What’s the big deal? Halloween is just about costumes and candy. To most people this is what Halloween stands for, but for those who dig deeper there is more meaning to it, some which intercepts Islamic teachings.
First, it is worth shedding some light on the dark underside of this apparently fun and cute occasion. The manifestation of which comes in death-related costumes, sorcerers, witchcraft and blood. The fact is, on “All Hallow’s Eve”, the occasion’s original name, the dead were believed to come back to life and walk among the living. Dressing up in scary costumes would mistake the spirits for one of their own. Another way to be spared was to offer them sweets and earn their good favor, alongside multi-million -dollar candy factories.
The carved pumpkin, which was originally a turnip, was believed to have saved a soul trapped between heaven and hell. Pumpkin lanterns were a way to scare away spirits and save tormented souls.
Of course, no one reviews this information before they set off their kids on a Halloween night, and no teacher goes through the intention behind today’s parade before lining students up for it. But as Muslims, figuring the meaning out of every action in our life and tracing it back to prophet Mohammad and his teachings, Halloween simply does not fit in. It is the upper world that Muslims try to connect to in their daily practices, not the lower one. The place that angels occupy and where wisdom flows endlessly. It is in this world that souls receive guidance, meanings and are closer to being in harmony with the cosmic unity, not the lower world.
When compared to the two main Islamic holidays, the “Festival of Breaking the Fast” which marks the end of a month-long fasting, and the Greater Festival which takes place during the pilgrimage season, Halloween simply doesn’t live up to their significance and importance. And while these two blessed occasions are about giving and sharing, their odd third cannot be about tricking and taking.
After all the above reasons, why would a Muslim family celebrate Halloween, as a lot of them do? Simply because, just like a lot of American Christian families, they don’t think much of it and the kids look way too cute in their costumes. That however is not a reason to judge or scale their commitment to their beliefs. It is just another choice they make along the way.
For us as a family, Halloween season only means savory pumpkin pies at the dinner table that we thank God for. Absolutely nothing wrong with this one!