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Celebrating Valentine's Day
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
category: Islamic Identity
... continued from Page 4
He should not help any Muslims who celebrate it. Rather it is obligatory to denounce them, because for the Muslims to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar is an evil action which must be denounced. Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) said: "Just as we should not imitate them in their festivals, so too we should not help a Muslim to do that; rather he should be told not to do that." (al-Iqtidaa', 2/519-520)
Based on what Ibn Taymiyah said, it is not permissible for Muslim businessmen to deal in gifts for Valentine's Day, whether they are particular kinds of clothes, red roses, or whatever. Similarly, it is not permissible for the one who is given a gift on this occasion to accept it, because by accepting it, he is showing approval of this holiday.
One of the daa'iyahs said: we went to a flower shop in one of the Muslim countries and we were shocked to find it completely prepared for this occasion, with red carpets at the entrance, red placards and red decorations. We were met by one of the people who worked there, and we asked him why they had done so much to decorate the place for this occasion. He said that these preparations had begun early, and that there had been very many orders… Then he told us that he had been amazed by that, because he was a new Muslim who had left Christianity. He had known about that before he became Muslim, so how come his customers were Muslims and not Christians?!
Other shops ran out of red roses, which were being sold at high prices. When one of the female daa'iyahs entered upon the female students who were gathered in the lecture hall, she was dismayed to find them all carrying something red. One had a red rose, another had a red scarf, or a red handkerchief, or a red bag, or red socks…
Alas for the Muslim girls!
Among the things that have been seen among the Muslims on this holiday:
- All the female students agreeing with their friends to tie a red ribbon on the right wrist.
- Wearing something red (a blouse, hair clip, shoes…). This reached such an extent last year that when we entered the classroom we found most of the students wearing it, as if it was a uniform.
- Red balloons on which are written the words "I love you". They usually bring these out at the end of the school day, in an area far from where the teachers can see them.
- Writing names and hearts on their hands, or just initials.
- Red roses are widespread on this day.
Groups of girls entered their lecture rooms on February 14, each of them wearing something red, with red heart-shaped stickers on their faces, wearing red make-up. They started to exchange red-coloured gifts and kiss one another warmly. This happened in more than one university in the Muslim world, even in an Islamic university. In other words they were celebrating Saint Valentine's Day.
On that day, secondary schools (high schools) were astonished by the large numbers of female students who brought red roses of the finest quality, coloured their faces with red cosmetics, wore red earrings, and started to exchange gifts and warm greetings, in celebration of this day.
Al-Mawsoo'ah al-'Arabiyyah (the Arabic Encyclopaedia) says that there are special customs for Valentine's Day, such as printing love poems on cards to be given to relatives and those whom one loves. Some of them draw funny pictures on these cards, and the most common phrase written on them is "be my Valentine". Parties are often held during the day, where they dance in their fashion. The Europeans still celebrate this holiday. In Britain, sales of flowers reached 22 million pounds. More chocolate is consumed on this day, and companies offer free messages on their Web sites to advertise those sites.
Valentine's Day has come to a number of Arab and Muslim countries, and has even reached the heartland of Islam (the Arabian Peninsula). It has reached societies which we had thought far removed from this insanity. In Riyadh the price of roses has risen in a crazy manner, so that a single rose costs 36 riyals (10 dollars), whereas before this day it cost 5 riyals. Gift shops and card shops compete in designing cards and gifts for this occasion, and some families hang up red roses in the windows of their homes on this day.
In some of the Gulf countries, shopping centres and hotels have organized special celebrations of Valentine's Day. Most of the stores and business places are covered with red. One of the finest Gulf hotels was full of balloons and dolls. Following the customs of the Feast of Love and the pagan myths, the restaurant put on a dramatic production with "Cupid", the idol of love in the Roman myths, nearly naked and carrying a bow and arrow. He and his cohorts were looking to select "Mr. & Mrs. Valentine" from among the people present.
Less expensive restaurants also celebrated this day in their own way. Some stores replaced their regular plates with heart-shaped plates, used red tablecloths and linens, and put a red rose on each table for the man to present to his beloved.
The latest Valentine's Day craze was started by the owner of a gift-shop in Kuwait. He imports (live) French rabbits which are small and have red eyes. He puts a necktie around the neck of each rabbit, and puts it in a small box to be given as a gift!
We must oppose these things by all possible means. The responsibility rests with us all.
We should not accept congratulations on Valentine's Day, because it is not a holiday or an Eid for the Muslims. If the Muslim is congratulated on this occasion, he should not return the congratulations. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "With regard to congratulating others with the congratulations used by the kuffaar on such occasions, it is haraam by scholarly consensus, such as congratulating them on the occasion of their festivals or fasts, wishing them a blessed festival, etc. Even if the one who says this is free of kufr, it is still haraam. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross. It is even worse with Allaah and more hated by Him than congratulating someone for drinking alcohol, or committing murder or adultery, etc. Many of those who have no respect for religion do that, and they do not realize the abhorrence of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for sin, innovation (bid'ah) or kufr exposes himself to the hatred and wrath of Allaah." (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/441-442)
We must explain the true nature of this holiday and other festivals of the kuffaar to those Muslims who have been deceived by them, and explain to them that it is essential for the Muslim to be distinguished by his religion and to protect his belief ('aqeedah) from anything that may damage it. This should be done out of sincerity towards the ummah and in fulfilment of the command to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.
Fatwas of Muslim scholars concerning Valentine's Day
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author: Yaser Birjas
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author: Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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