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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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#Society

Eid Lameness Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, Cure

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How many of you have gone to work on Eid because you felt there was no point in taking off? No Eid fun. Have you ever found Eid boring, no different from any other day?

If so, you may suffer from ELS (Eid Lameness Syndrome). Growing up, I did too.

My family would wake up, go to salah, go out to breakfast, come home, take a 4+ hour nap and then go out to dinner. I didn’t have friends to celebrate with and even if I did, I wouldn’t see them because we stuck to our own immediate family just as they did.

On the occasion that we went to a park or convention center, we would sort of have fun. Being with other people was certainly better than breakfast-nap-dinner in isolation, but calling that a memorable, satisfying, or genuinely fun Eid would be a stretch.

I don’t blame my parents for the ELS though. They came from a country where Eid celebration was the norm; everyone was celebrating with everyone and you didn’t have to exert any effort. When they moved to the US, where Muslims were a minority, it was uncharted territory. They did the best they could with the limited resources they had.

When I grew up, I did about the same too. When I hear friends or acquaintances tell me that they’re working, doing laundry or whatever other mundane things on Eid, I understand.  Eid has been lame for so long that some people have given up trying to see it any other way. Why take personal time off to sit at home and do nothing?

I stuck to whatever my parents did for Eid because “Eid was a time for family.” In doing so, I was honoring their cultural ideas of honoring family, but not Eid. It wasn’t until I moved away that I decided to rebel and spend Eid with convert friends (versus family) who didn’t have Muslim families to celebrate with on Eid, rather than drive for hours to get home for another lame salah-breakfast-nap-dinner.

That was a game-changing Eid for me. It was the first non-lame Eid I ever had, not because we did anything extraordinary or amazing, but because we made the day special by doing things that we wouldn’t normally do on a weekday together. It was then that I made a determination to never have a lame Eid ever again InshaAllah.

I’m not the only one fighting ELS. Mosques and organizations are creating events for people to attend and enjoy together, and families are opting to spend Eid with other families. There is still much more than can be done, as converts, students, single people, couples without children and couples with very small children, are hard-hit by the isolation and sadness that ELS brings. Here are a few suggestions for helping treat ELS in your community:

Host an open house

Opening up your home to a large group of people is a monumental task that takes a lot of planning and strength. But it comes with a lot of baraka and reward. Imagine the smiling faces of people who would have had nowhere to go on Eid, but suddenly find themselves in your home being hosted. If you have a big home, hosting an open house is an opportunity to express your gratitude to Allah for blessing you with it.

Expand your circle

Eid is about commUNITY. Many people spend Eid alone when potential hosts stick to their own race/class/social status. Invite and welcome others to spend Eid with you in whatever capacity you can.

Delegate

You can enlist the help of close friends and family to help so it’s not all on you. Delegate food, setup, and clean-up across your family and social network so that no one person will be burdened by the effort InshaAllah.

Squeeze in

Don’t worry if you don’t have a big house, you’ll find out how much barakah your home has by how many people are able to fit in it. I’ve been to iftars in teeny tiny apartments where there’s little space but lots of love. If you manage to squeeze in even two or three extra guests, you’ve saved two or three people from ELS for that year.

Outsource Eid Fun

If you have the financial means or know enough friends who can pool together, rent a house. Some housing share sites have homes that can be rented specifically for events, giving you the space to consolidate many, smaller efforts into one larger, more streamlined party.

Flock together

It can be a challenge to find Eid buddies to spend the day with. Try looking for people in similar circumstances as you. I’m a single woman and have hosted a ladies game night for the last few Eids where both married and single women attend.  If you are a couple with young kids, find a few families with children of similar age groups. If you’re a student, start collecting classmates. Don’t wait for other people to invite you, make a list in advance and get working to fend off ELS together.

Give gifts

The Prophet ﷺ said: تَهَادُوا تَحَابُّوا‏ “Give gifts to increase love for each other”. One of my siblings started a tradition of getting a gift for each person in the family. If that’s too much, pick one friend or family member and give them a gift. If you can’t afford gifts, give something that doesn’t require much money like a card or just your time. You never know how much a card with kind, caring words can brighten a person’s Eid.

Get out of your comfort zone

If you have ELS, chances are there is someone else out there who has it too. The only way to find out if someone is sad and alone on Eid is by admitting that we are first, and asking if they are too.

Try, try, try again…

Maybe you’ve taken off work only to find that going would have been less of a waste of time. Maybe you tried giving gifts and it didn’t go well. Maybe you threw an open house and are still cleaning up/dealing with the aftermath until now. It’s understandable to want to quit and say never again, to relent and accept that you have ELS and always will but please, keep trying. The Ummah needs to believe that Eid can and should be fun and special for everyone.

While it is hard to be vulnerable and we may be afraid of rejection or judgment, the risk is worth it. As a survivor and recoverer of ELS, I know how hard it can be and also how rewarding it is to be free of it. May Allah bless us all with the best Eids and to make the most of the blessed days before and after, Ameen.

