Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Is it permissible to go on a haunted hayride? Is it permissible to carve pumpkins just for the fun of it?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
In the Hanafi school, it is not valid to perform a prayer on behalf of a deceased Muslim, regardless of their relationship or lack of relationship with that person. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
However, one can pay the expiatory charity on behalf of the deceased person’s missed prayers. This expiation will clear the deceased person slate with Allah Most High regarding the prayers; this is also the case with missed fasts. [Ibid.]
The Expiatory Charity
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever imitates a people, he is amongst them.” [Abu Dawud]
From this narration the scholars of Islam have determined the clear prohibition of emulating the disbelievers and the corrupt. Thus anything that is essentially a distinguishing characteristic of disbeliever or a corrupt person is prohibited for the Believer.
[Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
This applies to actions, clothing, activities, etc…
Although carving a pumpkin, in itself, is permitted, since it has become a symbol of the practice and celebration of Halloween, it is strictly prohibited for the Muslims to do so. This applies to any and all holidays that have a religious significance, even if that religious significance is no longer understood or believed by the people. An example of this is the Christmas tree.
History of Halloween
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly 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 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.
See this link for more details
The Church of Satan
Anton Lavey, the founder of the Church of Satan, is quoted to have said that Halloween is the most important day of the year for Devil worshippers.
Anton Lavey said, in the Satanic Bible (which he authored),
“After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween.” [LaVey, Satanic Bible]
Light vs. Darkness
If one were to contrast the religion of Islam with the practices of Halloween, they would find that Halloween goes against every principles that Islam upholds.
Islam is a religion of beauty, light, purity, selflessness, justice, mercy, desiring well for all creation, etc…
Halloween is a practice of ugliness, darkness, filth, selfishness, oppression, and harming of others…
Muslims, therefore, should be the first and foremost of those who disassociate with the practices of this day. This applies to all practices that are associated with this day, such as haunted hay rides, pumpkin carving, trick or treat, wearing costumes, etc…
I understand that living in a non-muslim country may be difficult for muslim children (or their parents). But it is of the upmost pertinence that we protect our children from the evils in both the seen and unseen realms.
Parents should therefore seek out other alternatives for their children to have fun.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.