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CAIRO – Malaysia’s top Islamic council has issued a fatwa banning the celebration of Halloween next Friday, October 31, as haram and contradicting with Islamic law.
“The Halloween celebration is clearly against the values of Shari`ah. It cannot be celebrated by Muslims,” the council said in a blog-post cited by International Business Times on Thursday, October 30.
The council said that Halloween was a Christian festival that honored the dead, urging Muslims to pray for their deceased instead.
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“To remember those who have passed away, Islam suggests the practices of reciting du`aa (prayers) and Qur’an,” the council said.
The edict was issued in reaction to a complaint lodged last week by Muslim residents in Negeri Sembilan state capital Seremban against a private international school which invited students, Muslims included, to attend a Halloween bash it was organizing, Free Malaysia Today reported.
The invitation had caused a furore among some Muslim groups including the Islamist Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia, which urged the state authorities to monitor the event.
“Today Halloween is usually celebrated with activities, with adults and children alike in fancy dress visiting strangers’ houses asking for candy, lighting bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks on people with a variety of games, and telling horror stories,” it added.
“Halloween is celebrated with the theme of horror mixed with humor in order to cheer the heart and also against the spirit of dead that affect humans.”
Earlier this month, Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, the president of Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) warned Malaysians against observing Halloween, claiming that these events are planned by non-Muslims to shake the faith of Muslims and turn them godless.
Muslim Malays form about 60% of Malaysia’s 26-million population, while Christians make up around 9.1%.
The Jordan government announced a similar ban on Halloween in the country.
The decision has been announced in a statement by the Jordian home ministry baning all sorts of activities surrounding Halloween, so as to prevent a repeat of the rioting that the city of Amman had during Halloween for the last two years.
Ministry spokesperson Ziad Al Zoubi confirmed the decision to Jordian daily Al Ghad.
Halloween is an annual Western celebration based on Celtic pagan doctrines and traditionally applied to the evening of October 31st.
Celtics were a group occupying the area known now as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France about 2,000 years ago.
Halloween has clear connections with the Eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter as well as the first day of the New Year among ancient pagans of the British Isles (2nd century BC).
On this occasion, it was believed that supernatural forces gathered together and that the barriers between the supernatural and human worlds were broken.
They believed that spirits from other worlds, such as the souls of the dead were able to visit earth during this time and roam about.
When Christianity came to the British Isles, the church tried to take attention away from these pagan rituals by placing a Christian holiday on the same day.
The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, acknowledges the saints of the Christian faith in much the same way that Samhain had paid tribute to the pagan gods.
These traditions were brought to the United States by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland.