14th February is popularly known as ‘Valentine’s Day‘. Adolescent girls and boys express their love for each other by exchanging flowers and gifts as a token of love on this day.
Most of the times, these adolescents indulge in immoral acts under the pretext of ‘Valentine’s Day’. Does real love require this superficial display and can it be confined to just one day? ‘Valentine’s Day’ is responsible for the propagation of western culture and incitement of youth towards unrestrained behaviour. It is the western custom to put parents in old age homes and then celebrate flashy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day love which is put on display for just one day
The malls have been painted red. Roadside stalls have blossomed overnight bearing roses, and fluffy teddy bears that whisper soothing poetry to passers by. “Come on buy me, I need a special home and I cost a fortune.” This is Valentines days! Is this day a total gimmick, farce or just another way to smooch your cash away for that someone special and leave you with sweet nothing?
Today we are blindly following the western culture under the name of ‘Valentines Day’. The young students of schools and colleges are falling prey to such culture and express their love to each other by way of exchanging greeting cards. But actually speaking it is not love but a mere attraction to the opposite sex at a tender and immature age.
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine’s Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine”. Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine.
So…Valentine was Roman who refused to give up Christianity and some say that he was even a priest! Now the question is, why do Muslims celebrate this day, when it is totally contradictory to the teachings of the most perfect and beautiful and complete religion in the universe, Islam?
It boils down to societies norms and the digression from being on the straight narrow to a watered down version of Islam where the belief is that it’s acceptable to profess ones love on this Christian custom that has evolved not from past Muslim generations, but what the eyes perceive to be acceptable within society. In other words, celebrate the day or be a cast out…
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told us that groups of his ummah would follow the enemies of Allah in some of their rituals and customs, as it says in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him), who narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, span by span, cubit by cubit, until even if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would follow them.” We said, “O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?”
Because Valentine’s Day goes back to Roman times, not Islamic times, this means that it is something which belongs exclusively to the Christians, not to Islam, and the Muslims have no share and no part in it. If every nation has its own festivals, as the Prophet (SAW) said – “Every nation has its Eid” (narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim) – then this means that every nation should be distinguished by its festivals. If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs exclusively to them, then no Muslim should join in with them, just as he does not share their religion or their direction of prayer.
Some people may wonder, and say, you mean to deprive us of love, but in this day and age we express our feelings and emotions – what is so wrong with that? There is plenty wrong…
• There is no scientific or cultural basis to celebrating this day.
• Valentine the ‘saint’ himself was involved in the anti-national acts during his time, then how one can get any benefit by celebrating this day in his name?
• On this day young girls and boys come together at pubs, sea shores, hotels, colleges etc. and indulge in indecent acts. A common person finds it difficult to even go around such places at this time. Some organisations organize such programs where the young boys and girls can stay together.
• The young students of schools and colleges are falling prey to this alien cultural influence and express their ‘love’ for each other by way of exchanging greeting cards. In reality what they experience at this tender and immature age is not love but a mere superficial attraction to the opposite sex.
• Psychiatrists can site several cases of people who have ‘proposed’ on ‘Valentine’s day’ due to various shades of mental turmoil. Women who have been duped or lured by them and have married them have had to suffer great mental and physical torture.
• This practice is damaging as it results in a long lasting negative effect on any youth’s career and also on society. The seeds of immorality which are planted on this day, later cause the destabilization of society through a general fall in morality.
• We can recognize a direct attack from an enemy outside but this cultural invasion is insidious and very difficult to recognize and so it is difficult to defend ourselves from its evil results.
• Cultural derailment always results in society heading towards destruction.
• Many western countries do not celebrate this day. The Calendar of Roman Catholic Saints’ was prepared in 1969; ‘Valentine’s Day’ was omitted from the general Roman calendar. If this is so, then why should we honour this day in our Islam?
• Western culture provides for placing parents in ‘old age homes’ and then superficially celebrates Mother’s Day’ and Father’s Day’ for just one day! Can real love be limited to just a day?
Love in Islam is more general and more comprehensive; it is not restricted only to one kind of love, that between a man and a woman. There are many more kinds of love. There is the love of Allah, love of His Messenger (SAW) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them), love for good and righteous people, love and support for Islam, love of martyrdom for the sake of Allah. There are many kinds of love. It is a dangerous mistake to restrict this broad meaning to this one kind of love.
Expression of feelings and emotions is not a justification for the Muslim to allocate a day for celebration based on his own thoughts and ideas, and to call it a festival, or make it like a festival or Eid. So how about when it is one of the festivals of the kuffaar? In Islam, a husband loves his wife throughout the year, and he expresses that love towards her with gifts, in verse and in prose, in letters and in other ways, throughout the years – not just on one day of the year.
There is no religion which encourages its followers to love and care for one another more than Islam does. This applies at all times and in all circumstances, not just on one particular day. Indeed, Islam encourages us to express our emotions and love at all times, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him.” (narrated by Abu Dawood, 5124; al-Tirmidhi, 2329; it is saheeh). And he said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something that, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread (the greeting of) salaam amongst yourselves.” (Narrated by Muslim, 54)
Statistics indicate that Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas in popularity. So it is clear that the Feast of Love is one of the festivals of the Christians and that it is second only to the festival of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the Messiah. So it is not permissible for Muslims to join in the celebrations of this date, because we are commanded to differ from them in their religion, customs and other things that belong exclusively to them, as is stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah and scholarly consensus.
We ask Allah to protect Muslims from the harm of temptations and from the evil of their own selves and the plots of their enemies, for He is the All-hearing Who answers prayers. May Allah send blessings upon His slave and Messenger Muhammad (PBUH), and upon all his family and companions?