What Does Islam Say About Children Trick-or-Treating?
Muslim Children Don't Celebrate Halloween - wikimediacommons
Is it difficult for Muslim children to be surrounded by non-Islamic holidays in the schools? Of course it is. Small children, especially will not understand why they must be excluded from parties, fun and laughter. But, there are some simple steps to help young children keep busy during these times.
Halloween is one holiday that Muslims do not celebrate. Muslims observe just two holidays: Eid Al-fitr and Eid Al-adha, and it is forbidden for a Muslim to join in a celebration in other holidays.
Muslims Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr Holiday
Muslim celebrate Eid Al-fitr, which is the four-day holiday after Ramadan. It is one of the major holidays and it is a time for celebrating with the children. It is a time when most of the children have brand new clothes and many toys. It is time where many home place lights of the crescent moon on their homes in decorations. It is time when there is sweets, drinks and much laughter.
Eid Al-fitr is thanking Allah for his mercy and his forgiveness of their sins. On this day, Muslims visit the neighbors, family members and friends, carrying presents to many. It is a time when mamoul (a date cookie) is served. It is a time when knaafef is eaten with their friends.
On the first day of Eid, it is traditional to serve mansef and rice, for the lunch meal. This is rice with yogurt and meat. The meat is usually lamb and it is served with a very thin bread underneath. It's not uncommon to see people finishing their meals and running to the next home amid an atmosphere of merriment.
Muslims Celebrate Eid Al-adha Holiday
Eid Al-adha is the holiday after the pilgrimage and it is celebrated much the same way as Eid Al-fitr. The difference in this celebration, is the sacrificing of the lamb to Allah. The meat is divided into three pieces. One for the family, one for the neighbors and one part for the poor people. The first day of Eid is very busy, preparing the sacrifice and cutting the meat.
Eid Al-adha is very special as a celebration of the pilgrimage and the welcoming of the people who went to Hajj (pilgrimage). The people do make mamoul, but on a smaller scale.
Things for Muslim Children to do on Halloween
Watching other children prepare for a holiday full of costumes and candy can be difficult for a Muslim child, who does not celebrate Halloween. There are several ways that Muslim parents can help their children cope with any feelings of jealousy or exclusion.
Remind the children ahead of time of the two holidays that Muslims celebrate. Remind them of the fun time that everyone has on those days. Then gently remind them that every culture has their own separate holidays that the other non-Muslim kids didn't get to celebrate.
Contact the school principal and tell them that the children will not be attending school on Halloween, due to the many Halloween-related festivities that are common at schools (i.e. Halloween parades from class to class) on this day. Also explain to the teacher why the children will be absent. It is better not to surround young children with things they might not understand and staying home from school on this day can help the child avoid hard feelings.
Plan a special evening at one of the fellow Muslim family's home for all the children. Provide some activities for the children and their families away from the Halloween celebrations. It is better to plan a private gathering of Muslims together listening to Islamic songs, to help the children appreciate their own culture.
If planning to stay home, draw shades, blinds or curtains and turn off the visible lights at the home (particularly on the porch or house front, which traditionally signals that trick-or-treaters are welcome.)
Explain the real meaning of Halloween and how it originated. This is a good way to help the children appreciate the day as a holiday that's associated with another culture, rather than a day that's all about tricks, candy and costumes.
Plan a outing for the next day to a real fun place that is considered "Halal" (permissible). Plan to treat the children with some special treat, such as ice cream on the day following Halloween, thereby giving the kids an experience that they can eagerly anticipate.
Small children may not understand the complexities of the Islamic religion, but it is the job as parents to guide them in the right path. Through proper guidance and education, it's a Muslim parent's hope that all the children will grow in their faith and patience.