Halloween: Its Origins & The Islamic Ruling Concerning It

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The word ‘Halloween’

Halloween or Hallowe’en is an abbreviation of the Scottish term – ‘All Hollows Even’ – the evening before [October 31st] All Hollows day (All Saints Day).

All Saints Day was designated November the 1st from May 13th by Pope Gregory IV in 835 for remembering the ‘dead holy saints’.

Historical background of Halloween

Halloween can be traced back to the Samhain celebration among the Celts – in particular those of the Druid religion – of Ancient Britain and Ireland.


Samhain is pronounced Sow(as in Cow)Inn, and is sometimes written in the Old Scottish Gaelic form as ‘Samhuinn’. Samhain was a harvest or herding festival, and a Celtic new year’s festival and a day of the dead involving worship of the Celtic Gods, Goddesses & ancestors.

Samhain, is also a reference to the ‘Lord of The Darkness’ or the ‘Lord of the Dead’ which was worshipped and believed to “release the souls that had been trapped in the bodies of animals and sent to their new incarnations”. Additionally, the Celts Druid priests used to perform human and cattle sacrifice to it.

Druid Priests, and Celtic Shamans would tell the fortunes of individuals through a variety of methods: by the use of divination tools such as the Celtic Ogham [alphabet tool] – named after Ogmos, one of the Celtic gods.

During the Samhain festival, it was believed that the souls of those who had died were to return from the Otherworld to visit their homes, and those who had died during the year were believed to journey to the Otherworld. People set bonfires on hilltops, danced around, skins of slaughtered animals were worn as disguise from the ‘evil spirits’ seeking revenge but also to invoke the spirits of sacred animals – as was the practice in the Scottish Highlands.

Samhain is also the night of the Great Sabbat for the witches (Ban-Druidh, in Scots Gaelic – trans. ‘Female Sorcerer’). The Witches would gather and celebrate by performing spells.

The History of Trick-or-Treating

Although history is vague regarding the exact root of Trick-or-Treating, some remnants can be traced back to the Celtic celebrations of Samhain.

On Samhain, families would place food and drink outside the doors for the purpose of “appeasing the roaming spirits who might play tricks on the family”. 

Following the spread of Christianity into the Celtic lands, it compounded and mixed with the pagan rites – a common theme of Christianity. So by the 9th century – following November 1st being ordained as the day of honoring the dead saints (briefly mentioned previously) – the Christian celebrations around this day resembled that of the Celts on Samhain [i.e bonfires & masquerades]. On this day, families would visit the tombs of the dead and ‘offer’ bread soaked in wine, salt, weat etc… to “appease the souls of the dead”. After the 10th Century, ‘The Feast of All Souls’ was instigated and people began to visit graves, place candles,light bonfires and partake of meals on the graves.

Subsequently, traditions known as ‘Souling’ and ‘Ringing of Bells’ appeared.

Souling was ultimately a precursor to modern day trick or treating which involved the poor going door to door offering prayers for the dead in return for soul cakes. It was believed that for every piece of bread or soul cake given to the poor, a soul would be freed from Hell.

This practise was then taken and practised by children, where they would dress up in costumes going door to door accepting offerings (i.e food) in exchange for a ‘trick’ like a joke or a song – a practise termed as Guising.

Modern day Souling includes the practise of Pangangaluwa in Philippines, where people, usually children cover themselves in white cloths as a representation of the dead, visit homes and sing in return for sweets. A similar practise – Pao-por-Deus – is observed in Portugal.

Now that we have established that Halloween is rooted in shirk [paganism] and magic, we will mention the rulings of such acts- insha Allâh- & how a Muslims attitude should be towards that, and conclude with a fatâwâ from Shaykh Fu’âd Al-Amrî.

Halloween is forbidden in Islâm

  • Shirk is the worst sin

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِۦ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُۚ وَمَن يُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدۡ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلَۢا بَعِيدًا ٦١١

Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allâh, has indeed strayed far away. (Sûrah An-Nisâ 4:116)

إِنَّهُۥ مَن يُشۡرِكۡ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدۡ حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَمَأۡوَىٰهُ ٱلنَّارُۖ وَمَا لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ مِنۡ أَنصَارٖ ٢٧

Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allâh, then Allâh has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Dhâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers. (Sûrah al-Mâ’idah 5:72)

