Review of Religions – October 2018
Reem Shraiky – UK
On October 31st people around the world celebrate Halloween, and while this custom did not originate in the Muslim world, some Muslims have now also adopted this holiday and celebrate it with great fanfare. This brings to mind the prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa: ‘You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you span by span and cubit by cubit, so much so that even if they entered a hole of a lizard, you would follow them.’
Halloween festival has begun to spread in the East as well.
If we remind those imitators of the above-mentioned tradition of the Holy Prophetsa or remind them that this holiday is a pagan one , they will respond that they celebrate it just for fun. But what kind of past time involves seeing portrayals of blood, murder, crime and the living dead? And little children, whose young minds cannot differentiate reality from fiction, can only be harmed by looking at these gory scenes in movies or reenacted at home.
And in many places, crime goes up on Halloween.
Muslims are obliged to stay away from everything that is vain or fruitless. Allah has said that one of the attributes of the believers is that they are those ‘who shun all that which is vain’ It is also important to know that Halloween emerged from pagan beliefs that on this night the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is so thin that the souls of the dead to return to the world. On the other hand, Allah has decreed that no one can return to this world after his or her death: ‘And it is an inviolable law for a township which We have destroyed that they shall not return.’
Moreover, Jabir Bin Abdullah, a companion of the Holy Prophetsa, narrated that after his father was martyred in the battle of Uhud, the Messengersa of Allah said to him: ‘O Jabir, why do I see you broken-hearted?’ He replied: ‘O Messengersa of Allah, my father has been martyred and he has left behind dependents and debts.’ He said: ‘Shall I not give you the glad tidings of that with which Allah met your father?’ I said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said: ‘Allah never spoke to anyone except from behind a screen, but He spoke to your father directly, and He said: “O My slave! Ask something from Me and I shall give it to you.” He said: “O Lord, bring me back to life so that I may be killed in Your cause a second time.” The Lord, Glorified is He, said: “I have already decreed that they will not return to life.” He said: “My Lord, then convey this news to those whom I have left behind.” Allah said: “Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision.”’
This story beautifully illustrates not only the Islamic stance on death and the souls that have departed but reminds us that as Muslims, instead of following ancient pagan practices and superstitions to make festivals of death, we should remember the Divine Being to Whom we will return and seek to gain His Love and Pleasure.
Find out more about the history of Halloween here:
Halloween – Fear or Fun?
Halloween – Harmless or Harmful Fun?
About the Author: Reem Shraiky is senior translator of the Arabic Desk of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Assistant National Secretary of the Department of Outreach of Ahmadiyya Ladies Auxiliary UK.