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Halloween: 10 Tips For Muslim Parents

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The following article was compiled by Iesa Galloway for the Islamic Society of Greater Houston‘s E-Newsletter. It draws heavily from content originally written by other authors for SoundVision.com and by blogger Nesima Aberra (links below).


The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for those under your care. A man is a shepherd, and he is responsible for those under his care. The woman is a shepherd in her husband’s household and she is responsible for those under her care.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

While researching tips to help Muslim parents talk to our children about Halloween, I came across the following segment of a young American Muslimah’s blog that really illustrates a common problem many of us face:

“It was the day before Halloween and our mosque’s Sunday school principal asked the younger kids if we celebrated Halloween. SadPumpkinThe response was entire rows of kids squealing with excitement as they nodded their heads and raised their hands to show they were in fact celebrating. The principal shook his head and chastised the children in a thick accent: “No we do not celebrate Halloween! It is haraam! Why would you celebrate it?”

One kid responded bravely: “Because there’s candy! We want candy!”

The principal was quiet for a moment and then said: “If you want to have candy, go to your parents and ask for five dollars and then go to the candy store and buy yourself a bag of candy!”

There was some laughter and disappointed faces and then we prayed… And that was it.

There was no discussion about Halloween and why the holiday is antithetical to our religion. A much more productive and constructive way to empower our youth and help them be proud of their religion is to actually help them understand the reasoning behind what we do. Do we really think that simply telling kids “no” is enough to satisfy their questions about why they can’t drink, or date, or do drugs, or gamble or etc. etc. etc.” (adapted from: http://justnes.wordpress.com)

Consider the following 10 tips when discussing Halloween with your family:

1) Get the facts. The more you know about a subject the more secure you will be in your stance regarding it. Remember that your children need to know why you want them to be different from their peers. This is not a trivial matter. If you show them that you respect them and their intellect, they will feel more empowered and confident. Their confidence and understanding of Islamic principles will be very important if they are going to differentiate themselves from their classmates. Here are two resources you can learn more about the history of Halloween:

    1. Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html
    2. The History Channel: http://www.history.com/topics/halloween 

2) Have a united position: It is essential that you and your spouse agree on your family’s position on Halloween. Discuss your concerns, ideas and your desired approaches with each other. Once you both come to an agreement and understand each other’s concerns call a family meeting.

3) Show compassion: Introduce the topic by asking your kids questions. Find out what their school or friends are planning for Halloween. Ask them how they feel about it. make sure you really listen to your children. Do not cut them off while they express their thoughts and feelings. Let them know you understand and care about where they are coming from by doing more than just listening to them, validate their feels to show that you understand. Parents can say things like, “I know it’s hard to watch your friends having fun on Halloween and it might make you sad because you feel left out.”

4) Explain your position: Present your research about Halloween. Allow your spouse to support you. Explain what your position will mean for your children. Emphasize that this is you and your spouse’s position and remind them that you love them. Do not over emphasize fatwas or what people in the community might think. You do not want your children to think that Islam is limiting their lives or that you care more about what people think than about your kids and what they want. Be sure to help them understand the following facts:

  1. Halloween has pagan roots
  2. It is associated with celebrating superstition, black magic, and devil worship
  3. Costumes are often inappropriate and immodest
  4. Trick or treating can be seen as either blackmail or begging and Muslims are not supposed to beg or extort people.

5) Show more compassion: Encourage your kids to ask questions and respect them by discussing their concerns. You are looking for changes in how they see Halloween after you have discussed your family’s position with them.

6) Accept reality: Your kids most likely know other Muslim families who will take a different stance on Halloween (and other holidays) than you want your family to. Remind your children that each family is responsible for their own decisions. Just because another Muslim family is doing something, it does not mean that their decision is right for your family. Remind your children to be confident in their decisions and not to be judgmental of other people.

7) Teach them to be proud of whom they are: Remind your children that it is OK to be different. Emphasize that this does not mean that they cannot have non-Muslim friends or that they will have to be excluded from all of their school or peer activities. Remind them of all the things that they love about Islam and the Muslim community. Tell that in Islam we accept the best aspects of what is good and safe guard ourselves from things that contradict Islamic principles.

8) Organize a fun event: On Oct. 31st put together a family night at the masjid or a even just a small get together with friends. This will help your kids take their minds off Halloween and bond with other like minded people so they do not feel alone.

9) Consider their school: Write a letter (sample available here) to their teacher(s) explaining your stance on Halloween. You may also want to consider picking them up early or even not taking them to school on the day there is a Halloween party. Offer to meet your children’s teachers to discuss you and your children’s concerns.

10) Reward your kids: Both Eids have just passed, however you can still do something special to show them you appreciate how they handled the situation. End the event by getting your family excited about Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, Hajj and Eid ul Adha! Explain the significance of our Islamic celebrations and the meanings and purposes behind them. Seek input from your children about ways to do something special in lieu of celebrating Halloween. Ask for their suggestions by saying things like, “Since you’re trying so hard to please Allah, let’s try to think of something we can do as a family that would be fun.”  In this way, your children will have more ownership over the alternatives and feel empowered to share their perspectives with you.

The most important point of this article is that we have to establish better communication with our loved ones. We have to encourage them to open up to us. To do this we must create an environment where our children will trust us with their mistakes, their curiosity and their problems. They will do this more and more when they are reminded of how much we love them.

And those who believed and whose descendants followed them in faith – We will join with them their descendants, and We will not deprive them of anything of their deeds. Every person, for what he earned, is retained.” (The Holy Quran: 52:21)

PLEASE NOTE: Many of the tips above and the sample letter have been adapted from a series of excellent Halloween articles originally published at SoundVision.com.

Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations.Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.

84 Comments

84 Comments

  1. Avatar

    grace

    October 28, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Excellent tips!!!.Jazaka Allah Khayrun, We can also remind our children that asking complete strangers for candy is not really a safe thing to do.

  2. Avatar

    Regular reader

    October 28, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    This advice may not be true all kids. Those of you have kids who are obedient by default, and who abhor halloween by default for them its all “Mashaallah Mashallah Mashallah.” But for the rest of us its “Alhamdullilah”.

    Here is a scenario..what if your child has mild behavioral problems and he is always picked on by teachers and kids (in a mild way)..and requires change in seating arrangements and in some cases is made to sit separately from the rest of class.

    For such a kid to be asked to not take part in the norm…..he/she may get affected in the long term adversely. “I am different from the rest ” in a negative way is a possible conclusion that the child may make.

    And this is not in the case of public schools alone…lots of haraam activities happen in Muslim schools….can we address them?

    Please advise.

    Note from Comments Team: Your lack of name and use of a false email are grounds for deletion of your comment. However, since the issue you highlight adds relevance to the discussion these deficiencies have been overlooked. However, in future please refrain from the same.

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      October 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Asalaam Alaikum, may Allah make things easy for all parents, especially parents with children that are currently facing serious issues.

      You raise many important points. I hope you can give a few examples of mistakes/issues happening in Islamic schools. I think it would be very useful to compile a list for a future article about such things. If you are willing to do so please do not name the school or people involved in any public venue like the comments section here on MM.

      I would be willing to get a qualified educator (a Muslim principal with a degree in education and who is certified to be a principal) along with a Islamic scholar who deeply understands the local culture and community issues to give their take on each item.

      I would also recommend that any parent who has a child that regularly has issues with both their peers and their teachers to consider the idea of having a child counseling session with a qualified professional. If nothing else just to have an assessment done so you would know if there are any serious issues. May Allah bless your family and help us all raise righteous children that will be inhabitants of Jenna.

    • Avatar

      Don Craig

      October 28, 2016 at 12:07 PM

      Though not Muslim and a practising Catholic, I agree with every word written here, and it’s how my wife and I have raised our children too. My greatest respect to everyone in this forum for not following the group but for making a stand for not celebrating Halloween. There’s enough evil in the world without encouraging our children and families to take part in such activities.

  3. Avatar

    Razan

    October 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Notes from a girl who was brought up in a non-Halloween household:

    The most important rule is, CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE. This goes for EVERYTHING, from proms to parties – it doesn’t matter how ‘open’ and ‘communicative’ you are, it still pretty much sucks to be sitting at home staring out the window at your friend’s cool costume and having nothing to do. Organize a ‘play date’ for younger kids, have them bring their friends over, maybe teach (boys and girls) to bake something tasty! When you’re older and you can create those alternatives for yourself, you honestly stop caring because you don’t feel like you ‘missed out’.

    One Muslim ladies’ website suggested having a dress-up box in the house so that younger children can create costumes year-round, rather than longing for Halloween as the chance to do so.

    • Avatar

      zenola

      October 27, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      I always bought things from the 2nd hand store or a sweatsuit and remade them into costumes. My kids wore these clothes all year. Around halloween, i would take them to visit our family members dressed up.NOTHING scarey was allowed. I did prince and princess, panda bear,superheroes, historical figures, etc. The family members were always happy to see them.Now they are grown ups.I also buy generic decorations from the dollar store and keep the decorations up all year. I say every day is a celebration of life. It’s like when non muslims ask about anniversary or birthdays. I say, I don’t have to have a special day to know life is great.