  • Magic is a form of Shirk & is one of the destructive sins

وَٱتَّبَعُواْ مَا تَتۡلُواْ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلۡكِ سُلَيۡمَٰنَۖ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيۡمَٰنُ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ ٱلسِّحۡرَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَكَيۡنِ بِبَابِلَ هَٰرُوتَ وَمَٰرُوتَۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَآ إِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ فِتۡنَةٞ فَلَا تَكۡفُرۡۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنۡهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِۦ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡمَرۡءِ وَزَوۡجِهِۦۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَآرِّينَ بِهِۦ مِنۡ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمۡ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمۡۚ وَلَقَدۡ عَلِمُواْ لَمَنِ ٱشۡتَرَىٰهُ مَا لَهُۥ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ مِنۡ خَلَٰقٖۚ وَلَبِئۡسَ مَا شَرَوۡاْ بِهِۦٓ أَنفُسَهُمۡۚ لَوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ ٢٠١

They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaiman (Solomon). Sulaiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harût and Marût, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allâh’s Leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their ownselves, if they but knew. (Sûrah al-Baqarah 2:102)

Shaykh Salîh al-Fawzân said: Magic is an act of shirk, as it contains seeking the devil’s aid and being attached to them. (p.198 of Kitâb at-Tawhîd)

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said : “Avoid the seven destructive sins. It was said: What are they, Messenger of Allâh? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Associating anything with Allâh , magic, killing of one whom God has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, and consuming of usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers, but unwary. (Sahîh Muslim 89)

  • Sacrificing (animals) to other than Allâh is Shirk

فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَٱنۡحَرۡ ٢

Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only). (Sûrah al-Kawthar 108:2)

قُلۡ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحۡيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ ٢٦١ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُۥۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرۡتُ وَأَنَا۠ أَوَّلُ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ ٣٦١

Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” (Sûrah al-An’âm 6:162-163)

  • Divination & fortune-telling are forms of Shirk

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡخَمۡرُ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرُ وَٱلۡأَنصَابُ وَٱلۡأَزۡلَٰمُ رِجۡسٞ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ فَٱجۡتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ ٠٩

O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. (Sûrah al-Mâ’idah 5:90)

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “He is not from us (Muslims) who practises tiyarah (seeking evil omens) or has it practised for him, who practises soothsaying or asks another person to soothsay for him, and who practises sorcery or asks anotber person to practise sorcery for him. If anyone visits a soothsayer and believes in what he says, he is regarded as disbelieving in what has been revealed to Muhammad. (At-Tabarani and others).

  • The Muslims attitude towards Shirk, magic and that which Allâh & His Messenger hate even if he doesn’t practise such acts himself

Allâh says describing the servants of Ar-Rahmân (Allâh) :

وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَشۡهَدُونَ ٱلزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّواْ بِٱللَّغۡوِ مَرُّواْ كِرَامٗا ٢٧

And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity. (Sûrah al-Furqân 25:72)

Ibn Kathîr says : “These are further attributes of the servants of the Most Merciful. They do not bear witness to falsehood, including lies, immorality, disbelief, foul speech and false words”.

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said : If anyone loves for Allâh’s sake, hates for Allâh’s sake, gives for Allâh’s sake and withholds for Allâh’s sake, he will have perfect faith. (Sunan Abû Dawûd 4681. Classed as Sahîh by Al-Albânî).

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith. (Sahîh Muslim 49)

Shaykh Salîh al-Fawzân said: It is obligatory for Muslims to be averse to disbelief and the disbelievers, for the one who hates something hates whoever is possessed of it. (p.254 of Kitâb at-Tawhîd)

  • It is forbidden to imitate the disbelievers

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Sunan Abû Dawûd 4031. Declared Sahîh by Al-Albânî)

He صلى الله عليه وسلم also said: “You will follow the ways of the previous nations just as a tail of an arrow resembles another, that even if they were to go into a hole of a Dabb, you too would go there. The companions said: ‘O messenger of Allâh, do you mean the Jews and the Christians?’ he replied, ‘If not them, them whom.’ (Sahîh Muslim 2669)

Shaykh Salîh al-Fawzân said: This narration proves that acts of shirk are committed by some people in the Muslim nation, as they used to be committed by people of the previous nations. Consequently, for imitating the ways of the previous nations, many among the Muslims usually fall into Shirk. Muslims are warned against imitating the disbelievers, especially those of polytheistic nature. (p192-193 of Kitâb at-Tawhîd. Paraphrased)

Shaykh Salîh al-Fawzân also said elsewhere: So it is obligatory on the Muslims to take honor in their Religion and not imitate the disbelievers in their specific dress, customs, or what is even worse than thay, in their religion… (Things that nullify one’s Islâm, 3rd Ed. P.106)

  • It is important the Muslim safeguards his children from evil & raises them correctly

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” (Sahîh Bukhârî 6719)

  • The children should be kept indoors after night falls (Maghrib)

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said : When the wings of the night spread  – or when evening comes – keep your children in, for the devils come out at that time. (Sahîh Muslim 2012)

