Controversy Trails Celebration Of Once-Banned Non-Islamic Festival, Halloween In Saudi Arabia
November 1, 2022
Halloween celebration in Saudi Arabia has once again ignited controversy over what is halal or haram in Islam, and raises serious concerns from many Muslims across the world on the (im)permissibility of emulating the West in celebrating a non-Islamic event attributed to paganism.
People dressed in costumes to celebrate Halloween during “Scary Weekend Event” at Boulevard, during Riyadh Season in Riyadh, October 28, 2022.
Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) celebrated the festival of Halloween alongside activities of the Riyadh Season 2022 between Thursday to Saturday, October 27 to 29.
Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority had planned the first and largest public celebration of Halloween ever, as it opened the spooky weekend with people wearing terrifying costumes, walking down Riyadh Boulevard, two days before the Americans’ Halloween celebrations.
The head of the General Authority for Entertainment, Advisor to the Saudi Royal Court, Turki Al-Sheikh, said through his Facebook account that “the atmosphere in the weekend is terrifying.”
The manifestations of the Halloween celebration on the streets of Riyadh indicate the change taking place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which used to arrest anyone who thought of reviving this “Western occasion”.
It is reported that in 2018, Saudi police raided a Halloween party and arrested people, and ordered women who were dressed in strange clothes to “cover themselves”.
Public Halloween celebrations began in the Saudi capital for the first time in 2021.
Halloween celebrations in Saudi Arabia, caused widespread controversy on social networking sites after pictures and videos of people dressed in costumes for Halloween surfaced.
The “#Weekend_horror” and “costume of evil” topped Twitter with lightning speed.
Halloween has once again ignited controversy over what is halal or haram to join the West in celebrating non-Islamic events. Some have said that Saudi Arabia is following the latest trends and that it is harmful to enjoy Halloween or any other celebration.
People opined that a country that doesn’t allow Mawlid Nabiyy (Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday) celebrates Halloween on the roads, definitely requires a course correction. Similar criticism is being issued by Muslims around the world.
Halloween is a holiday in America on October 31, 2022, when people celebrate by wearing costumes that mimic the heroes of horror films and superheroes.
The occasion is associated with the wearing of scary masks and clothes, and beings such as ghosts, witches, vampires, skeletons and black cats.
According to New York Times, the ‘frightening manifestations’ of the transformation that have taken place in the kingdom since the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, now heir to the throne and prime minister, began to rise to power in 2015 and began to get rid of social restrictions.
Prince Mohammed has also launched a campaign to develop entertainment options as a new economic sector away from oil.
Cinemas opened for the first time in decades, and a series of government-sponsored celebrations dominated the kingdom, most notably the Riyadh Season, an event that extends for months.
Besides the music festivals and sporting events that have begun to take place across the kingdom in recent years, Saudi Arabia is also promoting new attractions such as Al-Ula, an emerging arts centre in the north of the country.
It is also building a Walt Disney-style theme park called Qiddiya, and luxury Maldives-style resorts along the Red Sea, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Source: Muslim News Nigeria & Siasat.com