  4. Avatar

    Lasantha Pethiyagoda

    October 28, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Especially in the western developed world, there is an undercurrent of “defeating” the proliferation of Islam and it is therefore depicted as an impractical, cruel and out-dated religion. The culture which is promoted is largely one of blind consumerism and decadence which are both antithetical to the teachings of any great religion.

    Hence, teaching young children the inappropriateness of celebrating a “pagan” festival is fraught with difficulty, as mainstream culture actually promotes consumerism through various insidious ways that target children in particular. A broader approach is therefore necessary.

  5. Avatar

    Moneeb

    October 28, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Ok. But brother. There is one problem you forgot to leave out. It’s the youth and the Muslim teens. I mean seriously some brothers said it is ok to go trick or treating without wearing costumes and some of them and sisters go to haunted houses for fun. What’s your advice for the youth and them?

    • Avatar

      Moneeb

      October 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      Also about what should the parents, imams, youths themselves do about this?

    • Avatar

      I love Minnie Mouse!?

      October 30, 2015 at 4:34 PM

      Asalamu Alaikum! It’s a MUSLIM/ISLAMIC SCHOOL!! There are no haraam activities inside there. Though u prove your points good in others!?? Shukria. PS, haraam activities do happen outside when people don’t know it. Nice they learn new things!

      • Avatar

        I love Minnie Mouse!?

        October 30, 2015 at 4:36 PM

        Ooh I’m so sorry I meant to say that to Regular Reader, not you! So sorry and ashamed!??

  6. Avatar

    berserk hijabi

    October 28, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Jazakallah khair for this article,it’s really relevant and I’m glad someone’s addressed it. I agree with all of your points except:
    1.Is it really appropriate to “replace” Halloween with an event at the masjid? Yes I understand how you’re trying to explain it, but the reality is that the way a kid would see it is, well, replacing Halloween. That’s not what we’re trying to do,replace non-Muslim holidays with fun activities so our kids don’t feel left out. I was raised here in America and am in my teens but don’t recall any discussion about Halloween going on-“I know you might feel sad about it” yadda yadda yadda. Well things might be different for your family but on the whole, although it’s important to explain to your kids why Halloween is haram, leaving too much room for “discussion” is,erm,not a good idea I think.

    Other than that issue,this article really is very helpful. I personally am surprised by the children I know who seem to genuinely dislike the idea of Halloween-although they haven’t been raised in a very religious manner, it just doesn’t seem to appeal to them,which is saying something. Another reason for kids:Try and make them understand that Halloween and Christmas make the most money for companies in the USA. In fact they are HUGE moneymakers and really, do your research, that’s all that the people putting the costumes and candy in the aisles care about,money. Idk if kids will fully understand but it’s worth a try.
    JAK again. Allah grant us and our children Jannah al Firdaus,Ameen.

    • Avatar

      Razan

      October 29, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      I agree that you shouldn’t have Halloween merely ‘replaced’, Halloween is still Halloween no matter what you call it. And I also agree that you don’t need to go into the semantics of ‘you might feel sad’, if you don’t give people a REASON to believe that they’re missing out, then it shouldn’t be too big of an issue. But it honestly is different by each family, and I personally think that there is great benefit in having something else GOING ON that night – not replacing it, not a new celebratory activity by another name, but merely a distraction for when all a child’s friends may be talking about Halloween non stop.

      • Avatar

        ummkarimah

        October 26, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        exactly my point! why is there a need to replace it? doing things on the same day doesn’t solve anything, its just covering it up… thank you for such an excellent reply…

  7. Avatar

    JBT

    October 28, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Salamu Alaikum, I really enjoyed this article and as a parent with a child who really wants to celebrate Halloween this year, I have found it very helpful. This is the first year we have chosen not to celebrate non-Islamic holidays and my daughter is very sad about that, she is seven. Alhamdulillah it was made possible to start homeschooling her this year so we don’t have the school issue but why I am writing is because I do disagree with your advise to try to get the school to stop its celebration. Non-Muslims in America tend to have ill feelings for us and I don’t believe that trying to stop a celebration that means so much to them is a great way to start making good relationships with them in the community which is essential if ever you want to give them dawah. I don’t think that doing something that might strain already fragile relations is a smart move, especially when it would be so easy to pull your child(ren) out of school for the day they celebrate.

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      October 28, 2013 at 11:39 PM

      Walaikum Asalaam JBT,

      Thank you for the feedback. I think you must have misunderstood parts of the article. I never called for non-Muslims to stop celebrating Halloween. That said I agree with your reasoning on why that would be a unwise idea and approach for our community.

      JazakAllahu Khairan,

      Iesa

      • Avatar

        JBT

        October 28, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        Brother, please forgive me if I have misunderstood you about contacting the school. I see upon rereading it that it may not have been meant in the way I understood it. I am sorry for the misunderstanding. JazakAllah Khair for the advice on how to deal with this day.

  8. Avatar

    Ummibrahim

    October 28, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    As Salamualikum. JAZZAKALLAH for this article. We don’t celebrate any holiday except EID. alhamdulillah. My kids they ask us why? We just explain them and they understand alhamdulillah also it’s good to give them some gift or take them out for fun. But I want to know do you know any other activities parents can do at home with their kids. Specially on EID TIME and RAMADAN TIME. If you know or if anybody know any fun activities for kids please post it. JAZZAKALLAH Khair.

  9. Avatar

    M.B.F.H

    October 29, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Warning: Very Offensive and shocking for some believers:
    Sorry! But I already see similarities here of the advice for “complete Isolation” that asks Muslims to “stay away from Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Old American culture”, it’s games, activities, plays, songs, neighborhood gatherings, birthdays, weddings, funerals, any public benefit or commercial shows, fund raising. I say; What are we up-to? We don’t volunteer in any community activities now, from highway clean-up to poor people house painting, from donations for firemen to neighborhood BBQ to discuss safety and new laws, from public school and city policies to national politics until or unless somebody wakes up 10,000 miles away to call our senator about what they have found in his speech about another country. Why are we here? What are we teaching our kids? Why would they not hate them and us later and eventually become a twisted and deformed mentally and emotionally
    handicapped member of the society if not become a ruthless extremist at all. I mean if the kids are not going to all night parties after candy run with an adult, not smoking anything or dancing or wearing vulgar…how is it going to effect their faith? I bet also some of the commenting parents here never take their kids to any games, teaming up with school kids in after school activities, participate in soup kitchen for poor christian or regardless, volunteer participation because they either are too disorganized, love to sleep, don’t work-out them self and are lazy to drive for kids, or they even can’t speak or learn to speak English, live in their hate-all non-Muslim dream world. I take my kids to Halloween with other US school parents and we all make plan wear proper covered clothes stay safe and come back to home by eight. My kids participate in all school activities. They work hard and win like any other Americans,.They read Quran from a Qari from old home country over Skype, they go to Sunday Madrassa here and do as much salaat & Quran as possible at home with us. I say don’t choke yourself from what is not mentioned Haraam-Haraam from local non-immigrant Imaam, who has experience from childhood and knows what has danger and what can be played safely while keeping kids happy. I tell you it’s not easy to keep a bunch of kids(4-6) happy with not-so=creative & nothing-new home-bound activity for long. You have no Idea what and where your kids will end-up to take out this frustration of locking indoor on holidays. I see lots of Such kids and t I don’t want to tell how nice their parents and their brought-up was. Get up from that sofa & throw that phone down and get involved with your kids…that’s is the only way they will be yours. Enough of cultural dinners and old dress shows for past community. Our kids won’t be doing anything we do today, neither will they have night long tea or coffee parties with folks or their kids who migrated with them from old country and have stories to share. Think of that!

    • Avatar

      arifeen

      October 31, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Excellent writing, totally agree with you

    • Avatar

      Gul Hassan

      October 31, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      Salaam

      Although you make some valid points you make sone gross over generalisations about the Muslim community.

      One can easily engage with the community at every single level and give back to the community without having to take part in Hallows Eve, a pagan celebrationwith roots in withcraft. Witchcraft and the like can throw ones precious Imaan in grave doubt so any type of association with it is a perilous act. When in doubt I avoid Halloween. I do not allow my kids to go and ask strangers for sweets; that is something l have always told them never to do!

      I am actively engaged in the community yet avoid Halloween as a point and l have never felt myself as the other or not engaged. To target Halloween as a means to engage is a mistake. There are a whole host of ways you can take part but its up to you to take the good if it and as we are told, when in doubt leave it out!

      My kids did not go trick or treating tonight and are busy playing and having fun at home. We give back to the community, feed the hungry and clean the streets as well as take part in civic engagement. We have never celebrated Halloween and we are happy Alhamdulilaah. I am not in a minority either. Thanks is only to Allah Swt! Thank you.

      • Avatar

        Michele Tariq

        November 1, 2013 at 10:38 PM

        just so you know, the tawaf (circling of the kaaba) was once a pagan (gasp!!) ritual. It was co-opted and made into something wonderful by Muslims.
        I was born and raised in this country and never associated Halloween with any;thing satanic or evil until I became Muslim and was told it is haraam to celebrate it. What I observed over the years ( I have children in college and one that is still in elementary school); The Muslim kids who grew up with my older children and came from homes where they were forbidden from celebrating Halloween (listening to music, etc), ended up being the most rebellious when they got older, they are the ones now attending the wild Halloween parties with alcohol, not to mention a myriad of other supposedly “forbidden” activities. The youth who grew up in families that had some “middle” ground, involved parents with a realistic approach, are now the ones who are not busy rebelling but are able to successfully navigate social situations without compromising their values. I think immigrant leaders often find it easy to label “American” customs as “haram” because they have no connection to them.