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#Society

Broken Light: The Opacity of Muslim Led Institutions

Rehan Mirza, Guest Contributor

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Habib Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy on him and benefit us by him) explains how we are affected by the spiritual state of those around us.

Every person has rays which emanate from their soul. You receive these rays when you come close to them or sit in their presence. Each person’s rays differ in strength according to the state of their soul. This explains how you become affected by sitting in the presence of great people. They are people who follow the way of the Prophets in their religious and worldly affairs. When they speak, they counsel people. Their actions guide people. When they are silent they are like signposts which guide people along the path, or like lighthouses whose rays guide ships. Many of them speak very little, but when you see them or visit them you are affected by them. You leave their gatherings having been enveloped in their tranquillity. Their silence has more effect than the eloquent speech of others. This is because the rays of their souls enter you.

The Organizational Light

As a Muslim organizational psychologist, I know that organizations and institutions are a collective of these souls too. Like a glass container, they are filled colored by whatever is within them. So often Muslim organizations have presumed clarity in their organizational light and looked on with wonder as children, families, and the community wandered. The lighthouse keepers standing in front of the beacon wondering, “Where have the ships gone?”have

Our Muslim led institutions will reflect our state, actions, and decisions. I do believe that most of our institutional origins are rooted in goodness, but those moments remain small and fade. Our challenge as a community is to have this light of origin be fixed so that it can pulsate and extend itself beyond itself.

Reference is not being made regarding any specific type of institution and this is not a pointed critique, but rather a theory on perhaps why the effect our variety of institutional work wanes and dissipates. Any type of organization or institution — whether for profit or nonprofit, whether capital focused or socially conscious — that is occupied by the heart of a Muslim(s), must reflect light.

Our organizational light is known by an ego-less assessment of intentions, actions, and results. We must move our ‘self’ or ‘selves’ out of the way and then measure our lumens. If the light increases when we move out of the way, then it is possible that we — our ego, personality, objectives, intentions, degree of sacrifice, level of commitment, and possibly even our sincerity — may be the obstructions to our organizational lights.

The Personal Imperative

What will become of our institutions and their role for posterity if we neglect to evaluate where we stand in relation to the noble courses they mean to take? We may currently be seeing the beginning what this may look and feel like.

When was the last time you walked into a Muslim led institution and felt a living space that drew you in because of the custodians, leadership, individuals, and community that made up its parts? It was probably the last time you and I looked deeply inward at our lives — our intellect, our relationships, our purpose, our spiritual state, our work, our decisions, and our intentions. If we cleanse our hearts so infrequently the dust which settles can become thick making them opaque. And perhaps this individual and collective state is what limits the reach and impact of our communal work thus, resulting in the opacity of Muslim led institutions. Note: Lighthouse keepers clean the lens of the beacon every day.

We must consistently assess the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual loci of our individual and organizational states. They are not fixed givens. Rather, they are capricious states that necessitate vigilance and wara’. Being aware of this will help in our organizational design and work.

The Collective Affect

When we are prepared to evaluate the efficacy of Muslim led institutions with the inclusion of some form of spiritual assessment, we will give ourselves a better opportunity to determine where, how, and why we may be missing the mark. The inefficiencies and inattentiveness we have on an individual level can permeate our relationships, our work, and our organizations. As organizational leaders, we must critically assess the amount of light our work emanates to illuminate the lives of the people we serve.

These inward evaluations should be in the form of active and ongoing discussions we have internally with our teams and colleagues, and ourselves. If done with prudence and sincerity it will not only strengthen our organizations but our teams and us God-willing. This collective effort can lead to a collective effect for those we serve that inspires and guides. We — and our institutions — can then return to the Prophetic example of being beacons of light that help ourselves and others arrive to a place of sanctuary.

And Allah always knows best.

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#Life

Mindful or Mind-full? Going From AutoPilot to Aware

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Mindful

Modeling Mindfulness

Mindfull

“Remember that God knows what is in your souls, so be mindful of Him.”

[Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:235]

Mindful or Mind-full?

Ever felt frustrated when you were trying to talk to your spouse, your children, your students, or your youth group and they would just not pay attention? This is a prime example of being on autopilot and getting carried away without actually being aware of what is most important in the present moment.

A recent Harvard study shows that our minds are not present in the moment and wander about 47% of the time1. In a world of technology and continuous sensory overload, the lines between work and home, friends and family, necessity vs. purpose, world-centric vs. Allah-centric have become blurred. We are either living in the past or ruminating about the future, and in the process, we are forgetting to live, enjoy, cherish, and make the most of our present moments.

For parents, teachers, youth leaders, and anyone in the beautiful role of guiding, teaching, coaching, or mentoring others, we can make a huge difference by modeling Mindfulness ourselves. But where do we start? The answer is to go from autopilot to becoming aware.

