Islamic Studies Personal Development Relationships Society Ummah

American Customs: What is Permissible?

Originally posted in October 2009.

2981749128_0c72678dfe_oAmerica was indeed built as a melting pot of different cultures. That said, throughout our history there have become some universally accepted cultural practices. There is a famous and often misunderstood hadith (narration) which I would like to discuss as it has been understood by various scholars.

This hadith is found in the authentic collection of Abu Dawood. “Whoever imitates or resembles a people is one of them.” Coming from a background of an Islamic state where the Muslims were the dominant majority, many scholars said that this means that Muslims must completely look and act different than disbelievers in every facet of life. In that context it makes sense. In our context here in the west in 2009 it is a mistaken interpretation. This is due to the well-known reality that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) was an Arab and had many cultural norms including his dress and eating style that were known for Arabs in his time whether they were Polytheist, Jew, Christian or Muslim. So the hadith is true that the Prophet ﷺ imitated and resembled the Arabs of his time so indeed he was one of them. So general non-religious culture is definitely not what is prohibited by the hadith.

According to the commentary of many scholars, past and present, the hadith is warning Muslims from imitating the non-Muslims in practices which indicate their religious beliefs like wearing something with a cross on it or celebrating Christmas. Similarly we must not follow culture in matters which are prohibited in our religion like men wearing gold or women plucking their eyebrows.

So to be crystal clear I will make an analogy. What is the difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim doctor? They both wear similar clothes – maybe with a stethoscope around their necks. What makes them different is that the non-Muslim man may be wearing a cross or gold necklace whereas the Muslim will not be. The female Muslim doctor will be covering her hair while the non-Muslim won’t. The Muslim will take breaks for his or her obligatory prayers whereas the non-Muslim will not.

So let’s make a list of clothes, eating habits, and actions that are deemed permissible in the west by many scholars:

Wearing pants and shirts for men and women which do not reveal the `awrah (nakedness) as defined by our scholars. A dress might be best in concealing the beauty of a woman, but that doesn’t mean she cannot conceal her beauty with loose pants and a blouse. Men are not expected to wear hats whether in public or in the prayer. If a man is accustomed to wearing a hat and sees it as completion of common dress, then according to some scholars it would be makrooh (inadvisable) to come in the mosque without wearing it. Men may wear their pant leg below their ankles since this is not a sign of arrogance here.

There is nothing wrong with eating at a table with a spoon or fork. According to many scholars there is nothing wrong with eating the meat slaughtered by the people of the book. Others prohibited it based upon different principles. You may follow whichever you are convinced with, but you should not rebuke others for what they follow. Holidays and celebrations which do not represent religions and are not a gathering with worship overtones or un-Islamic activities are permissible. These are acceptable celebrations according to many great scholars: personal birthdays, marriage anniversaries, Independence Day, Mother’s or Father’s day on condition that we observe special love and respect for them every day, and Thanksgiving.

Things which would be forbidden are:

Wearing clothes which have a cross, Star of David, or other religious symbols of other faiths; wearing clothes which do not cover the `awrah; wearing clothes which represent immorality (i.e. Budweiser ad); wearing clothes with detailed pictures of living beings; women uncovering their hair or plucking their eyebrows; men wearing gold or silk; eating pork or foods fried or grilled without being cleaned after frying or grilling pork; eating or drinking with the left hand intentionally; shaking hands with a non-mahram (unrelated person of the opposite gender) in general (although with the condition of safety from desire some have allowed it); and celebrating Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s day, April Fool’s day or Halloween.

For anyone thinking that Halloween is just a harmless secular tradition for kids to have fun, please keep in mind the following:

The consensus of our scholars have prohibited taking part in the activities or selling the items specifically related to celebrating holidays representing religions other than Islam. This is due to the hadith we mentioned, “Whoever imitates or resembles a people is one of them,” (Bukhari).

Among these is Halloween which is an ancient polytheist pagan tradition of Europe that was switched to All Souls Day once Roman Catholicism had spread throughout Europe. It gained back its pagan roots with the capitalist venture of profit in those polytheist rituals. The current practices are almost identical to those done by the Polytheist originators of this holiday. If you are truly a follower of the Qur’an and Sunnah – not someone who follows their desires, or someone who simply wishes to fit in even when it compromises their religion – then read this thoroughly.

We must not take part in this celebration. Instead, we should try to organize mosque activities on this night, or try and go somewhere that doesn’t celebrate it, or at least just keep your lights off outside of your house.

About the author

John (Yahya) Ederer

John (Yahya) Ederer

Imam John Yahya Ederer left a life of spiritual decadence and embraced Islam in 1998. In 2002, he accepted a scholarship offer from the Islamic American University in Michigan and spent 6 years travelling the Muslim world studying with prominent scholars. He attained an associates with IAU, a certification of mastery of the Arabic sciences from the ministry of education in Egypt, a diploma in Islamic Studies from the Cordoba Institute in Kuwait and a license with one of the highest chains of transmission in Qur’an memorization and recitation. He served as the Religious Director of the Islamic Foundation of South Florida for two years and now lives with his wife and two children in Charlotte, North Carolina where he serves as Imam of the Muslim American Society. He currently sits on the clergy board of one of the largest interfaith coalitions in Mecklenburg Ministries and is a board member of the Shamrock Drive Development Association.


  • Great post. Yes, we turn our lights off and now after being new to the neighborhood, no one comes for candy :-). I still don’t understand even why Christians integrated a pagan ritual into their faith, though I was taught about All Hallows Eve, as I went to an Episcopalian school for much of my youth. While it may “justify” celebrating Halloween for Christians, it seems if they remembered it comes from pagans, they too, would want to not celebrate it; indeed, many of the holy days of Christianity, sadly, have become commercialized and the good, central message they promote have been lost, at least for the last few generations. Ma’salaam.

  • I hope people in Florida understand how lucky they are to have my teacher Sh. Abu Majeed with them? When I come back to the states, he’s coming to Cali. or I’m moving to Florida!

    Great post akhi!

  • I was discussing this with my Fiqh teacher, and he basically said the same thing what Sh Abu Majeed has stated above, but he also mentioned something additional: we know that things take the ruling based upon its CURRENT perception. So for example “Nike” is associated, if i can remember correct, with a greek goddess or its a name for one of them, but it isnt prohibited due to this, since it is not associated with that TODAY. So after discussing all this theory we stopped at what may be termed “Tahqiq al Manat” which is actually investigating the perception of Halloween and its connotations amongst the people. I mean do people really associate it with all its superstitious connotations, or has all that faded away and now its simply a matter of children trick or treating and adults using it as an excuse for partying? Unfortunately time didnt allow us to verify this nor did we believe we had the sufficient resources to do that hence we did not arrive at a conclusion. But reading this article, i guess Sh Abu Majeed is asserting that the perception of Halloween is very much connected to its origin, and thus not allowed.
    “And Allah knows, and you do not know”

    • That’s a really interesting point Haq. I don’t think anyone these days associates Halloween to “ancient polytheist pagan tradition of Europe”. It’s just a day where kids dress up and go trick-or-treating and get some candy. I think if it had at one point, been associated with paganistic traditions, that connection has long been severed and it has turned into a non-religious holiday. As brother Haq mentioned the history of Nike, the question arises whether, according to Islamic law, the history of a particular event matters rather than it’s current state/perception? If it’s the history that matters, then are we still allowed to buy Nike shoes? (I really like my Air Force Ones :-x…) I really respect the opinion mentioned in the article and apologize for my lack of knowledge, but I am sincerely trying to learn the usool of how these opinions are formed. Please forgive me for my ignorance.