        • Avatar

          Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

          November 2, 2013 at 10:38 AM

          Tawaf was not a “pagan” ritual. It was something done by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who was a Muslim. The Arabs at the time of Prophet (SAW) followed a corrupted form of the religion of Ibrahim (AS).

          -Aly
          *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

    • Avatar

      Michael Klein

      October 15, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      Nice to read an inclusive perspective!

    • Avatar

      Khadijah

      October 26, 2014 at 10:43 PM

      السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
      It’s a shame for parents to let their children participate in western holidays. I know from experience that a family that doesn’t pray together and parents who don’t teach their children Islamic knowledge and guide their children to the best of life that is Islam will end up regretting how their children are as young adults and older. Living in the west is very challenging especially for those with children. One doesn’t want to see their children grow up dressing as tho they are unclothed as the majority of people in the west dress nor pray nor read Qur’aan and then treat their parents with disrespect and yell at and insult them. Islam is a complete way of life not just a religion. Following Qur’aan and sunnah and having

  10. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    October 29, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Asalaam Alaikum M.B.F.H,

    I completely understand your main point. That we should be integrated. However, I am sorry to see that you have what appears to be a very low opinion of our community. I can tell you that it is not that bad everywhere. In fact in my city, Houston, TX we have Muslims doing all the things you mentioned. Just this weekend a group called MuslimGo did the City’s Half Marathon event and they regularly volunteer at the Houston Food Bank and that is only ONE small example of the many awesome things Muslims are doing. If it wasn’t for the rain a Halal interfaith TX style BBQ was planned with a synagogue, several churches and held a masjid. That is two amazing events in the same weekend and it is almost always like that here.

    The point of this article is to get parents and their kids talking. It was not to solve every problem or even provide a cookie cutter solutions to each unique situation.

    I think an important point to always keep in mind with working toward healthy and positive integration is what are the core elements of the American Muslim identity? I argue that those core elements are the same for Muslims everywhere and start with our creed and core beliefs about monotheism and our Lord. To me we have to balance all other things around preserving tawheed. The old saying the devil is in the details applies here. My solutions may not work for you. We may think each others decisions are abhorrent. However, as Muslims lets keep or create a positive attitude and build what we want to see instead of just pointing out what we don’t see.

    All in all though I have to agree with your main point. I don’t think it is at all healthy to live in a bubble, or to try and raise our kids in one. We definitely need to learn to trust and empower our kids. That brings me back to the idea of real communication with them. We can’t really trust them or empower them if we are talking at them and conversing with them.

    May Allah reward you for your passion and give us all tawfeek to take action and improve ourselves!

    Iesa

  11. Avatar

    Yasmeen

    October 29, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    I have younger siblings and they basically grew up knowing we don’t celebrate Halloween, we didn’t really sit and have a formal discussion with them; it was a given. We’re Muslim so we have the two Eids as our holiday. They haven’t had any real problems with it alhamdulillah. The other day they did mention about how it would be cool to just get free candy from people and I just replied “Are you guys serious? Do you know how much better it is to just go to the store the next day when the candy is on sale and you can buy bags of the kind you like. Instead of going to each house, in the freezing cold, to only get a piece that you might not even want.” They agreed and moved on to talking about something else. We treat Halloween just as any other day and it isn’t a big deal.

    With regard to the organizing another event during Halloween, to me it seems, in a way, you’re still celebrating it, just not in the traditional sense. I think this tip would work best for families who have celebrated Halloween in the past and now wish to stop. When I was younger we used to dress up and go trick or treating, then alhamdulillah my parents wanted to stop. On Halloween there was an event at Chuck E Cheese where kids would go instead of trick or treating. A lot of people from the masjid would be there and also Christians who wouldn’t go for religious reasons. My grandma started taking me there as a way to sort of phase out of “celebrating” Halloween. After a few years of that I got too old for it and it was fine. I don’t ever remember feeling left out or anything.

    I like point 7 the best. We cannot eradicate our children feeling different, it’s bound to happen over and over and over again. It’s best that they learn to be proud of these differences early on.

  12. Avatar

    supam

    October 30, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    I liked ur post.. m not a muslim but I respect evry religion.. I liked way u explained how to handle ur children n guide them according to situation.. the most important is tell them how our religion teach us to walk on right path n stop being superstitious.. but on the other hand I feel children r very innocent n theu always want to follow what dey see around whether its in their home or in school.. the only important thing we shud teach dem is never do anything wrong to anyone n be pure n true from heart.. be a nice n respectful person.. rest it doesnt matter which festival they attend.. our concern is dey shud b safe n let dem experience each n everything n let dem decide dey liked it or not.. according to their experience explain dem wats wrong n wats right in dat..

  13. Avatar

    tawfiq

    October 30, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I have to disagree with this hysteria. Halloween is not seen in this country as pagan traditions. It just allows kids to have fun one night a year. If parents are responsible they can go with their kids trick or treating. One is not begging for food.

  14. Avatar

    Pink

    October 30, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Don’t u guys know that the ancestors of Muslims were pagan?
    Don’t Muslims believe in magic? Isn’t magic bar huq in Quran? Even their prophet Muhammad was under influence of magic once!!
    Superstation!! Don’t Muslims believe in stuff like bad eye etc??? Is it something other then superstation??
    What does “trick or treat” means? Either treat me with candy or simply trick me, how on the earth it is like black mailing or begging?? It clearly is giving two choices. Don’t the Muslim kids ask for Eidi on Eids from their elders?? Is that begging and black mailing????

  15. Avatar

    NS

    October 30, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Although I’ve never gone trick or treating, and neither have my siblings, my family never made a conscious choice to not celebrate Halloween. I still attended the class Halloween part though, even if I didn’t dress up. I have to say that I disagree with your premise, there’s no harm in letting a kid play dressup for one night. Halloween isn’t a religious holiday today, it’s a commercialized, fun night for kids. It’s all about intention. If the intention is to just get dressed up and eat candy, what’s wrong with that?

    • Avatar

      kamalabdurrahman

      May 21, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      T
      his is sad refer back to ahadith and imagine what would prophet muhammad(saw) would say shariah please not modern muslim

    • Avatar

      MercifulSoul

      October 30, 2016 at 11:57 PM

      Yeah…I’m actually really sad about not TAKING PART. I have a friend that invited me to a Halloween party. I wanted to but this article pushed me away from the party. I refused and then I felt sad.

  16. Avatar

    Tanveer

    October 30, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Jazaka Allah Khayrun

  17. Avatar

    Pink

    October 30, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Looks like the admin had no answer to the facts I presented about Muslims that’s why my comment was deleted.
    Well this clearly shows how tolerant Muslims are!!
    If you guys thought what I wrote was not correct you should have corrected me.
    Good luck!!!

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      November 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Dear “Pink”

      Thank you for commenting on MuslimMatters.org. Just a little clarification from the CommentsTeam. Your comment was never deleted. It is still there (I just read it myself) but hidden by the readers who voted it down.

      We do not delete critical comments unless they violate our Comments Policy in some way.

      Best Regards
      Aly Balagamwala
      CommentsTeam Lead

      • Avatar

        Maria

        October 30, 2015 at 6:44 AM

        So you don’t delete comments…you just hide unpopular ones….yeah I won’t be coming to this site anymore

        • Avatar

          Aly Balagamwala

          October 31, 2015 at 6:20 AM

          Would you care to explain what you mean by “hide unpopular ones”?

    • Avatar

      Maria

      November 1, 2015 at 7:17 AM

      You said the comment was hidden by readers who voted it down….therefore you have your settings in such a way that unpopular opinions are hidden away…..not a good way to gain ground with readers

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala

        November 3, 2015 at 1:42 AM

        You are reading a very old comment and the site has been revamped since then to remove that feature.

  18. Avatar

    Aisha ahmed

    October 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    the easiest solution to this problem is that no body is forcing Muslims to live in a Halloween celebrating countries so they simply pack up their bags and go to some Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan where there are no such problems and they can live in peace happily ever after!!

  19. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    October 30, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    @Pink Asalaam Alaikum – I pray that all is well with you and your loved ones. Many Muslims had ancestors that (key word here) “were” pagans. They left pagan beliefs and rituals for Islam, and that is the whole point. They did not leave one form of pagan celebrations, beliefs and rituals to simply celebrate another form later.

    People often label all religious belief as superstition, so the term varies from prespectives of who is using it, but you left out the other things I listed in that sentence, black magic and devil worship.

    With regard to “trick or treating” there is a choice between two things give me something or get a “trick” Please see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trick%20or%20treat for the aspect of a threat (i.e. blackmail if no treats are given) if you don’t like this resource, then well, Google is a useful thing.

    @NS Asalaam Alaikum – I tried to leave room in the article to acknowledge that people will and in fact need to make their own decisions. We will all have to answer to our Creator alone and for our own actions. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mention it is all about our intention.

