Feb 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Islam View

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we invoke Allah Almighty to enlighten our hearts all to accept the truth and to grant us success both in this world and on the Day of Judgement, Amen.

First of all, we’d like to shed light on the origin of this festival, known as "Valentine Day" or "Festival of Love":
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 Romans used to celebrate this event in mid-February each year with a big festival.

One of the rituals of this festival was the sacrifice of a dog and a goat. Two strong and muscular youths would daub the blood of the dog and goat onto their bodies, then they would wash the blood away with milk. After that there would be a great parade, with these two youths at its head, which would go about the streets. The two youths would have pieces of leather with which they would hit everyone who crossed their path. The Roman women would welcome these blows, because they believed that they could prevent or cure infertility.

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.

One of their false beliefs connected with this festival was that the names of girls who had reached marriageable age would be written on small rolls of paper and placed in a dish on a table. Then the young men who wanted to get married would be called, and each of them would pick a piece of paper. He would put himself at the service of the girl whose name he had drawn for one year, so that they could find out about one another. Then they would get married, or they would repeat the same process again on the day of the festival in the following year.

The Christian clergy reacted against this tradition, which they considered to have a corrupting influence on the morals of young men and women. It was abolished in Italy, where it had been well-known, then it was revived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when in some western countries there appeared shops which sold small books called “Valentine’s books”, which contained love poems, from which the one who wanted to send a greeting to his sweetheart could choose. They also contained suggestions for writing love letters. The above quotation is excerpted, with slight modifications, from www.Islam-qa.com

As regards the Islamic stance on this festival, Dr. Su`ad Ibrahim Salih, professor of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) at Al-Azhar University, states the following:

Indeed, Islam is the religion of altruism, true love, and cooperation on that which is good and righteous. We implore Allah Almighty to gather us together under the umbrella of His All-encompassing Mercy, and to unite us together as one man. Allah Almighty says: (The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy.) (Al-Hujurat 49: 10)

Focusing more on the question in point, I can say that there are forms of expressing love that are religiously acceptable, while there are others that are not religiously acceptable. Among the forms of love that are religiously acceptable are those that include the love for Prophets and Messengers. It stands to reason that the love for Allah, and His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) should have the top priority over all other forms of love.

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. Hence, commemorating that special day known as the Valentine’s Day is an innovation or bid`ah that has no religious backing. Every innovation of that kind is rejected, as far as Islam is concerned. Islam requires all Muslims to love one another all over the whole year, and reducing the whole year to a single day is totally rejected.

Hence, we Muslims ought not to follow in the footsteps of such innovations and superstitions that are common in what is known as the Valentine’s Day. No doubt that there are many irreligious practices that occur on that day, and those practices are capable of dissuading people from the true meanings of love and altruism to the extent that the celebration is reduced to a moral decline.

- The answer for question: Could you furnish me with Islamic view on celebrating Valentine's day ?

Source: Question & Answer from

Don't celebrate Valentine's Day warning to Muslim couples

GEORGE TOWN (Feb 7, 2010): This Feb 14, Muslim women have been urged to 'hold on to their panties' and not celebrate the day, universally known as Valentine's Day, because it is not an Islamic practice.

Urusetia Menangani Gejala Social Pulau Pinang (Unggas) coordinator Nurfitri Amir Muhammad said the National Fatwa Council had in 2005 passed an edict that Valentine's Day is not Islamic; that the celebration has Christian elements and thus, should not be celebrated by Muslim couples.

"What is even more alarming is when we read about the 'Bare your love, no panties during Valentine's' campaign being spread amongst university students now. So we have to do something to stop such campaigns which will lead to social ills like promiscuity," he said.

It is not known who is behind the 'Bare your love' campaign which is being promoted via SMS and through word-of-mouth to college and school students.

Nurfitri said Unggas, together with Persatuan Ulama Malaysia Penang Branch (Pumpp), Angkatan Pemuda Pemudi Islam (Api) and Komuniti Suara Kehidupan (Kosuke), have decided to launch a 'Valentine's Day Trap' campaign to warn Muslims against celebrating that day.

As part of the campaign, more than 200 of their members will be handing out flyers and talking to Muslim couples about Islamic values to advise them not to celebrate Valentine's Day.
- theSun

Russian Muslims: Valentine's Day "contradicts not only the norms of Islam, but also recognised human morality"

It's not that they would decline to celebrate it themselves that is noteworthy, but that they called for a ban on it. Sharia is, after all, where "government knows best" meets "Allah knows best," and consequently offers unlimited license to mind other people's business.