      Allahu ‘alam (Allah knows best).

      • Salam aleikum,

        Likewise. I share the sentiments Zubair has expressed and would like to add a few more questions, although I am too old to celebrate Halloween, I want to poke some brains here. 🙂

        On Meaning: If we talk about history- what about the history relating to the days of the weeks (Saturday for the day the Romans worshiped Saturn)? In America, things really mean…whatever you want them to mean. Many people wear crosses, for fashion- not religion. What if a male wore purple or a rainbow colored shirt- is that resembling gays? People turn this day into an opportunity to trick-or-treat for the food bank. Is that so wrong? Are those people bad to imitate? Is charity a bad value to imitate? Why not mention them and why take out the fun of a small aspect of our childhoods?

        On Cultures: I think what is being ignored is Muslims are looking at American culture as being monolithic- it is not (just as Islam is not monolithic). The discussions on “muslim hip-hop” or “good hip-hop” Sh. Suhaib has raised in the past, reflects this fact. There are many different cultures at work, many different customs that having shaykhs selecting this one as forbidden because of its historicity…and ignoring other celebrations such as 4:20 shows a bit of an imbalance?

        On History: And it seems the main reason Halloween is prohibited is because of its history. Well, how many other histories need to be considered for other occasions? Commemorating 9/11? Candlelight vigils? Does that have a pagan history associated with it? Where do we draw the line for such associations?

        I think overall, among Muslim scholarship (people of aql, not just naql- after all, we call them scholars, for a reason…I hope) there needs to be a thorough understanding of the sociology, anthropology, and psychology of societies, Muslim and non-Muslim, especially considering how we marginalize ourselves from Western society. Until that is done, many of these “fatwas” will be seen as incomplete, despite the sincerity and learning of the mufti or shaykh. And so it becomes hard for Muslims to take them seriously.

        I can understand that this may sound too difficult- its easier to have some rulings and stick with those blanket rulings, but it feels as if this is being done to “reserve” the arsenal of Islamic thought, as if we have yet to apply Islam to some alien civilization in outer space or perhaps out of a fear of an infringing or creeping kufr. Perhaps there is fear of exhausting the rulings/usool/dynamic nature of the religion and not implementing them too loosely or in a more detailed manner, but I wonder if not doing so will cause our minds to atrophy and the religion to suffer, overall?

        Just some thoughts.


  • According to a Christian Encyclopedia (that used to be in the reference section of the Cupertino Library) the origin of the celebration of birthdays was a Pharaoh who wanted thereby to show and have his people celebrate that he was the son of the Sun (God). There must be some special symbolism to cutting a cake and lighting and blowing out a certain number of candles as well…Wallahu a’lam.

    • Again, how many people even know that fact? (if that is, indeed, true) Question comes back to what’s more important, the history of the event, or the event as it’s perceived today?

    • I found these of note-
      In my own research I find that there are a lot of claims that it is pagan in origin, but there are also counter claims. It seesm the Jehovah’s witness, some seventh day adventists, and Muslims have made a heavy campaign for these claims. Allah knows best.

      One point here is the fact that thee is a difference of a pagan doing it and the pagan worshipping by it.

      That being said, from my own thinking as I mentioned in the last comment is that I always had the “what it’s known for now by consensus” theory that many brought up about Halloween. It seems some scholars budged on the Birthday’s (or they weren’t convinced to the pagan origin claims whereas I have heard of no permission on Halloween.

      I was once told that neck ties are of a christian origin and represent the cross. In research I found that amongst all of the encyclopedia’s there is no such claim of this, while on many Muslim websites there are many fatwa’s citing certainty of it being a cross.

      Here on the birthday issue I found much evidence on the birthtday issue. So I will now go to the library to confirm these claims.

      Allah knows best

    • I forgot to paste this-
      and go to the same site’s depiction of Halloween and you might see the difference in clarity and why scholars are more strict with Halloween than birthdays. It seems as though birthdays might have predated some mythological practices and then pagans formed their own way of doing it and Allah knows best

  • First, I want to say that the *first* place I went to find out whether or not we can celebrate Halloween is Imam Suhaib Webb’s website. Why? Because I knew I’d find a common sense answer, instead of fatwas given by people who live in caves.

    Second, thank you Sh. Abu Majeed for your answer. As always, you are a great asset to Imam Suhaib’s site.

    Third, I must say that I share the concerns raised above by several posters. If we prohibit Halloween based on its origin–even though almost nobody still believes in that stuff–then what about Nike shoes? It would make life very difficult and it would again result in a living in caves fatwa mentality that permeates the internet nowadays.

    Fourth, I believe that secular holidays are permissible, including birthdays, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc.

    Fifth, to me the most sensible answer is that we can celebrate those secular holidays which do not contradict our religion, such as Mother’s Day (since we too believe in respecting and honoring mothers!), Thanksgiving (since we too believe in being thankful), birthdays (since there is nothing wrong with that), etc.

    With regard to Halloween, I *personally* don’t like the holiday because I think it is scary and odd, which does not suit my tastes. However, should we really prohibit on everyone even though there is doubt on the matter? Wouldn’t it have been better if Sh. Abu Majeed said that “I personally don’t like it, and it might be a gray area, but I fall short of declaring it outright forbidden” ?

    Sixth, what really concerns me is the issue of passing out candy on this day. Even though I do not trick-or-treat myself, nor would allow my kids to do that, etc., I would still pass out candy to those who come to my house. Failure to do that makes Muslims look like prudes. It reinforces all the stereotypes people have of us, i.e. strict, harsh, unfriendly, etc.

    The Prophet Muhammad [s] told us to give gifts, especially to neighbors. Yet, how many of us Muslims do that? We ignore our neighbors as it is. But then we suddenly become “religious” when it comes to NOT giving candy to neighbors.

    People are coming to our houses to collect gifts, i.e. candy. Should we really turn them away? Doesn’t our religion tell us to give gifts to others? So do we want to be known as the people who refuse to do that when everyone else does that? And this is different than Christmas, since Christmas is a DISTINCTLY *religious* holiday, with no doubt at all about that.

