St Valentine’s Day

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gra­cious, the Most Merciful.

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh (Peace, Bless­ings & Mer­cy of Allah be upon You).

The Pagan origins & Christianisation

The his­to­ry of the Catholic Church men­tions at least three sep­a­rate St. Valen­tines, all shar­ing 14 Feb­ru­ary as a feast day. St. Valen­tine was a priest and physi­cian in Rome who was behead­ed on Feb. 14, AD 270. The sec­ond St. Valen­tine was the Bish­op of Inter­am­na who was decap­i­tat­ed under the orders of Pre­fect Placidus. The third St. Valen­tine suf­fered mar­tyr­dom in Africa with sev­er­al com­pan­ions. All three of the saints are revered and hon­oured by the Church for their love towards (Lord) Jesus Christ and Church. Catholic Church believes that the mes­sage that the exchange of “valen­tines” is more the result of sec­u­lar cus­tom rather than the mem­o­ry of St. Valen­tine, and that the cel­e­bra­tion has been fur­ther paganized with cupids and the like, there is a Chris­t­ian mes­sage that should be remem­bered. 1

Valentine’s feast day in the mid­dle of Feb­ru­ary is an effort to “Chris­tianise” the pagan cel­e­bra­tion of Luper­calia. Cel­e­brat­ed at the ides of Feb­ru­ary, or Feb­ru­ary 15, Luper­calia was a fer­til­i­ty fes­ti­val ded­i­cat­ed to Faunus, the Roman god of agri­cul­ture, as well as to the Roman founders Romu­lus and Remus. 2

To begin the fes­ti­val, mem­bers of the Luper­ci, an order of Roman priests, would gath­er at a sacred cave where the infants Romu­lus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sac­ri­fice a goat, for fer­til­i­ty, and a dog, for purifi­ca­tion. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sac­ri­fi­cial blood and take to the streets, gen­tly slap­ping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fear­ful, Roman women wel­comed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fer­tile in the com­ing year. Lat­er in the day, accord­ing to leg­end, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bach­e­lors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his cho­sen woman. These match­es often end­ed in mar­riage. 3

Seasonal Festivities and Islām

The prin­ci­ple for Mus­lims is to dis­tin­guish the fes­ti­vals and clas­si­fy them accord­ing to occa­sions which are reli­gious in nature and those which are cel­e­brat­ed due to eth­nic­i­ty, trib­al­ism, nation­al­ism. We need to look at the key iden­ti­fiers and ensure that the iden­ti­fiers are not reli­gious and draw a dis­tinc­tion, even though that reli­gious basis may no longer exist (today) the act will still be classed as an act of religion.

Mus­lims can­not par­take in fes­tiv­i­ties which are classed as reli­gious acts. Mus­lims can take part in fes­tiv­i­ties which are eth­nic, trib­al, nation­al etc.

Integration vs Assimilation

We believe that these mat­ters are very often mis­rep­re­sent­ed, mis­con­strued and mis­un­der­stood as lack of inte­gra­tion. This is not a lack of inte­gra­tion! This is a Mus­lim not cel­e­brat­ing an aspect of anoth­er reli­gion and not cel­e­brat­ing acts asso­ci­at­ed with anoth­er reli­gion. If this Mus­lims choos­es to cel­e­brate or par­tic­i­pate in acts of oth­er reli­gions it would go beyond inte­gra­tion and into assim­i­la­tion. It would imply that the belief sys­tem of this indi­vid­ual has been assim­i­lat­ed or that this per­son has con­vert­ed from Islām to anoth­er reli­gion or he has adopt­ed a hybrid of anoth­er reli­gion and Islām and that is not what this per­son believes to be. He or she is a Mus­lim and he or she defines him­self or her­self as a Mus­lim. 4

Love & Relationships in Islām

Allāh Ta’āla is our Cre­ator and he has intrin­si­cal­ly placed the need for com­pan­ion­ship and the need to be loved and val­ued with­in us. It is one of the Signs of Allāh Ta’āla and his Mercy.

[30:21] And of His signs is that He cre­at­ed for you from your­selves mates that you may find tran­quil­li­ty in them; and He placed between you affec­tion and mer­cy. Indeed in that are signs for a peo­ple who give thought.

How­ev­er this love and affec­tion needs to be artic­u­lat­ed, dis­played and man­i­fest­ed in accord­ing to the teach­ings of Islām. The cor­rect method will lead the cou­ple to hap­pi­ness in this world and ever­last­ing com­pan­ion­ship in the here­after. In Islām, the rela­tion­ship does not nec­es­sar­i­ly end at death but has the poten­tial to be tru­ly “for­ev­er”. Valen­tine’s Day is the most lucra­tive moment of the year after Christ­mas for choco­latiers, jew­ellers, restau­ra­teurs and greet­ing card man­u­fac­tur­ers. 5 Valen­tine’s Day is a com­mer­cial activ­i­ty pushed and pro­mot­ed to grab your money.

Rela­tion­ships need to be looked after, sus­tained and gen­uine effort needs to be put in for it to blos­som. We don’t believe that out­ward (com­mer­cial) dis­play for one day con­tributes any­thing sub­stan­tial. Instead, we rec­om­mend for Mus­lims to treat every day as spe­cial to ensure that your spouse feels spe­cial and valued.

We request all Mus­lims to watch the pre­sen­ta­tion below to gain an insight into love and rela­tion­ships in Islām. 

Love, Marriage and Fairytales

Mufti (Dr) Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera (DB)

This is a course it is being shared from anoth­er site. It is being shared to pro­vide Islāmic Guid­ance on the top­ic and Wifaqul Ula­ma nei­ther endors­es the site nor nec­es­sar­i­ly agrees with the views expressed nor takes respon­si­bil­i­ty for the con­tent of exter­nal Inter­net sites


Further reading

  • How to live in a secure and peace­ful coun­try? 6
  • The Sound Under­stand­ing of al-Walā wa’l-Barā 7
  • The British Deoban­dees 8
  • Mus­lims in Non-Mus­lim Lands: A Legal Study with Appli­ca­tions 9