Autopilot to Aware

Being on autopilot is when you are distracted in the present moment, where your mind is wandering into the past or the future, and you are less aware of yourself, surroundings, or others. Autopilot can actually be pretty helpful for your regular habits. Waking up, brushing your teeth, getting ready for your day, going to school or work – many of the things we do habitually every day can be done more seamlessly without having to think, and that is a good thing. But there are times when you have to learn to turn off your autopilot to become aware. But how?

Here is a Mindfulness tool that can be done in just a minute or two for you to become more aware.

Step 1: Breath as a Tool. Say Bismillah. Focus on your breath. See where you experience the breath – the breathing in and breathing out of your body. Is your breath stemming from your nostrils, your chest, or your stomach? Just bring your attention to your breath and relax and stay with it there for a few moments.

Step 2: Body as a Tool. Relax your body. We carry so many emotions in our bodies2. Our stress from the past or anticipation for the future sometimes finds its way into our necks, other times in our chest muscles or our backs. Pay attention to what emotions and sensations do you feel, and try to relax all parts of your body.

Step 3: Intention as a Tool. As you have centered your thoughts to the present moment through your breath and your body, ask yourself: “What is most important now? In this present moment?”

Just simply being aware makes us more mindful parents, teachers, youth and professionals – being aware makes us more Mindful of Allah SWT. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your mind and body and bring your attention to the present moment.

Mindful

Real Life in the Present Moment

You are an on-the-go parent: It has been a long day and you have to pick up the kids from school, but work is still pending. You’re picking up the kids from school, feeding them, and then shuffling everyone to their afterschool activities, be it Qur’an, softball, soccer, swimming, or the million other things that kids seem to have these days. You squeeze pending work in between drop-offs and pick-ups, and you function by living from one task to the next.

The Autopilot Impact: You’re getting a lot done, but are so engrossed in quickly moving your children along from one thing to another that you are unable to really cherish your time together.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: You can try to go from autopilot to awareness by focusing on your breath, paying attention to your emotions, and relaxing your body. As you do so, ask yourself: “What is most important now?” Make the intention to slow down, listen to the children more mindfully, and cherish and enjoy your time together.

You are a busy teacher: Last night you had to take all the grading home and spent two hours poring over students’ work. This morning, you woke up early to pick up some classroom supplies after dropping off your own kids to school. You’ve already had two cups of coffee and are trying to think through everything you have to do today. You like the idea of Mindfulness, living life in the present moment, and enjoying every day to its fullest, but your mind is not free to even enjoy the beautiful morning sunrise as you drive to school.

The Autopilot Impact: You want to listen and pay attention to every child’s needs, and enjoy the rewards of their growth, but you can’t. What’s more, you judge yourself for just trying to get through your activities for the day. You wish you could connect with your students better.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: Whenever you are stressed with an unpleasant parent or student interaction, think about breathing, relaxing your body, and asking what you need to focus on now. Try to do one thing at a time, and relax into what you’re doing.

You are an overstretched youth director: You are a role model. You have this major weekend event you are planning with the youth. Your budget is still pending from the board, you have to call all these people, have to get the graphics and remind everyone about the event, you have to visit all these masjids and MSAs to announce and remind people about the weekend.

This weekend’s theme is Living a Life of Purpose and you are super passionate about it. However, the whole week you have had a hard time remembering to even pray one Salah with focus. Instead, your mind has been preoccupied with all the endless planning for this weekend. You love what you do but you wonder how to also be mindful in your everyday worship while you are always prepping and planning engaging activities for the youth.

The Autopilot Impact: You enjoy shaping the youth but you are losing steam. You are always planning the next program and unable to focus on your own personal and spiritual development. It is difficult for you to pray even one salah without thinking about all the events and activities planned for that week.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: Get serious about taking some time for yourself. Know that becoming more mindful about your own prayers and self-development will also make you a better role model. Take a minute or two before every Salah to practice the simple, 3-Step Mindfulness Tool. You say Bismillah and breathe, focus your mind, and then relax your body. Empty your mind from everything else – what has past and what’s to come – and ask “What’s most important now?” to develop better focus in your Salah.

In Conclusion: Practice Simple but Solid Steps towards becoming more Mindful Muslims

Mindfulness is to open a window to let the Divine light in.

[Imam Al Ghazali]

Mindfulness gives us the ability to be aware. We can use Mindfulness tools to remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), refocus, renew our intentions, and engage with the present moment in a more effective and enjoyable way. Mindfulness also invites awareness of our potential negligence in being our best selves with both Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His creation. To put it simply, being more aware of our selves can help us be better versions of our selves.

Mindfulness is both an art and a science, with brain and behavioral science research validating the importance of Mindfulness in improving our health, managing our stress, navigating our emotions, and positively impacting our lives3. In today’s modern and distracted world, let us treasure every tool that helps us center our attention on what matters the most.

  1. Bradt, Steve (2010). Wandering mind not a happy mind. Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/wandering-mind-not-a-happy-mind/
  2. Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, Jari K. Hietanen (2013). Bodily maps of emotions. National Academy of Sciences. https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/12/26/1321664111
  3. “What are the benefits of mindfulness,” American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx

To learn more about how to become mindful take the Define Course on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence.

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