Okay…so it’s that time of the year again. When they say that ‘love’ is in the air. The time when you see ‘RED’ everywhere…..red hearts, red candy, red flowers and red roses. And when you walk into the stores you see chocolates, and jewelry and gifts for that ‘someone special’ you know. This is the time when the old and the young, and even kids, as young as those in elementary school, exchange valentine cards and ‘love notes’ amongst themselves.And why is all this?Because it’s “Valentine’s Day”…that’s why.
But the sad calamity is, that even us Muslims are doing this. And its not just in the West. Those living in Muslim countries are just as involved. They too, are exchanging cards and gifts and love notes. They too, are celebrating Valentine’s Day, But what is this “Valentine’s Day” after all? Have we ever thought about it? What is the story behind it? What does celebrating “Valentine’s Day” really mean? Where does this fit in a Muslim’s life? In fact, does it even fit in it at all?
Looking at the Qur’aan and Sunnah, one should realize that we should not be celebrating it in the first place, because it is a celebration of the non-Muslims. Whatever we need to celebrate has been prescribed to us by Allaah and His Messenger (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) and it is prohibited to celebrate anything else. That is why And Allaah said: ”For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow.” [Surah al-Hajj:67]
And the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said: ‘Every nation has its own Eid (celebration) and this is our Eid (meaning Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha). ’ (al-Bukhaari, Muslim)
But, even if this Divine command was not there, it still would not be appropriate for a Muslim to celebrate Valentine’s Day.Why is that? Because, if you really think about it, what this day promotes and revolves around, goes against the very basic principles of Islaam. What this day encourages, cuts at the very roots of what our religion teaches us. Let us see what some of these differences are:
1. Allaah commands us to lower our gaze and not look at the opposite gender.
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts….And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts…” Surah al-Noor :30-31)
But Valentine’s Day encourages people to deliberately look and stare and seek out the ‘one’ that you find attractive and pick him/her as your valentine.
2. Allaah orders the Muslim women not to talk unnecessarily or in a soft manner to strange men. “….then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery) should be moved with desire” (Surah al-Ahzaab :32)
Even for the Sahaabah, Allaah ordered them to screen themselves from the wives of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) when they need to ask them something. Who could be purer than the wives of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) and who could be higher in taqwa than the Sahaabah?
”And when you ask (the Prophet’s wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. (Surah al-Ahzaab: 53)
Yet, for Valentine’s Day, you see young men and women who are absolutely not mahram for one another in any way whatsoever, going way beyond this prohibition. Not only are they talking to each other in a soft and flirtatious way, but they are right out expressing their ‘love’ (in reality, lust) for each other.
3. The Sunnah prohibits a man and a woman from being alone together at any time. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him not be alone with a woman who has no mahram present, for the third one present will be the Shaytaan.” (Ahmad — saheeh by al-Albaani)
But those who celebrate Valentine’s Day purposely seek to be alone with each other and go out on dates with each other while Allaah says: “And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Faahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits: a great sin, and an evil way that leads one to hell unless Allaah Forgives him)” (al-Isra’ :32)
4. Islaam prohibits a man to even touch a non-mahram woman. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said: “If one of you were to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle, that would be better for him than his touching a woman who is not permissible for him.” (al-Tabaraani –saheeh by al-Albaani)
But Valentine’s Day promotes more than just touching. It promotes hugging, kissing, cuddling and much more. May Allaah protect us.
5. Islaam teaches us that real love between a man and a woman, that is acceptable and allowed by Allaah is only that between a husband and his wife.
“And of His signs is that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you might reside with them, and has put love and mercy between you. Surely, there are signs in this for those who think. (al-Room: 21)
But Valentine’s Day endorses haraam relationships between a non-mahram man and woman and encourages illicit love and un-Islaamic affiliations. 6. Islaam tells us that Hayaa’ (modesty) and bashfulness are a jewel to be treasured.It is a purity and innocence that is a virtue, regardless for a man or a woman. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said: “Hayaa’ (modesty) is a branch of faith.” (Bukhaari)
On the other hand, this Valentine’s day advocates nothing but shamelessness and immodesty. Young men and women who have no hayaa for Allaah, leave alone for each other, openly and shamelessly, ask each other to ‘be their love’ or be their ‘valentine’. Subhaan Allaah! Conclusion:We, as Muslims, should not be celebrating Valentine’s day, nor is it allowed for us to do so. Everything that this day revolves around and is associated with is totally against the pure and pristine teachings of Allaah and His Messenger (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam).
One shouldn’t even congratulate one another or commemorate this day in any way or form. Even if this celebration is between a husband and wife, it is not right to do so because it is a celebration of the non-Muslims. And of course, if it is an illicit relationship, then obviously it is haraam. We should adhere to the limits set by Allaah, and not transgress them just because we see other people doing so. May Allah guide us and enable us to be true Muslims who submit earnestly and sincerely to Allaah and His Orders. Ameen.
”O you who believe! Fear Allaah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Surah al-Hashr:18)
Al Huda Institute, Canada
Asma binte Shamim