Shaykh Fu’âd Al-Amrî on Halloween

Shaykh Fu’aad Al-‘Amree on Halloween and the Holidays of the Kuffaar

Question: Our Shaykh, may Allaah reward you and treat you well. We are in need of you commenting on this affair as there is a time drawing near for the disbelievers in our land and many of the Muslims fall into participating in it and allowing their children to do so. It is as follows:

The disbelievers have a holiday called Halloween


It is also called:

عيد الرعب

It is known that all of the holidays of the disbelievers are impermissible for the Muslims; however, this holiday has origins in Shirk and worship of the devils. It is said that the ancient Christians used to believe that on October 31st or around this day, the devils and demons were released from Hell and would cause havoc upon the lands. The only people whom they would not harm were those who made sacrifices by placing cakes and milk on the graves of the dead for the purpose of keeping the dead at ease.

Today, the people, on this day, dress up in costumes as monsters and devils and other things, some frightening and some not frightening, to simulate the dead and the devils coming out on this night. They dress their children up in these costumes and they walk about in the neighborhoods and knock on the people’s doors and say: “Trick or treat”. The meaning is: “Either you give me a treat or I will do a trick (i.e., some type of evil to you or your home.” And the occupants of the home usually buy candy to give the children who are dressed in the costume. This is a connection to the giving of cakes and milk to the inhabitants of the grave that the ancient Christians would do. The people also decorate their homes to look like scary haunted houses in celebration of this Satanic day.

This holiday is very big in these lands, yet I have not found, in my research, any of the scholars speaking about it. My dear Shaykh, is it possible for you to comment on this in a recorded statement on Whatsapp, which I will translate and spread before the day of October 31st to warn the Muslims from participating in this day and allowing their children to do so. May Allah reward you and beautify you with Tawheed and the Sunnah.

Shaykh Fu’aad Al-‘Amree responds:

All the praise is for Allaah; may prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his family and companions altogether. As to proceed:

I say, in response to that the mention of which was presented in the question: It is not permissible for the Muslim who believes in Allaah and the last day to participate with the disbelievers and polytheists in their holidays. Allaah the Exalted says regarding the descriptions of the slaves of Ar-Rahmaan:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا

And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity. (Al-Furqan 25:72)

Mujaahid and others have stated that: Az-Zoor الزُّورَ is the ‘Eids of the polytheists. When the Prophet, upon him be prayers and peace, came to Al-Madeenah and found them having two days in which they played he asked about them. He was informed that they were two days in which they would play during the days of Jahiliyah. He repudiated them with his statement:

Allaah has replaced them with that which is better than them; the day of Ad’haa and the day of Fitr.

Participating in holidays of falsehood contains imitation of their people. It has been authentically narrated from the Prophet, upon him be prayers and peace, that he said:

He who imitates a people is one of them.

So it is obligatory upon he who desires safety for himself to cling to the pure legislation and to bite onto the guidance of the Prophet, upon him be prayers and peace, with the molar teeth; and to abandon all of that which Allaah the Exalted has prohibited. Shaykhul-Islaam has written, regarding this issue, a magnificent treatise which the one who seeks the truth and desires felicity should refer to, entitled: Iqtidaa’ As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifah As’haabil-Jaheem

Sent Via Whatsapp
Translated by Raha ibn Donald Batts

الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين، وبعد: فأقول جوابا على ماتقدم ذكره في السؤال: ﻻ يجوز لمسلم يؤمن بالله واليوم اﻵخر أن يشارك الكفار والمشركين في أعيادهم، قال تعالى في صفات عباد الرحمن (والذين ﻻ يشهدون الزور وإذا مروا باللغو مروا كراما)قال مجاهد وغيره: الزور أعياد المشركين. والنبي عليه الصﻻة والسﻻم لما قدم المدينة ووجد لهم يومين يلعبون فيهما، فسأل عنهما فأخبر بأنهما يومان كانوا يلعبون فيهما في الجاهلية. فأنكر عليهم بقوله:(قد أبدلكم الله بخير منهما يوم اﻷضحي ويوم الفطر) رواه أبو داود. والمشاركة في اﻷعياد الباطلة فيه تشبه بأهلها وقد صح عن النبي عليه الصﻻة والسﻻم قوله:(من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم) رواه أبو داود . فالواحب على من أراد النجاة لنفسه أن يلزم الشرع المطهر، وأن يعض بالنواجذ على هدي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، وأن يهجر كل ما حرم الله تعالى. وقد كتب شيخ اﻹسﻻم في هذا الباب رسالة عظيمة فليراجعها طالب الحق وباغي السعادة والنجاة بعنوان اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم مخالفة أصحاب الجحيم

Published by أبو زكريا عيسى الألباني

BSc (Hons) Microbiology | Qur'ān | Sunnah |

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