I always thought that Valentine’s Day was mostly an irreligious celebration – I was young, lol – and that people all over the world took some time out for their loved ones in a busy work schedule.
Only recently, it came to my attention that not only is Valentine’s Day NOT celebrated by some cultures; it is strictly forbidden in some.
One of these cultures/religions is Islam, as a friend of mine – she is Muslim – informed me. After she explained why, it certainly made sense to me within the context of that particular religion.
As a day loosely dedicated to expressions of romantic love, Muslims generally tend to frown upon Feb 14th, and the following are a handful of primary reasons why.
Keep in mind that this is by no means meant to be comprehensive, as you may found some people who identify themselves as Muslims, but who have in fact, chosen to celebrate Valentine’s Day – or some semblance thereof.
The Exclusivity of Festival Worship
Islam maintains that Valentine’s Day dates back to the Romans and is not found in Islam at all – which makes it an expression of faith that is exclusive to Christians.
Religions, in general, are distinguished by the festivals that are exclusive to them; for example, Eid is widely recognized as a special period for Muslims, which is not acknowledged in the Christian or Jewish faiths.
Similarly, Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that isn't celebrated by Christians or Muslims. Basically, it’s considered a sin for Muslims to partake in festivals that do not have an Islamic origin, because it can lead to disbelief.
The Quran has provided all the festivals of which Muslims are compelled to partake.
It gives provisions on the proper direction to face when praying, fasting and celebration.
Anything outside of these is considered the purview of paganism, and is strictly forbidden. Just as Muslims have their own great festival, called Eid, of which other religions do not partake, Christianity has Valentines Day (and others) that are exclusive to the religion
The Threat of Paganism
Islam maintains that Valentines Day doesn't even come from the original Christian faith; that it is, in fact, a derivative of Roman paganism.
Christianity actually incorporated the tradition focusing on romantic love between young teenagers into their faith.
As any Muslim knows, any imitation whatsoever of idolaters and pagan elements is strictly forbidden – especially as expressed through festival and celebration. From the book of scholarly consensus and sayings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
Simply put, Islam frowns upon romantic love outside the important context of marriage. Some Muslim scholars maintain that Valentines Day is not about “pure love,” but about the love without commitment found in alliances between girlfriend, boyfriend and mistresses.
This is basically fornication, and giving into lustful feelings, which leads resolutely to immorality.
A husband and wife do not need Valentines Day, because they love each other throughout the year, fully and in wholesome fashion.
Moreover, because this bond is sacred and permanent, there’s no need to set aside a day specifically for it, as if husband and wife love each other more for a single day.
In most Muslim marriages, a husband might shower his wife with gifts, poems and other means consistently through the year. Expressions of love and emotion between them are unceasing, and do not require festivals.
Furthermore, love in Islam is a cherished ideal to be shared between people in general, for there are different kinds of love. Romantic love, specifically, is not something to be celebrated before marriage, because it consistently leads to immorality as defined by Islam.
So, I guess the end result to the question “Do Muslims celebrate Valentines Day” could be “most do not, but some do.”
As for the second question, “Does Islam recognize Valentines Day?” The answer is a resounding NO! So do not wish any of your Muslim friends a Happy Valentines Day!
In predominantly Muslim countries like Pakistan and Malaysia, it seems that a sizable minority of the people tend to have more liberal views regarding Quranic scripture and the celebration of Valentines Day.
The governments of these countries are, as one can imagine, taking action against it by releasing statements and fatwas decrying any impending celebrations, in an attempt to pre-empt festivities.
This is why it’s difficult to answer the question “Do Muslims celebrate Valentines Day” succinctly, although it’s much easier to see that Islam does not tolerate it. Judgin by the pictures below, it would seem that a few Muslims, at least, are alright with celebrating anti-Valentines Day, however.