All praise is due to Allah, the Creator of heavens and earth. May His peace and blessings be upon the noble prophet Muhammad (SAW), members of his household, his companions, and all Muslims till the Day of Judgement, Amin.
Come Sunday, Feb. 14, the world will celebrate another day of induction into the club of HIV/AIDS styled Valentine Day. The Muslim Congress (TMC), as usual, wishes to educate, sermonise and redirect the energy of our youth and uninformed adults by issuing a press release on ‘Misguided Valentine’s Day Celebration from Islamic Perspective’ ahead of the day.
Globally, the celebration has received recognition, accolade and public acceptance, even among ignorant Muslims. Whereas Valentine’s Day is a Roman pagan festival, the festival has continued to be celebrated even when Rome became a Christian nation.
As another Valentine’s Day draws closer, all Islamic organisations and clerics owe Muslims and non-Muslims a divine obligation of liberation from ignorance and blind follower-ship of a questionable practice rooted in immoralities and disobedience to Allah, the Supreme Being.
On that day, Nigerians would again witness a “Grand Induction Ceremony” of a great multitude of our youth and adults into the world of Sex, Shamelessness, Infidelity, Perversion, Loss of Virginity, HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and AIDS, in the name of Valentine’s Day or “Lover’s Day.”
Valentine’s Day celebration is traceable to Luperci, an occult order of Roman priests. The priests gather annually at a sacred cave where Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been nurtured and nursed by a she-wolf (Lupa in Roman language) in their infancy.
The rites entail the sacrifice of a goat by the priests, for boosting communal fertility; this is followed by the sacrifice of a dog, for communal purification and cleansing. The priests would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take the hide to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide.
Gullible Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn.
The city’s men, especially bachelors, would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These occult match-making of couples often ended in marriage and many in sexual perversion.
The second narrative on the origin of the celebration indicates that Valentine’s Day celebration is linked to a popular saint known as Valentine who was sentenced to death on 14th February, 270 CE, for going against the royal decree of Emperor Claudius II. The emperor decided that unmarried men are better soldiers than those with wives and families; the King therefore outlawed marriage for young men, who were his crop of potential soldiers.
Saint Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree and the sinful implication it portends for the society, defied Emperor Claudius and continued to solemnise marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered by the authorities, Emperor Claudius ordered that he be put to death for promoting amorous relationship among the soldiers.
Along the line, the story alluded that Saint Valentine himself fell in love with a young girl, who was his jailor’s daughter. The lady visited him during his confinement and travails. Before his death however, the Saint wrote her a letter, which he signed, ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression of love that is still in vogue today.
As Muslims, the two historical narratives have no theological foundations in our religion, when viewed from the prisms of Qur’an and Sunnah. They could at best be described as relics of Jahiliyyah.
Jahiliyyah is an Arabic word which refers to the state of ignorance that pervaded the world before the commissioning of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as Rasulullah with revelation. Allah cautioned humanity on Jahiliyyah in several places in the Qur’an:
Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) ignorance; and who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm faith. Q5:50
O you who believe! Enter Islam perfectly, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan). Verily, he is to you a plain enemy. Q2:208
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) while delivering his Khutbah, always cautions Muslims on misguided practices thus: “Indeed, the best speech is the speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). And the worst of matters are those innovated by the people, and every innovated matter is a bid’ah and every bid’ah is astray, and every going astray is in the fire. (Sahih Muslim)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah in his verdict opined that joining fully in the festival of non-Muslims is tantamount to joining kufr and participating in some minor issues designed by non-Muslims is joining some branches of kufr. Partially joining, at the very least, is disobedience and sin. (Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 1/207).
He concluded that Muslims should not do any of the rituals of non-Muslims at the time of their festivals; rather the day of their celebrations should be like any other day for the Muslims. The Muslims should not do anything specific in imitation of non-Muslims. (Majmoo al-Fataawa, 25/329).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was informed that in recent time the celebration of Valentine’s Day has become widespread, especially among female students. Its celebration entails dressing completely in red, including clothes and shoes, and exchange of red flowers by lovers.
He replied: “Celebrating Valentine’s Day is not permissible for a number of reasons, viz: a) It is an innovated festival for which there is no basis in Islam; b) It promotes love and infatuation; and c) It calls for hearts to be preoccupied with foolish matters that are contrary to the way of the righteous salaf (May Allaah be pleased with them).
The Ahlu-Sunnah abhor the celebration of Valentine’s Day or any other questionable celebrations. They described the acts of exchanging gifts of red roses and wearing red clothes and congratulating one another as an innovation and relics of Jahiliyyah and Kufr.
The verdict does not excuse bakeries making red coloured bread, cakes and sweet cheese and drawing hearts on them as signs of love, and some supermarkets, eateries and stores, that advertise products that are specially made for Valentine.
The Muslim Congress therefore counsels all Muslim youth and adults that clear evidence from the Qur’an, Sunnah and the consensus of clerics of the Ummah indicate that there are only two festivals in Islam: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Any other festival, no matter how sophisticated and well-packaged, does not have any place in Islam. A doll no matter how beautiful is still a false child. We urge all our brethren to be guided by the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Hadith)
In conclusion, Valentine’s Day celebration comes under the heading of blind followership, because it is an idolatrous festival that is not permissible for Muslims who believe in Allah and the Last Day. It should not be observed, respected or commended, but must be ignored and avoided in obedience to Allah and His Messenger.
It is also haram for the Muslim to provide enabling environment for its celebration by supplying food, drinks, gifts, or buying or selling of special Valentine Day’s production, greetings and advertising because all these acts are tantamount to cooperating in committing sin, transgression and disobedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Long live the Muslim Ummah, Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
By Dr. Luqman AbdurRaheem, MNIM, FAAE, FCEnt
Amir, The Muslim Congress