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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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#Life

How Do Muslims Plan for Disability

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Families with children with disability have an extraordinary set of challenges and blessings.  Disability (or special needs) is a broad term.

Many disabilities will prevent what we often think of as “normal.”  It may hinder or prevent educational opportunities, and employment. Many people with “special needs” can get educated, get married and live long and productive lives.  The problem for many parents of younger children with special needs is that they typically have no certainty about their children’s future needs. Even if the situation looks dire, it may not stay that way.  

How do parents plan for a world where they may not be around to see how things will end up for their special needs children?  What can they do to help their children in a way that does not violate Islamic Inheritance rules?

Certain types of disability, especially the loss of executive decision-making ability, could also happen well into adulthood.  This can be a threat to a family’s wealth and be the cause of internal conflicts. This is the kind of thing every adult needs to think about before it happens.  

The Problem

The issues are not just that parents believe their special needs child will need more inheritance than other children. Muslim parents usually don’t think that. Some parents don’t want their special needs child to get any inheritance at all.  Not because of any ill-will against their special needs child; just the opposite, but because they are afraid inheritance will result in sabotaging their child’s needs-based government benefits.    

Many, perhaps most special needs children do not have any use for needs-based benefits (benefits for the poor).  But many do, or many parents might figure that it is a distinct possibility. This article is a brief explanation of some of the options available for parents of special needs children.  It won’t go over every option, but rather those that are usually incorporated as part of any Islamic Estate Planning.

Please Stand By

Example:  Salma has three daughters and two sons.  One of her children, Khalida, 3, has Down Syndrome.  At this point, Salma knows that raising Khalida is going to be an immense challenge for herself, her husband Rashid and all the older siblings.  What she does not know, however, is what specific care Khalida is going to need through her life or how her disability will continue to be relevant. She does not know a lot about Khalida’s future marriage prospects, ability to be employed and be independent, though obviously like any parent she has nothing but positive hopes for her child’s life.   

In the event of her death, Salma wants to make sure her daughter gets her Islamic right to inheritance.  However, if Khalida needs public benefits, Salma does not want her daughter disqualified because she has her own money.

Her solution is something called a “stand-by special needs trust.” This type of trust is done in conjunction with an Islamic Inheritance Plan and is typically part of a living trust, though it could also be a trust drafted into the last will.  I will describe more about what a special needs trust is below. For Salma, she is the Trustee of her trust. After she dies, she names her husband (or someone else) the successor Trustee. The trust is drafted to prevent it from becoming an “available resource” used to determine eligibility for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits that go with that.

If it turns out that Salma passes away when Khalida is 5, and her assets are held in trust for her until she is 18 and her Trustee determines she does not need a special needs trust, she will get her inheritance precisely like everyone else based on their Islamic right.  If she does need benefits, the Trustee will only make distributions to Khalida that would not harm her eligibility.

This way, there is no need to deny Khalida her inheritance because of her disability, and she is also making sure giving her daughter inheritance would not harm her daughter’s healthcare or other necessary support.  

Munir Vohra is a special needs advocate and an athlete

The Shape of Special Needs Trusts

A stand-alone Special needs trusts, which is sometimes called a “supplemental needs trust” the kind without the “stand-by” variation I described above, are a standard device for families that have children with special needs. A trust is a property ownership device. A Grantor gives the property to a Trustee, who manages the property for the benefit of a beneficiary. In a revocable living trust, the Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary are typically the same person.  

When the trust is irrevocable, the Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary may all be different people. In a special needs trust, the person with a disability is the beneficiary. Sometimes, the person with a disability is also the Grantor, the person who created the trust.  This might happen if there is a settlement from a lawsuit for example and the person with special needs wants it to be paid to the trust.  

In many if not most cases, the goal may not be to protect the beneficiary’s ability to get public benefits at all. Many people with a disability don’t get special government benefits.  But they do want to protect the beneficiaries from having to manage the assets. Some people are just more susceptible to abuse.

The structure of the arrangement typically reflects the complexity of the family, the desire of siblings and extended family to continue to be involved in the care and attending to the needs of the person with a disability, even if they are not the person directly writing checks.   

