By: Hana Hassan, 5th Year Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University
Well yes folks, it’s that time of the year again. Let us embrace the clichés and get down to business. Looking at the question above, the answer is simply yes. Now we shall find out why.
In order to understand why this seemingly harmless event managed to list itself as a no-no amongst Muslim celebration, one must look into the sentiments behind the Valentine’s celebration and its relation with the Islamic faith and understanding.
THE HISTORY OF VALENTINE’S DAY
We shall start with a very quick and brief history of Valentine’s Day itself. There are a few versions of the history behind the celebration but we’ll go with the most renowned one here.
Saint Valentine was a priest serving the Christian church during the third century in Rome. During the time, there was an emperor, Emperor Claudius II who outlawed marriage for young men with the reason that single men made better soldiers compared to those with wives and families. St. Valentine, seeing the injustice in this, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, he was ordered to death and was decapitated.
There are claims that the Christian church decided to place St. Valentine’s Day in the middle of February in order to Christianize the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia is a festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
This may be a short history of the V day, but it is clear as day that there is absolutely no association what so ever with our Islamic beliefs and culture.
RELATIONS WITH ISLAM
1. Festivals are one of the ways to tell religions apart. When Ramadhan is mentioned, one automatically thinks of Islam, the same way Hindu pops in mind when Thaipusam is uttered. Simply from the history mentioned in the previous paragraphs, we have no business meddling with a Christian celebration that links us not even one bit to our religion.
“For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform.”
Taking part in their festivals is the same as taking part in their rituals. This act of imitation displays agreement in their disbelief and doing so puts us in the wrong. Why are we so worried about disappointing and so keen to please others until we succumb to executing rituals that are against our beliefs? Your non-Muslim friends are humans too. Explain to them properly on why you do not celebrate the celebrations that they do.
“And whoever is an ally to them (Christians and Jews) among you, then indeed, he is one of them.”
Islam by itself already highly promotes care and the expression of love at all times in a man’s life. The kind of love we are talking about here is pure and is not only restricted between men and women. Our love revolves around a larger and greater scope.
Anas relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
The hadith above does not mean a man is not a believer when he does not love another, but instead shows that a Muslim is incomplete in his faith without love for his fellow brothers.
4. Regardless of its history, Valentine’s Day nowadays has definitely turned into a day where lovers exchange vows of love and indulge in promiscuous acts. Even an ‘innocent’ act of going out on a date in public can shake the core of one’s faith and pace the way towards the start of many wrong-doings. We, who have the responsibility of preserving our men’s aqidah absolutely, cannot allow these conducts to go on.
“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.”
[Quran 17: 32]
So, going back to the question from the title, yes, Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a taboo amongst the Muslim culture; even if our Muslim society has yet to defy strongly against it. Thus, let us educate and correct ourselves and fellow Muslimins towards practising life in accordance to the peaceful teachings of Islam.