Halloween is a popular holiday celebrated around the world in October. Kids dress up in different witches, goblins, heroes, etc. costumes and go trick or treating around the neighbourhood while adults enjoy halloween parties. Such is its popularity that Muslims living in Western states ask if Halloween is haram in Islam.
Can Muslim practise Halloween traditions like trick or treat?
Most religious scholars agree that Halloween is haram in Islam from a religious standpoint. However, the minority state that Halloween that is celebrated today is very different from before. These days, people only dress up and go trick or treating; Halloween isn’t associated with religion, and it’s only all for fun.
Is Halloween Haram?
Halloween is a seemingly innocent holiday where people dress up in different costumes and go trick or treating. It has its roots in old Celtic traditions. Nowadays, it’s become a cultural part of western countries, and people from different walks of life celebrate it vigorously.
However, the real question from a religious standpoint is, is Halloween haram in Islam?
We will only know what path to follow if we look at the history and the origin of Halloween in light of the Quran and the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Halloween is a pagan tradition and a Christian culture, so if a Muslim participates in it, it may be a form of idolatry or shirk.
Some Muslims believe that we shouldn’t take part in religious practices of other religions and cultures.
“And when it is said to them, “Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger, ” they say, “Enough (Literally: enough reckoning) for us is what we found our fathers (doing).” And even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided?”Quran [5:104] (source)
In the Quran, Allah says that Muslims shouldn’t allow traditions and costumes belonging to other religions to penetrate Islam.
“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened, and many of them are defiantly disobedient.”Quran [57:16] (source)
Halloween was started to thank and appease the god of death, the god of the sun, and the other customs that pagans did on Samhain. Samhain came at the start of winter and at the end of the summer harvest season. As such, it has no place in Islam and Islamic holidays.
2- Is it Haram to Celebrate Halloween?
In most opinions, yes, it is haram to celebrate Halloween.
Some scholars say that the Halloween of today is not like it was in the past. It may be done for fun, but most agree that Halloween is haram when we look at it religiously. The Holy Prophet has stated
“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” as reported by Ibn Umar.Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4031- Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Alban (source)
Moreover, the pagans celebrated Halloween for the God of Death. It was considered the day when the spirits of death visited the living realm. Halloween is basically a festival for the devil and dead spirits. The Quran says regarding the devil,
“Surely, Satan is an open enemy for mankind.”Quran [12:5] (source)
Muslims shouldn’t participate in anything that has roots in worshipping the devil or Shiyateen. Samhain was also another name for the lord of darkness in Irish lore. According to some historical opinions, pagans worshipped the god of death, Samhain, on All Hallows Eve or All Souls Day.
In a fatwa by Dr Muzamil Siddiqi about Halloween, he stated that it’s a tradition for witches and dead spirits and is haram in Islam since it promote shirk. (source).
It may be permissible, however, most scholars agree that Halloween from a religious standpoint is clearly haram.
Still, we encourage you to do your own research to make an educated and unbiased decision.
3- Why Is It Haram To Celebrate Halloween?
In general, religious scholars advise Muslims to stay away from Halloween. But, you may ask in response, why?
Halloween is haram in Islam because it’s a practice from another religion, dating back about 2000 years. It includes dark practices and has roots in spirits, deviation, and worshiping the lord of darkness.
The answer mainly lies in the history behind Halloween and the various dark and harmless traditions done on the day of Samhain by the old Celtic pagans.
Halloween has its roots in Celtic tradition. The pagans considered it the time when the barrier between the living world and the wound of the dead or weakest. Hence, spirits would come to our world to seek revenge on people.
The townspeople would dress up as dead spirits to deceive the spirits and hold bonfires to ward off these evil spirits. It was also a time when dark magic was active. It’s believed that on the day of Samhain, Celtic priests offer sacrifices (animals usually) to summon the dead spirits. They summoned them to ask them the future, etc (source).
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III made the 1st November into the All Saint Day to detract the public’s focus from the Samhain Celtic festival. Originally, All Saints Day was celebrated on 13th May.
In this way, pagans celebrated All Hallows Eve on the night or evening before All Saints Day. It later became known as Halloween. However, the customs of All Hallows Eve survived and became a part of the Christian celebration.
4- Is It Haram To Go Trick or Treating?
According to some Islamic scholars, Trick or treating is participating in a tradition that celebrates the God of Death and therefore, trick or treating is considered haram by some Islamic scholars.
There are various Halloween traditions like Jack-’O-Lanterns, games such as bobbing apples, etc. However, the most important tradition is trick or treating, which is still a considerable part of Halloween today.
In the old pagan Celtic festivals, people dressed up their children as evil spirits to protect them since it was thought that the spirit would harm the children. On the other hand, the tradition of going door-to-door and asking for candies originates from poor pagans asking the rich for something to eat on that festive day.
According to some opinions, the beggars were often given soul cakes in return for praying for the dead spirits in purgatory.
Moreover, the trick also implies a threat, as stated by Shabbir Ali, one of the presidents of the Islamic Information Center has stated in his Fatwa on why trick or treating is haram. The children threaten to play tricks if they aren’t given any candies (source).
In Islam, it’s thought that the giving hand is better than the taking hand, so begging isn’t encouraged, and trick or treating encourages begging. It’s one of the reasons scholar consider trick or treating harm in Islam. They also label it harm since trick or treating is a practice of Halloween, which is considered haram.