Celebrating Halloween


halloween

Origins of the Halloween Festival

If we go by definition and a brief history of the event, we find the following comments in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. The date was connected with the return of herds from pasture, and laws and land tenures were renewed. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divination concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

By the 19th century, witches’ pranks were replaced by children’s tricks. The spirits of Samhain, once believed to be wild and powerful, were now recognized as being evil. Devout Christians began rejecting this festival. They had discovered that the so-called gods, goddesses, and other spiritual beings of the pagan religions, were in fact diabolical deceptions. The spiritual forces that people experienced during this festival were indeed real, but they were manifestations of the devil who misled people toward the worship of false idols. Thus, they rejected the customs associated with Halloween, including all representations of ghosts, vampires, and human skeletons – symbols of the dead – and of the devil and other wicked and evil creatures.

It must also be noted that, to this day, many Satan-worshippers consider the evening of October 31st to be their most sacred.

And many devout Christians today continue to distance themselves from this pagan festival.

Does Islam agree with all of this?

Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an:

“Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah.” [Luqman 31:33]

And the commandment does not end there, Allah, the Almighty, has asked us not to even follow anything remotely associated to Shaytan (Satan).

“O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaytan.”[an-Noor 24:21]

Apart from this clear warning, we have been asked to maintain our own identity as Muslims and not follow blindly the ways of the disbelievers, which we sometimes end up doing in a state of excitement or under the excuse of keeping a friendly atmosphere among friends and colleagues. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) warned us about this, saying:

“Whoever imitates a people, is one of them.”[Abu Dawood, 3512]

He (ﷺ) also warned:

“You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also.”

We said: Allah’s Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He (ﷺ) said: “Who else (than those two religious groups)?” [Sahih Muslim 2669]

Muslims are enjoined to neither imitate the behavior and customs of the non-Muslims, nor to commit their indecencies. Behavior-imitation will affect the attitude of a Muslim and may create a feeling of sympathy towards the indecent modes of life. Islam seeks to cleanse the Muslim of all immoral conducts and habits, and thus pave the way for the Qur’an and prophetic Sunnah to be the correct and pure source for original Islamic thought and behavior. A Muslim should be a model for others in faith and practice, behavior and moral character, and not a blind imitator dependent on other nations and cultures.

Even if one decides to go along with the outward practices of Halloween without acknowledging the deeper significance or historical background of this custom, he or she is still guilty of indulging in this ignorant festival which involves shirk, acts of disobedience and transgressions.

We must remember that we are fully accountable to Allah for all of our actions and deeds. If, after knowing the truth, we do not cease our un-Islamic practices, we risk the Wrath of Allah Who warns us in the Qur’an with the verse (which means):

“…So let those beware who dissent from his [i.e., the Prophet’s] order, lest a grievous trial strike them or a painful punishment.” [Noor 24:63]

This is a serious matter and one not to be taken lightly. May Allah guide us, help us to stay on the right path, and protect us from all deviations and innovations that will lead us into the Hell fire. Aameen.

“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [al-Maeda 5:2]

 

 

 

Lessons from the life of Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam)


mqibrahim

Praise be to Allah Who has created time and has made some times better than others, He created months and made some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. Likewise He created mankind and preferred some men over others, made them prophets. He then preferred some prophets over others, chose them and granted them honor. Among them, is our dear Prophet Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam). Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) is the best of the Prophets and Messengers after our Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Insha Allah, in this blessed season that is drawing close, I plan to discuss a few lessons (one or two daily) from the life of this giant who walked this earth before us! He was a giant in every form and meaning of the word. He was a giant in terms of his Tawheed, a giant in terms of his da’wah, a giant in terms of his actions, his character, his achievements, his submission, his wisdom and he was a man who attained an amazing title by the Lord of the worlds – the title of Khaleelullah! A title that Allah granted no one else except Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Allah says: “And Allah did take Ibrahim (Abraham) as a Khaleel (an intimate friend)” [an-Nisa’ 4:125].

Ibrahim is the only person that the Qur’an commands our prophet to look up to as a role model…and hence the one whom the Prophet instructed his community to follow. Allah says: “Then, We have inspired you (O Muhammad): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) Haneefa (Islamic Monotheism – to worship none but Allah)” [an-Nahl 16:123].

So come dear brothers and sisters in faith, in this special season, come let’s take a look at the life of our beloved Prophet Ibrahim (‘alahissalam) – the Friend of Allah, let’s learn from him and try our best to follow him, insha Allah!

Let go of your Attachments


let it go

Many years ago, Prophet Ibraheem (‘alayhissalaam) made a choice. He loved his son. But He loved Allah more. The commandment came to sacrifice his son. But it wasn’t his son that was slaughtered. It was his attachment. It was his attachment to anything that could compete with his love for Allah.

And the beauty of such a sacrifice is this: Once you let go of your attachment, what you love is given back to you–now in a purer, better form.

So let us ask ourselves in these beautiful days of sacrifice, which attachments do we need to slaughter?

– Yasmin Mogahed

The Best TEN Days


(DAYS OF VIRTUE & RIGHTEOUSNESS)

 

Praise be to Allaah Who has created Time and has made some times better than others, some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, prepare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the Day of Judgement.