Example: Care for Zayna

Example: Zayna is a 24-year-old woman with limited ability to communicate, take care of her needs and requires 24-hour care.  Zayna has three healthy siblings, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her father, Elias, earns about $70,000 per year and is divorced. Zayna’s mother Sameena cannot contribute, as she is on social security disability. However, Zayna’s adult brother and sisters, brother in laws, sister in law and several aunts, uncles want to help Zayna meet her needs E.lyas creates a third party special needs trust that would ensure Zayna has what she needs in the years to come.

Zayna receives need-based public benefits that are vital to her in living with her various disabilities and her struggle to gain increasing independence, knowledge and dignity.  So the trust needs to be set up and professionally administered to make sure that when Zayna gets any benefit from her trust, it does not end up disqualifying her ability to get any needs-based benefit.  

Contributions to the special needs trust will not go against Islamic Inheritance rules unless made after the death of the donor.

If Zayna dies, her assets from the special needs trust will be distributed based on the Islamic rules of inheritance as it applies to her.

When disability planning is not about Public Benefits

Perhaps most families with special needs children do not use any needs-based public assistance.  They are still concerned about special needs and planning for it.

Example:  Khadija, 16, is on the autism spectrum. For those familiar with the autism spectrum, that could mean a lot of things.  For her parents, Sarah and Yacoob, other than certain habits that are harmless and easy to get used to, it means Khadija is very trusting of people. Otherwise, she does well in school, and her parents don’t think she needs way more help than her siblings and she has just as good a chance of leading a healthy and productive life as any 16-year-old girl.  

The downside of being too trusting is that the outside world can exploit her.  If she ends up getting inheritance or gifts, she may lose it. The parents decide that when she gets her inheritance, it will be in a trust that would continue through her life.  There will be a trustee who will make sure she has what she needs from her trust, but that nobody can exploit her.

In some ways, what Khadija’s parents Sarah and Yacoob are doing is not so different from what parents might do if they have a child with a substance abuse problem.  They want to give their child her rights, but they don’t want to allow for exploitation and abuse.

Considering your own needs

There are many people who are easy marks for scammers, yet you would be unlikely to know this unless you are either a close friend or family member, or a scammer yourself.  While this often happens to the elderly, it can happen at just about any age. Everyone should consider developing an “incapacity plan” to preserve their wealth even if they lose their executive decision-making ability.   

There is this process in state courts known as “conservatorship.” Indeed, entire courtrooms dedicate themselves to conservatorships and other mental health-related issues.  It is a legal process that causes an individual to lose their financial or personal freedom because a court has essentially declared them not competent to handle their affairs. Conservatorships are a public process.  They can cause a lot of pain embarrassment and internal family strife.

One of the benefits of a well-drafted living trust is to protect privacy and dignity during difficult times.

Example: Haris Investing in Cambodian Rice Farms

Haris, 63, was eating lunch at a diner.  In the waiting area, he became fast friends with Mellissa; a thirty-something woman who was interested in talking about Haris’s grandchildren.  The conversation then turned Melissa and her desire to start a business selling long distance calling cards. Haris was fascinated by this and thought it made good business sense. Haris gave Mellissa $20,000.00. The two exchanged numbers. The next day, Mellissa’s number was disconnected.

Haris’s wife, Julie became alarmed by this.  It was out of character for her husband to just fork over $20,000 to anyone on the spur of the moment.  What was worse is that the business failed immediately.  

Three months later,  Haris meets Mellissa at the diner again.  She then convinces Haris to invest $50,000 in a Cambodian rice farm, which he does right away.   His wife Julie was pretty upset.

How living trusts helps

As it happened though, Haris, a few years before, created a living trust.  It has a provision that includes incapacity planning. There are two essential parts to this:  The first is a system to decide if someone has lost their executive decision-making ability. The second is to have a successor Trustee to look over the estate when the individual has lost this capacity.  This question is about Haris’s fundamental freedom: his ability to spend his own money.

If you asked Haris, he would say nothing is wrong with him.  He looks and sounds excellent. Tells the best dad jokes. He goes to the gym five times a week and can probably beat you at arm wrestling. Haris made some financial mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.

Julie, and his adult children Haroon, Kulsum, Abdullah, and Rasheeda are not so sure it’s just a mistake.  The living trust created a “disability panel.” This panel gets to vote, privately, in if Haris should continue to act as Trustee of his own money.  If they vote that he should not manage his own money, his wife does it for him.

The family has a way to decide an important and sensitive issue while maintaining Haris’ dignity, privacy and wealth.   Haris’s friends don’t know anything about long distance calling cards or a Cambodian rice farm; they don’t know he lost his ability to act as Trustee of his trust.  Indeed the rest of the world is oblivious to all of this.

