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Celebrating Valentine's Day
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
category: Islamic Identity
... continued from Page 3
And he said: "By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something that, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread (the greeting of) salaam amongst yourselves." (Narrated by Muslim, 54)
Love in Islam is more general and more comprehensive; it is not restricted only to one kind of love, that between a man and a woman. There are many more kinds of love. There is the love of Allaah, love of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them), love for good and righteous people, love and support for the religion, love of martyrdom for the sake of Allaah. There are many kinds of love. It is a dangerous mistake to restrict this broad meaning to this one kind of love.
What these people think, that love before marriage is a good thing, is wrong, as has been proven in studies and by real-life experience. In a study conducted by the University of Cairo, on what they called "love marriage" and "traditional marriage", the following was stated:
In marriages which came after a love story, 88% of cases ended in failure, i.e., the success rate was not more than 12%. But in cases of what the study calls traditional marriage, 70% were successful. In other words, the success rate in marriages described as traditional was six times more than those described as "love marriages". (Risaalah ila Mu'minah, p. 255).
Now let us look at the state of affairs in western societies where Valentine's Day is celebrated, and ask, what is the state of marriage relationships in those societies, and do these celebrations have any positive effect on interactions between husbands and wives?
Their own studies and statistics show the following:
- In an American study done in 1407 AH/1987 CE, it states that 79% of men beat their womenfolk, especially if they are married…! (al-Qabas newspaper, 15/2/1988).
- A study carried out by the National American Office for Mental Health states the following:
- 17% of women who go to emergency rooms are victims of beatings by their husbands or boyfriends.
- 83% of those who have previously been admitted to hospital at least once for treatment of injuries, were admitted as a result of beating.
- The study added that there are more women who do not go to hospital for treatment, but deal with their injuries at home.
- In a report of the Central American Agency for Examination [FPT] it states that every 18 seconds there is a woman who is beaten by her husband somewhere in America.
- American Time magazine stated that around 4,000 wives out of approximately 6 million who are beaten die as a result of that beating.
- In a German study it said that no less that 100,000 women annually are exposed to acts of physical or psychological abuse on the part of their husbands or the men they live with. The real figure may exceed one million.
- In France, approximately 2 million women face beatings.
- In Britain, in an opinion poll in which 7,000 women took part, 28% of them said that they had been subjected to attacks by their husbands and boyfriends.
So how can we believe that Valentine's Day is of any benefit to married couples? The truth is that it is a call for more permissiveness and immorality, and the forming of forbidden relationships.
The husband who sincerely loves his wife does not need this holiday to remind him of his love. He expresses his love for his wife at all times and on all occasions.
The Muslim's attitude towards Valentine's Day
From the above discussion, the Muslim's attitude towards this holiday should be clear:
He should not celebrate it, or join others in their celebrations of it, or attend their celebrations, because of the evidence quoted above which shows that it is forbidden to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar.
Al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs only to them, then the Muslim should not join them in that, just as he does not join them in their religion or their direction of prayer." (Tashabbuh al-Khasees bi Ahl al-Khamees, al-Hikmah magazine, 4/193).
Because one of the basic principles of the pious predecessors was al-walaa' wa'l-baraa' (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity), it is obligatory for everyone who says Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Muhammad Rasool Allaah to follow this principle. So he should love the believers and he should hate the disbelievers, oppose them, and be different from them. He should know that that will bring immeasurable benefits, just as imitating them causes far greater harm. In addition to that, when the Muslims imitate them it makes the kuffaar happy and fills their hearts with joy, and it leads the Muslims to love the kuffaar in their hearts. If any Muslim girl who celebrates this holiday because she sees Margaret or Hilary or whoever doing so, this undoubtedly reflects the fact that she is following them and approves of their behaviour. But Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa' (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa' of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa'), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust)." [al-Maa'idah 5:51]
One of the bad effects of imitating them is that this makes it look as if there are more of them, as if they have more supporters and followers. How can it be appropriate for a Muslim who recites in every rak'ah, "Guide us to the Straight Way, The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray." [al-Faatihah 1:6-7 – interpretation of the meaning], to ask Allaah for guidance to the Straight Path of the believers and to keep him away from the path of those who have earned His anger and of those who went astray, then go and follow their path by choice and willingly?
Statistics indicate that Valentine's Day is second only to Christmas in popularity. So it is clear that the Feast of Love is one of the festivals of the Christians and that it is second only to the festival of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the Messiah. So it is not permissible for Muslims to join in the celebrations of this date, because we are commanded to differ from them in their religion, customs and other things that belong exclusively to them, as is stated in the Qur'aan and Sunnah and scholarly consensus.
He should not help the kuffaar in their celebrations, because it is one of the rituals of kufr, so helping them and approving of what they do is helping them to manifest kufr and make it prevail, and approving of it. The Muslim's religion does not allow him to approve of kufr or help others to manifest it and make it prevail. Hence Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in anything that is specifically part of their festivals, whether it is food, clothing, bathing, lighting fires, or changing a custom of daily life or worship… To sum up, they should not do any of the specific rituals of their (the kuffaar's) festival on that day; rather the day of their festival should be just another ordinary day for the Muslim." (Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 25/329)
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author: Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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