Imagine a room…
There’s a huge clock on the wall, a desk in the center of the room and three people are sitting behind it, staring at me as I walk in panting, holding three copies of my ‘submitted two-seconds before deadline ‘Halloween and Islam’-article”. I smile at the three of them to cut the awkward silence, and I find myself, through no fault of my own, hacking their thoughts!
Zooming in on Brain Number One:
“Great! Just what we need! Another article telling us how celebrating Halloween is a humongous sin and those who do will burn in hell. You know what, Missy? Whatever! Apparently everything is haram even harmless fun! So why even bother writing about it?”
Zooming in on Brain Number Two:
“I seek forgiveness in Allah! Why is the author smiling? I hope she made the opposition to this stupid event intense enough! I know writers these days tend to distort our Islamic values with leniency! God knows that’s the reason I’m here. She better quote all kinds of Quranic verses and Hadiths to set the record straight and banish this Satanic, evil NONESENSE!”
Zooming in on Brain Number Three:
“Should I keep my opinion to myself if I disagree? Yeah, I think so! I’ll just read the article quickly, nod and say ‘good job’. I’m already running late and I still have to go pick out my Halloween costume! OMG I can’t wait for tonight’s party!”
Okay zooming out now!
Wow, no matter what I say about Halloween and Islam, it will probably be rejected, ridiculed or ‘Whatever-ed’. No matter how hard I try, I’m never going to please everyone, am I?
Wait a second… Can the camera zoom in on my brain now please?
“I’m never going to please everyone! Yes! Exactly! THANK YOU!”
TRICK OR TREAT?
Muslims fall into one of these three categories:
1-They believe celebrating Halloween is haram.
2-They know it’s non-Islamic, but take part in it anyway to avoid getting their houses egged and their kids whining for candy and new costumes for school.
3-They think Halloween is fun, and celebrating it is not against our religion.
Usually, the first category people look down a little bit at the other two groups. They try to carry out their Islamic obligation of ‘enjoining good and forbidding evil’ by convincing category 2 and 3 of their point of view.
I mean come on, a celebration that’s all about darkness, ghosts, skeletons, witchcraft and scaring others out of their minds, doesn’t really sit well with the peaceful values of Islam, does it? I think we all agree to that part, even those who enjoy the cute outfits, pranks and getting high on sugar candy. The question is, how do these three groups communicate?
Suppose I go up to a teenager dressed as Frankenstein, taking the costume thing very seriously and all, would he really listen to me if I start preaching about sinful practices?
Or if a bunch of kids knock on my door, holding pillowcases they’re hoping to fill up with candy, would they appreciate my invitation to sit down and recite chapter 30 of the Holy Qur’an instead?
No one likes to be criticized or lectured, especially at a time while they’re having fun. Many Muslims who celebrate Halloween believe since their intentions are pure and their faith is intact, then a day of carving pumpkins, dressing up and having some fun should not be a threat or a test of their piety. Even those who love Halloween and are unaware of the pagan origins of this frightful morbid celebration will probably not be eager to do their research in the last week of October.
So let me ask you again, is it your obligation to forbid wrong even if no one would listen? Even if it’s a huge turnoff and would drive people away when they see you?
Well, yes and no…. and that’s the tricky part.
The Disguise of The Wise
There’s a thin line between doing what’s right and making things right, and that my friend, is a choice only you can make. The wisest of us understand that the essence of spreading goodness lies in knowing what to say and how to say it, without offense or judgment. They’ll explain the logic and beauty of Islam in a way that makes you yell ‘EXACTLY!’ instead of ‘Whatever!”. Listen to this….
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said,
“Whosoever of you sees an evil (or wrong), let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]
The Prophet’s choice of words is phenomenal. He didn’t say ‘cease’ or ‘banish’ it, he said CHANGE it, as in ‘replace’ it with something better, because that’s what works best with human minds. I swear he’s the best psychologist in the history of EVER! I just want to shout it from the rooftop! I LOVE HIMMMMMMMMM!
Our role is not to pass out rules, but rather to change people’s view and help them see the amazing ‘scenery of truth’ for themselves. The trick is to disguise your disappointment in the ‘loss of identity’, the satanic aura and cruel, frightful pranks that come with this celebration and focus on delivering the message with warmth and love.
The trick is to choose the right time and place to do so and then give people a better, more appealing replacement. Set a good example that attracts people away from anything ‘un-Islamic’… and that’s the ultimate obligation of all…
Making people fall in love with their innate values and freely choose to do what’s right can be very tricky…But it’s also an amazingly beautiful treat….
First published: October 2015