    I just see it this way: the kids will see that on the street everyone gives candy except those cheapskate brown Mooslim immigrants on the street.

    What do you think about this, Imam Suhaib and Sh. Abu Majeed? Can we differentiate between trick-or-treating ourselves on the one hand and giving out candies on the other?

    Fi Aman Allah

    • Taking part in a custom in any way is supporting it. And in this case our scholars would say both are prohibited. May Allah guide us to what pleases him.

    • Comments such as yours are a great reason for me to say the following about the above article: There’s a great deal of points that I can agree on, at the same time it’s creating doors for people to manipulate and create harmful philosophical analogies.

      The hadith discussed here is clear and has been explained by people of greater understanding and iman. While some contemporary scholars may not be immersed in the pervasive culture due to their modest hearts by no means should anyone disrespect them for living in caves. If Islam was based on common sense there would be no need the All Mighty to send messengers and revelations.

      If you are stuck on baseless holidays I have one thing to say to all of you: Grow up and spend your time with servitude to your Lord and His creation in need. Your children would not be asking you to trick or treat if you simply tell them that Muslims do not part take in this holiday and take them to help at the homeless shelter instead.

  • Excellent article. This kind of discussion speaks volumes to how far we are coming along as Muslims in America. After viewing the original post, I am even more intrigued about the questions regarding the usool of judging things by their current uses vs. their historical origins. The answer to that may further enhance our dear Shaykh Suhaib’s point of view on some of the other matters he listed as prohibited. However, I do not believe it is fair to insinuate that easing up on these issues has anything to do with being someone “who follows their desires, or someone who simply wishes to fit in…” Instead I think there is an evolution of thought taking place as we become more careful about importing fatawa without the due diligence that should take place in making judgments about the culture here. It is more important that we understand and perpetuate the usool behind rulings that will make us more literate and hopefully more tolerant and less judgmental. I hope to encourage Sh. Suhaib to keep up the good work, inshallah.

    • Sorry, I didn’t realize Abu Majeed was the author. Recently I read an older article by Sh. Suhaib on the “imitation” hadith and it was also excellent. So I hope to encourage them both. May Allah reward you.

  • This is interesting. I know its not good research on my part, but when it comes to this, as al-Shatibi noted, I’m a muqalid:)!

    Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

    “The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

    To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

    During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

    By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.”

    The rest can be found here:

  • Here’s the part that touches on the questions above. I will yield to Sh. Abu Majeed on this, but plan to ask scholars here about it inshallah.

    “At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of their efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.”

    Rest here:

  • Respected brother Suhaib…that still doesn’t answer the question about “judging things by their current uses vs. their historical origins”

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    I don’t know? I will ask some scholars here and see what they say. I certainly can see the point being made and thank you guys for interacting.


  • Halloween though may have its roots in pagan and christian religon is not a religous festival today. It is 100% commercial secular holiday with object to have fun. For the kids to dress as their favorite cartoons. I dressed up as superman when I was a kid. Halloween was fun and in no way religous by anyone. Everyone dresses up and eats candy and has a good time. I read the link; yes years ago it symbolized celtic and christian tradition but modern halloween has no celebration as all hollows eve. The closest any one comes is the latin celebration of Dias de los Muertos which celebrated on Nov 1 & 2. I don’t agree with that and we should not celebrate that. People go graves and pray to the dead and what not.

    However; One thing I have noticed in islamic theology and modern living. Modern life has options for us to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Islamic theology permits us to be happy and encourges to be happy with whatever situatuion we are in but frowns on fun. The prophet(SAW) and the 4 caliphs after him did not paticularly do anything for fun. I see no mention or hadith of this. They did not sit around drink tea and just talk or play games etc.
    I know Prophet(SAW) was busy creating a society but I got the impression fun was not in their vocabulary. For even, in the Hadith. Its says the Prophet(SAW) smiled but never showed his teeth i.e. he never laughed. So laughing has bad connation in Islam.

    What do you say about this Br, Webb?


  • Asalamu alaykum,

    It is well documented that the Prophet had fun, but he did so with adab (manners):

    al-Bukhari, in his Sahih, notes that the Prophet [sa] raced his wife twice.

    It is also related in sound narrations that the Prophet (sa) allowed the Ethiopians to wrestle and engage in war dances in his masjid. The people came to watch and the Prophet did not stop them.

    It is reported by al-Bukhari that on the Day of Eid a group of young girls played instruments in the Prophet’s house. When Abu Bakr (ra) tried to scold them, he (sa) said to him (ra), “Every community has its eid and this is ours.”

    The Prophet (sa) spit water in face of his grandson (ra) when he was little and laughed at him (ra).

    The Prophet (sa) encouraged us to give gifts.

    The Prophet (sa) saw children playing and he (sa) did not censure them.

    Hassan al-Basri (ra) said, “People will always need some time to chill!”

    Many scholars (ra) wrote 40 hadith collections about relaxation and fun.

    Our fun should be coupled with adab, free of negligence. For that reason it is the sunna on Eid to read Sura al-Ghashyiah. Thus, while it is a day of fun, don’t forget where your headed and your important role.

    This hadith sums it up for me, “I make people laugh but I do so with the truth only.”

    Allah knows best

    • If the eithopians did war dances; they probably had music as well(did they?)

      Also I want ask; about music. Some say halal; some say haram. Yousuf Islam aka Cat Stevens was against music but recently he started performing again. I can see the harm but it also relaxing and enjoyable. And it can be used to praise Allah. You are from the south; and were in the music business so must heard gospel music. I love gospel music that they sing in black churches. I mean they sing to Jesus(thats kufr) I don’t like that but love the ones that sing to the Lord ie Allah(swt).
      It very uplifting. I also love country music; it talks about more than just love songs. One recent favorite one’s is “Why Alyssa lies” it talks about child abuse. That’s why I like tupac; I no fan of rap but I always liked Tupac because he talked about the truth. Sure the truth was valid for him alone but thats why he had such a following. People generally understand and accept the truth even they can’t say it themselves.

      What is your thoughts?


    • Asalamu alaykum,

      How could I ignore my boy J? Ibn Qayyim writes, “The one quick to the fatwa, is quick to the fire.”

      I don’t know akhi. I will ask some of my mufti coaches today.


      • Jazakh-Allah khair, Imam.

        It’s no problem. Not an emergency, since there is now a whole year to go, haha. But I think it’s important for American Muslims to know if it’s ok or not, and how to deal with this.

        Fi aman Allah

        • This is what I do every Halloween.

          Kid: Knock and Knock. Trick or Treat.
          Me: Oh wow this is a beautiful costume. Are you Optimus Prime? Spiderman? etc etc.
          Kid: Yeah.
          Me: Oh cool. I am so sorry, we don’t have any candy but do check other
          neighbors. Stay Safe now.
          Kid: Oh ok. Thank you anyways.
          Me: You’re welcome.