"Russian Muslims call for ban on Valentine's Day," from Agence France-Presse, February 11 (thanks to Twostellas):

MOSCOW - Muslim leaders in Russia have called for believers to boycott Saint Valentine's Day, saying it "preaches universal permissiveness, amorality and nihilism."

Saint Valentine might beg to differ. But even observing the holiday in its traditional context as the feast day of a saint would be plenty haram.

A council of Muslim leaders in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod region released a statement Wednesday calling for a "ban" on celebrating Valentine's Day, which is growing in popularity in Russia although it is not an official holiday.

"We call on all believers and sensible people to say no to celebrating this day, since it contradicts not only the norms of Islam, but also recognised human morality," the statement said.

The Muslim leaders also appealed to head teachers at the region's schools to cancel celebrations for "moral and ethical reasons."

Little known a decade ago, Valentine's Day is now big business in Russia, with stores selling heart-shaped trinkets and cards and restaurants laying on special menus.

In 2008 the wife of President Dmitry Medvedev, Svetlana Medvedeva, launched a rival holiday called the Day of Family, Love and Fidelity, which emphasises Orthodox Christian traditions.

Under Sharia, that would also be forced underground.

Valentine's Day: Is it un-Islamic or just innocent expression?
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate. Scented love notes. Red roses. Candy hearts inscribed with a suggestive message to "Be Mine."
It's that time of year again when stores turn pink and red in honor of the "lover's holiday." Valentine's Day is widely celebrated every Feb.14 with love, romance and gifts.
In American Muslim households, the concept of Valentine's Day brings about mixed emotions.
"Valentine's Day is just another day of the year [on] my calendar," says Rida Hamida.
For Hamida, the parent of an elementary school-aged child, celebration of Valentine's Day is not something she would even consider.
"I teach my son that it has no relevance other than the idea that it is nice to pass out cards with treats to classmates," she says. "Thankfully, for the past two years, I have not dealt with the issue of 'to pass or not to pass cards' because he attends an Islamic school."
Among the American Muslim community, opinions vary on the celebration of Valentine's Day.
Some Muslims celebrate Valentine's Day, while others shun it.
Newlywed Sara Zaidi sees nothing wrong with the celebration of Valentine's Day. She plans on celebrating this Valentine's Day with her husband.
"I believe romance is an important part of keeping the passion and freshness of a marriage," says Zaidi. "At the same time, I believe those intimate moments can be more meaningful when celebrated on any given day rather than on a designated holiday."
Though the holiday is a non-Islamic holiday, Zaidi says she feels Valentine's Day can be observed in a manner that respects the sensibilities and ideals of Islam.
"I don't think there's anything inherently un-Islamic about celebrating Valentine's Day," she says. "But I do feel signs of public affection can be culturally insensitive to many Muslims."
Nawal Bahhur and her husband typically exchange cards and sometimes give flowers to one another on Valentine's Day. Bahhur says she also gets her 12-year-old son a card so he doesn't feel left out.
"I don't consider Valentine's Day a religious holiday. I just view it as a day to tell those that you love how much they are appreciated," Bahhur says.
Exchanging of cards was a requirement in her son's classes when he was young, so Bahhur allowed him to participate.
Now that her son is older, she is unsure whether his teachers will continue the requirement.
"I do consider it innocent fun up to a certain age group," Bahhur says. "I think it is innocent for elementary-aged kids."
Bahhur says she believes celebrating Valentine's Day is fine within the family at any age. However, she plans to discourage it at school in the teen years.
"I think as kids get closer to their teens, it confuses them to send out cards of love to fellow classmates," Bahhur says.
Like other American holidays, Valentine's Day has arguably become an increasingly commercialized holiday.
In fact, more than one billion Valentine's Day cards are sent throughout the country each year -- second only to Christmas cards, according to the Greeting Card Association. Esther Howland is credited with sending the first Valentine's Day cards; commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800s.
Indeed, Valentine's Day has come a long way from its origins.
"Its significance is now based on its economical influence rather than the historically Christian/Roman meaning, which is just as controversial," Hamida says.
No one knows for sure about the exact origins of Valentine's Day, but there are traces of ancient Roman and Christian traditions. For example, the symbol of Valentine's Day is Cupid, son of Venus, believed to be the goddess of love in Roman mythology, also known as Aphrodite in Greek mythology .
In the Christian tradition, two saints are attributed to the naming of the holiday, which is referred to as St. Valentine's Day. Both men were imprisoned and killed for being Christians in the 3rd century A.D.
While imprisoned, one of the saints wrote a letter to his jailer's daughter who often visited him. He signed the note "Your Valentine."
