As we approach the month of February, you’ll notice an increase in red and pink decorations. Hearts, roses, chocolates, and teddy bears have thronged the stores already. Not to forget the endless discounts and offers around this day. This signals the coming of Valentine’s Day-a day meant to show the ones you love how much you care for them. Although this sounds like an innocent event, its origins and effects are more sinister than most know.
What does History say?
Many people understand the modern concept of Valentine’s Day of buying gifts and going on dates. Few people are aware of the history of this holiday. The Catholic Church recognizes three saints that were martyred named Valentine or Valentinus. One legend says a saint helped soldiers perform forbidden marriages, another says he aided oppressed prisoners, and a third claims that he was a prisoner himself and wrote letters to his lover. Regardless of which story is the true origin, St. Valentine became the most popular saint by the Middle Ages.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first trace of Valentine’s Day, rather it goes back to a pagan ritual called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15th in Rome as a fertility festival. Rituals included sacrificing a goat for fertility and a dog for purity. Priests would dip the goat hide in blood and slap women with it to make them fertile. Also, the women would place their names in an urn, and men would draw a name to be paired with for one year (A&E Television Networks).
What’s the Harm in it?
Even if you don’t believe in Valentine’s Day, don’t practice the historical rituals, and have good intentions, we cannot participate in any holiday except the two ordained in Islam.
Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger (peace be upon him) arrived in Medina during two days in which they were celebrating. He asked, “What are these two days?” They said, “We would celebrate these two days in the time of ignorance.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah has replaced these two days with two better days: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr”.
(Abī Dāwūd, Sahih Al-Arna’ut)
This hadith makes it clear that all other holidays, whether religious or national or otherwise, are forbidden.
As Muslims, we have to be extremely cautious on who we follow.
Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them”.
(Abu Dawood, Sahih a-Albaani)
Our actions must stem from the Quran and authentic sunnah (with the understanding of the salaf) if we want to be with the Prophet ﷺ in Jannah. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari that we will be with the one we love, so if we love Allah and His Messenger ﷺ , we must follow the sunnah.
Not only is this holiday harmful from a religious standpoint, it is also a danger to society. There is endless research and statistics on how premarital relationships are harmful because they result in spread of diseases, illegitimate children, broken families, and immorality. Additionally, haraam relationships lead to other crimes like murder and rape. For example, there is 20-68% lifetime prevalence of date rape just for adolescents (Shteriova, I.).
Do you love Allah?
True love is done for the sake of Allah. And Who deserves our love more than Allah? Most Muslims claim to love Allah but fail to understand what this actually entails.
If we truly love Allah we would follow the sunnah and love what Allah Loves and hate what Allah Hates.
Alhamdulilah Allah’s love is the best because He will never be unjust. He Provides for us even when we sin, and He Loves to Forgive when we seek repentance. People will expect something in return to love you, but whatever Allah Commands is not for His benefit but for our benefit. Therefore, we should strive to gain Allah’s love.
Valentine’s Day is full of shirk and sin. It is sad to see Muslims, even in Muslim countries, participating in this filthy tradition. Along with our ‘aqeedah, it also breaks down the morality and modesty in society.
It is permissible to show love to the creation and our loved ones in halal ways every day, but our goal should be to strive for Allah’s love in shaa Allah.