  • AA,

    The interesting thing about Halloween is that a lot of religious christians also don’t celebrate it. Instead, they hold something called a “Harvest Fest” (not to be confused with an OctoberFest which focuses on alcohol and dance) in their church– welcoming the season of Autumn. People sell apples, and pumpkin pie, and make mugs out of pottery and paint them, and drink apple cider, etc. They also don’t hold it on Halloween, but any other time around then. The point is to give young people a conceptualization that one can enjoy all of the symbols of the Autumn season without any association to Halloween or evil.

    They literally claim back the pumpkin! It’s not for an evil Jack-o-Lantern but for pie that they are “thankful” for! With all of the American consumerism around random (ill-inspired) holidays, the Harvest Fest shows how some Christians try to be relevant also in their “fiqh.” They not only give an alternative that’s fun, but they flip the script– Autumn is not associated with fear/evil/ and candy but rather on reflection on God’s blessings in the different healthy foods He provides at different times.

    I really think religious communities should host inter-faith Harvest Fests, Winter-Fests, and Spring Fests that are devoid of any holiday connotation/association,held on random days within the season, but just connecting people back the remembrance of the One Creator who has blessed us with seasons that come with their respective sustenance.

    And it’s also a way of the religious community fighting back, and not allowing innocent blessings like pumpkins and squash become symbols of evil. Or seasons become symbols of gluttonous consumerism.


    • Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi rajeeon. The young lady died :*-(

      I strongly feel that one of the biggest disadvantages to being born Muslim is that we incorporate our culture into Islam and we can’t tell the difference between the two. Fathers in the days of jahilliya also used to kill their daughters for reasons of both poverty and to avoid dishonor. This is not a practice that was introduced by Islam.

      But unfortunately somehow Islam has been used to justify this barbarity and now of course non-Muslims are reading this article thinking “Muslims are crazy evil.”

      This story strongly affirms that as a Muslim community we must continue to emphasize the need to concentrate on women’s rights in our communities. And I don’t only mean educating women on their rights, but educating MEN on the rights of women. All too often we have women halaqas, and women’s rights conferences but, besides a few enterprising brothers hunting to complete half their deen 🙂 we don’t see many men at these events. And even worse we don’t see the women we need to see because they can’t leave the house without their husband/father/brother’s permission.

      OK, insha Allah I’ll stop here. I grew up in Saudi Arabia and subhan Allah, I still cry when I think of some of the stories we would hear growing up, and STILL hear today, stories like this and others…women beaten by their fathers until they can’t walk. Women beaten by their husbands until they pass out. Widows unable to leave the house/travel without their thirteen-year-old son’s permission. Fathers killing their daughters. Where is the Islam? This post touched a nerve for me.

  • As-salam alaykum

    I had a query about the statement in the article about the permissibility of ladies wearing ‘pants’. Shaykh Qaradawi, in The Lawful and the Prohibited, stated, ‘She [a lady] must not wear clothes which are specifically for men, such as trousers in our time’ (p. 166 of the ATP translation). Elsewhere in the same book he does say, ‘It is likewise haram to wear tightly fitting clothes which are sexually attractive’ (op. cit. p. 85). It does not appear that the second statement is some sort of qualification, in the Shaykh’s opinion, that permits the wearing of loose trousers.

    Are there other scholars who have permitted loose trousers for ladies?

    Jazak-Allah khairan


    • I’ve also heard Sheikh Qaradawi say on a recent showing of “Shari’ah wal ‘Hayah,” speaking about hijab that it is permissible for a sister to wear loose jeans provided that she is also wearing a long, loose fitted shirt [to be exact he mentioned jacket] that reaches the knees.

      Wallahu A’alam.

      • Thank you, Sami. It would be helpful if you could please provide a link to the video or a transcript, so that the full response can be reviewed.

        fi amanillah


        • Sorry about that – here is the video: and the transcript is available here:
          The paragraph of interest is:
          توفيق طه: عندما نتحدث عن لباس الرجل والمرأة ما حكم البنطلون الذي تلبسه المرأة أو الفطاهة؟

          يوسف القرضاوي: البنطلون إذا كان يعني كما نرى الآن للأسف بعض المحجبات ويلبسن بلوزة وبنطلون مع بنطلون جينز كما يسموه..

          توفيق طه: يسمونه.

          يوسف القرضاوي: ويظهر الجسم بطريقة البودي كما يقولون مفصل جسم المرأة كله لا إنما ممكن لو تلبس البنطلون وفوقه مثلا جاكيت طويل شوية لحد الركبة أو كذا لا مانع من هذا لأنه لا يجسد يعني جسمها فالهم إن (كلمة غير مفهومة) هذه الأوصاف في المرأة المحجبة وهو مش بس يعني المرأة مطلوب منها اللباس فقط لا مطلوب منها غض البصر لذلك الآن الآية اللي أنت بدأت بها {وقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ}

  • I want to make a note on the comment about how it seems there was no fun back then in the time of the Prophet.

    Alot of what we think and our opinions obviously come from the society around us. Western society is super focused on having ‘fun’. Not everyone is working for an akhira and therefore the focus is normally on maximizing the here and now and just living it up.

    I beleive the Muslim worldview is slightly different. While yes we do believe in fun. That’s simply not our goal in life. The Muslim is essentially a traveller. If you are travelling to a work conference and your goal is to do x, y and z before you go back to your home town, MOST of your time is going to be dedicated to either planning on how you are going to accomplish x,y and z or actually doing it.

    You will relax. You will have fun. BUT even your fun and relaxation will have the ultimate goal of rejuvinating your soul so that you can get back to your work refreshed, focused and efficient. MOST of your time therefore would not be spent having fun.

    This is what I have understood from various shuyookh. and Allah knows best.

  • Just to add some thoughts….

    From “Prohibited” to “Permissible”
    See what is interesting is that scholars are not taking a consistent approach. If it is the historical origins that matter then who decides what exactly they are since there can sometimes be differences, and secondly, up to this day, I have heard only one who scholar who was willing to go the full way and say Nike is haram for that reason, but generally those who prohibit Hallowin (and birthdays, wedding anniversaries) do not usually hold Nike, or even Osirus (it is a brand in the UK for spectacles, again being associated with another deity) to be Haram. I think this shows a lack of thought behind the foundation of the rulings.

    From “Permissible” to “Prohibited”
    Similarly, even though many Christians agree that the 25th of December isn’t the day Christ was born (Peace be upon him), it still will not be permissible for us to celebrate that day since it is clearly associated with Christianity, and hence even though the original (Asl) ruling of celebrating on the 25th December was that of Mubah (Permissible), it has now changed to Haram due to it being used by another faith, all be it, according to some Christian scholars, based on weak historical foundations. Why has it changed? Due to the application of the Hadith above as mentioned by Sh Abu Majeed.

    Historical Origin takes precedence over prevailing perception only when it comes to actions of the Prophet (saw)?

