As most of us who have grown up in the west are aware, there is a holiday approaching this weekend that is celebrated across the country.
The celebration is considered Haram for Muslims to celebrate and thus we must teach ourselves and our youths to not take part.
But before we get our kids associating us with the Fun Police that take away everything enjoyable, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the youth.
Besides the two celebrations of Eid, all they see is time and time again, messages of we can’t celebrate this and we mustn’t celebrate that. This is hard for a child to hear.
The correct approach to this is to empower our youth, to give them the respect they deserve and teach them to be proud of their religion and to help them understand the reasoning behind what we do.
Allah SWT has promised us that no action goes without accountability. The Quran says in Sura Al-Anbiyaa (104):
The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a [written] sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.
Allah’s messenger SAWS also says:
Every son of Adam is eaten by the Earth
Dear brothers and sisters, what follows then is an explanation that must be digested and passed onto the youth. As well as the truth behind this festival, there follows a series of steps that are recommended to help deal with the event.
Halloween started as a festival of the dead for the pre-Christian Celtic people. This was actually their new year day. They believed on this day that the dead could mingle with the living. The festival back then was called Sah-ween.
Now as Christianity spread throughout Europe, it came across this Pagan festival. The tactic of the then pope was to make the day Christian and Sacred and eventually move it away from the Pagan festival of the Dead. So he made the day All Saints Day and applied a Christian slant to the event.
However, the association with the dead remained and is still around to this day. The act of trick or treating was done by the Celtic people for the dead that were roaming around during the night because they believed that by offering food (the treats) it would keep the dead happy and therefore protect the ones offering the food. The trick that is played today is an evolution of the fear they had on the dead doing to the living if the food wasn’t offered.
So dear brothers and sisters, get your children to understand the facts and tell them why we are different. This festival goes against everything we believe and despite being masqueraded as a harmless event, its roots stem to pagan worship, black magic and superstitions.
Alongside passing on the facts of the festival, it’s important to show compassion to those who may still be too young to fully grasp the dangers. We should make it a habit to ask our children what they think about Halloween and listen to their answers without judgement or punishment. The key here is to empathise and saying things like “I know it’s hard to watch your classmates celebrate Halloween” You knows, it might be all that they need to get them to understand.
We need to accept the reality that there are families around that celebrate Halloween, both muslims and non-muslims. We need to remind our own families that each family is responsible for their own decision. Alongside this it’s important to tell our children to be confident in their stance but not be judgemental of other people.
And lastly, and this is the best option for the younger children in helping them understand, reward.
Dear brothers and sisters, Islam is not a religion that needs to have a label of seriousness and judgements. We already have a mountain to climb in keeping our families from being tempted by class fellows, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
We don’t need to add to that by only having Eid as the time to have fun. Fun isn’t Haram in Islam!
Our children need to understand that Islam has room for recreation and fun, it can be throughout the year and doesn’t need to be labelled as a religious holiday.
So use this event to seek input from the children about ways to do something instead of Halloween. For example, “Since you are trying so hard to please Allah, let’s think of something we can do as a family that would be fun”. By doing this, the children will have more ownership over the alternatives as well as something to talk about the following day when their classmates.
Dear brothers and sisters, this khutba isn’t just about Halloween. This point here 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 curiousity, and their problems. They will do this more and more when they are reminded of the facts and when they are reminded of how much we love and respect them, their thoughts and their wishes.
May Allah SWT enable us to steer clear of deviations in Islam, may Allah SWT enable us to create a trusting family home and may Allah SWT protect our youth.
Ameen Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.