Planning for everyone

Islamic inheritance is fard and every Muslim should endeavor to incorporate it into their lives.  As it happens it is an obligation Muslims, at least those in the United States, routinely ignore or deal with inadequately.  However, there is more to planning than just what shares go to whom after death. Every family needs to create a system. There may or may not be problems with children or even with yourself (other than death, which will happen), but you should do whatever you can to protect your family’s wealth and dignity while also fulfilling your obligations to both yourself and your family.

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Cleaning Out Our Own Closets This Ramadan: Bigotry

Why Eliminating Hate Begins with Us

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Before Muslims take a stand against xenophobia in the U.S., we really need to eradicate it from our own community.

There. I said it.

There is no nice way to put it. Muslims can be very intolerant of those outside their circles, particularly our Latino neighbors. How do I know? I am a Latina who came into Islam almost two decades ago, and I have experienced my fair share of stereotypes, prejudice, and just outright ignorance coming from my very own Muslim brethren.

And I am not alone.

My own family and Latino Muslim friends have also dealt with their daily doses of bigotry. Most of the time, it is not ill-intentioned, however, the fact that our community is so out of touch with Latin Americans says a lot about why we are often at the receiving end of discrimination and hate.

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (The Qur’an, 13:11)

Recently, Fox News came under fire for airing a graphic that stated, “Trump cuts aid to 3 Mexican countries,” on their show, “Fox and Friends Weekend.” The network apologized for the embarrassing error, but not before criticism of their geographical mishap went viral on social media. The reactions were of disbelief, humor, and repugnance for the controversial news channel that has become the archenemy of everything Islamic. People flooded the internet with memes, tweets, and comments regarding the ridiculous headline, Muslims included. American Muslim leaders quickly released statements condemning the lack of knowledge about the difference between Mexico and the nations of Central and South America.

Ironically, however, just about two months ago, my eldest son wrote an essay about the bullying he experienced in an Islamic school, which included insults about him being Mexican and “eating tacos” even though he is half Ecuadorian (South America) and Puerto Rican (Caribbean), not Mexican. I include the regions in parentheses because, in fact, many Muslims are just as geographically-challenged as the staff at Fox News. When a group of Hispanic workers came to replace the windows at his former school, my son approached them and spoke to them in Spanish as a means of dawah – teaching them that there are Latin American and Spanish-speaking Muslims. His classmates immediately taunted him saying that the laborers were “his cousins.” Although my son tried countless times to explain to his peers the difference between his origins and Mexico and defended both, they continued to mock Latinos.

On another occasion, a local masjid invited a famous Imam from the Midwest to speak about a topic. My family and I attended the event because we were fans of the shaykh and admired his work. A few minutes into his talk, he made a derogatory remark about Mexicans, and then added with a smile, “I hope there aren’t any Mexicans in the room!” A gentleman from the community stood up behind my husband, who is Ecuadorian, and pointed at him saying, “We have one right here!” Some people chuckled as his face turned red. The shaykh apologized for his comment and quickly moved on. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes. This was nothing new.

Imam Mohamed Alhayek (Jordanian Palestinian) and Imam Yusuf Rios (Puerto Rican) share an intimate moment during the 16th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day. Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

Once, I visited a Pakistani sister, and as I enjoyed a cup of warm chai on her patio, she turned to me earnestly and said, “You and (another Latina Muslim) are the only educated Hispanics I know.” She then asked me why Latinos did not have “goals and ambitions” because supposedly, all the Hispanic students in her daughters’ school only aspired to work in their parents’ businesses as laborers. She went on to tell me about her Hispanic maid’s broken family and how unfortunate it was that they had no guidance or moral values. I was shocked by her assumptions, but I realized that this was the sentiment of a lot of Muslims who simply do not know a thing about our culture or have not taken the time to really get to know us.

When I accepted Islam back in 2000, I never expected to hear some of the narrow-minded comments and questions I received from those people who had become my brothers and sisters in faith. After all, I came to Islam through the help of an Egyptian family, I declared the Shahada for the first time in the presence of people from Pakistan, and I was embraced in the masjid by worshippers from places like Somalia, Sudan, Palestine, India, Turkey, and Afghanistan. A white American convert gifted me with my first Ramadan guide and an Indian sister supported me during my first fast. I expected to be treated equally by everyone because Islam was for everyone and Muslims have been hearing this their whole lives and they preach it incessantly. I do the same now. As a Muslim Latina, I tell my people that Islam is open to all and that racism, colorism, classism, and xenophobia have no place in Islam.