    Perhaps the argument may be made that “Current perceptions” take precedence over “historical perceptions/origins” except when it comes to the Prophet (saw). For example Sh Suhaib mentioned in a previous post that once:
    “Hisham said to Abu Yusuf [the great student of Abu Hanifa] , when he saw the latter wearing sandals made from palm trees with iron, “You don’t see wearing that iron as a problem?” Abu Yusuf responded, “No.” Then Hisham said, “Sufyan, Thawr and Ibn Yazid disliked it because it is an imitation of Christian priests.” Abu Yusuf responded, “The Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] wore sandals with hair on them that was worn by the Christian monks.” [al-Mawsua’h al-Fiqhiyah vol. 13. pg.3]. Ibn al-Qayyim notes, in Zad al-Maad, that when the Christians of Egypt sent the Prophet [may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] a gift of clothes made by them he wore them”

    Thus perhaps we can conclude that Abu Yusuf disregarded the actions of the priests, as he saw the actions of the Prophet to be more influential, and in effect wanted to normalize this act and not leave it an exclusive actions of the Priests.

    What’s the evidence for giving consideration to the current conception vis-à-vis its historical origins?

    Its evidence can be understood from the clapping example. Allah says in Surah Anfal,

    “And their prayer at the house was nothing other than whistling and clapping”

    Based on this:
    (a) Some scholars said that clapping has intrinsically become prohibited (Haram), whilst others have said it is disliked (Makruh).
    (b) Others have said it is permissible but only impermissible if done as as a form of worship as mentioned above.

    Thus what the second group of scholars are saying is that the act intrinsically is not forbidden, for everything is allowed until prohibited by a clear text, and there is no verse or hadith prohibiting clapping. However, due to its association with worship, Allah had condemned it in that context. However, after, for example, Shaykh Suhaib gives an excellent talk (which he does :D), and we clap this is not prohibited as the legal cause of prohibition, i.e. that prohibited context, does not apply, and the intention is not anything else but to show appreciation (thus the Hadith actions are by intentions, and the legal maxim “Fatwa changes according to place and time”)
    Thus, what the second group of scholars are effectively saying, even though they do not explicitly mention it, is that they are giving precedence to its current associations and perception which usually determine the intentions of the people in general.

    The first group however seem to have taken a somewhat simple approach, or perhaps a more cautious (Ihtiyat) position.

    To give more examples:
    1. Tayasilah:
    Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî discusses the distinction in Fath al-Bârî, his commentary on Sahîh al-Bukhârî while discussing the hadîth where Anas says that he saw people wearing tayâlisah (a shawl-like garment that used to be worn by judges) and described them “as if they were the Jews of Khaybar.” Ibn Hajar then explains: “It is suitable to use the account of the Jews as evidence during an age where the tayâlisah was a part of their distinguishing religious rites. This is no longer the case at these times and these close fall under the ruling of what is generally permitted.” [Fath al-Bârî (10/275)]
    Thus he gave precedence to the perception in his time, and since it had changed, he allowed it.
    o Similarly Shaykh Bin Bayyah mentions in his fatwa about celebrating Independence day:
    ”The school of Ahmed [Hanabliah] allowed the celebration of al-’Atirah which was a sacrifice, during the month of Rajab, observed by the people who lived prior to the advent of the Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him]. Although the school of Imam Malik [Malikis] considered it disliked, since it was a practice from those days, the school of Ahmed allowed this practice since there was no text [from the Qur’an, Sunna or Consensus] that explicitly forbade it”
    Thus, in our analysis, the Hanabilah disregareded its Jahili connotations, whilst the Malakis were more inclined to “Group A” mentioned above, though, even then, they do not clearly prohibit it.
    o Even our Sh Suhaib said (yes, I managed to dig this up) in the comments section of his article on whether we should celebrate mothers day or not, he says:
    ”I remember, 13 yrs ago asking one of my teachers, who encouraged us to do as the advice above states, “Isn’t this holiday founded on pagan customs?” His response was, “Yes, but it is not pagan anymore.”
    So, if Sh Suhaib remembers which teacher, then I guess we can add him to those who are with “the Current Perception” group.

    I hope I’m making sense, and not just blabbering on, I often get lost in my thoughts and can sound a mess, so please excuse.

    I would also recommend reading Sh Suhaibs article on the hadith of imitation as someone above has noted, I think the relavant paraghraphs to the discussion at hand being:
    o “The Changing of a Fatwa According to Time and Place”
    o The Axiom: “Call to the Way of Your Lord with Wisdom”
    o “The origin of things is permissibility unless there is a clear texts to the contrary”
    o “Harm is Removed”
    Thus it seems, and Allah knows best, there are 3 opinions on the issue of Halloween.
    1) That it is prohibited due to its historical origins (Group A thus they base their ruling on textual evidence) or even those who consider “current perception” may also prohibit it as they may view its historical assoicaitions still prevalent (thus they base their ruling on statistical or modern day research or Tahqiq al Manat)
    2) That it is Makruh, as the Malakis held that festival of Jahiliyah to be Makruh, and by extension, since the origin of Halloween was polytheistic, it becomes Makruh
    3) That it is Permissable, since these connotations exist no more (they are again the “Current perception group”) similar to what Ibn Hajar mentioned above.

    Please feel free to provide constructive criticism, as in the realm of ideas, only the strongest survive.

    “And of knowledge, you have been given, but a little”

  • AA,

    My question is why would Muslims even entertain the idea of passing out candy during Halloween. The argument that Halloween is secularized could be said for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc. Halloween still retains a religious significance for some groups in American and England (e.g. the WICCAs). Why are we worried about our fellow Americans feel about us in this regard. We have to stop being so self-conscious. Not passing out candy on “ONE” day won’t change people’s minds about you if you maintain polite and respectful communication with them for the other 364 days in the year. For example, I politely told the trick or treaters that I didn’t have any candy and they smiled and said thank you. Let’s not over complicate these issues.

    • I think some of us care because we are those “fellow Americans” who may have grew up participating in this holiday and we have fond memories of this part of childhood. For me personally, it was never associated with a religion. Wouldn’t the celebration of the religious part have to be in the heart, or the intention of the act for it to be prohibited? For example, if I go to a friends for Christmas dinner, it doesnt mean I am celebrating the birth of Jesus, but rather enjoying my friends company. I don’t have to shut myself off from the world and hide in the house so no one mistakes me for celebrating a secular holiday. It is in my heart, or not. For many people in America, religious holidays are excuses to get together, get off of work, and celebrate our friendships or families. There is not always a religious context to it. My family was never religious but being in a country whose work schedule revolves around the Christian holidays, most people just celebrate them, and the meaning is customization to the person or family. I am not an expert and God knows best, but how does it matter what something looks like on the outside, it is what is in the heart. We all know that people can go through the motions of prayer but not really feel it, so why can’t it be opposite, going through the motions of cultural customs, without the intentions being religious celebration?