This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct one’s faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that one might have missed.

Among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which Allaah has preferred over all the other days of the year. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.”

(al-Bukhaari, 2/457).

You should know, my brother/sister in Islaam,

that the virtue of these ten days is based on many things:

-Allaah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413)

-These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on which Allaah perfected His Religion. Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years.

These days also include Yawm al-Nahar (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.

-These ten days include the days of sacrifice and of Hajj.

TYPES OF WORSHIP

Concerning the types of worship to be performed during these ten days: one must understand that these days are a great blessing from Allaah to His slave, which is appreciated properly by the actively righteous. It is the Muslim’s duty to appreciate this blessing and make the most of the opportunity, by devoting these ten days to paying more attention to striving hard in worship. Among His blessings to His slaves, Allaah has given us many ways in which to do good and worship Him, so that the Muslim may be constantly active and consistent in his worship of his Lord.

Among the good deeds which the Muslim should strive to do during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are:

FASTING

Hunaydah ibn Khaalid narrated upon the authority of his wife who said, “Some of the wives of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) told me that the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) used to fast the Day of ‘Aashoorah, the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, and three days out of every month (13th, 14th, and 15th).” (Imam Ahmad, An-Nasaaee)

Commentary: Imam An-Nawwawee (rahimahullaah) said with reference to fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah,

quote: “It is extremely preferable to do so.”

It is Sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged us to do good deeds during this time, and fasting is one of the best of deeds. Allaah has chosen fasting for Himself, as is stated in the hadeeth qudsi:

“Allaah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.’”

(Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1805)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Hunaydah ibn Khaalid reported from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month.”

(Reported by al-Nisaa’i, 4/205 and by Abu Dawud; classified by al-Albaani as saheeh in Saheeh Abi Dawud, 2/462).

TAKBEER

It is Sunnah to say Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allaah”) and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allaah”) during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allaah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allaah, may He be exalted.

Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.

The Takbeer may include the words:

takbeer

Takbeer at this time is an aspect of the Sunnah that has been forgotten, especially during the early part of this period, so much so that one hardly ever hears Takbeer, except from a few people. This Takbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent.

There is sound evidence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them.

REVIVING ASPECTS OF THE SUNNAH

that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.”

(Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 7/443; this is a hasan hadeeth because of corroborating asaaneed).

HAJJ & UMRAH

One of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the Sacred House of Allaah. The one whom Allaah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”

Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allaah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allaah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allaah, making supplication (du’aa’), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

SACRIFICE

One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allaah

during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the sake of Allaah.

SINCERE REPENTANCE

One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allaah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allaah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing what Allaah loves.

If a Muslim commits a sin, he must hasten to repent at once, without delay, firstly because he does not know when he will die, and secondly because one evil deed leads to another.

Repentance at special times is very important because in most cases people’s thoughts turn towards worship at these times, and they are keen to do good, which leads to them recognizing their sins and feeling regret for the past.

Repentance is obligatory at all times, but when the Muslim combines sincere repentance with good deeds during the days of most virtue, this is a sign of success, in sha Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.”

[al-Qasas 28:67]

Some MORE QUICK suggestions to make the Best of the Ten Days:

  • Increase your level of worship during the day and during the night.
  • Try to achieve one khatma of the Qur’an (reading it from cover to cover).
  • Keep your tongue moist with dhikr and praise of Allah wherever you are.
  • Maintain a state of ṭahārah and wuḍū’ at all times.
  • Make most of your dhikr Takbīr (like the one you recite on ‘Id day).
  • Fast a few days while the days are short and cold, particularly the 9th, the day of ‘Arafah.
  • If you haven’t paid for the qurban (sacrificial animal) yet, make sure to do so. Perhaps you should donate one to those who are most in need of it in areas such as Pakistan and Gaza.
  • Wake up before Fajr time and pray Qiyam-ul-Layl.
  • Pray your Fard salat on time.
  • Make sure you don’t miss any of the Nafl and Sunnah prayers.
  • Give charity and help those who are less fortunate prepare for the Eid day.
  • Share the spirit of the season and be cheerful with all people.

The Muslim should make sure that he does not miss any of these important occasion, because time is passing quickly. Let him prepare himself by doing good deeds which will bring him reward when he is most in need of it, for no matter how much reward he earns, he will find it is less than he needs; the time of departure is at hand, the journey is frightening, delusions are widespread, and the road is long, but Allaah is ever watchful, and to Him will we return and render account.

As the Qur’aan says;

“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it,

And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.”

[al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]

There is much to be gained, so make the most of the opportunity afforded by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to do good works, before death strikes, before one can regret one’s negligence and failure to act, before one is asked to return to a place where no prayers will be answered, before death intervenes between the hopeful one and the things he hopes for, before you are trapped with your deeds in the grave.

O you whose hard heart is as dark as the night, is it not time that your heart was filled with light and became soft? Expose yourself to the gentle breeze of your Lord’s mercy during these ten days, for Allaah will cause this breeze to touch whomever He wills, and whoever is touched by it will be happy on the Day of Judgement. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his Family and Companions.