All people have a culture and Islam too has its own culture. Islam guides towards the notion that every single day one is blessed to be alive is a day of celebration and a cause to be grateful and thankful to Allah for his innumerable blessings and favors. Islam has nominated its own special days of joyous commemoration and celebration, namely the two blessed days of Eid (Eid-Ul-Fitr and Eid-Ul-Adha) and every Friday of the week.
Before following anything we should know two things:
- Its origin
- Whether it is permissible in Islamic beliefs
Islam commands its followers to avoid many things because:
- They contradict some of the concepts in which a Muslim is supposed to believe
- They are immoral or unethical or unhealthy or because they represent disobedience to the devotional duties
The story behind Valentine’s Day
There was a person by name Valentine. He was a priest. He lived in Rome during the third century. At that time, Rome was ruled by an Emperor named Claudius. He didn’t like Emperor Claudius, and he wasn’t the only one. A lot of people shared his feelings.
Emperor Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families, so not many men turned up. This made Claudius furious. He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So he decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. St.Valentine was preposterous; he wasn’t going to support this law.
One of his favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed a law, he kept on performing marriage ceremonies secretly. One night, he heard the footsteps of the solders when he was getting a couple married. The couple managed to escape in time but he was caught by the soldiers and was thrown in the jail and was sentenced to death.
Many young people came to the jail to visit him. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they too believed in love. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed his to visit him in the cell. Sometimes she would sit and talk for hours. She helped him to keep us his spirits. She agreed that he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day when he had to die, he left a little note to the prisoner’s daughter thanking for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love from your Valentine.”
That day that note started the custom of exchange love messages on Valentine’s Day. I was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 AD.
How did it become popular in India?
Valentine’s Day became popular in India due to two reasons:
- Adoption of western culture – India does what the western countries do. Thus India adopted the same culture what was followed in the west.
- Promotion of Valentine’s Day by greeting card and gift companies – Once the greeting card and gift companies smelt that there is a huge market in India to tap, they started promoting Valentine’s Day, especially among the youth. And we all can see the result today.
It was just business tactics and nothing else.
Islam does recognize happy occasions that bring people closer to one another, and add spice to their lives. However, Islam goes against blindly imitating the West regarding a special occasion such as Valentine’s Day. Islam requires all Muslims to love one another all over the whole year, and reducing the whole year to a single day is not correct.
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.
The following are the Hadiths which are against adopting other cultures:
- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “He does not belong to us who imitates other people.” (Tirmidhi)
- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘He who copies any people is one of them.’ (Abu Dawood)
- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Do the opposite of what the pagans do!” (Bukhari)
If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of being led astray.
The case is same with that of celebrating Birthday, Wedding Anniversary, New Year, Diwali, Christmas, Holi, etc. It definitely does not befit a believer who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day to imitate the rituals of other religions in any matter whatsoever.
Allah says in the Quran: “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah…..” (Quran, 3:110)
As Allah has told that we are the best of people raised up for mankind, let us encourage people for doing good acts and discourage people from indulging in wrong acts.
We ask Allah to protect us from the Evils and Dangers of Valentine’s Day or any such events.
Allah alone knows best.