of its true origins. Instead, most associate Halloween with only pumpkins, scary costumes, bonfires and trick or treating. Societies go to great lengths to ensure that no one misses out on this festivity. Even a pregnant mother can obtain an outfit of a witch or a devil to wear. Supermarket aisles are the centre of attraction with their vast variety of Halloween themed goods, and the bookshelves are loaded with Halloween themed books. Advice and special tips are given out at this time of year, on how to include and be sensitive to the vulnerable senior citizens in society during Halloween.
In short, Halloween is considered by many around the world as a harmless day of fun. But how did Halloween actually begin? Behind all the innocent celebrations is the reality and history of a darker side of festivities linked to sorcery, spiritism and occultist rituals.
The History and Origins of Halloween
The history and origins of Halloween are predominantly linked to pagan beliefs. ‘The word ‘pagan’ was originally used by the Urban Romans to refer to people who preferred the faith of their local ruling body, it was later applied to people who worshipped local deities, or people who practiced polytheism.’1 Pagans are people who practice non-Abrahamic religions. Paganism or Neo paganism (modern paganism) promotes reverence for the earth and/or deities of pre-Christian religions. Halloween or Samhain is a very important Holy festival in their calendar. Throughout history, the Church (the “church” is not only a building, but a body of religious people), attempted to invite pagans to Christianity by including religious ceremonies or holy dates coinciding with pagan festivals, so that the pagans could keep some of their traditions and come into the folds of Christianity. One of these festivals was Halloween…
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiah(as) and Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community provides us most crucial guidance relevant to our time through his Friday Sermons. During a Friday Sermon about Halloween, he said that the reality of Halloween entails the belief in the existence of witches, evil spirts and satanic worship. Whilst people celebrate Halloween on the pretext of having ‘fun’, it is entirely wrong and dangerous to ‘believe in’ things that are supernatural for ‘fun’. Ahmadi children in particular should therefore avoid this. Even until recently some villagers would offer something to children believing that it would save them from sprits. This also emboldens children to commit wrong acts for the sake of fun. For example, rude manners towards elders is becoming common. Movies also give wrong messages and in particular when children are encouraged to watch them by adults—the result is the society will only deteriorate. Hudhur said:
“For us, the biggest matter is the bringing of dead spirits, as if, equal to God and thus committing shirk.”
Hudhur further said, that rituals at Halloween are not limited to wearing scary costumes and going door-to-door; rather, some older children deliberately frighten people in their homes, cause trouble and disturb the surrounding population. Hence, Ahmadi Muslims should avoid this and should instead focus on strengthening their connection with God, in Whose hands rests all real power. Thus, it is evident that Halloween is indeed “harmful” rather than “harmless” as people are drawn into indulging in hidden shirk. We should pray that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba)’s prayer that “May God protect everyone from this”, is accepted on behalf of all of us.
You can read more and listen the Friday Sermon of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V aba, about Halloween through this link: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2011/10/ahmadiyyat-true-islam/harmful-innovations-in-religion-dangers-of-halloween