    Where I disagree with your comment is the idea that Halloween is totally harmless. Yes, it is commercialized. But by that rational you could say let’s celebrate Christmas and Easter, because many people who are not Christian do so just for fun and out of no religious belief. Would it be the end of the world if a Muslim celebrated Halloween? Of course not. Would their intention matter to Allah if they did go out trick or treating? Most likely yes, as it seems that Allah considers our intentions when looking at all of our affairs. At the end of the day, I could not imagine the Prophet (peace be upon him) adopting this holiday or allowing the companions to participate in it. That is my conjecture and I am very happy to live with and by that. Also, I don’t see how celebrating this holiday in particular adds value to our lives, helps us to worship our Lord or helps to accomplish other important obligations.

    Like you said, dressing up and eating candy… sounds like a good time. My line of thought on that is: if it is all about intention then why do it on Halloween?

    • Avatar

      JBT

      October 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      I think in general, not speaking about Halloween, we Muslims use “intention” as an excuse way too much. I have found myself trying to do it before too, so I am not passing judgement. I believe that it is haram to wear makeup out and I have found myself trying to say that “well my intention is to have greater self confidence” but in the end, I know it is haram so I am just making an excuse of it. I have seen this a lot, so very much, from tons of Muslims. What I am trying to say is that while intentions are very important, you can not “fool” Allah into thinking your intentions are to do x (even if you can fool yourself) when really they are to do what will make you feel normal/accepted/pretty/whatever and justify your behavior by saying you had the right intentions.

  20. Avatar

    Zainab

    October 30, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Hi
    I totally agree with pink and would say that why Muslims are so non tolerant?
    no body is forcing Muslims to live in a Halloween celebrating countries so they simply pack up their bags and go to some Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan where there are no such problems and they can live in peace happily ever after!!

    • Avatar

      Michele Tariq

      November 1, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      funny thing is, Muslims is those countries often less judgmental than the ones here. In Syria they celebrate many western holidays and I just read an article that even in Saudi they are having Halloween parties, that ought to make the Wahabis crazy.

  21. Avatar

    Pink

    October 31, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Mr Admin you didn’t answered what I asked,
    Don’t Muslims believe in magic? Isn’t it mentioned in Quran?
    Don’t Muslims believe in bad eye? Isn’t it superstation?
    And don’t you think that like all other attires a Halloween costume can be worn modestly too?
    I can send you pictures of hundreds and thousands of Halloween costumes which are not at all inappropriate.
    Please answer,
    Thanks

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      October 31, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      @”Zainab” & “Aisha Ahmed” – Salaams, hope you are also going to other folks websites and telling all the Christians and people of other religions who do not want to celebrate Halloween (themselves or in their own families) to find another country to move to as well. You see one of the things that makes America great is that we are free to celebrate or not celebrate… It’s this little, novel concept called the anti-establishment clause and it protects sincerely held religious belief allowing for minorities (of all sorts) to use their conscious and decide what to observe. In fact the tone you all strike in your comments is curious. You’d be better off saving that hostile energy for people trying to restrict your freedoms rather than people exercising their own.

      @Pink – In my mind once something is a part of my religious tradition, (included in the authentic hadith or the Holy Quran) it is no longer a superstition for me, but a matter of belief. Islam like all faiths includes belief in things that are unseen and by non-believers looked at as superstitions. I was simply allowing you your views on what is superstition, but not allowing you to define what is a superstition for me. If you want to see what the quran says about people who disagree on a theological matter here is a basic yet excellent starting point: http://quran.com/109.

      Let’s put to rest the passive aggressive asking of questions with obvious answers. I put forward multiple reasons why Muslim parents would not want to participate in Halloween with their families. You can try to come up with exceptions to them all you like, but frankly I don’t understand why? I never told you what to do, or not to do. Furthermore just because a costume can be modest doesn’t mean that the immodest ones don’t exist or that a parent’s children would not be exposed to things thy wouldn’t want them to be exposed to.

      Our Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us to “Leave that about which you are in doubt for that about which you are in no doubt.” reported in Tirmidhi & “If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.” Recorded in Bukhari

      I believe that Halloween has plenty of things that make it doubtful for practicing Muslims. However I specifically wrote in the article that we shouldn’t be judgemental towards other people, just confident in ourselves and in our decisions and faith. Why does this bother you so much? If it doesn’t let’s consider this a topic put to bed. You do your thing in peace and I’ll keep doing mine.

      God bless you all with the best in this world and the next!

      Iesa Galloway

      • Avatar

        Pink

        October 31, 2013 at 10:19 AM

        If you are saying that that it is your belief not superstation then for those who are celebrating halloween it’s their belief and you should not call it superstation either.
        It is very strange why wouldn’t Muslim parents want their kids to be exposed to a few hours of joy and fun where they even have an option to dress them modestly just like they dress themselves with hijabs etc????
        Just because pagans used to do it it’s bad?? And as far as magic and superstation is concerned Muslims are equally doing the same in the name of Quran and hadayat.
        Quran asks you to do all kind of violent things one example is jihad with a “sword” which is way worst, harmful and unsafe then asking and tricking for treats like candies!!!!
        But since jihad is your belief so there is nothing wrong with it and tricking for candies is some other religion’s belief so there are several shadows in it….

  22. Avatar

    Mark

    October 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Oh, thank you. This gave me a good laugh. There is no devil worship on Halloween. That is just stuff from movies or people joking around pretending to do something to scare the people who believe that its real. Also “rewarding” your kids is bribery to force an opinion on them is basically the same as blackmail by your own definition of blackmail even, which is exactly what you suggested. Also you Muslims are big on astrology arent you not? That is rooted in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian societies making it very pagan. Most people do not have an awareness of the origins of halloween customs but because these are not exactly the same as the original pagan rituals i is not really the same as acting as a part of something from another religion. Halloween is more so about the generosity of strangers and just having fun. You have no need to worry about children going along with it since that is all they really see it as. I hope you and any Muslim or even Christian can come to an understanding of that.

    • Avatar

      The Salafi Feminist

      November 1, 2013 at 3:01 AM

      Astrology and all types of fortune telling is forbidden precisely for the reason that it has pagan roots that are antithetical to Islamic beliefs.

      Another reason that Halloween is forbidden is because Islamic explicitly prohibits the annual celebration of any festival outside of the two ‘Eids.

      • Avatar

        Ali

        November 3, 2013 at 6:22 AM

        Your second para is a bit confusing. Where does Islam prohibit celebrating anything outside the 2 Eids?

  23. Avatar

    Mark

    October 31, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I should clarify more on part of what I said since I came off sounding wrong there. It is okay and good to offer alternative things they can do but youre use of the word “reward” makes it sound as if you want to offer them things only for them to not do Halloween. Activities are good but material things then that would be more of a bribe.

  24. Avatar

    Qasim

    October 31, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Jazaakumullaah khayra for this article.

    A common assumption many people even the Muslims that recently migrated) have ( is that ALL nonmuslims celebrate Halloween. This is far from the truth. Not everybody celebrates Halloween.
    In addition to this well written article by brother Iesa (May Allaah raise your status and widen your knowledge), I will like parents to also read

    http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/onlinediscipleship/halloween/halloween_watt05.aspx

  25. Avatar

    Mona Rox (@Monarox999)

    October 31, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    I can not believe the nutjobs that are here who are telling people to celebrate a holiday that is for devil worshipers! GO LOOK AT THE ROOTS OF HALLOWEEN! even religious christians dont celebrate it! there is a lovely lecture on youtube by a former witch. She said the highest number of murders/animal sacrifices happen on halloween. even witches laugh at these “religious” people who celebrate halloween. You dont see satanists celebrating christmas,hannukah,Eid or any other holiday..why celebrate a holiday made for devil worshipping?
    and taking part in magic is HARAM IN ISLAM! there is no magic done without shirk! meaning you have to commit acts of disbelef in order to get the evil jinn to work with you!

    listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLcNY7IDOTM

  26. Avatar

    Pink

    October 31, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    What about the animal sacrifices done on Eid ul adha?

    • Avatar

      Duston Barto

      September 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      You mean where we slaughter animals in a humane fashion to commemorate Allah’s mercy upon us and we distribute meat to the poor?

      What’s your question?

  27. Avatar

    Laila

    October 31, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    I have no problem with a child not celebrating but I was asked to take down my decorations. Why should I as a teacher cater to one parent’s wish? I understand everyone has different beliefs however should your beliefs change mine?

    • Avatar

      Pink

      October 31, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      That parent must be afraid that his/her belief will be in danger if their child looks at those Halloween decorations!!

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      October 30, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Dear Laila, the author never said that the school shouldn’t celebrate or that teachers should take down their decorations. His exact words were, “Write a letter to their teacher(s) explaining your stance on Halloween. You may also want to consider picking them up early or even not taking them to school on the day there is a Halloween party. Offer to meet your children’s teachers to discuss you and your children’s concerns.”

      I understood this to mean that we’re explaining to teachers why our kid(s) aren’t dressed up and joining in the celebration.

  28. Avatar

    Yasmeen

    November 1, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    It seems like people missed the point of the post. It isn’t debating whether or not it’s okay to celebrate Halloween. It’s giving tips and ideas to those families who have already made the decision not to.

