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VALENTINE’S DAY


There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Valentine’s Day is a Roman festival, which continued to be celebrated until after the Romans became Christian. This festival became connected with the saint known as Valentine who was sentenced to death on 14 February 270 CE. It was also said concerning the origins of this holiday that when the Romans became Christian, after Christianity had become widespread, the Roman emperor Claudius II decreed in the third century CE that soldiers should not get married, because marriage would distract them from the wars they used to fight. This decree was opposed by Saint Valentine, who started to perform marriages for the soldiers in secret. When the emperor found out about that, he threw him in jail and sentenced him to execution. In prison, he (Saint Valentine) fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, but this was a secret because according to Christian laws, priests and monks were forbidden to marry or fall in love.

 

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".  But he is still regarded highly by the Christians because of his steadfastness in adhering to Christianity when the emperor offered to pardon him if he forsook Christianity and worshipped the Roman gods; then he would be one of his closest confidantes and he would make him his son-in-law. But Valentine refused this offer and preferred Christianity, so he was executed on 14 February 270 CE, on the eve of February 15, the festival of Lupercalis. So this day was named for this saint. In The Story of Civilization, it says that the Church devised a calendar in which every day was designated as the feast day of one of the saints.

 

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 honor St. Valentine.

 

Miss Esther Howland of United States in 1847, was given credit for popularizing the first Valentine’s Day greeting cards. She named her business “THE NEW ENGLAND VALENTINE COMPANY”. Later she was called as “THE MOTHER OF THE AMERICAN VALENTINE”

 

Table of Contents

 

Festivals in Islam

There are basically two festivals in Islam i.e., Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Even Friday and the day of Arafah also known as Eid day. Any other festivals that have to do with a person, a group, an event or anything else are innovated festivals, which it is not permissible for Muslims to observe, approve of or express joy on those occasions, or to help others to celebrate them in any way, because that is transgressing the sacred limits of Allah, and whoever transgresses the sacred limits of Allah has wronged himself. If the fabricated festival is also a festival of the kuffaar, then the sin is even greater, because this is imitating them and it is a kind of taking them as close friends, and Allah has forbidden the believers to imitate them and take them as close friends in His Book.

 

It is not permissible for a Muslim to celebrate any of the festivals of the kuffaar, because festivals come under the heading of shari’ah issues which are to be based on the sound texts.  Thus regardless of which story is accurate or which legend one wishes to believe, it is certain that Valentine’s Day has its origin based on a pagan culture, and paganism has absolutely no basis in Islam.  It does not behove a believer, who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day to celebrate or commemorate pagan rites and rituals and festivals, thus it would be best and purest if the believers feared Allah and absolutely rejected this pagan celebration and abstained from it.

 

Qur’aan

“To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way” Qur’an.Surah Maa’idah 5:48

 

“For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow” Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:67

 

“….When you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers.” Qur’an.Surah Maa’idah 5:5

 

Hadith

It was narrated that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: When the Messenger of Allah  came to Madina, they had two days when they would play. He said: “What are these two days?” They said: “We used to play on these days during the Jaahiliyyah.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has given you instead of them two days that are better than them: the day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr.” Abu Dawood 1134 This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood and Musnad Ahmad Vol 3: 103, 178 and 235.

 

This indicates that festivals are among the characteristics by which nations are distinguished, and it is not permissible to celebrate the festivals of the ignorant and the mushrikeen (polytheists). 

 

And the Prophet 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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?!” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari in al-I’tisaam bi’l-Kitaab wa’l-Sunnah, Baab Qawl al-Nabi (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) La tattabi’unna Sanan man kaana qablakum, 8/151; and by Muslim in Kitaab al-‘Ilm, Baab Ittibaa’ Sanan al-Yahood wa’l-Nasaara, 4/ 2054) [1]

 

Statistics

Now let us look at the state of affairs in western societies where Valentine’s Day is celebrated, and ask, what is the state of marriage relationships in those societies, and do these celebrations have any positive effect on interactions between husbands and wives? Their own studies and statistics show the following:

1- In an American study done in 1407 AH/1987 CE, it states that 79% of men beat their womenfolk, especially if they are married…! (al-Qabas newspaper, 15/2/1988).


2- A study carried out by the National American Office for Mental Health states the following: - 17% of women who go to emergency rooms are victims of beatings by their husbands or boyfriends. - 83% of those who have previously been admitted to hospital at least once for treatment of injuries, were admitted as a result of beating. The study added that there are more women who do not go to hospital for treatment, but deal with their injuries at home.

3- In a report of the Central American Agency for Examination [FPT] it states that every 18 seconds there is a woman who is beaten by her husband somewhere in America.

