Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's the Muslim position on Halloween?

On Halloween
By A. Idris Palmer
Halloween is a Western celebration originated by Celtic pagans and traditionally applied to the evening of October 31. It is completely based on rituals involving dead spirits and devil worship. Moreover, it symbolizes the beginning of the ancient Druid new year, who hold that the dead revisit their homes at that time, thus in essence, Halloween represents the devil worshipper's New Year's celebration. Mexico, which has a similar celebration at the same time, calls the day, "El Dيa De Los Defuntos" (The Day of the Dead).
Therefore Muslim commemoration of such a day is absolutely haram; as it involves the worst elements of shirk and kufr. Indeed, participation in it is similar to one commemorating Christmas or Easter, or congratulating the Christians upon their prostration to the crucifix. In fact, it is worse than congratulating them for drinking wine, fornication and so on. Muslim parents therefore should advise their children accordingly and not allow them to participate in these celebrations.
Historically, Halloween precedes the Christian feast of Hallowmas, All Hallows, or All Saints' Day. The observances connected with Halloween originated among the ancient Druids, who believed that on that evening, Saman, the lord of the dead, called forth hosts of evil spirits. The Druids customarily lit great fires on Halloween, apparently for the purpose of warding off all these spirits. Among the ancient Celts, Halloween was the last evening of the year and was regarded as a propitious time for examining the portents of the future. The Celts also believed that the spirits of the dead revisited their earthly homes on that evening. After the Romans conquered Britain, they added to Halloween, features of the Roman harvest festival held on November 1 in honor of Pomona, goddess of the fruits of trees.
The Celtic tradition of lighting fires on Halloween survived until modern times in Scotland and Wales, and the concept of ghosts and witches is still common to all Halloween observances. Traces of the Roman harvest festival survive in the custom, prevalent in both the United States and in Great Britain, of playing games involving fruit, such as ducking for apples in a tub of water. Of similar origin is the use of hollowed-out pumpkins carved to resemble grotesque faces and lit by candles placed inside.
How therefore is the Muslim to understand this matter in the light of the shari‘ah? Firstly, the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said in an authentic narration: "Whosoever resembles a people is from them." This is a general statement prohibiting the Muslims from imitation of the kuffar. Any Muslim, who thereby, participates with the non-Muslims in their celebrations, particularly those which involve clear shirk and kufr— is asking for the wrath of Allah and misguidance to descend upon him like it has descended upon them. Allah ta‘ala says: "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]
According to the major Companions and their students such as Mujaahid, Rabi‘ ibn Anas and Adh-Dhahhak, the word "falsehood" used in above verse refers to "the holidays of the mushrikeen." Others like Muhammad ibn Sireen are more explicit, stating that the verse defines "the people of shirk practicing their shirk, and (the verse admonishes us) not to participate with them." Thus the believers are those referred to in the verse as "not witnessing falsehood."
At-Tabari explains this aspect, when he says: "It is not allowed for Muslims to attend their [the disbelievers’] holidays and festivals because they are a type of evil and falsehood. If the people of good mix with the people of evil without putting an end to what they are doing, then they become like those who are pleased and influenced by the evil. And we fear falling into Allah's anger because of their gathering." The resemblance referred to here includes all the aforementioned ways. At-Tabari further explains the above mentioned verse, (And those who do not witness falsehood), "They do not assist the people of idolatry in their idolatry, nor do they associate with them."
It was the sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam to differ from the non-Muslims, particularly in those matters which were specific to non-Muslims. In Sunnan Abi Dawud, Anas ibn Malik says that when the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam came to Medinah, there used to be two festivals in which the people engaged in playing sports. So the Prophet asked, "What are these two days?," they replied, "We used to play sports during these in the jahiliyah (time period before Islam)." The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam then said, "Verily Allah has given you two better days, the Day of Adha and the Day of Fitr."
This not only shows that the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam did not acknowledge these days, but also shows that Allah has dignified the Muslims with days which are pleasing to Him and superior in merit. Indeed, the glorious companions understood this and applied its ruling to the fullest extent. Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, "One who settles in the lands of the non-Muslims, celebrates their New Year’s Days, and behaves like them until he dies, will be raised with them on the Day of Resurrection."
I pray that this brief response clarifies this issue about the origin of Halloween and the Islamic position on it. And Allah knows best, and to Him is our return. Ameen.
Related read: A Muslim on Halloween by Dr. Hesham Hassaballa, who writes:" I'm no fanatic, but Islam is strictly monotheistic--and, for me, any holiday having to do with worshipping other gods is wrong."
Halloween is upon us, and scores of children dressed up as everything imaginable will soon hit the streets, going door-to-door for candy. This year my five-year-old daughter is old enough to go. Alas, I will not let her. This is not because I am afraid for her safety, or I do not want her to eat her body weight in candy (though these are legitimate concerns). My decision is based on Islamic principles.
Islam accepts the cultural traditions of a people as long as those traditions agree with Islamic values. Thus, blue jeans, baseball caps, hot dogs, and other quintessential American items are wholeheartedly accepted by Islam [...] And this is why I will not send my daughter trick or treating this year or any other year. Halloween honors Celtic and Roman gods. Islam is strictly monotheistic, and anything having to do with the worship of any other god besides the Most Holy One is out of the question.