    • Avatar

      Qasim

      November 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      @ Yasmeen
      It not that people missed the point… we continuously try to distinguish between truth and falsehood.
      Some of the excuses these people are giving for saying we should go for Halloween at at best laughable and at worst pitiful.
      We should go back to our “old country” what does that even mean. For some of us the only country we have known is the US and Millions don’t celebrate Halloween. “And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah . They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.” Q 6:116
      Some of these parents claiming its just a one night fun… Are you saying you don’t have fun with your kids at other times and you have to wait for Halloween to give them candy (if that is your idea of fun)
      It just as bad as some people lying to their kids about the tooth fairy…. and yes some “Muslims” do and some even call their kids “angels”…. if you dwell with the blacksmith you start smelling like one. As my people say… ” A leaf wrapped with soap will soon become soap”… Go figure

      • Avatar

        Yasmeen

        November 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM

        Salam alaikum

        I agree with you. My comment was more directed towards those who were trying to convince others that there isn’t anything wrong with celebrating it. My point was there isn’t anything wrong with not celebrating Halloween and this post was for people who don’t, so I didn’t get what the reasoning is behind justifying celebrating it. ..if that makes any sense.

  29. Avatar

    Jamal

    November 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    You know, the Kaaba was once pagan and housed many idols. Today this obviously isn’t the case, it is the center of monotheism. Halloween may have initially been pagan, but today it is all about having fun, for both children and adults. I honestly find it hypocritical that many are quick to boycott and condemn Halloween, yet stand silent when our sisters are oppressed in Saudi Arabia. I mean, they can’t obtain a simple drives license. What we as Muslims should be doing is boycotting the Hajj and refuse to go to Saudi Arabia until the human rights situation changes there. The Qur’an teaches us that oppression is worse that being killed.

    • Avatar

      Pink

      November 1, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Very well said!!!!

    • Avatar

      Qasim

      November 1, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      The origin of the Kaabah is Monotheism. And then the people changed.. It’s thinking like these (its OK to do Halloween) that may eventually lead to people doing Halloween parties at Masjid… Maybe then you can then compare with people putting idols in the Kaabah.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      November 2, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Just a correction. Kaaba was built by Ibrahim (AS) and later on the religion was corrupted and idols added to the Kaaba. So it was initially a symbol of monotheism.

      -Aly
      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

  30. Avatar

    Moi

    November 21, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    I was just thinking, could Muslim children (and adults) participate Halloween so that they don’t celebrate the spirit of Halloween, but still participate as friend. I mean that could they celebrate with other but not for what Halloween stands for but for friendship and fun? I also like to ask that can a child play in reasonable limits in your believes? Could celebrating Halloween count as playing? Something that isn’t supposed to take seriously? Make-believe like Santa in Christianity? Nobody but little children believes Santa, but it’s fun make-believe about giving, friendship and being with closed ones. I’m not a Muslim and there are probably much which I don’t understand, but I’m curious so I asked. Thank you for reading this to an end and there is snowing so I hope happy beginning of winter for everyone! :)

  31. Avatar

    Amberly Callahan

    February 6, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Halloween has its roots in European paganism, but Americans who go trick-or-treating are not practicing a religion. This holiday has made a completely secular evolution. However, look at our own practices and how they have changed and compare the Quran with what we do in our day-to-day lives. Much of what Muslims do today is not based on Quran, but culture that has melded with the religion and is now passed down to our impressionable children. Before, we shun everything that is western maybe we should check our own closets and make sure that we aren’t adding to or taking away from the Quran. So, many cling to culture and misunderstand what is faith and what is culture.

  32. Avatar

    JJ

    October 27, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    In my personal opinion, as a convert from Christianity to Islam, Halloween is fine. I think that we have far too many people who immigrate to the USA who have a deeply rooted distrust and dislike for everything Western. Especially those things that they do not truly understand. For example, when I got married, I told my husband that we had to “jump the broom”; a lovely African-American wedding tradition. He couldn’t understand why I was so adamant about this. He refused to do it. He didn’t understand it and he refused it.

    In America we have lots of traditions; cultural traditions, religious traditions, etc. Just because something has its roots in one area doesn’t mean it can’t be altered to be more appealing to the mainstream. I don’t conjure spirits on Halloween. I don’t speak to the dead. I don’t believe that the dead are walking free on that one night. Instead, I dress up as a favorite character, go trick-or-treating in my own neighborhood where everyone knows one another, go home watch a Halloween movie like Hocus Pocus, and enjoy the sugar high. Sometimes, I invite friends over and we enjoy Halloween themed treats and games. We bob for apples, we make caramel or candied apples. We make rice krispie treats and chex mix. It’s FUN!

    In my experience as a muslim these past 12 years, everything from birthdays to baby showers to wearing makeup and wearing jeans to Thanksgiving to Halloween is forbidden and frowned upon. I am a proud American and I am proud to have my own traditions. I’m not going to let a first generation American or an immigrant take that away from me especially if I believe in my heart that what I’m doing doesn’t contradict the teachings of Islam.

    Next thing I know, watching TV and reading books will be haram. Oh, but some people already believe that…

    • Avatar

      Amer

      October 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Thanks JJ! I completely agree with you on this. We had a great fun Haloween party this Saturday!

    • Avatar

      Maria

      October 30, 2015 at 6:55 AM

      My husband and I just buy a big bag of candy and have a junk food night in front of the tv watching movies and shows…but it’s not wildly different than what we already do on weekends. We do full celebration for Thanksgiving because it is NOT a religious holiday….purely secular and specific to US so I don’t see any harm in it. We don’t full-on participate in Christmas but we do make an effort to be with family because it is important to them to see us. In fact, the only one we really bought a gift for was my brother and that was only because he wasn’t going to have anything at all to open. We will accept gifts from others because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or make it seem like we don’t appreciate their thought and effort. We’re not celebrating it like they are….we are just being there with them in a happy time.

  33. Pingback: HALLOWEEN: 10 TIPS FOR MUSLIM PARENTS | Muslim Moms Blog

  34. Avatar

    Amer

    October 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    I love Halloween and Alhumdulilah I’m a muslim. :p

    Happy Halloween Mubarak everybody!

  35. Avatar

    An Educated Muslim!

    November 1, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    Just because your children dress up in costumes or get candy does not mean they will become pagans! Christians and Jews participate in Halloween! Come on! Open your minds a little bit! You are living in a western country! If you don’t like the culture or cultural holidays then move to an Islamic country! I am Muslim do not see anything wrong in Halloween. Allah will not send you to hell for going trick or treating or dressing up in a costume!

  36. Avatar

    Captain Richard M. Wright

    November 9, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    I am not a Muslim, in fact I’m not an anything when it come to religion. I was brought up Protestant Christian and later in life discovered believing in and praying to imaginary invisible magicians is all nonsense.

    That doesn’t mean teaching civil behavior is nonsense though. Whether you call it one of the 10 Commandments or something else, “Thou shalt not steal.” is a good way to behave in a civil society. Most religions do that pretty well. But it’s not neccessary to have any religion at all to understand “Do unto others . . .” In fact, in my opinion, providing a logical understanding of why stealing is not a good idea, rather than telling them it’s some god’s will, is probably a far better way to teach a child how to behave.

    As far as Halloween goes, yes it was/is a pagen celebration of the end of harvest and the beginning of the “period of darkeness” aka Winter. The Catholics tried to hijack it and call it All Saints Day, to remember the dead. Actually I think the pagen meaning is a lot more sensible. But what does it matter who started it, celebrating a bountiful harvest really isn’t all that bad. Hareem, I don’t even know what that means. I will look it up though.

    I do think the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”, unless it goes counter to appropriate, for you, behavior, does make a lot of sense. People who want to “fit in” will generally follow the customs of the locals. Encourage you kids to hang out with their friends whether they are Jewish, Chistian, Budhist, Hindi, or some other religion, or even atheist. They will enjoy the companionship and learn about other cultures. Maybe they will stop believing they should go out and slaughter people of other cultures just because of their religious beliefs.

    As I say, I’m not a Muslim, but I do have a really hard time understanding why the Sunni and the Shia want to shoot, blow up, and otherwise create so much misery for each other. Of course, as an American, and not someone who has to live in that region of the world, it would be easy for me to just laugh at these packs of fools. But I don’t, I feel sorry for them, and their replacing replacing education with religion. The two are just not the same.

    Be happy you are living in a country where your kids can get an education, and where they can learn how to live in the future rather than clinging to how to live in the past. I remember running into a Chinese guy in a store one day and laching as he struggled to speak to me in English while his two young children, 5 or 6, were babbling away in perfect Engilsh. I suppose he could have insisted they communicate in Chinese, but he was smarter than that!

  37. Pingback: Connecticut School Bans Halloween To Avoid Offending People | The Daily Caller

  38. Avatar

    Steve

    October 31, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    “Get the facts” & “Accept reality”. lol

  39. Avatar

    Meri Chutya

    October 31, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    It’s all in fun. When people become so stuffy about things it creates more of a divide. We should instead of saying no we can not do. Teach why we don’t believe in the basis of something. But just because we do not believe we do not shrug. We always enjoy Christmas with out Christian friends. We discuss why we don’t celebrate this as isa’a birthday a and discuss with our kids what the Islamic beliefs about Jesus are. But we then have the same friends that we spend Christmas Eve with spend Eid with us. They then see what we believe and how we celsbrate as do their children.