4- American Time magazine stated that around 4,000 wives out of approximately 6 million who are beaten die as a result of that beating.

5- In a German study it said that no less that 100,000 women annually are exposed to acts of physical or psychological abuse on the part of their husbands or the men they live with. The real figure may exceed one million.

6- In France, approximately 2 million women face beatings.

7- In Britain, in an opinion poll in which 7,000 women took part, 28% of them said that they had been subjected to attacks by their husbands and boyfriends.  [2]
 

Study

According to the study, 88 percent of marriages which take place after a love affair end with failure, i.e., with a success rate of not more than 12 percent. As for what it called “the traditional marriage”, according to the study, 70 percent are successful.

 

In other words, the number of successful marriages in the so-called traditional marriage is six times more than love marriages.[Risaalah Ila Mu’minah]

 

This study is confirmed by another similar one carried out by Syracuse University in the U.S. The study indicates beyond doubt that love or passion is not a guarantee for a successful marriage; rather, it often leads to failure. The alarming rates of divorce assert these facts.

 

Commenting on this phenomenon, Professor Saul Gordon, a lecturer at the aforementioned University said, "When you are in love; to you the whole world revolves around this person whom you love. Marriage then comes to prove the opposite and destroy all your perceptions. This is because you discover that there are other worlds that you have to be aware of. It is not the world of humans, but the world of concepts, values and habits which you paid no attention to before."

 

Frederick Koenig, a professor of social psychology at Tulane University, says, "Romantic love is very strong and emotional, but does not last, while real love is linked to the land and life and can withstand trials." He adds, "It is impossible that one adapts the powerful emotions in romantic love. This love seems like a cake, a person enjoys eating it [while it lasts], then it is followed by the period of downfall. While real love means sharing the concerns of daily life and cooperation for it to continue. Within the framework of this cooperation, one can achieve his human need." [Al-Qabas Newspaper: Quoted from Risaalah Ila Hawwaa’]

 

The love which the writer talks about and calls “real life” was expressed in the Quran as affection. Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {And of His Signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.}[Quran 30: 21] [3]

 

Scholars view

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah(may Allah have mercy on him) said: Festivals are part of sharee’ah, clear way and rituals such as the qiblah (direction faced in Salah), prayer and fasting. There is no difference between their participating in the festival and their participating in all other rituals. Joining in fully with the festival is joining in with kufr (disbelief), and joining in with some of its minor issues is joining in with some of the branches of kufr. Indeed, festivals are one of the most unique features that distinguish various religions and among their most prominent symbols, so joining in with them is joining in with the most characteristic and prominent symbols of kufr. No doubt joining in with this may lead to complete kufr.                                                 

 

Partially joining in, at the very least, is disobedience and sin. This was indicated by the Prophet when he said: “Every people has its festival and this is our festival.” Sahih Al Bhukari vol 5: 268. As for the festival and its rituals, this is part of the religion which is cursed along with its followers, so joining in with it is joining in with something that is a cause of incurring the wrath and punishment of Allah. Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/207). 

 

He also said (may Allah have mercy on him): It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in anything that is uniquely a part of their festivals, whether it be food, clothing, bathing, lighting fires, refraining from a regular habit, doing acts of worship or anything else. It is not permissible to give a feast or to give gifts, or to sell anything that will help them to do that for that purpose, or to allow children and others to play games that are part of the festivals, or to wear one’s adornments. The Muslims should not do any of their rituals at the time of their festivals; rather the day of their festival should be like any other day for the Muslims. The Muslims should not do anything specific in imitation of them. Majmoo al-Fataawa (25/329).

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen(may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: 

In recent times the celebration of Valentine’s Day has become widespread, especially among female students. It is a Christian festival where people dress completely in red, including clothes and shoes, and they exchange red flowers. We hope that you can explain the ruling on celebrating this festival, and what your advice is to Muslims with regard to such matters; may Allah bless you and take care of you. 

 

He replied: 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day is not permissible for a number of reasons.  

1-     It is an innovated festival for which there is no basis in Islam.

 

2-     It promotes love and infatuation.

 

3-     It calls for hearts to be preoccupied with foolish matters that are contrary to the way of the righteous Pious Predecessor (may Allah be pleased with them). 

 

It is not permissible on this day to do any of the things that are characteristic of this festival, whether that has to do with food, drinks, clothing, exchanging gifts or anything else. The Muslim should be proud of his religion and should not be a weak character who follows every X Y Z. I ask Allah to protect the Muslims from all temptations, visible and invisible, and to protect us and guide us. Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (16/199), Written by Muhammad Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen on 5/11/1420 hijri.

 

Why do we Muslims not celebrate this festival?

