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An Islamic Perspective

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. 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!

Many schools, universities and clubs prepare elaborate functions and parties. Many will argue that Valentine’s Day is a day of joy and harmless fun. But is it really?

From an Islamic point of view Valentine’s day is wrong for the following reasons :

1. It invites people to the relentless pursuit of sexual freedom

In Islam, all forms of intimacy and passion are confined to the relationship of marriage. Anything beyond this is not acceptable. The culture of promoting the satisfaction of desires and passions in an uncontrolled manner is unhealthy.

Islam recognizes that we are human and can succumb to human weakness, so it has provided strict safeguards for our own sake. The Quran mentions clearly : “Do not come near to adultery. It is a great sin and an evil way.” (Surah Israa, Verse 32)

2. Valentine’s Day is based on pagan culture

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.

3. Imitation is strictly forbidden in Islam

Islam only has two special days of celebration – the two Eids. Tashabbuh (imitation) of any foreign culture or system that is opposed to Islam is prohibited. Islam is very sensitive about maintaining its purity and the unique identity of its followers. For example, Salaah is forbidden at the precise times of sunrise, midday, and sunset to eliminate the possibility of confusion with the practice of sun worship. When such care has been taken regarding worship what can we say regarding the celebration of a sinful occasion such as Valentine’s Day?

Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam 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 hadith of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri Radhiyallahu Anhu, who narrated that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam 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 asked, “O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He replied, “Who else?” (Bukhari)

Conclusion:

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 (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and his companions (Radhiyallahu Anhu), 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.

As Muslims we need to distance ourselves from such frivolous events. We should not participate in anything associated with Valentine’s Day nor should we encourage it in any way. As fathers and mothers we should pay attention to our children. We should ensure that we guard them from such activities by educating and monitoring them.

Remember that by participating in Valentine’s Day we are destroying our Islamic morals and standards of respect and dignity. Let us become the army of Allah not the army of Shaitaan.

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 (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam), and upon all his family and companions.


Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)