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Custom of Shab-e-Barat and its link with orthodox Christianity

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Author Topic: Custom of Shab-e-Barat and its link with orthodox Christianity  (Read 2658 times)
TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
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« on: December 16, 2013, 07:24:23 am »

Some more information concerning the origin of the un-Quranic tradition of Shab-e-Barat.

I had asked for some information on Shab-e-Barat (Lailatul Barah) a couple of years ago or more, and Sisters Zeynab and Heba gave a very comprehensive account of what it actually is.  That helped to clear up a lot of confusion for me.

A few days ago while in the process of searching for recipes of some baked desserts, I happened to come across a certain information on orthodox Christian traditions which clearly seemed to trace the origin (or one of the origins) of what we call Shab-e-Barat or Lailatul Barah.  As already explained in the previous post, Shab-e-Barat and Lailatul Barah are the same.  South Asian Sunnis and Shiias refer to it as Shab-e-Barat while Shiia of Iran refer to it as Lailatul Barah.   

Shab-e-Barat which Muslims observe on 15th Shaban according to Hadith is the night of:

-  Night of forgiveness or atonement of sins.
-  The night to visit the graveyards of our deceased family members and friends.
-  And it's also supposed to be the night when the souls of deceased family and friends visit their loved ones. 

This concept of deceased visiting the earth comes from pagan religions.  It was a strong belief of people in Europe before Christianity.  Afterwards, when Christianity got corrupted, the Christians started believing in it again, calling it "all souls day" which they borrowed from their pagan past.  And of course,  all non-Divine kuffar religions also believe in this myth about soul coming to visit their families.  Needless to say, this concept is completely un-Quranic.

Christians, I happened to read in an article, observe November 2nd as "all saints day" which they also believe to be the "all souls day," similar to Shab-e-barat on 15th Shaban.  The orthodox Christian practice of "all souls day" on November 2nd first began in Britain and Ireland hundreds of years ago.

Connected with November 2nd, there is a British/Irish/European traditional cake called "soul cake."  This is a round flat biscuit like cake which used to be distributed among the poor on November 2 in the Victorian era.  These cakes, often simply referred to as "souls" were given out to beggars and children who would go from door to door on this day, saying prayers, singing the psalms and songs for the dead.  The traditional and corrupted Christian belief is that every single cake eaten would help to acquire salvation for every single departed soul, which would then be freed from "purgatory" according to their belief.  Therefore, it's also symbolic as the day for seeking forgiveness like Shab-e-Barat.  But as we know from the Noble Quran, there are no specific days or times for asking forgiveness from Allah Almighty.  We can turn to Allah at any time of any day.

According to Christian traditions of the "soul cake," a cross shape was drawn on the dough of  breads and cakes prior to baking as symbolic of being alms for the dead.
At present, since Christians in Western countries have turned very secular, they have merged this tradition with Halloween.  The distribution of 'soul cakes' to the poor has changed to the practice of  "trick & treet" when kids go door to door asking for candies disguised in weird clothes which is supposed to be their idea of fun.  Halloween has its own pagan roots about which believers need to be aware so that they don't let their kids participate in it.
Check the following links to learn of the Haram nature of Halloween:

Halloween - Halal or Haram?

Where does Halloween come from?  (Watch this video please).

This is the additional information concerning the origins of the deviated custom and Shab-e-barat, which is basically the Christian counterpart of Shab-e-Barat.  Though by and large in secular Christian societies "all souls day" has blended with Halloween, probably in orthodox Christian communities it is still observed on November 2nd as "all souls day."

Just for information, here is the link consisting of the image of soul cake.  I accidentally bumped into that website while searching for some baking recipes.

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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 11:50:33 am »

What a hotch potch these innovators and story-tellers make out of Faith and ruin it.  Allah will deal with them. 

That bit about "soul cake" is new information for me.  And neither did I know that this damn Halloween has been merged with 'all souls day.'  One lie topped with another. 

Very obviously, one of the ideologies of Shab-e-Baraat consists of similar ideas. 

I mean, it's fine giving food to the poor and needy .. the Quran has emphasized a lot on that .... but why do these people have to weave such stories which are nothing beyond the figments of their own imagination?  This attitude really nauseates me.

Many thanks for this thought-provoking write-up, sis Ruhi.  I read it with wrapped attention.
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 03:57:22 am »

Very interesting article sister Ruhi.  It's a useful additional info showing a link between Shab-e-barat and un-Islamic spiritual customs.   Cooking some specific kind of food in every such man-made religious occasion is also a typical innovation. Muslims of Pakistan, and probably Muslims of India too, usually cook halwa (South asian dessert) during Shab-e-barat.  Halwa is also supposed to be distributed to the poor as charity (but similar to Eid-al-Azha) the larger portion ends up on the tables of well-to-do friends and relatives who are absolutely in no need of charity.  That brings in a link of sorts with the so-called soul cake. 

I've also encountered many Muslims who acknowledge that Shab-e-barat is a complete deviation from the Quran, yet they say it's a positive gesture as it involves charity and renewing relations with relatives, neighbors and friends when you visit their homes to drop off a casserole of decorated halwa or visit the graveyard after midnight with them with the view that the departed souls of our beloveds will be waiting for you there.  Yet the discrepancy of the notion is by no means obscured with such excuses.  Charity, keeping in touch with relatives/neighbors and visiting the graveyard of departed loved ones to recite Fatiha to Allah are acts of kindness and piety that aren't fixed for any specific day or days.  If people want to spark off a picnic-like atmosphere, they can go ahead as a part of a certain day's schedule or simply in the name of socializing.  It's certainly gross to officially change the Religion of Allah with stories because you find it fun.  The same attitude as christmas and halloween.  The problem is that 99% of Muslims have no idea of the depth of transgression they commit when they invent tales and attribute them to Islam.  "Islam" strictly means submission to Allah alone.  One needs to be very careful to make sure that nothing is concocted in the name of that submission. 
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