Valentine Day and the Islamic Perspective
Valentine Day is around the corner, it would be celebrated on Feb 14th. The stores are flooded with Valentine day’s gifts. The main symbol is a red heart, a heart full of love full of blood and full of warmth. Love is the most loveable, warmest experience of this world. This Valentine day was in a cold storage in Europe and Rome for centuries where it originally generated but it went on a popularity and height of elevation when the USA adopted it .Like all the other traditions now the whole world follows it blindly . Even in the countries like Pakistan, India or south Asia we were not aware of this tradition at all almost two three decades ago. It is celebrated with much more enthusiasm and fanfare now. It is considered a lovers day all around the world. Many plan their special occasions, engagements, and weddings especially taking place on that particular day.
These days are marketing days. The marketing agencies have made these a lot more attractive and lucrative with launching new and attractive products. Red roses especially, other red flowers, candies, cards, stuffed teddy bears, strawberries (being red and heart shaped) are in great demands for the valentine day. The common slogan is, Be my valentine.
This year it is estimated that about 16 billion $ would be spent on Valentine day gifts, cards and flowers. The more you spend the more economy flourishes.
According to Islam:
Is there any harm in love? Is love the most dangerous and lethal thing in this world? No not at all. Islam respects Love and affinity as the entire humans do on this earth. The only problem is that Islam only believes in legitimate love and relationships. Love between two spouses, between family members, between blood relations, between good friends. We very well know who these relations are with whom we can express our love. There are no special days in particular to show our love. We can show our love 24/7 to our ties.
Allah says in the Qur'an: "And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are signs for those who reflect." [Ar Room 30:21]
The key words in the verse are - Mawaddatan wa Rahmah - which translates as Love and Mercy. The interesting thing to note about this verse is to notice the location of this verse along with the verses that precede it and those that come after. Allah mentions His Signs (Night/Day, Heaven/Earth, and Man/Woman) and He puts the feeling of Love and Mercy between spouses in the same value as the creation of Heaven & Earth. Now then how can we ignore such a great Sign of Allah?
The Prophet (PBUH) once said about Khadija (RA),” I was verily filled with love for her.” This is how expressive our Prophet was, when he talked of love for his wife. However, today we find that many of us are shy to express our love. In fact, many consider it a sign of weakness to say "I love so and so" and they consider it a blow to their pride to tell their spouse, "I love you". But the Messenger (saw) was not shy to express his love of his wife. And notice that he didn't simply say, "I love her", but he said, "I was filled with love for her".
There is no such thing as love being forbidden in Islam, which encourages Muslims to love each other for the sake of Allah and express your love to your brother, but of course there are limitation to this, let us see Concept of Love in Islam Love is that beautiful feeling Allah (SWT) puts in the heart of a sincere, pious and god fearing couple at the time of their nikah. And this is a serious, long-term relationship in which both individuals are content and comfortable with one another.
Pagan origins of Valentine's Day
The first information about this day is found in pre-Christian Rome, when pagans would celebrate the "Feast of the Wolf" on February 15, also known as the Feast of Lupercalius in honour of Februata Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, Roman god of nature.
On this day, young women would place their names in an urn, from which boys would randomly draw to discover their sexual companion for the day, the year, and sometimes the rest of their lives. These partners exchanged gifts as a sign of affection, and often married.
When Christianity came onto the scene in Rome, it wanted to replace this feast with something more in line with its ethics and morality. A number of Christians decided to use February 14 for this purpose. This was when the Italian Bishop Valentine was executed by the Roman Emperor Claudius II for conducting secret marriages of military men in the year 270.
Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for young, single men, who made up his military. Valentine defied Claudius and performed marriages for young couples in secret. When his actions were revealed, Claudius put him to death. Another version of the story says that Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who helped Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
Valentine was arrested and sent to the prefect of Rome for this. He found that his attempts to make Valentine renounce his faith were useless, and so recommended he be beaten with clubs, and later beheaded. This took place on February 14, 270.
According to the Catholic encyclopedia, there are at least three different Saint Valentines, all of whom are Christian martyrs of February 14. One of them is described as a priest from Rome (as mentioned above), another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and the third from Africa.
It was in the year 496 that Pope Gelasius officially changed the February 15 Lupercalia festival to the February 14 St. Valentine's Day to give Christian meaning to a pagan festival. The holiday became popular in the United States in the 1800's during the Civil War. After the American adoption of this day it got popularized in Europe again. In rest of the world it reached in last 50 years with the blessings of media and attractive merchandize.
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
Cupid, the virtually naked, arrow-shooting character, which shoots people with its arrows to make them fall in love, is a remnant of Roman pagan times. Cupid is described as the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid's picture is frequently found on Valentine cards and other paraphernalia.
3. Imitation is strictly forbidden in Islam
If someone wants to celebrate it just on a family or spouses scale innocently, just to follow the tradition. It is not necessary to do it on Feb 14th. They can do it any day by exchanging gifts, love and emotions. It is because when you live in a country or a society where different traditions are followed, one feels tempted to it. Being a good Muslim It should be decided in the light of Quran and sunnah what is wrong and what is right.