Nevertheless, it did not take long for me to hear some very ugly things from my new multi-cultural community. I was questioned about whether I was a virgin or not by well-meaning sisters who wanted to find me a Muslim husband. My faith was scrutinized when my friend’s family introduced me to an imam who doubted I had converted on my own, without the persuasion of a Muslim boyfriend or husband. I was pressured about changing my name because it was not “Islamic” enough. I was lectured about things that I had already learned because foreign-born Muslims assumed I had no knowledge. I was even told I could not be a Muslim because I was Puerto Rican; that I was too “out there,” too loud, or that my people were not morally upright.

I know about good practicing Muslim men who have been turned down for marriage because they are Hispanic. On the other hand, I have seen sisters taken for marriage by immigrant Muslims to achieve citizenship status and later abandoned, despite having children. I have been approached by Muslim men searching for their “J-Lo,” who want to marry a “hot” Latina because of the disgusting exploitation of Latina women they have been exposed to from television, movies, and music videos. I have made the mistake of introducing this type of person to one of my sisters and witnessed their disappointment because she did not fit the image of the fantasy girl they expected. I have felt the heartbreak of my sister who was turned down for not living up to those unrealistic expectations, and who continues to wait for a Muslim man who will honor her as she deserves. An older “aunty” once said to my face that she would never let her children marry a Latino/a.

I met a brother named José who was told that he had to change his un-Islamic Spanish name so that he would be better received in the Muslim community, even though his name, when translated to Arabic, is Yusuf! I have been asked if I know any Hispanic who could work at a Muslim’s store for less than minimum wage 12 hours a day or a “Spanish lady” who can clean a Muslim’s house for cheap. I have spoken to Latino men and women who work at masajid doing landscaping or janitorial services who have never heard anything about Islam. When I approached the Muslim groundskeeper at one of these mosques with Spanish literature to give them, he looked at me bewildered and said, “Oh, they are just contractors,” as if they did not deserve to learn about our faith! I have heard that the child of a Latina convert was expelled and banned from returning to an Islamic school for making a mistake, once. I have been told about fellow Hispanics who dislike going to the masjid because they feel rejected and, worse of all, some of them have even left Islam altogether.

Latina Muslims share a laugh during the 16th Annual Hispanic Muslim Day.
Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

A few weeks ago, news was released about the sentencing of Darwin Martinez Torres, who viciously raped and murdered Northern Virginia teen, Nabra Hassanen during Ramadan in June 2017. The story made national headlines and left her family and the entire Muslim community devastated. Although the sentence of eight life terms in prison for the killer provided some closure to the public, the senseless and heinous act still leaves sentiments of anger and frustration in the hearts of those who loved Nabra Hassanen. Muslims began sharing the news on social media and soon, remarks about the murderer’s Central American origin flooded the comments sections. One said, “An illegal immigrant from El Salvador will now spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison where all his needs will be met, and his rights will be protected… When we attack efforts to stop illegal immigration and to deal with the criminals coming across the border every day, remember Sr. Nabra… we should all be united in supporting common-sense measures to ensure that our sisters do not walk in fear of attacks. (And no, this is not an ‘isolated case’…).”

Although I was just as relieved about receiving the news that there was finally justice for our young martyred sister, I was saddened to see that the anti-Hispanic immigrant sentiment within our own community was exposed: To assume that Latino immigrants are “criminals coming across the border every day” is to echo the very words that came from current US President Donald Trump’s mouth about immigrants prior to his election to the presidency. To blame all Latinos for a crime committed against one and claim it is not an “isolated case” is to do the same thing that Fox News and anti-Muslim bigots do when they blame all Muslims for a terror attack.

Why are we guilty of the same behavior that we loathe?

I do not like to air out our dirty laundry. I have always felt that it is counterproductive for our collective dawah efforts. It is embarrassing and shameful that we, who claim to be so tolerant and peaceful, still suffer from the very attitudes for which we blame others. As I write this piece, I have been sharing my thoughts with my close friend, a Pakistani-American, who agreed with me and said, “Just like a recovering alcoholic, our first step is to admit there is a problem.” We cannot demand our civil rights and expect to be treated with dignity while we mistreat another minority group, and this includes Latinos and also other indigenous Muslims like Black Americans and Native Americans. I say this, not just for converts, but for my loud and proud, half Puerto Rican and half Ecuadorian children and nephews and others like them who were born Muslims: we need a community that welcomes all of us.