  • as-salamu `alaykum,

    I would also be interested in how the current perception of a holiday that used to be religious matters. For instance, why don’t Muslims ever boycott the Olympics? It started out as something just as bad as Halloween I would think – outright shirk because it was meant as a way to honor the Greek Gods. Similarly, what if you celebrate Mother’s Day in much of Europe? There, if you consider wikipedia a source, it originated as a religious holiday where the Christians would honor the Virgin Mary as well as their mother, and in some areas it started as again veneration to “a great mother of Greek Gods.”

    Some people say, “well why don’t you just celebrate Christmas since it is secular now?” but I don’t buy that at all, since you will still find millions of people across the world who very clearly celebrate it as a religious holiday and most semi-learned people in the world today understand what it is a celebration of. As for Halloween, people seem to just consider it a day to dress up (yes, sometimes in “scary” ways) and pass out candy or get candy. The same goes for Easter; I would say even more so. The majority of people in Christian countries quite clearly know that Easter is a Christian holiday, and know that is has religious significance, and indeed the majority of Christians find that as their most religious day and often the only day the whole year that they go to church. Commercializing a holiday does not mean it has lost its religious significance if it is still widely practiced; for instance, hundreds of thousands of Muslims celebrate Eid mindlessly and I know plenty that have no idea what it’s for and it’s basically a secular holiday for them because they are in a Muslim country. would we then call Eid a secular holiday? Obviously not, because there are still HUGE amounts of people who know it is religious and practice it as such. This is not the case at all with Halloween.

    As for WICCAs celebrating halloween, people aren’t aware, but wiccans also celebrate some of our other holidays and do weird things on that time, and they are also a very very small minority. In addition, you will find people doing weird voodoo thing on birthdays as well…so I don’t know if such a small minority counts.

    Again I would love to hear what the scholar say about modern practices of things (holidays with religious origins that have become secular), because as I noted with the Olympics and Mother’s Day, there are so many things in our culture today that seem secular but have pagan or very shirk-soaked roots.

    Jazakum Allahu khayran,


  • This is a hot topic that will extend to a host of other hot topics because it challenges what was so commonly and typically taught to us for so many years. I think it is important that we re-evaluate these teachings because they are not Quran and Sunnah, but rather they are interpretations and applications (i.e. ijtihad & fiqh) that naturally should change (or least be reconsidered) based on time & circumstances. Qaradawi’s fatawa in “The Lawful and Prohibited…” were written how many years ago? And with what population & national culture in mind? Isn’t it quite natural that some of his views would change over time, and even more so if he saw that they were being applied in situations beyond his purview?

    If we re-examine the factors that have under-girded so many contemporary fatawa in the U.S. I think we will find that the foundations, especially with regard to the appropriate regard for custom and culture will be challenged as American Muslims become more literate. This requires a discourse that does not resort to changing the subject and questioning each others’ intentions. The issue is not someone’s level self-consciousness among the non-Muslim majority, but that regardless of this, things are generally permissible and if something is deemed forbidden, there must be good solid evidence, especially if the prohibition prevents us from doing other acts of kindness (i.e. more harm than good).

    The follow-ups to the question about origins vs. current usages: (1) Consider that various groups have varying perceptions and motives, so should something be regarded based on the perceptions of a few (i.e. Wiccans), or the majority, or each individual intention, or some combination of the above? (2) How is the harm vs. good weighed in these situations? (3) What about adab, especially as it pertains to the individual and his/her role? (Consider what is befitting for a political or religious leader as opposed to common people or even children).

    Halloween is perceived by the vast majority as a fun secular custom involving wearing fun costumes and handing out candy to neighborhood children. What is the harm vs. the benefit of giving out treats to your neighborhood children on this occasion? What good reasons can you offer your own children for not allowing their participation? Are our reasons (i.e. historical origins) actually doing more to perpetuate the harm (allegedly evil practices) than if we would have accepted and promoted the common secular function of the custom today? If there is something actually evil involved in this custom, isn’t it possible to participate in the good of it while purposefully abstaining from the evil? Perhaps others would follow this example? Are there certain aspects that are simply unbecoming for a person of a certain stature but not necessarily so for others, especially children?

    The obvious extension of this leading to other “holidays” should also not be considered a threat. In fact, it could lead to a much more robust and natural disposition for Muslims in America. I realize this requires quite a serious shift in our thinking. But this is why it is important to understand the usool so as to recognize rulings that are xenophobic or inappropriately imported to our circumstances. I contend that much of what we have been taught in America over the past 20 years (or more) with regard to culture and custom is misplaced. There are sophisticated reasons for this, and not necessarily sinister, which requires a whole discussion unto itself.

  • As-Salamu alaikum,

    Sorry to keep you all hanging as there are some nice reflections that I myself hold. First of all I would like to say I have some years to go until I will be a mujtahid and I am working with corresponding with a couple shaikhs while I research. So that being said, my article does not reflect all of MY personal feelings but what opinions do exist according to Ahle Sunnah wal-Jam’ah according to scholars the likes of the Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia, Al-Qaradawi, Salman al-Oudah, Abudullah bin Bayyah, Faisal Mawlawi etc… I wrote this article because, I am permitted to give fatwa according to my understanding of what opinions EXIST as of now. So I didn’t make Ijtihad per say when one day insha Allah I will.

    I want to make a couple points to add to the discussion. With regards to halloween, its origins and today’s secular understanding, I personally use extreme caution because these are matters associated with Shirk. With regards to Valentines day, I am not so much bothered by the Catholic origin since it was about the importance of marriage and that reminds me of the Prophet’s (PBUH) willingness to celebrate Ashoorah as the Jews did since we have more of a right to follow Moses (PBUH). What bother’s me about Valentine’s day , similar to halloween, is that it was also known for the practice of courtly love or swinging and it still is known that a lot of fornication goes on in this day.

    With regards to women wearing pants or men wearing silver necklaces I personally advice to an opinion that doesn’t exist to my knowledge which is permissibility. The reason being that the prophet (PBUH) cursed those who imitate the opposite sex. the question we ask is how do we know? The answer of myself and many books of Usool is by the accepted custom of a people and my people’s custom say’s that these are not things peculiar to a given gender. So here it is a matter where I am convinced that the common fatwa is just attached to the custom of the people. So in Saudia I would agree it is Haram for men to wear necklaces because that is seen as only for females.
    There is no danger of shirk or major immorality so I am confidant to talk hear, while I am like Suhaib about things like Valentine’s day and Halloween. Let’s discuss this touchy and doubtful matter with the mujtahideen.

    And Allah knows best

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    I don’t know about the others, but I’m really feeling the level of noble character and respect show here. Mashallah! It is great to see us discussing things, not agreeing and maintaining our adab.

    May Allah bless Sheikh Abu Majeed and everyone.


