Why do Muslims not celebrate Valentine's Day?
This question may be answered in several ways:
1. In Islam, the festivals are clearly defined and well established, and no additions or subtractions may be accepted. They are an essential part of our worship and there is no room for Ijtihaad or personal opinion. They have been prescribed for us by Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Ibn Taymiyyah (May Allah have mercy on him) said: "Festivals are part of the laws, clear way and religious ceremonies of which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 'To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way [al-Maa'idah 5:48]. 'For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow' [al-Hajj 22:67]
Like the Qibla (direction faced in prayer), prayer and fasting. Agreeing with the whole celebration is agreeing with Kufr (disbelief). Agreeing with some of their minor issues is the same as agreeing with them in some of the branches of Kufr. Festivals are the most distinctive things by which religions are told apart, so whoever celebrates their festivals is agreeing with the most distinctive rituals of Kufr. Undoubtedly going along with them in their festivals may in some cases lead to Kufr. Dabbling in these things, at the very least, is a sin.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) referred to the fact that every nation has its own festivals when he said: 'Every nation has its own Eid and this is our Eid' - referring to the two Eids - (al-Bukhari, 952, Muslim, 1892)." (al-Iqtidaa', 1/471-472)
Because Valentine's Day goes back to Roman times, not Islamic times, this means that it is something which belongs exclusively to the Pagans, not to Islam, and the Muslims have no share and no part in it. If every nation has its own festivals, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said – "Every nation has its Eid" (narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim) – then this means that every nation should be distinguished by its festivals. If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs exclusively to them, then no Muslim should join in with them, just as he does not share their religion or their direction of prayer.
2. Celebrating Valentine's Day means resembling or imitating the pagan Romans. From the Quran: Allah 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 Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." (Narrated by Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawood, 4021)
3. The purpose of Valentine's Day in these times is to spread love between all people, believers and disbelievers alike. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people) …" [al-Mujaadilah 58:22]
4. The love referred to in this celebration 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.
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. 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?
Firstly: 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.
Secondly: 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 celebration, or make it like a festival or Eid. 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.
Thirdly: Indeed, Islam encourages us to express our emotions and love at all times, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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).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)
Fatwas of Muslim scholars concerning Valentine's Day
1. The Fatwa of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him)
Question: In recent times the celebration of Valentine's Day has become widespread, especially among students. They wear all red clothes, including their shoes, and they exchange red flowers… We hope that you can tell us the ruling on celebrating such holidays. What do you advise the Muslims to do with regard to such things? May Allah keep you and take care of you.
He replied: Celebrating Valentine's Day is not permitted for several reasons:
1 – It is an innovated celebration which has no basis in Shariah.
2 – It calls for people to keep their hearts and minds busy with these foolish things that go against the guidance of the pious predecessors (may Allah be pleased with them), so it is not permitted on this day to do any of the customs associated with that day, whether that be connected to food, drink, clothing, exchanging gifts or anything else. The Muslim should be proud of his religion and not be so weak of character that he follows everyone who makes a noise. I ask Allah to protect the Muslims from all temptations, visible and invisible, and to take care of us and give us strength. And Allah knows best.
2. The Fatwa of Shaykh 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Jibreen concerning celebrating this day:
He was asked: the celebration of the so-called Feast of Love (Valentine's Day) has become widespread among our boys and girls. This day is celebrated every year on February 14. They exchange gifts and red roses, and they wear red clothes. What is the ruling on celebrating this day or exchanging gifts on this day? May Allah reward you with good.
He answered: Firstly, it is not permissible to celebrate such innovated celebrations. The things that result from that, such as partying, idle play, singing, music, insolence, impertinence, unveiling, wanton display, mixing of men and women, and the appearance of women before non-Mahrams, etc., are all things which are Haraam, or are means which lead to immorality. So it should not be justified as an excuse for relaxation and entertainment, or claims that they will not overstep the mark, because that is not right. The one who cares about himself should keep away from sin and all that leads to it. On this basis, it is not permissible to sell these gifts and roses.
Each person should make his family members aware of this. Whoever has sisters in school or brothers should tell them and warn them about this matter, because many people are unaware of this day and what it means. We ask Allah to protect the Muslims from the harm of temptations and from the evil of their own selves and the plots of their enemies, for He is the All-hearing Who answers prayers. May Allah send blessings upon His servant and Messenger Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions. Ameen
Hafiz Ilyas Sidyot
Imam Islamic Center
222-Copland cresent, Saskatoon SK.