  40. Avatar

    Jake

    May 28, 2016 at 8:11 PM

    Wow, Muslims are the worst and most boring parents ever, you guys are like that town from footloose that tried to ban dancing and music,lol.

  41. Avatar

    waseem

    October 20, 2016 at 4:47 AM

    Is it really haraam to celebrate Halloween??

  42. Avatar

    Richard V.

    October 30, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    I’ve read through most if not all the replies on this site.
    Some good cultural facts and historical information was presented.
    Some logical arguments presented as well as illogical and emotional attacks.

    Open dialogue leads many groups to find common elements and build a relationship on them.
    It’s when one group starts placing\enforcing severe cultural and belief restrictions (Dogmas) on another group that we run into conflict\violence.
    All belief systems are a forerunner from a previous belief system – that is fact and you can attest it all you want or try to deny it, but all religions sprang from the fading breath of its predecessors.
    Islam \Christianity is no different in how it came to be. http://i.imgur.com/Sm2imkG.jpg
    Just different messengers interpreting the same base message
    – love one another, honor your family and friends, mercy and compassion on those who would do you harm. Give if and when you can for others are doing the same. meaning you yourself will receive- thus a perfect circle.

    I can respect your belief in how you wish to view this world – but when you hide behind dogma you do the world and yourself a disservice.
    The intent of holidays and festivals, where they sprang up and derived are no longer relevant to this day of age as our faith in our belief system will be 2,000 years in the future.
    For now – here and now in the present we are dealing with a global community never before in the history of man.
    We have seen so many cultures come to one point in time and shared their lives, hopes and dreams as well as fears and hatreds that we are ll being affected in one way or another – tis the middle ground we need to forge and create a win\win situation. WE are all created from one source and we will return to it sooner or later. What will be your legacy?.

    My personal take on this issue of Hallows Eve – its a fun time that has been designated on this particular month on this date – to poke fun at those issues that scare us, and horrify us the most. There is evil in the world that is not deniable – cruel hideous, soul ripping evil, done by man to man for whatever dogma you follow. So one time out of the year we get to poke fun at it, let kids know its alright to be afraid, to know you are protected by family as much as possible. Costumes, parties – food are all there to hide the simple fact that death, violence, the “unknown ” scares us. We need to laugh at them in order to move on.
    sorry for the long dissertation – stepping off my soap box and getting chocolate chip cookies and rootbeer, :)

  43. Avatar

    Lail S Hossain

    October 31, 2017 at 4:05 PM

    Thank you for the tips. I shared why we chose not to celebrate Halloween here – http://www.withaspin.com/2015/…/30/no-halloween-celebration/

    And how you can still be gracious if you opt out of trick or treating –
    http://www.withaspin.com/2017/10/31/being-kind-when-opting-out-of-trick-or-treating/

  44. Avatar

    SLD

    October 23, 2018 at 1:24 AM

    Muslims can do whatever they want regarding Halloween. You are just the latest in a long line of insular religions that views mainstream American community life as corrupting to their morals. No one cares, as long as you keep it to yourselves.

    As a non-Muslim, my only request would be that you do not misrepresent American holidays to your children.

    Halloween as currently practiced is a children’s costume holiday. Candy is provided by neighbors who enjoy participating in the fun and seeing children in their costumes. Once they trick-or-treated, now they get to pass out the candy. Businesses also participate to create goodwill with their communities. The vast majority of Americans have fond childhood memories of Halloween.

    Apparently, Muslims choose to interpret this reciprocal fun as “extortion” or “begging” in order to create a negative reaction in their children. Are you really that desperate?

    There are some spooky elements to Halloween, but there are absolutely NO religious or spiritual implications to the holiday anymore. Telling your children that their neighbors are participating in a holiday that celebrates sorcery or ancient paganism is ridiculous and untrue.

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“How did you convert to Islam” is a question that is commonly asked to those who convert to Islam. While the short answer to this question is, “I said shahada”, the long (and more detailed) answer is one that is commonly expected.

It is important to acknowledge that the majority of “born Muslims” who ask this question do such out of good intentions. For this reason, I wrote this piece out of a place of love and not out of a place of judgment or hatred. While it is important for “born Muslims” to be mindful of how they ask this question, it is equally important for converts to not hold ill will towards born Muslims who ask this question. Due to the fact that Islamophobia is rampant in both the media and political discourse, many “born Muslims” are naturally shocked and emotional when they meet people who accept Islam. Some “born Muslims” have also had limited interactions with converts and therefore, to them, it is not only shocking for them to meet converts, but they are genuinely unaware of certain etiquettes when it comes to asking a convert for his or her story.

In this piece, I am going to write about a pet peeve that is shared among many Muslim converts. While I cannot speak for every single convert, I can say that based on innumerable conversations I have had with fellow converts, there is one thing most of us agree on and it is this; it is rude to ask a convert about his or her conversion story when you haven’t built a relationship with the convert. This piece will explain why many converts consider such a question to be intrusive. The purpose of this article is to better educate the “born Muslim” community on how they can do a better job in support of converts to Islam. In this piece, I will break down the reasons why this question can come off as intrusive if it isn’t asked in a proper manner. I will also include personal anecdotes to support my position.

I would like to conclude by saying that I do not discourage “born Muslims” from asking this question entirely, rather I am merely arguing that this question should be asked with the best of adab.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:  “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi) For this reason, such a question should be asked for purpose and it should be done with the best of manners. This is supported by the fact that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I have been sent to perfect good character.” (Al Muwatta)

Note: For the sake of avoiding confusion, the term “born Muslim” is defined as anyone who was brought up in a Muslim household.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask about the person’s personal relationship with God

Within the context of a friendship, it is generally understood that friends will share personal details with each other. However, it is also generally understood that it is rude to ask people you just met personal questions. To ask a new acquaintance a personal question in most cases comes off as intrusive. This is especially the case in which you ask a person about his or her relationship with God.

For example, there are women who do not wear hijab. Even if we do (for a moment) ignore the Islamic ruling concerning hijab, we should all agree that a woman’s reason for wearing (or not wearing) hijab is a personal matter that is between said woman and God. If one was to ask a woman who doesn’t wear hijab why she doesn’t wear it, that would be intrusive because such a question would involve interrogating said woman about her relationship with God.

Another example concerns a married couple. If one was to meet a married person for the first time, it can be considered rude to ask said person about his or her relationship with his or her spouse.

When one asks a convert about his or her choice to convert, one is literally asking said convert about his or her relationship with God.

I am not saying that it is wrong in all cases to ask such a question. However, one should be mindful of the fact that because this is a personal question, one should have at least have built some form of a friendship with said person before asking.

convert friendship hugs

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is another way of asking, “Why do you believe in Islam?”

Many people identify to a faith tradition because it was part of their upbringing. If you were to ask a person who was born Muslim, “why are you Muslim?” you might hear said Muslim respond with, “I am Muslim because I was raised Muslim” and you wouldn’t hear a detailed answer beyond this.

In most cases, a convert to Islam (or any other religion) did such after research and critical thinking. To convert to a new religion involves not only deep thinking but a willingness to step into the unknown.

I have on many occasions told my story to people. In most cases I will ask the person “why do you believe in Islam?” I am then disappointed when I find out that the only reason the person is Muslim is due to upbringing. While I am not saying that said person’s faith is invalid or less than mine, a person who only identifies with a religion due to upbringing is a person who didn’t engage in critical thinking.

Any relationship should be built upon equality and mutual benefit. If I as a convert am able to provide a well thought out answer as to why I believe in Islam, I expect a well thought out answer to the same question from the person who initially asked me.

Again, while I am not saying it is wrong in all cases to ask, a born Muslim should ask himself or herself “why do I believe in Islam?” In my opinion, there are many who are born into Muslim families who don’t truly believe until later in their lives. Those Muslims in my opinion (and mine alone) are similar to converts.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask the convert to perform labor.

In some cases, “born Muslims” expect converts to tell their stories. I can remember a few incidents in which I have been asked to tell my story and I politely declined. In response, the person became angry. This to me is a symptom of entitlement. Nobody is entitled to know anything about anyone else (aside from people with whom one has a natural relationship with).

In addition, one should be cognizant of the fact that converts typically get asked this question repeatedly. Thus after a significant amount of time, a convert is prone to get tired of repeating the same question over again repeatedly. Naturally, it can become exhausting eventually.

While I do not believe it is wrong to ask this question in all cases, one should not ask this question to a convert from a place of entitlement. I can think of cases where I have been asked this question by “born Muslims” and when I have refused to provide an answer, they have gotten angry at me. This is entitlement.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask the convert to explain his or her personal life.

Backbiting is one of the worst sins in Islam. Another major sin is to disrespect one’s parents. Thus we can conclude that backbiting about one’s parents is a huge sin.

This is evidenced by the fact that Allah has said (ﷻ) “We have enjoined on humankind kindness to parents.” (Quran 29:8)

A typical follow-up question to “Why did you convert?” is “How did your parents react?” This in many cases puts the convert in a position where one may feel pressured to mention some negative details about his or her parents. In Islam, parents are to be respected, even if they aren’t Muslim.

