"Allaah has chosen for us Islam as our religion and He will not accept any other religion from anyone, as He says: "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers."(Al Imran 3:85)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that groups of his ummah would follow the enemies of Allaah in some of their rituals and customs, as it says in the hadeeth of Abu Saeed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah 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 lizards hole, you would follow them. We said, O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians? He said, Who else?!(Narrated by al-Bukhaari 4/2054)
What the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) spoke of has indeed come to pass and has become widespread in recent times, in many of the Muslim countries. Many of the Muslims follow the enemies of Allaah in many of their customs and ways of behaving, and imitate them in some of their rituals and in celebrating their holidays.
In recent years, a new phenomenon has spread among the Muslim youth males and females alike which does not bode well. This is manifested in their imitation of the Christians in their celebration of the Valentines Day, which has led the scholars and daaiyahs to explain the rulings of shareeah concerning that, out of sincerity towards Allaah, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk, so that Muslims may have a clear understanding of this issue and so that they will not fall into that which will undermine the belief (aqeedah) with which Allaah has blessed them.
This is a brief discussion of the origins, development and purpose of this holiday, and what the Muslim should do with regard to it.
The story of the Festival of Love (Valentines Day)
The Festival of Love was one of the festivals of the pagan Romans, when paganism was the prevalent religion of the Romans more than seventeen centuries ago. In the pagan Roman concept, it was an expression of spiritual love.
There were myths associated with this pagan festival of the Romans, which persisted with their Christian heirs. Among the most famous of these myths was the Roman belief that Romulus, the founder of Rome, was suckled one day by a she-wolf, which gave him strength and wisdom.
The connection between Saint Valentine and this festival Saint Valentine is a name which is given to two of the ancient martyrs of the Christian Church. It was said that there were two of them, or that there was only one, who died in Rome as the result of the persecution of the Gothic leader Claudius, c. 296 CE. In 350 CE, a church was built in Rome on the site of the place where he died, to perpetuate his memory.
When the Romans embraced Christianity, they continued to celebrate the Feast of Love mentioned above, but they changed it from the pagan concept of spiritual love to another concept known as the martyrs of love, represented by Saint Valentine who had advocated love and peace, for which cause he was martyred, according to their claims. It was also called the Feast of Lovers, and Saint Valentine was considered to be the patron saint of lovers.
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 jailers daughter, but this was a secret because according to Christian laws, priests and monks were forbidden to marry or fall in love. 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.
Anyone who looks at what is said above about the myths surrounding this pagan festival will clearly understand the following:
Firstly: That its origins lie in the pagan beliefs of the Romans, where it was an expression of the spiritual love of the idols which they used to worship instead of Allaah. Whoever celebrates it is celebrating an occasion of shirk on which the idols are venerated. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers [al-Maaidah 5:72]
Secondly: That the development of this festival among the Romans was connected to myths and legends which no sound mind can accept, let alone the mind of the Muslim who believes in Allaah and His Messengers (peace be upon them). Can anyone of sound mind believe that a she-wolf suckled the founder of the city of Rome and gave him strength and wisdom. Moreover, these myths go against the belief (aqeedah) of the Muslim because the One Who bestows strength and wisdom is the Creator, may He be glorified and exalted, not the milk of a she-wolf! The same applies to the myth that their idols could protect them from evil or keep wolves away from their flocks.
Someone may ask: 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 Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Festivals are part of the laws, clear way and religious ceremonies of which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
'To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way [al-Maaidah 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. Festivals are the most distinctive things by which religions are told apart, so whoever celebrates their festivals is agreeing with the most distinctive rituals of kufr. Undoubtedly going along with them in their festivals may in some cases lead to kufr. Dabbling in these things, at the very least, is a sin. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah 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 Valentines 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. If every nation has its own festivals, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said Every nation has its Eid (narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim) then this means that every nation should be distinguished by its festivals. If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs exclusively to them, then no Muslim should join in with them, just as he does not share their religion or their direction of prayer.
2. Celebrating Valentines 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 Quraan, Allaah 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]
Allaah 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 Quraan refer to the Jews and hypocrites (munaafiqeen), then the People of the Book in general and the mushrikeen. Allaah tells us in the Quraan that imitating and obeying the kuffaar may constitute riddah (apostasy). Allaah 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 shareeah. Allaah sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion so that it might prevail over all other religions, and Allaah 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-Maaidah 5:3 interpretation of the meaning].
Some people may wonder, and say, you mean to deprive us of love, but in this day and age we express our feelings and emotions what is so wrong with that?
We it is a mistake to confuse what they call the day with what the real intentions are behind it. The love referred to on this day is romantic love, taking mistresses and lovers, boyfriends and girlfriends. It is known to be a day of promiscuity and sex for them, with no restraints or restrictions They are not talking of pure love between a man and his wife or a woman and her husband, or at least they do not distinguish between the legitimate love in the relationship between husband and wife, and the forbidden love of mistresses and lovers. This festival for them is a means for everyone to express love.
The Muslims attitude towards Valentines Day
From the above discussion, the Muslims attitude towards this holiday should be clear:
He should not celebrate it, or join others in their celebrations of it, or attend their celebrations, because of the evidence quoted above, which shows that it is forbidden to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar.
Al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs only to them, then the Muslim should not join them in that, just as he does not join them in their religion or their direction of prayer. (Tashabbuh al-Khasees bi Ahl al-Khamees, al-Hikmah magazine, 4/193).
Blogs Disclaimer: The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s). The blog is monitored with set guidelines. Inapproproate content should be reported on our forums for the attention of our moderators.