Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween Confusion

“…God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.” I John 1:5b
Shuddering, Nabila looked dubiously at a miniature ornamental pumpkin I gave her and groaned, “Oh no… it’s about Halloween.” It obviously didn’t take much to trigger her fear of Halloween.

Hussein begged his mom about getting his face painted and being dressed up like a zombie. Amal would not hear of it but he kept begging. She asked me what I thought about it.

Not all my Muslim friends are frightened by Halloween. Ayaan ushered me into her house and said her mother went to the Dollar Store to get Halloween stuff and would be back shortly.  Her mom came home with masks, pitch fork, and black witches’ hats. Ayaan was so excited and got dressed up placing the hat over her hijab and jokingly announced, “I’m the devil!” 
Generally speaking I have observed that when Muslims are new to our country they often are bewildered by Halloween customs. They are confronted with fictitious graves in front yards, splattered blood, witches, skeletons, spider webs, masks, and ghost figures floating around in banks, stores, schools, yards, etc. It is very strange and scary to them. In the beginning Zahra didn’t want to send her children to school where they would hear scary stories. This year her children will be constructing a mini haunted house in their classroom and they can’t wait for the fun. After a few years of settling here, like Ayaan, they usually lose their initial fears and enter into the Halloween spirit and fun of dressing up and collecting candy. While children view it all as a big joke their mothers don’t always welcome Halloween.
While Westerners, including many Christians, are not very conscious of the world of evil spirits and witches and sorcerers, Muslims, generally speaking, are keenly aware of the invisible world where jinn live and move and whom they believe can cause harm and be easily provoked. Any reminder of the dark invisible world(or animistic rites) frightens them. Even though my Muslim friends declare Allah is great  and has all power, in reality, their underlying fears indicate that the power of Satan and evil spirits loom larger. 

I find Halloween to be one of the most productive times for witnessing to my Muslim friends. Instead of dismissing their fears I try to get them to talk about them and then bring in the Good News of how Jesus Christ, our Savior, has the authority and power over Satan and evil spirits. There are many good Bible stories to share about how Jesus has victory over the evil spirits.   
Dear heavenly Father, please help me to use the opportunities Halloween brings to speak of how Jesus has the authority and power over Satan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.