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CAN MUSLIMS PARTAKE IN VALENTINE'S DAY CELEBRATION?




By
Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy

INTRODUCTION 

In view of the prevalent types of Days being celebrated and commemorated in our contemporary time, it is imperative for us to consistently enlighten the Muslim ummah on the need to be steadfast in our deen and avoid anything that is capable of denting our acts of worship before Allaah. Among the Days widely marked and celebrated across the world today is 'Eid el Hubb', popularly know as 'Valentine's Day' which is celebrated on the 14th of February of every Gregorian Calendar Year. The whole world is warming up to celebrate yet another Valentine's Day in a couple of hours. In order to examine whether or not Valentine's Day is appropriate for Muslims to mark, recognize, celebrate or commemorate, we need to ask ourselves these germane questions;

1. What is the genesis of Valentine's Day celebration?

2. What is the import or purpose of the celebration?

3. What is the Islamic position on Valentine's Day celebration? 

ORIGIN AND PURPORT OF VALENTINE'S DÀY CELEBRATION 

A critical research on the above questions would afford us the opportunity of knowing whether or not Muslims can celebrate Valentine's Day in whatever form. According to Wikipaedia's historical records, Saint Valentine's Day, which is also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them. St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyrologies.  A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire . According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell. 

Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on July 6 and July 30, the former date in honour of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni). In Brazil, the Dia de São Valentim is recognized on June 12. The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages , when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In the 18th Century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery , and sending greeting cards (known as " valentines "). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid . Since the 19th Century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards . [1]

ISLAM AND VALENTINE'S DAY: ANY CONNECTION?

As we can see from the above historical background, Valentine's Day does not have any bearing or connection to Islaam and its genesis is either pagan or Christian in nature. It is clear that the Prophet  صلى الله عليه وسلم did not bequeath this practice to us. The Qur'an consists of 114 chapters and there is no portion therein where Allaah says we should celebrate love on yearly basis. In the same vein, there is no where in the thousands of hadiths reported from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم where he said we should celebrate love on yearly basis. Instead, the Qur'an warn us against innovations in the deen and blind followership of the practices of the kuffaar. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says:

And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad ) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment [2]

In another verse, Allah says:

Say: if you love Allah, follow me and He will love you and forgive you your wrong actions [3]

The above verses show that we must be obedient to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. We cannot know what Allah سبحانه وتعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم want except we learn it or ask the scholars of the Deen. Many Muslim Brothers and Sisters have already put themselves into this mess for a long time, and may not be able to get out of it easily. Some have even bought tickets for one party or the other. If you are among this kind of people, you need to see what Allah says here:

It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when Allah has made a decree, that he or she should create an option. Whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, is in plain error [4]

This Quranic verse shows that we have no option than to abide by Allah's dictates and the instructions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. My Sister, my Brother, you might not know before that Valentine's Day celebration amounts to imitating the Kuffar in their deen and hence haram. Now, you have known. It is left to you to amend. Do not take any gift in respect of it, do not give gift with the intention of celebrating it. May Allah count us among those that listens to beneficial advice and abide by it accordingly. Further more on the significance of following the path of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, the Rosul was reported to have said,

When I forbid you to do something, avoid it. When I command you to do something, then do it as much as you are able [5]

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

All of my community will enter the Garden except for those who refuse to." They asked, "O Messenger of Allah, who will refuse?" He replied, "Whoever obeys me will enter the Garden. Whoever rebels against me has refused [6]

Some Muslim think the practice of Islam is boring or unlively because of so b many restrictions. It is important to note that Islam is not boring. Islam is interesting and wonderful when practiced according to sunnah. It is permissible to enjoy life within the bounds of the shari'ah. It depends on individual's level of Islamic orientation and fear of Allah. There are many ways we can enjoy ourselves without breaking the rules of the shar'iah. We can practice a beautiful and highly interesting Islam devoid of fahshaa' (indecency), munkar (detested things) , bid'ah (innovation), tashbbuh (imitation , of the disbelievers) and shirk (polytheism). Let us make Islam easy for ourselves by learning and following its rules and regulations as laid down in Kitab wa Sunnah in accordance with the understanding of the salaf. If Al-jannah is our ultimate goal, we must strive to get it by all possible means and enjoy forever. May Allah protect us against the punishment of hell-fire.