  • As-Salaamu-Alaikum,
    I don’t understand how it can be sensible to celebrate Thanksgiving. First, it was started by Christian colonists. Second, many of these colonists and their descendants went on to annihilate the Native Americans who assisted them during their time of difficulty.

    • Wa alaikum as-Salam,

      Dear brother, the point of this article is to show that there is nothing wrong with christians starting a given tradition. the point is- Is it a tradition known (specific) for Chritianity? I have read some correlations as to how those who built America by genocide and displacement of the natives, but the vast consensus of the origin of this holiday is that some Pilgrims and Native’s got together to thank God in general for the harvest- kind of like the beginnings of US interfaith. In my opinion Eid Al-Adha is sufficient for Muslims in this regard but the issue is mainly with Muslims with non-Muslims in their families. So for them it is permissible based upon the texts and the overall point of this article with regards to non religous specific/representative customs. So no this isn’t a call for Muslims to go out and get a turkey on thanksgiving and watch the sooners and the cowboys battle in out in bedlam.

  • Salaams all,

    OK, so unlike my comment above, this one is about Halloween. There was a news article in the USAToday about Halloween being a dangerous holiday for kids, because, sadly, they tend to get hit by cars on this day (since they’re out in the streets after dark).

    I know Halloween is over this year, but insha Allah for next year those of us who are OK with celebrating Halloween, please be extra careful with your kids. And those of us who are not planning on celebrating, please be careful drivers (as Muslims, insha Allah we always are, unless it’s Ramadan, we’re ten minutes from home, and it’s two minutes to iftar 😉

    I don’t know if I saw anyone mention this, but I would like to know how much do intentions play in this? We are all familiar with the hadith about actions being my intentions, so I would like to know if it’s applicable in this case.

    For example, during the Christmas season people tend to wish others a Merry Christmas. I usually say it back. Not because I’m celebrating, but because I want to maintain the good will.

    So, why not give out chocolate to the neighbors as a sign of good will? (Of course, if one has kids this is probably difficult because the kids will then want to join in the fun, so that’s a whole other issue).

    As for celebrating birthdays, I think Muslims have been debating this forever. And I think what happens is once we have Muslims kids many of us relent because we can’t stand to see their little sad faces when all their buddies are having parties and inviting them to come. And this is true whether the little buddies are Muslim or not.

    Why not incorporate some Islam into your child’s day, talking about being thankful to Allah for making him/her a year older, and even reciting some new surahs for them (birthday Surahs :-). When we turned 13 my parents bought my twin sister and I beautiful Qurans. We had been making a big deal about being teenagers and being all grown up (man we were obnoxious!). So Mommy and Daddy explained that since we were now all grown up they had gotten us grown up Qurans, and we had a responsibility to read them. Twelve years later it’s still the only Arabic Quran I own.

    I guess my point is that we need to find some sort of compromise (like injecting Islam as much as possible on these occasions for our kids), because it seems we have these same discussions every year, and everyone regardless of position makes some really good and valid points. But we end up not coming to a consensus. And then the whole discussion starts again next year.

    • As-salam Alaykum sister Fuseina,

      Actually I think Sh. Abu Majeed mentioned this point earlier (or maybe it was Sh. Yasir Qadhi–can’t remember exactly who), but we should NOT introduce any religious element into such holidays. For example, we should NOT make birthdays a time to recite certain Surah’s, etc., because then we would be creating a religious bidah and making a religious holiday, even though we are agreed that the Muslim only has three religious holidays, which are the two Eids and Fridays.

      So I think it would be better to just celebrate birthdays as a purely secular day, without any religious connotation at all.

      Fi aman Allah,

  • I really enjoyed this post and I think that the discussion of Islam and culture is really important.

    On a more technical note: I have heard that amongst Shafi’i scholars drinking (and maybe eating-not sure) with the left hand is not haram but makruh. Just a point to take note of and perhaps research. I know that most other schools consider it haram and caution and taqwa should prevent anyone from using his left hand for eating or drinking.

    However, knowing this fiqh opinion of (some) Shafi’is may make us more tolerant when for example, we visit Malaysia (mostly Shafi’is) and see many people drink with their left hands.

    • Salams Abu Adam,

      I like your pluralistic vibe but have some reservations. I was saying intentional. According to many scholars it would be makrooh to persistantly eat or drink with the left hand out of heedlessness of the Hadith. The reason for seriousness is the Hadith which states that a man told the Prophet (pbuh) that he can’t eat with his right and then he was not able to raise his left hand again. So it is in al-Ihya and al-Majmoo’ as mustahabbah to big Shafi’ee schoolars, but the opinion of Shafi’ee himself in ar-risaalah and al-Umm is Wujoob. This is because of the mentioned hadith as well as the one about Shaytan eating with the one who intentionally ate with his left. This is the majority opinion amongst the scholars. Even if it was Makrooh to eat with the left why would anyone intentionally do Makrooh as we know that from the stations of Taqwa is to obey and abstain from prohibtion regardless of the ruling?

  • As far as I know, amongst the Shafi’is the opinion of Imam Nawawi is actually more important than the opinion of Imam Shafi’i himself in terms of what is the “opinion of the madhab”. I believe Imam Shafi’i considered shaving the beard to be haram whereas Imam Nawawi (and many other Shafi’i scholars) considered it to be makruh. The stated opinion of the Shafi’i madhab (with respect to the beard) is that it is makruh to shave it off. Hence, the followers of Imam Shafi’i didn’t blindly follow him but sometimes differed with him. This is a beautiful fact.

    I fully agree that taqwa and any level cautiousness would make one avoid using his left hand. However, knowing the opinion of some of the Shafi’is on this matter would make one proceed with more wisdom when advising another about this matter.

  • If we adopt customs that seem okay to us, shouldn’t we be worrying about what “improvements” the NEXT generation will make to them, and so on, down the line, generation upon generation? Isn’t this what diluted and misled the cultures of previous Deen and what ultimately necessitated prophets to be sent again and again in the past?

    Since no more new prophets will come in the future, isn’t it OUR responsibility to be more conservative against adopting innovations and improvements of various kinds? Shouldn’t we be making every effort to avoid being of the 72 misguided groups and belong to the one guided group of the 73 mentioned in the hadith? Wouldn’t we be held responsible for doors we unknowingly opened for following generations?

  • In my opinion, just the fact that people dress up as devils, ghosts and other scary evil things should be enough to deter us from celebrating this holiday. Even if most people no longer celebrate the religious aspect of halloween this does not mean that we can partake in it. I think we also need to look at what people actually do (and not only the meaning they acribe to it). Most westerners don’t believe in the existence of jinn and shaitan, but we muslims know otherwise and so I think we should abstain. When people dress up as devils, etc… and have fun with it, the message I get is 1) these things don’t exist and so we can have fun with it (if they knew otherwise they wouldn’t play with it) or 2) these things exist and we’re messing with it ( I’m sure very few people take it this way but there are crazy groups such as satanists who actally worship satan). For these reasons I think we should really steer clear from any association with Halloween.

