Question # 462: In recent days, many Muslim boys and girls celebrate Valentine day. What is the ruling in this regard? Jazakallah
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Valentine’s Day owes its origin to a Roman festival named Lupercalia which was celebrated on the 15th of February. On that day, sacrifices were offered to their supposed god named “Lurks”. During the 13th century, the day was changed to February 14th due to the following incident: A Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade his soldiers to marry so as not to distract away from warfare. A catholic priest named ‘Valentine’ revolted against this order and performed secret weddings of the soldiers. His disobedience was discovered and he was executed on 14th February. After his death. people believed that he had sacrificed himself for the sake of Christianity and to save lovers. Subsequently, the church elevated him to Sainthood and the day came to be observed as Saint Valentine’s Day.
Based on its historical and semi-religious background and its current practices of immorality, listening to music, free intermixing of men and women, and imitating non-Muslims, celebrating Valentine’s Day is forbidden in Islam. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “He who imitates a group of people will be with them (in the Hereafter)”
Long Answer: To love is a natural instinct and Islam is the religion of love and brotherhood. It encourages good relations among the members of society. Allah will provide shelter under His Shade for those who love one another [for the sake of Allah] when there would be no shade other than His. Allah’s Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Verily Allah would say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Where are those who have a mutual love for My Sake only? Today I shall shelter them in My Shade when there is no other shade but Mine.'” (Muslim)
Moreover, the true love of the believers is a reason to enter Paradise: It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “You shall not enter Paradise so long as you do not affirm belief (in all the articles of faith), and you will not achieve belief as long as you do not love one another. Should I not direct you to a thing which, if you do, will foster love amongst you: spread Salaam (by saying As-Salaamu Alaykum) amongst yourselves.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, graded saheeh)
[As for the Islamic ruling concerning the celebration of Valentine’s Day, we should know…] the origin of this celebration:
The Romans had a festival named Lupercalia and they used to celebrate it on the 15th of February every year. On that day they offered sacrifices to their supposed god named “Lurks” in order to protect their cattle and the like from being killed by wolves. They celebrated this festival during the spring holidays according to their calculations.
During the thirteenth century, the day of this festival was changed to February 14th. There was an incident that led to this change. In the thirteenth century, a Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade his soldiers to marry because marriage would involve them in family life and cause them to lose interest in fighting.
A catholic priest named Valentine revolted against this emperor’s order and performed weddings for the soldiers secretly. After a while, his disobedience was discovered and he was imprisoned. While in prison he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. On February 14th he was executed. After his death, people believed that he had sacrificed himself for the sake of Christianity and to save lovers. Subsequently, the church elevated him to Sainthood and February 14th came to be observed as Saint Valentine’s Day.
On this day young girls and boys send love letters, love cards, gifts, etc. to each other. They celebrate this day by engaging in such practices. Based on [the historical and semi-religious background mentioned above], …celebrating Valentine’s Day is forbidden in Islam. [Moreover,] it invites to lust and encourages immorality, listening to music and intermixing between men and women, all of which is prohibited.
It also includes imitating non-Muslims. Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) 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.” We said, “O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?!” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
`Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “He who imitates a group of people will be with them (in the Hereafter)” (Ahmad and others)
The Standing Committee was also asked a question about this holiday; the Committee replied:
“It is prohibited for the Muslim to help with this festival or any other prohibited celebration in any way, be it food, drink, buying, selling, manufacturing, corresponding, advertising or in any other way, because all of that constitutes helping one another in sin, transgression, and disobedience towards Allah and His Messenger, and Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “…cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. (Soorah Al-Ma’idah, 5:2)
So, the Muslim must adhere to the Qur’an and Sunnah in all his affairs, especially at times of fitan (temptation and tribulation) and when corruption is widespread. He/she should be smart and be careful to avoid falling into the misguidance of those who have earned the anger of Allah and of those who went astray, and of the evildoers who hope not for reward from Allah and do not show any respect towards Islam…” (Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyah wa’l-Iftaa’)
(The above reply is based on various answers provided by Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar on the topic)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.