Latinos and Muslims share countless cultural similarities. Our paths are the same. Our history is intertwined, whether we know it or not; and if you don’t know it, then it is time you do your research. How can we visit Islamic Spain and North Africa and marvel at its magnificence, and travel to the Caribbean for vacation and notice the Andalusian architecture present in the colonial era structures, yet choose to ignore our shared past? How can you be proud of Mansa Musa, and not know that it is said his brother sailed with other Malians to the Americas prior to Columbus, making contact with the indigenous people of South America (even before it was “America”)? How can you turn your back on people from the countries which sheltered thousands of Muslim immigrants from places like Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey after the collapse of the Uthmani Empire, many of which carry that blood in their veins?

Latino Muslim panelists during “Hispanic Muslim Day” at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center, Union City, NJ Photo/Caption by Melissa Barreto — at North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC).

We need to do a better job of reaching out and getting to know our neighbors. In recent years, the Muslim ban has brought Latinos and Muslims together in solidarity to oppose discriminatory immigration laws. The time is now to establish lasting partnerships.

Use this Ramadan to reach out to the Latino community; host a Spanish open house or an interfaith/intercultural community iftar. Reach out to Latino Muslims in your area for support, or to organizations like ICNA’s WhyIslam (Por qué Islam) for Spanish materials. A language barrier is not an issue when there are plenty of resources available in the Spanish language, and we have the universal language that has been declared a charity by our Prophet, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and that is a welcoming smile.

There is no excuse.

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How to Teach Your Kids About Easter

Don’t tell my dad this, but growing up, I was sure I wanted to be a Christian. It had nothing to do with the theology though, it was – really and truly – all about the chocolate.

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Don’t tell my dad this, but growing up, I was sure I wanted to be a Christian. It had nothing to do with the theology though, it was – really and truly – all about the chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not grow up in any sort of conservative, chocolate-deprived bubble. My mother was – and still is – a Christian. My father was – and still is – Muslim, and our home was a place where two faiths co-existed in unapologetic splendor.

My mother put up her Christmas tree every year.  We children, though Muslim, received Easter baskets every year. The only reason why I wished I was Christian too, even though I had no less chocolate in my life than other children my age, was because of the confusing guilt that I felt around holiday time.

I knew that the holidays were my mother’s, and we participated to honor and respect her, not to honor and respect what she celebrated. As a child though, I really didn’t understand why we couldn’t celebrate them too, even if it was just for the chocolate.

As an adult I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this conflicted enthusiasm for the holidays of others. Really, who doesn’t like treats and parties and any excuse to celebrate? As a parent though, I’ve decided that the best policy to use with my children is respectful honesty about where we stand with regard to other religions.

That’s why when my children asked me about Easter, this is what I told them:

  1. The holidays of every religion are the right of the people who follow them. They are as precious to them as Eid and Ramadan are to us.
  2. Part of being a good Muslim is protecting the rights of everyone around us, no matter what their religion is. There is nothing wrong with non-Muslims celebrating their religious non-Muslim holidays.
  3. We don’t need to pretend they’re not happening. Respectful recognition of the rights of others is part of our religion and our history. We don’t have to accept what other people celebrate in order to be respectful of their celebrations.
  4. The problem with Muslims celebrating non-Muslim religious holidays is that we simply don’t believe them to be true.

So when it comes to Easter specifically, we break it down to its smaller elements.

There is nothing wrong with chocolate. There is nothing wrong with eggs. There is nothing wrong with rabbits, and no, they don’t lay eggs.

There is nothing wrong with Easter, but we do not celebrate it because:

Easter is a celebration based on the idea the Prophet Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was Allah’s son, who Allah allowed to be killed for our sins. Easter is a celebration of him coming back to life again.

Depending on how old your child is, you may need to break it down further.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Created the sun, Allah is not a person whose eyes can’t even look directly at the sun. Allah Created space, Allah is not a person who can’t survive in space. Allah Created fire, Allah is not a person who cannot even touch fire. Allah is not a person, He does not have children as people do. Prophet Jesus [alayis] was a messenger of Allah, not a child of Allah.