  • thanks shikh Yahya for your nice article , but the hadith you mentioned before is a general rule and it has many other hadiths that support it for example ” whoever gathered with some people to make them more (in number) , he’s one of them ” and this hadith is a general rule so how did you make it on the religious days although you don’t have any evidence to specialize it ?! it’s a general rule . (1)
    I feel some contradictions in your article , sir . for example , you said ” and celebrating Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s day, April Fool’s day or Halloween ” I agree with you that it’s prohibited to celebrate these days , but you said before “These are acceptable celebrations according to many great scholars: personal birthdays, marriage anniversaries, Independence Day, Mother’s or Father’s day on condition that we observe special love and respect for them every day, and Thanksgiving ” aewn’t these celebrations Beda’h and imitating non-Muslims ?!
    Excuse me , sir I think you have to revise your article as most of the scholars in the west make all best efforts to adapt with the western inviroment even if this was prejudicial to some Islamic rules .

  • I’m a convert, and in my family these holidays have never been religious events. In fact my family is not even religious at all. When we celebrate these days it is a cultural and familial event, not a religious one, so I continue to do so. The historical origins of these holidays do not make them intrinsically haraam, because they are not intrinsically religious, and so there is no religious connotations involved.

  • After reading just a few of these comments. Sooo many people just go with there desires..and seem to not have fear of Allah swt. Where I am from Halloween is still very much associated with the dead. I have read so many excuses to celebrate. To me it’s a simple decision. I feel I should use my wisdom in other ways then to argue with what Allah swt has told us to do!

  • would also like to point out though, that one will be reward for wearing a hat or for dressing in the same style as the prophets, if it’s done with this intention, insha’Allah. also one will be rewarded for doing this to differentiate oneself from the non-muslims.

  • Wearing a hatwear is a way of the beloved prophet s.a.w.
    even when he would pass his blessed hands over his head he wouldn’t take his hat off.
    trousers below ankles i believe is completely wrong.
    Hadeeth of ibne Majah (saheeh) that the person who has his trousers below ankles his Salaah would not be accepted.
    May Allah guide us all

  • Oh please, Halloween is harmless fun. If you don’t want to partake in it then dont, but don’t make others feel like they are sinning for enjoying a day with their neighbors and or families.

  • Assalamu alaykum,

    Although Halloween has become very commercialized and the holidays is mostly about uttering a phrase in order to get candy as well as dressing up in costumes, does the fact that many of these costumes are scary creatures (vampires, zombies, Frankenstein, etc), sometimes skimpy outfits (for females bought at Halloween stores), and involve references or popular (and either positive or evil) portrayals of black magic (witches, wizards, warlocks, etc) factor into the assessment of Halloween (besides the argument of whether it is a secular or pagan holiday and so impermissible)?

    To be clearer, what I means is: since Halloween promotes scary, dark, popularizes evil topics and creatures (including black magic), which is forbidden in the Quran is that a factor which goes into deciding whether Halloween is impermissible/ frowned upon?

    JazakAllah khair for this article!

  • I do not believe that the Star of David would be something that is forbidden to wear, as it seems to have a very strong presence in the Islamic world as well; except it is called the “Seal of Solomon”, rather than the “Star of David”.

    I’ve seen the same symbol on pictures of old mosques

    And Hayreddin Barbarossa, the famous Ottoman admiral, had it on his flag

    So I think the importance is what you think the symbol stands for. The swastika (used by many Indian religions) for example, was not associated with the things it is today until the Nazis adopted it well into the 20th century. JazakAllah khair

  • […] I know that a lot of you may be tempted to dress yourself or your kids up for Halloween. However, the majority of scholars have said that Halloween in particular is a celebration that true followers of Islam should not celebrate.  I feel awful because even though I was always a practicing Muslim, I didn’t realize how harmful Halloween was until much later in life. So I decided to write this post to help more Muslims gain awareness about it.  While it may seem harmless to dress up and eat candy on Halloween, here is an excerpt from […]

    • Salam,
      You said ‘selling the items specifically related to celebrating holidays representing religions other than Islam’ is prohibited.
      I do craft and sell them on website. I make home decorations and countdown calendars for kids for Ramadhan. But because they have no religious theme I get customers ordering them for xmas. Is that permissable? How do I go about it?

  • Salam,
    I wanted to caution about even celebrating national/cultural holidays. I found this info regarding thanksgiving the website I have pasted with it, I ask people to see if they can verify this info.

    The History of the First Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving was named after an entire tribe’s massacre — not a peaceful meal between pilgrims and Indians.

    In 1621, Wampanoag Indians investigated gun and cannon fire at a Pilgrim settlement to see them celebrating a successful harvest. The Indians — all male warriors, were fed as a gesture of peace. The act was not repeated annually.

    In 1636, when a murdered man was discovered in a boat in Plymouth, English Major John Mason collected his soldiers and killed and burned down the wigwams of all the neighboring Pequot Indians who were blamed for the murder.

    The following day, Plymouth Governor William Bradford applauded the massacre of the 400 Indians, including the women and children. The Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, William Newell, proclaimed: “From that day forth, shall be a day of celebration and thanks giving for subduing the Pequots.”

    For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.

    Now I think that if any holiday national or not, was began based off the oppression of a people, as Muslims we should stay away from it. We should be more academic and look into the history of all holidays, I personally never knew this info like I said if somebody can verify it that would be great. Social justice is integral in this deen, and we cannot just let something like this slip.

  • Honestly a lot of these comments have me shaking my head. I was raised in the US and we went trick or treating every year. It saddens me that people are have made a priority to scold other Muslims who “celebrate” it. Do people have nothing better to do than post facebook statuses calling others out for celebrating it. It’s people like this that is making many people I know stray away from religion.

  • I was very happy to find this web site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this
    wonderful read!! I definitely loved every little bit
    of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to
    see new things on your site.

  • Imam Ederer,
    I enjoyed your article, and just wanted to add a comment regarding Halloween, and the observance of Samhain. I am a neo-Pagan and a lover of Peace. While Halloween has become a focus for modern commercialism and materialism, it is a serious religious observance for many. As stated in your linked article, modern day Pagans, Wiccans and Druids and others who follow the traditions of our pre-Christian Celtic ancestors see Samhain as the spiritual new year. There are many people who take this very seriously as a religious holiday, and practice ritual cleansing, prayer, meditation and ceremonies to honor the Earth, our ancestors and deceased loved ones. It is also a time to release negativity and focus our energy and intentions toward new growth and self-improvement for ourselves and communities.
    As such, Samhain and Halloween are definitely non-Muslim celebrations, and according to the rules you’ve outlined, should not be observed by Muslims. However, individuals of all faiths are customarily welcomed to join or witness public Samhain rituals in order to learn their deeper meaning.
    With Respect

Leave a Comment