Before asking a convert this question, one should be mindful of not putting unnecessary pressure on the convert to commit this injustice.

convert friendship

Cases when it is appropriate to ask

However, I do maintain a firm belief that in any true friendship, things will be shared. I don’t think it is wrong in itself to ask a convert about his or her story provided that there already exists a relationship where personal information can be shared. It is highly suggested to hang out with the person first and then ask the convert for his or her story.

As a personal rule of mine, unless I have hung out with the person one on one at least once (or a few times in group gatherings) I don’t tell any born Muslims my conversion story. Naturally, I only share personal details with people I consider to be a friend. If I would hang out with the person, I consider that person to be a friend.

The reason I am also hesitant to share my story with just anyone who asks me is because I can think of countless cases of when I have shared my story to people I have never seen or heard from again. I choose to exert my agency to share personal details of my life to people who I consider to be part of my life. While many Muslims are happy when people convert, many Muslims also fail to provide any form of support for said convert after conversion. I have seen too many cases of when a person recites shahadah, people pull their phones out to record it, but very few will give the convert his or her number. I genuinely believe that many “born Muslims” fail to see the big picture in this regard.

Before asking a convert for his or her story, you should ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing personal details of your life to that person. If you are not comfortable sharing personal details of your life to that person, there is nothing wrong with that. However, you shouldn’t expect the convert to share personal details if you aren’t comfortable sharing personal details. Even if you have built a close friendship with someone, you still aren’t expected to share every detail of your life to someone. Even if you consider a convert to be a close friend, you should still respect a convert’s wishes to not share his or her story.

Conclusion

While I have addressed concerns about the tendency of “born Muslims” to ask converts about their journeys, I want to acknowledge that most people have good intentions. In Islam, the natural state of any person is one of righteousness.

I firmly believe that a friendship that isn’t built on trust and the sharing of personal information isn’t a genuine friendship. Therefore the key term in this context is “friend”. If you wish to ask a convert his or her story, please make sure the following conditions are met:

  1. You are already friends with the convert to a point where asking a convert about his or her relationship with God isn’t an intrusive question. Ask yourself, “Are we close enough where we can share other personal details of our lives with each other?”
  2. You have a well thought out reason as to why you believe in Islam.
  3. You don’t feel entitled to know about the convert’s journey and that you will allow the convert to choose not to share such information if the convert doesn’t wish to.
  4. You don’t probe into the convert’s relationships with other people.
  5. You aren’t just asking the question to somehow feel validated about your belief in Islam.
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Dawah and Interfaith

10 Lessons I Learned While Serving Those in Need

charity
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I have spent about a decade serving the impoverished domestically and recently, abroad. I don’t work for a major charity organization, I work for my community, through grassroots efforts. It was something embedded in me while learning Islam. Before starting a charity organization, I started studying Islam with Dr. Hatem Alhaj (my mentor) and various other scholars. The more I studied, the more I wanted to implement what I was learning. What my community needed at the time was intensive charity work, as it was neglected entirely by our community. From that, I collected 10 lessons from servicing those in need. 

1. My bubble burst

One of the first things I experienced was the bursting of my bubble, a sense of realization. I, like many others, was unaware of the hardship in my own community. Yes, we know the hadith and see the events unfold on the news and social media, but when a father of three cried before me because a bag of groceries was made available for him to take home, that moment changed me. We tend to forget how little it takes, to make a huge difference in someone’s life. This experience, made me understand the following hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people then asked: “(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy, who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: “If he cannot do (even) that?” The Prophet said finally: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524. I

t is simply an obligation, due to the amount of good it generates after you do this one action. I then realized even more how beautiful Islam is for commanding this deed. 

2. Friendships were developed on good deeds

Serving the poor is a great reward in itself. The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date-fruit in charity.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 498. But it is better done with a team, I began building a team of people with similar objectives in serving the needy. These people later became some of my closest friends, who better to keep close to you than one that serves Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by helping the neediest in the same community you reside in. Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” [reported by Abu Dawood & Tirmidhee] This is turn kept me on the right path of pleasing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Working with a team removes a lot of the burden as well and the depression that might occur seeing the saddest stories on a daily basis. Allah says in the Qur’ān, “Indeed the believers are brothers.” (49:10). Sometimes there is a misconception that you have to have a huge office or a large masjid in order to get work done. But honestly, all you need is a dedicated group of people with the right intention and things take off from there. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.' - Al-Tirmidhi,Click To Tweet

3. Made me thankful

This made me thankful for whatever I had, serving the less fortunate reminded me daily to turn to Allah and ask for forgiveness and so be thankful. This kind of service also puts things into perspective. What is truly important in life? I stepped further and further away from a materialistic lifestyle and allowed me to value things that can’t be valued by money. I learned this from the poorest of people in my community, who strived daily for their family regardless of their situation — parents who did what they can to shield their children from their harsh reality. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376. They had a quality about them, despite their poverty status. They were always some of the kindest people I have known. 

dardir

4. People want to do Good

I learned that people want to do good; they want to improve their community and society. I began to see the impact on a communal level, people were being more engaged. We were the only Muslim group helping indiscriminately in our county. Even the people we helped, gave back by volunteering at our food pantry. We have schools where small kids (under adult supervision) partake in preparing meals for the needy, local masajids, churches, and temples, high school kids from public schools, and college organizations (Muslim and nonMuslim) visit frequently from several cities in neighboring counties, cities, and states. The good spreads a lot easier and faster than evil. People want to do good, we just need more opportunities for them to join in. United we can rock this world.

“We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.” Malcolm X. Click To Tweet

5. Smiles

Smiles, I have seen the wealthiest smiles on the poorest people. Despite being on the brink of homelessness, when I saw them they had the best smile on their faces. This wasn’t all of them, but then I would smile back and that changed the environment we were in. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.” – Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98. Smiles are truly universal.

6. It’s ok to cry

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah said: “A man who weeps for fear of Allah will not enter Hell until the milk goes back into the udder, and dust produced (when fighting) for the sake of Allah and the smoke of Hell will never coexist.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaa’i. There are situations you see that hit you hard; they fill your heart with emotions, but that never swayed my concrete belief in Allah’s wisdom. Crying before Allah, not just out of fear, but to be thankful for His Mercy upon you is a relief.

7. Learning to say no

It was one of the hardest things I had to do, a lot (if not all) of the requests I received for help were extremely reasonable. I do not think anyone asked for anything outrageous. Our organization started becoming the go-to organization in our area for help, but we are one organization, with limited resources, and a few times we were restricted on when or how we could help. This is where learning to say no became a learned skill. Wedid do our best to follow up with a plan or an alternative resource.

8. It is part of raising a family and finding yourself

How so? Being involved in your community doesn’t take away from raising your family, it is part of it. I can’t watch and do nothing and expect my children to be heroes. I have to lead by example. Helping others is good for my family’s health. Many people living in our country are consumed with their busy lives. Running out the door, getting to work, driving the kids to their after school activities, spending weekends taking care of their families, etc. So people have a fear of investing hours in doing this type of work. But in reality, this work puts more blessings in your time.

One may feel they are taking time away from their family, but in reality, when one comes back home, they find more peace in their home then they left it with. By helping others, I improve the health and culture of my community, this in turn positively impacts my family.

I enjoy being a softie with my family and friends. I am a tall bearded man, and that image suited me better. I am not sure what made me softer, having kids or serving the poor. Either way, it was rewarding and defined my role and purpose in my community.

I learned that you make your own situation. You can be a spectator, or you can get in there and do the best you can to help. It gave me an opportunity to be a role model for my own children, to show them the benefit of doing good and helping when you can.

It came with a lot of humility. Soon after starting I realized that all I am is a facilitator, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is giving an opportunity of a lifetime to do this work, a line of work very little people get to engage in regularly. My advice to my readers, if you can serve the poor do so immediately before you get occupied or busy with life.

Helping others is good for my family’s health.Click To Tweet

9. Dawah through action

As I mentioned before I did spend time studying, and at one point developed one of the top dawah initiatives in the country (according to IERA). But the reality is, helping the less fortunate is my type of dawah, people started to associate our food pantry and helping others with Islam. As an organization with one of the most diverse groups of volunteers, people from various religious backgrounds found the environment comfortable and hospitable. I began working with people I never would have worked before if I had stuck to traditional dawah, studying, or masjid involvement, all of which are critical. This became a symbol of Islam in our community, and while serving, we became those that embodied the Quran and Sunnah. For a lot of those we served, we were the first Muslims they encountered, and Alhamdulilah for the team we have. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) also says in the Quran: “So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159). It is our actions that can turn people away or towards Islam.

10. Once you serve the needy, you do this for life

I wasn’t volunteering on occasion,— this was an unpaid job that was done regularly. I got requests and calls for emergencies daily at times. It took up hours upon hours every week. As a charity worker, I developed experience and insight in this field. I learned that this was one of the best ways I could serve Allah [swt. “They ask you (O Muhammad) what they should spend in charity. Say: ‘Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relatives, orphans, the helpless, and travelers in need. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.'” – The Holy Quran, 2:215

I believe the work I do with the countless people that do the same is the best work that can be done in our current political climate and globalization. My views and thoughts have evolved over the years seeing situations develop to what they are today. This gave me a comprehensive outlook on our needs as a society and allowed me to venture off and meet people top in their fields like in social activism, environmentalism, labor, etc.