Some say both saints died on Feb. 14, which in Roman times marked the night before Lupercalia, a rowdy Roman fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, believed to be the god of agriculture in Roman mythology. In this festival, two male youths adorned in animal skin would run through town gently slapping women with strips of goatskin dipped in sacrificial blood, a practice thought to bring fertility.
Some believe the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February to "Christianize" celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. It was "Christianized" in honor of the martyrdom of St. Valentine in A.D. 270, who, during medieval times, was known for uniting lovers under stringent conditions.
In his "Holiday Myths" series, Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick reveals the Christian and Roman roots of St. Valentine's Day. In his lecture, he discusses the evolution of Valentine's Day and how celebration of the holiday has now become ingrained within the American school system. Quick noted how schools require kids to participate in the giving of valentines, and said "young people are forced together on that occasion" as a result.
Quick said those of the monotheistic tradition "understand that the relationship between men and women should be done in a sacred way within marriage and not in a loose way before marriage." He says Muslims must take a stand against the celebration of St. Valentine's Day, particularly in regard to their youth.
"Those who are maintaining the limits in the monotheistic religions and those people of consciousness recognize that St. Valentine's Day is really part of a pagan holiday where people are carrying out the so-called wishes of Venus or Aphrodite and the little son called Cupid," Quick says. "Young people should have nothing to do with Valentine's Day."
Many high schools sell carnations and cards that can be bought by students and sent to other students on Valentine’s Day. This can be alienating and hard for the young Muslim trying to fit in.
"When I was in high school, I did feel left out on Valentine's Day, especially when all my friends around me would get flowers sent to them with notes from admirers," Amal says*. "It does make you feel kind of bad. One year I even sent myself a flower!"
Lina Adams, a Youth Group Coordinator at the Islamic Center of Southern California, said that while there may be pressure to participate in the holiday and have boyfriends or girlfriends, it is important that young Muslims understand that having a significant other should not define their happiness or sense of fulfillment.
"Just because other people seem happy with their boyfriends/girlfriends doesn't mean that we should compare our lives or our happiness to theirs," said Adams.
"The fact is that we are Muslims, and our lifestyles are different from non-Muslims -- whether we chose to accept it or not," she added. "The bottom line is that dating, the way dating is practiced in the US, is not permitted in Islam."
As far as feeling like an outcast, Adams said everyone is an outcast in some way or may stand out more than others. She said those are the ones who will need to have a stronger faith. "I know this sounds cliche, but life isn't easy, and these are just tests of faith from Allah," said Adams.
Nancy Hanaan Serag, who teaches Islamic studies to students in the fifth through eighth grades at New Horizon School in Pasadena, says it's often tough for American Muslim youth to refrain from partaking in such holiday exchanges at school and it may often make them "feel singled out."
Islam's view is clear on the subject of the celebration of non-Muslim holidays. The overwhelming majority of scholars agree that Valentine's Day falls into the same category as Christmas and Halloween, and is considered an innovation, or bid`ah, with no Islamic significance. But with stores lined wall-to-wall with flowers, gifts, heart-shaped balloons and candy, the temptation to take part can be hard to resist.
In public schools, Serag says the giving and receiving of Valentines by schoolchildren is meant to emphasize values of caring and sharing. While she believes Muslim parents should not encourage their children to give Valentines at school, she does feel parents can use Valentine's Day as a learning opportunity to express important Islamic values.
"In Islam, showing love, caring and kindness should be expressed every day and not reserved merely for one day a year," Serag says. "They [parents] should encourage the themes of love, compassion and caring for one another and family, and extend it to loving Allah."
Serag says an alternate activity parents can promote is to have their children write resolutions to love and care for each other more throughout the year.
She stresses the importance of parents openly sharing with their children that Valentine's Day is not Islamic and that they should emphasize the Islamic holidays that Muslims do celebrate throughout the year, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.
Serag says parents should be careful in how they discuss Valentine's Day and could also use the holiday as an opportunity to talk about marital love in Islam.
"Parents should be careful not to deemphasize the showing of affection between spouses -- holding hands and hugging -- and could use this as an opportunity with older youth to discuss the importance of love within a marriage and why the notion of romantic love is reserved for marriage," she added.
* Names were changed to respect privacy of individuals.
Last Updated ( Monday, 18 January 2010 )
Source: http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/20085/135/


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