Allah is also the Most-Merciful, Most-Forgiving, and All-Powerful. When we make mistakes by ourselves, we say sorry to Allah and try our best to do better. If we make mistakes all together, we do not take the best-behaved person from among us and then punish him or her in our place.

Allah is Justice Himself. He is The Kindest, Most Merciful, Most Forgiving Being in the entire universe. He always was, and always will be capable of forgiving us. No one needed to die in order for Allah to forgive anyone.

If your teacher failed the best student in the class so that the rest of the students could pass, that would not be fair, even if that student had offered that. When people say that Allah sacrificed his own son so that we could be forgiven, they are accusing Allah of really unfair things, even if they seem to think it’s a good thing.

Even if they’re celebrating it with chocolate.

We simply do not believe what is celebrated on Easter. That is why we do not celebrate Easter.

So what do we believe?

Walk your child through Surah Ikhlas, there are four lines and you can use four of their fingers.

  1. Allah is One.
  2. Allah doesn’t need anything from anyone.
  3. He was not born, and nor was anyone born of Him. Allah is no one’s child, and no one is Allah’s child
  4. There is nothing like Allah in the universe

Focus on what we know about Allah, and then move on to other truths as well.

  1. Christians should absolutely celebrate Christian holidays. We are happy for them.
  2. We do not celebrate Christian holidays, because we do not accept what they’re celebrating.
  3. We are very happy for our neighbors and hope they have a nice time.

When your child asks you about things like Christmas, Easter, Valentines, and Halloween, they’re not asking you to change religions. They’re asking you for the chance to participate in the joy of treats, decorations, parties, and doing things with their peers.

You can provide them these things when you up your halal holiday game. Make Ramadan in your home a whole month of lights, people, and happy prayer. Make every Friday special. Make Eid amazing – buy gifts, give charity, decorate every decorat-able surface if you need to – because our children have no cause to feel deprived by being Muslim.

If your holidays tend to be boring, that’s a cultural limitation, not a religious one. And if you feel like it’s not fair because other religions just have more holidays than we do, remember this:

  • Your child starting the Quran can be a celebration
  • Your child finishing the Quran can be a celebration
  • Your child’s first fast can be a celebration
  • Your child wearing hijab can be a celebration
  • Your child starting to pray salah can be a celebration
  • Your children can sleep over for supervised qiyaam nights
  • You can celebrate whatever you want, whenever you want, in ways that are fun and halal and pleasing to Allah.

We have a set number of religious celebrations, but there is no limit on how many personal celebrations we choose to have in our lives and families. Every cause we have for gratitude can be an opportunity to see family, eat together, dress up, and hang shiny things from other things, and I’m not talking about throwing money at the problem – I’m talking about making the effort for its solution.

It is easy to celebrate something when your friends, neighbors, and local grocery stores are doing it too. That’s probably why people of many religions – and even no religion – celebrate holidays they don’t believe in. That’s not actually an excuse for it though, and as parents, it’s our responsibility to set the right example for our children.

Making and upholding our own standards is how we live, not only in terms of our holidays, but in how we eat, what we wear, and the way we swim upstream for the sake of Allah.  We don’t go with the flow, and teaching our children not to celebrate the religious holidays of other religions just to fit in is only one part of the lesson.

The other part is to extend the right to religious freedom – and religious celebration – to Muslims too. When you teach your children that everyone has a right to their religious holidays, include Muslims too. When you make a big deal out of Ramadan include your non-Muslim friends and neighbors too, not just because it’s good dawah, but because being able to share your joy with others helps make it feel more mainstream.

Your Muslim children can give their non-Muslim friends Eid gifts. You can take Eid cookies to your non-Muslim office, make Ramadan jars. You can have Iftar parties for people who don’t fast.   Decorate your house for Ramadan, and send holiday cards out on your holidays.

You can enjoy the elements of celebration that are common to us all without compromising on your aqeedah, and by doing so, you can teach your children that they don’t have to hide their religious holidays from the people who don’t celebrate them.  No one has to. And you can teach your children to respect the religions of others, even while disagreeing with them.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are bound by a common thread, and there is much we come together on. Where the threads separate though, is still a cause for celebration. Religious tolerance is part of our faith, and recognizing the rights of others to celebrate – or abstain from celebration – is how we celebrate our differences.

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