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Celebrating Valentine's Day
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
category: Islamic Identity
... continued from Page 2
Another answer is that celebrating Valentine's 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 Qur'aan, Sunnah and ijmaa' (scholarly consensus):
- From the Qur'aan: 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]
From the Sunnah: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
"Whoever imitates a people is one of them." (narrated by Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawood, 4021)
Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) said: "This hadeeth at the very least indicates that it is haraam to imitate them, although the apparent meaning implies that the one who imitates them is a kaafir, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 'And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa' [friends and helpers]), then surely, he is one of them' [al-Maa'idah 5:51].'" (al-Iqtidaa', 2/722-725)
- With regard to ijmaa', Ibn Taymiyan narrated that there was agreement that it is haraam to imitate the kuffaar in their festivals at the time of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them), and Ibn al-Qayyim narrated that there was scholarly consensus on this point. (See al-Iqtidaa', 1/454; Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 2/722-725)
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 Qur'aan refer to the Jews and hypocrites (munaafiqeen), then the People of the Book in general and the mushrikeen. Allaah tells us in the Qur'aan 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 sharee'ah. 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-Maa'idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]
Allaah has made Islam cover all (human) interests at all times and in all places and for all people. So there is no need to adopt the ways of the kuffaar or imitate them.
Imitation causes defects in the Muslim personality, such as feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, weakness and defeatism, then it leads to shunning and keeping away from the path and laws of Allaah. Experience has shown that admiration for the kuffaar and imitation of them causes people to love them, have complete faith in them and take them as friends and helpers, and to reject Islam and its people, its heroes, its legacy and values, and become ignorant of all of that.
The purpose of Valentine's Day in these times is to spread love between all people, believers and disbelievers alike. Undoubtedly it is haraam to love the kaafirs. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people)…" [al-Mujaadilah 58:22]
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "Allaah tells us that there is no believer who takes a kaafir as a close friend. Whoever takes a kaafir as a close friend is not a believer. Outward imitation may be taken as a sign of love, so it is haraam." (al-Iqtidaa', 1/490).
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. Hence the Christian clergy opposed it at some stage and abolished it, then it came back again.
Most of the young people celebrate it because it lets them fulfil their desires, without thinking of the issues of imitation and resembling that are involved. Look at this tragedy, where they go so far as to commit major sins such as zinaa and the like, by imitating the Christians in something which is part of their worship and which may even be kufr.
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?
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.
Expression of feelings and emotions is not a justification for the Muslim to allocate a day for celebration based on his own thoughts and ideas, and to call it a festival, or make it like a festival or Eid. So how about when it is one of the festivals of the kuffaar?
In Islam, a husband loves his wife throughout the year, and he expresses that love towards her with gifts, in verse and in prose, in letters and in other ways, throughout the years – not just on one day of the year.
There is no religion which encourages its followers to love and care for one another more than Islam does. This applies at all times and in all circumstances, not just on one particular day. Indeed, Islam encourages us to express our emotions and love at all times, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him." (narrated by Abu Dawood, 5124; al-Tirmidhi, 2329; it is saheeh).
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author: Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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