I want to end with three sectors in society that Muslims prosper in and three that Muslims can improve on. We strive on individual education (noncommunal), distributing and organizing charity, and more recently being politically engaged. What we need to improve on is our environmental awareness, working with and understanding unions and labor rights, and organizing anti-war movements. 

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#Life

Looking To Get Married? Here Are A Few Tips

will you marry me?
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that single young Muslims, despite not being in possession of any fortune, are always in search of a spouse.

However little prepared these people may be to undertake this ordeal is given little thought, and they are thrust out into the world of modern Muslim matchmaking. The generational divide in the community has meant that young people have received little training at home to navigate the process of finding a spouse. These individuals are seeking high-quality relationships, but few have the skills and emotional intelligence needed to find one. They are left to learn on their own through trial-and-error, and often a lot of pain.

With hopes of making this journey a little easier, we’ve compiled a few principles to keep in mind as you tread these cold uncharted waters.

You won’t attract what you want, you’ll attract what you are. Do you find in yourself the qualities that you seek in another?Click To Tweet

1. Work on yourself

You won’t attract what you want, you’ll attract what you are. Do you find in yourself the qualities that you seek in another?

Aspire to be self-fulfilled and complete on your own, rather than hoping for someone else to do that for you. Operationally, this entails refining both your inner and outer self. On the outside this could include basic things like being well-groomed (especially for men), knowing how to cook a healthy diet, exercising regularly and supporting yourself financially. You should also ensure you have good relationships with loved ones – do the people you care about love you back? Admit any wrongs you may have done to them and make amends to improve ties if they are strained. The state of your current relationships can be a good indicator of future ones.

On the inside, you should make a moral inventory and work to address your shortcomings in character. You must work on your selfishness, your anger, your dishonesty, your lust, your pride, your stinginess, your harshness, your resentments, your stubbornness, your fears, your jealousy, your self-righteousness, your vanity. This list is never ending and it’s a lifelong process; the sooner you get started the better off you’ll be.

You must also get help for any serious problems that you fear might affect a relationship – instead of hoping these problems will go away with the ‘right partner’. If you have a pornography problem, seek out help and don’t be deluded into thinking marriage will solve that for you. If you have no control over your desires before marriage, you won’t magically gain control afterward. If you have a substance abuse problem, join a 12-step program. If you feel you are emotionally unhealthy, get help from a professional. Bottom line is, have your house in order before you decide to build a new one.

2. Maintain good mental health throughout the process

Be purposeful in your search but don’t make it the purpose of your life. The process of finding a spouse can become emotionally draining and overwhelming if you don’t do it in a healthy fashion. Understand that this process entails too many factors that are completely out of your control; things won’t always go your way, so don’t be too attached to the outcome.  The only things you control are your responses and actions, so just focus on putting your best foot forward.

A common mistake people make is they give themselves a timeline e.g. ‘I want to be married by X age, or by X year’. This only results in unnecessary pressure that can lead to anxiety and poor mental health; it can also force one to make imprudent choices. Everyone has a different timeline; have trust in God’s plan for you.

Anytime mental health is disturbed, stop and revaluate. Some signs of poor mental health include: obsessive thinking, inability to focus on your everyday affairs, compulsive attachment and clinginess, disturbed sleep, anxiety, difficulty making decisions, inability to multitask, feeling overwhelmed, panic attacks, depression, irritability, changes in eating habits, and a loss of inner serenity. It is best to get help from counselors, such as those at Naseeha, if you feel stuck in this situation.

3. Adopt a mindset of giving

The measure you give is the measure you get back. Instead of worrying so much about what you want, focus on what you have to offer.

While you should certainly express your interest in someone you like, don’t taint it with desperation and neediness. If you’ve implemented the first point mentioned, you are already a confident and self-sufficient person. You will be fine no matter what. Focus on giving without expectation and building a healthy companionship. Be a giver and you’ll be surprised how easily you will attract the right people towards you. The ‘mindset of want’ is a self-defeating mindset: you might not find all the things you want in someone, and even if you did, there is no guarantee they’ll want you back!

4. Don’t overthink it

Living in a capitalist society, we’ve developed the bad habit of picking out people the same way we go shopping for a new product. We like to explore the market, do a cost-benefit analysis of various options, try to make sure the product isn’t damaged and hope to pick out the best possible item. We are careful about how we ‘invest our time’ and we try to ensure we can get an appropriate return on our investment. If we could, we’d ask for a money-back guarantee on people too!

Human hearts, unfortunately, cannot be picked out the way we choose commercial products. Each has its flaws and its strengths, you have to accept both the good and the bad; the pro-con list approach won’t work here. When we start taking this reductionist approach to relationships, we naturally get into overthinking, feel anxious and overwhelmed. With the widespread use of online dating, the choices seem limitless and it can seem impossible to try to figure out how to find the right person.

Marriage is a decision that’s to be taken with the heart; you have to rely on your guts and your instincts to steer you towards the person most suitable for you. This doesn’t mean throwing rational thought out the door, it means looking to your inner-self as the source of motivation for your decision making. It takes emotional intelligence and self-awareness to be able to determine what kind of a person you’ll be able to build a future with; it’s not always someone that looks best on paper. There are very few people with whom you’ll find compatibility and reciprocity, so don’t obsess over exploring as many possible ‘options’ with hopes of marking off all the items on your checklist.

We ultimately find the most fulfillment in caring for and taking responsibility for someone we sincerely love. So, look instead for the ingredients that will act as the foundations of love in your marriage. These could include the fact that you: enjoy someone’s company, find them beautiful, admire their character and kindness, respect them, find reciprocity in your interactions, have shared values and compatible temperaments. You are looking for that certitude, that good feeling in your heart; focusing on these factors will hopefully give you that and will get you out of the common mistake of overthinking and worrying.

One of the unique challenges Western Muslims face when looking for a spouse is finding religious compatibility. The diversity of our community, coupled with the individualized nature of faith in the West, has given rise to a plethora of ‘brands’ of Islam. Click To Tweet

5. Work to bridge religious differences

One of the unique challenges Western Muslims face when looking for a spouse is finding religious compatibility. The diversity of our community, coupled with the individualized nature of faith in the West, has given rise to a plethora of ‘brands’ of Islam. Personal levels of observance can vary vastly, even within members of the same family, so it can be challenging to find the right fit.

You will always find differences in religious observance and views between spouses. It is impossible, and foolish, to try to seek out someone at the exact same level. Some people might be more conservative than you, some might be more liberal. Do you really have to turn someone down because they don’t agree with your views on conventional mortgages? What if you like dressing up for Halloween and going trick-or-treating, and they’re opposed to it? What if they don’t eat zabiha halal like you do? What if they don’t pray all the five prayers on time like you were raised to do so?

Given the unique circumstances we live in, we must be flexible and open-minded about resolving such differences. We ought to be careful when making a judgment about someone’s beliefs; we don’t know what’s in someone’s heart. Some of us were taught to honour God through worship and observing His law, some of us were raised with an emphasis on serving His creation with good character. People have their strengths and their weaknesses in faith; sometimes these are apparent, sometimes hidden. Your relationship with God is not perfect and neither will be your partner’s; we are all a work in progress.

If approached with kindness, mutual respect and a willingness to compromise, these differing religious views could be resolved in many cases. While sometimes people really are on extreme ends, most of us fall somewhere in between and can find a comfortable middle ground. It is often our stubbornness, self-righteousness and a parochial understanding of religion that gets in the way. Good people are hard to find, so don’t let suitable matches go because they don’t follow your exact flavor of religious observance. This is certainly a sensitive topic and needs to be dealt with tact and wisdom; it is advisable to seek counsel of more experienced people.

6. Don’t expose your past and don’t pry about someone else’s

If you have a past you are not proud of and it doesn’t concern your future relationships, you should not feel obliged to expose yourself. In fact, if this relates to sins of the past, it is actually prohibited to reveal your sins to someone else – even in the context of marriage. Shaykh Nuh Keller summarizes this pitfall well, “In Islam, to mention a sin is itself a sin. How many a person has been unable to resist telling a friend or a spouse of the wickedness they did in their previous life, and Allah punished them with disgust and contempt in the other’s heart that could never quite be forgotten! There is no barakah in the haram”.

Similarly, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t be prying about someone else’s past and trying to dig up details on their misadventures. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded us to have a good opinion of people; he warned against the destructive nature of suspicion and spying. He told us, “Beware of suspicion for it is the most deceitful of thought. Do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; Rather, be servants of God as brothers”

7. Istikhara is not a solution for indecisiveness

The prayer of seeking guidance, or Istikhara, is oft cited by those considering marriage. The mistake many make, however, is that we are really wishing for someone else to make the decision for us. We are so afraid of making the wrong decision that we find it difficult to make any. We hope for a divine sign or a miracle to happen that tells us that the other person is right for us and that we will live happily ever after with them.

Making big life decisions, emotionally prudent ones, is an important life skill that must be learned. These decisions come with inherent risks, uncertainties, and unknowns; there are no guarantees. If you habitually find yourself having a hard time deciding, it is likely due to external factors. It might have something to do with you, it might have something to do with the person you are considering. It is advisable to seek counsel if you are in this situation.

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