Apart from the fact that celebrating Valentine's Day has unislamic origin, it promotes promiscuity and illicit sexual relationship in our society. Especially our Sisters, they always make sure they get at least one "maga" as they do call them, before February 14th, to mark the shameless festival with them. Islam is totally against this. Instead of doing anything special on 14th February of every year, why not chose another day to have fun with your legal lover, and stop spreading mischief on the land.

ISLAMIC PERCEPTION OF LOVE

Love between husband and wife is not meant to be celebrated yearly basis. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم enjoins it at all time. Islam also encourage Muslims to love themselves all the time and assist themselves in times of difficulty. Concerning good treatment of our women, Allah says:

Live together with them correctly and courteously [7]

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم also buttressed the statement of Allah in that verse with many hadiths. For instance, Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه reported that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

A believing man should not hate a believing woman. If he dislikes something in her character, he should be pleased with some other or another trait of hers [8]

In another hadith, 'Amr ibn al-Ahwas al-Jushami رضي الله عنه reported that he heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says during the Farewell Hajj after praising and glorifying Allah, and reminding and admonishing:  
Treat your women well. They are as captives in your possession. You have no rights over them except that [i.e. physical enjoyment and that they protect their husband's interest in respect of themselves and his property]. If they act licentiously in an open way, then leave them alone in their beds and beat them but not severely. If they obey you, you have no way against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your right over them is that they do not allow into your bed those you dislike and do not permit those you dislike to enter your house. Their right over you is that you are good to them in respect of their clothes and food [9]

Similarly, Mu'awiya ibn Hayda رضي الله عنه said, "I asked, 'Messenger of Allah  صلى الله عليه وسلم  what is the right of someone's wife over him?' He said: 

That you feed her when you eat and clothe her when you clothe yourself and do not strike her face. Do not malign her and do not keep apart from her, except in the house [10]

Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه stated equally stated, "The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you are those who are the best to their women [11]

These hadiths can be found in Riyadus Soliheen of Imam An-nawawi Chapter 34 where the noble Sheikh gathered hadith dealing with 'Treating women well'. But it is unfortunate that we don't read the books of Hadith and see the beauty of Islam. We are just interested in the "lizard hole" of the Christians and the Jews that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم warn us against. 

On the other hand, women are also expected to show love to their husbands in return by being obedient, submissive and trustworthy. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

Whenever a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses (without tangible reason), the angels curse her until morning [12]

In another hadith, the Rosul صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

And that she should not admit anyone to his house except with his permission [13]

The kind of permission referred to here does not have to be explicit for every individual. If the wife knows or has sufficient reason to believe that her husband would not object to a particular individual, then she may allow them into the house. But generally, she shouldn't allow strangers to invade her privacy unnecessarily. These and many other things explained by the scholars are parts of the things that promotes love between couples, not necessarily a day celebration. There are many couples who celebrate Valentine's Day just for the sake of it. They only give and receive gifts, they do not have the taste of real love, care and affection that any fruitful relationship should have. They are just pretending as if things are moving fine. But in the real sense of it, they are in deep crisis.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, by discouraging people from partaking in Valentine's Day Celebration, we might have offended some people, most especially ladies because they take it more serious than men. But it is better to offend human beings than to offend Allah. The message here is clear, let us practice our religion in the best manner it should be practiced. May Allah continue to guide us aright.

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End Notes

1. You need to read the full gist on Valentine's Day on Wikipaedia
2. Q59: 7
3. Q3: 31
4. Q33: 36
5. Muslim and Al-Bukhari
6. Al-Hakim
7. Q4:19
8. Muslim
9. At-Tirmidhi
10. Abu Dawud
11. At-Tirmidhi
12. Al-Bukhari
13. Muslim & Bukhari


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