by Haroon Balogun
Praise be to Almighty Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah continue to abide unto the noblest of prophets, Muhammad (s.a.w), his household and followers. Allah has chosen for us Islam as our religion and He will not accept any other religion apart fro, Islam, as He says in Quran 3 vrs 85 “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.”
So, doing anything that is contrary to the tenets of Islam is unacceptable. Submission as the cornerstone of Islamic belief includes staying within the confines of the religion, using the Quran and the Hadiths as guide, no matter the pressure from the society.
Pressure from the society
The Prophet saw what the world would look like thousands of years after his death. He was accurate in his prophecy. A world where women will murder shame and expose their treasure to every Dick and Harry; a world where men would take the position of women and shamelessly turn the order of nature in marital relationship upside down and inside out.
He warned the ummah against these developments that Muslims should distinct themselves from these ways and never in any way imitate or follow their path. Unfortunately, the path and customs of the kuffaar are now being packaged in such a way that is enticing.
Nowadays, a new dimension has spread among the Muslim youths – males and females alike on the issue of Valentine’s Day. Some rationalising it as another way of showing love which they further submit that does not contradict the dictates of Islam. Care must be exercised and we must have a clear understanding of this issue so that we dont undermine the belief (‘aqeedah) which we tend to uphold.
But how did this day become recognised?
The Festival of Love was one of the festivals of the pagan Romans, when paganism was the prevalent in Rome more than seventeen centuries ago. In the pagan Roman concept, it was an expression of “spiritual love”; although they later changed it from the pagan concept of “spiritual love” to another concept known as the “martyrs of love”, represented by Saint Valentine, a martyr, who had advocated love and peace. He was persecuted by the Gothic leader Claudius, c. 296 CE.
The crux of the persecution was that, according to records, after Christianity had become widespread, the Roman emperor Claudius II decreed in the third century CE that soldiers should not get married, because marriage would distract them from the wars they used to fight. This decree was opposed by Saint Valentine, who started to perform marriages for the soldiers in secret.
When the emperor found out about that, he threw him in jail and sentenced him to execution. In prison, he (Saint Valentine) fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, but this was a secret because, according to Christian laws, priests and monks were forbidden to marry or fall in love. But he was still regarded highly by the Christians because of his steadfastness in adhering to Christianity when the emperor offered to pardon him if he dumped his religious ideals and worshipped the Roman gods.
He offered him a juicy position in Rome and also become his son-in-law. But Valentine declined and so, he was executed on 14 February 270 CE, on the eve of February 15, the festival of Lupercalis.
So this day was named for this saint. This was how the day was designated as Valentine’s day.
This is what translated into exchanging of red roses, boxes of gifts to wives, and friends which are an expression of love, the “spiritual love”. In some places, parties are held and sexual acts becomes the order.
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, span by span, cubit by cubit, until even if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would follow them.” La tattabi’unna Sanan man kaana qablakum.
Why Muslims should desist from such act is contained in the Quran and the Hadiths. The fact that it is not our ways and Islam had been perfected for the ummah, we don’t need any other thing to become a good Muslim other than what is contained in the Quran and hadiths.
Allah says: “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” (Q 3:105)
The Prophet said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” This hadith further explains what allah says in Q5 vrs 51 which says: “And if any amongst you takes them as Awliyaa’ , then surely, he is one of them.”
Allah has forbidden imitation of the kuffaar; He has described it as hateful and has warned against the consequences of that, in many aayahs. We also cannot follow our whims and caprises in
Most of these warnings are handed down to us in the Quran so as not vitiate our religion. This was why he sent the prophets and the scriptures to guide us. The main evergreen lesson on Islam is the verse: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
Allah has made Islam cover all human interests at all times and in all places and for all people. There is no area of life that the religion has not touched. So, one wonders what any Muslim would be looking for in the ways of the kuffaar. If you take to their ways and ideals, you are not only becoming part of them, you have also expressed a complex of inferiority, weakness and defeatism.
Love in Islam is more general and more comprehensive; it is not restricted only to a love between man and woman. A man 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.
Again, if you love Allah and His Messengers, you will have love for good and righteous people and the society will be better. Let us not be swayed by the propagation of the Val’s ideal of love especially as it is done today. Even in the Western world where this ideal is prominent, it has not helped the society. The incessant break-up of marriages, indicipline, gay issues and other social disorders are good examples. In essence, Val’s day does not have any positive impact on the society, rather it encourages permissiveness and immorality.
This article was originally published on Vanguard Newspapers.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.