Many will see this stance as "fanatic," but I take exception to that accusation. I will not parade the streets trying to prevent trick-or-treaters, Muslim or otherwise, from getting their candy. I will not put a sign on my door saying, "No candy here--Halloween is a pagan holiday and you will all burn in hell." My family and I simply will not participate in Halloween festivities."
read the complete article here

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

What do Muslims do on 'Eid?

repost from last year, hope everyone has an especially blessed 'Eid!
Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes (new if possible) and to attend a special Eid prayer that is performed in congregation at mosques or open areas like fields, squares etc. When Muslims finish their fast at the last day (29th or 30th Ramadan), they recite Takbir (Arabic audio clip with English meaning).Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbarالله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبرla ilaha illa Allahلا إله إلا اللهAllahu akbar, Allahu akbarالله أكبر الله أكبرwa li-illahi al-hamdولله الحمدGod is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, God is the GreatestThere is no deity but GodGod is the Greatest, God is the Greatestand to God goes all praiseThe Takbir is recited after confirmation that the moon of Shawwal is sighted on the eve of the last day of Ramadan. It continues until the start of the Eid prayer. Before the Eid prayer begins every Muslim (man, woman or child) must pay Zakat al Fitr, an alms for the month of Ramadan. This equates to about 2 kg of a basic foodstuff (wheat, barley, dates, raisins, etc.), or its cash equivalent, and is typically collected at the mosque. This is distributed to needy local Muslims prior to the start of the Eid prayer. It can be given at any time during the month of Ramadan and is often given early, so the recipient can utilise it for Eid purchases. This is distinct from Zakat based on wealth, which must be paid to a worthy charity.The Eid prayer (salah) is followed by the khutba (sermon) and then a prayer (dua') asking for forgiveness, mercy and help for the plight of Muslims across the world. It is then customary to embrace the persons sitting on either side of oneself as well as ones relatives, friends and acquaintances.Muslims spend the day thanking the Creator for all their blessings, as well as simply having fun and enjoying themselves. Children are normally given gifts or money.

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How will Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor pray towards Mecca when orbiting the earth at 17,000mph?

Malaysia's Islamic scholars spent a whole year finding solutions to these and other ticklish problems as Mr Muszaphar, a 35-year-old Malaysian doctor and part-time model, prepared for his nine-day trip to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Read the complete article and see a picture of the astronaut in The Guardian.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

When is one night equal to a thousand months?

"Verily! We have sent it (this Qur'an) down in the Night of Decree (Lailatul-Qadr).
And what will make you know what theNight of Decree is?
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.
Therein descend the angels and the Rûh,[i.e. Jibra'íl (Gabriel ] by Allah's Permission with all Decrees. Peace! until the appearance of dawn." [97:1-5]
The Companion Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad said, " .. There is a night (during this month of Ramadhan), which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is indeed deprived (of something great). [Ahmad, Nisa'i and Bayhaqi]
also related: a message from Ustadh Muhammad al Shareef:
"The last ten nights of Ramadan are upon us. And soon after this the journey for Hajj will begin for Muslims around the world.
If you make the same dua, each day, for the last ten nights ofRamadan, it’s guaranteed that you would have made that dua duringLaylatul-Qadr. (A night worth 1000 months of reward in the sightof Allah).
So, prepare your dua from now!
Step 1: Ask yourself, “If Allah said to me, I’ll give youanything you wish, just ask!” What would you ask for? Make alist. (Try to fill 2 pages worth of dua, from the goodness ofthis life and the next.
Step 2: Pick about 6 of those things
Step 3: Make dua for those 6 things consistently every night forthe last ten nights of Ramadan.
Of course, make as much dua as you want, but make sure these 6things are consistent.
With best wishes to see you succeed at the highest level!
- Muhammad Alshareef

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