This question may be answered in several ways:

1. In Islam, the festivals are clearly defined and well established, and no additions or subtractions may be accepted. They are an essential part of our worship and there is no room for ijtihaad or personal opinion. They have been prescribed for us by Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Festivals are part of the laws, clear way and religious ceremonies of which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way [al-Maa’idah 5:48] ‘For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow’ [al-Hajj 22:67] like the qiblah (direction faced in prayer), prayer and fasting. So there is no difference between joining them in their festival and joining them in their other rituals. Agreeing with the whole festival is agreeing with kufr. Agreeing with some of their minor issues is the same as agreeing with them in some of the branches of kufr.



The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) referred to the fact that every nation has its own festivals when he said: ‘Every nation has its own Eid and this is our Eid’ (al-Bukhaari , 952, Muslim, 1892).” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/471-472) 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.

 

2. Celebrating Valentine’s Day means resembling or imitating the pagan Romans, then the Christian People of the Book in their imitation of the Romans in something that was not a part of their religion. If it is not allowed to imitate the Christians in things that really are part of their religion – but not part of our religion – then how about things which they have innovated in their religion in imitation of idol-worshippers?!

Imitating the kuffaar in general –whether they are idol-worshippers or People of the Book – is haraam, whether that imitation is of their worship – which is the most serious form – or of their customs and behaviour. This is indicated by the Qur'an, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus):

(i) From the Qur'an: Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:105]

(ii) From the Sunnah: the Prophet said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Musnad Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawood, 4021) Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) said: “This hadeeth at the very least indicates that it is haraam to imitate them, although the apparent meaning implies that the one who imitates them is a kaafir, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’ [friends and helpers]), then surely, he is one of them’ [al-Maa’idah 5:51].” (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/722-725)

(iii) With regard to ijmaa’, Ibn Taymiyah narrated that there was agreement that it is haraam to imitate the kuffaar in their festivals at the time of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them), and Ibn al-Qayyim narrated that there was scholarly consensus on this point. (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/454; Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 2/722-725) Allah has forbidden imitation of the kuffaar; He has described it as hateful and has warned against the consequences of that, in many aayahs, on many occasions, and in various ways, especially imitation of the kuffaar. Sometimes He does that by forbidding following them or obeying them; sometimes by warning against them or being deceived by their plots, following their opinions, or being influenced by their actions, conduct or attitude. Sometimes He does that by mentioning some of their characteristics that will put the believers off from them and from imitating them. Most of the warnings in the Qur'an refer to the Jews and hypocrites (munaafiqeen), then the People of the Book in general and the mushrikeen. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that imitating and obeying the kuffaar may constitute riddah (apostasy). Allah also forbids following them, obeying them, or following their whims and desires and bad characteristics. Prohibition of imitating the kuffaar is one of the basic principles of sharee’ah.

 

Allah sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion so that it might prevail over all other religions, and Allah has perfected His religion for mankind: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al- Maa’idah 5:3. Allah has made Islam cover all (human) interests at all times and in all places and for all people. So there is no need to adopt the ways of the kuffaar or imitate them. Imitation causes defects in the Muslim personality, such as feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, weakness and defeatism, then it leads to shunning and keeping away from the path and laws of Allah. Experience has shown that admiration for the kuffaar and imitation of them causes people to love them, have complete faith in them and take them as friends and helpers, and to reject Islam and its people, its heroes, its legacy and values, and become ignorant of all of that.

 

3. The purpose of Valentine’s Day in these times is to spread love between all people, believers and disbelievers alike. Undoubtedly it is haraam to love the kaafirs. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people)…” [al-Mujaadilah 58:22] Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Allah tells us that there is no believer who takes a kaafir as a close friend. Whoever takes a kaafir as a close friend is not a believer. Outward imitation may be taken as a sign of love, so it is haraam.” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/490).

 

4. The love referred to in this festival ever since the Christians revived it is romantic love outside the framework of marriage. The result of that is the spread of zinaa (fornication and adultery) and immorality. Hence the Christian clergy opposed it at some stage and abolished it, then it came back again. Most of the young people celebrate it because it lets them fulfil their desires, without thinking of the issues of imitation and resembling that are involved. Look at this tragedy, where they go so far as to commit major sins such as zinaa and the like, by imitating the Christians in something which is part of their worship and which may even be kufr.

 

So how can we believe that Valentine’s Day is of any benefit to married couples? The truth is that it is a call for more permissiveness and immorality, and the forming of forbidden relationships. The husband who sincerely loves his wife does not need this holiday to remind him of his love. He expresses his love for his wife at all times and on all occasions. [4]

 

References

[1] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/books/83

[2] http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/valentinesday.htm

[3] http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=156581

[4] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/books/83

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