It’s that time of year again where we have to spread the love to our “lovers” by giving them those soft stuff bears with hearts attached to them or by giving them those heart-shaped chocolate candies (Not gonna lie they are delicious and like half price after Valentine’s Day) and how can I forget those 2 page long love letters ending with a big ❤ and a huge smiley face….ok maybe I’m going over the top here but that’s only because I was raised here in the West and that’s mostly what I’ve seen on the so-called, “Valentine’s Day”. This day is of course a holiday full of love and its considered a national holiday here in the US. It’s a day that’s characterized as a “Christian” holiday but in these days you see Muslims around the world including in many Muslim Countries celebrating the day, from married couples to even the Muslim youth. Now although it is being celebrated by Muslim couples, it’s mostly damaging the Muslim youth and corrupting their heart as they tend to “spread the love” with their girlfriends or boyfriends…Ustagfiruallah! So before I begin my long essay about Valentine’s Day, let’s get a bit of background about how Valentines Day actually began:
The Festival of Love was one of the festivals of the pagan Romans, when paganism was the prevalent religion of the Romans more than seventeen centuries ago. In the pagan Roman concept, it was an expression of “spiritual love”.
There were myths associated with this pagan festival of the Romans, which persisted with their Christian heirs. Among the most famous of these myths was the Roman belief that Romulus, the founder of Rome, was suckled one day by a she-wolf, which gave him strength and wisdom.
The Romans used to celebrate this event in mid-February each year with a big festival.
One of the rituals of this festival was the sacrifice of a dog and a goat. Two strong and muscular youths would daub the blood of the dog and goat onto their bodies, then they would wash the blood away with milk. After that there would be a great parade, with these two youths at its head, which would go about the streets. The two youths would have pieces of leather with which they would hit everyone who crossed their path. The Roman women would welcome these blows, because they believed that they could prevent or cure infertility.
MV: ^Ouch…I don’t really think that’s what love is….
The connection between Saint Valentine and this festival:
Saint Valentine is a name which is given to two of the ancient “martyrs” of the Christian Church. It was said that there were two of them, or that there was only one, who died in Rome as the result of the persecution of the Gothic leader Claudius, c. 296 CE. In 350 CE, a church was built in Rome on the site of the place where he died, to perpetuate his memory.
When the Romans embraced Christianity, they continued to celebrate the Feast of Love mentioned above, but they changed it from the pagan concept of “spiritual love” to another concept known as the “martyrs of love”, represented by Saint Valentine who had advocated love and peace, for which cause he was martyred, according to their claims. It was also called the Feast of Lovers, and Saint Valentine was considered to be the patron saint of lovers.
One of their false beliefs connected with this festival was that the names of girls who had reached marriageable age would be written on small rolls of paper and placed in a dish on a table. Then the young men who wanted to get married would be called, and each of them would pick a piece of paper. He would put himself at the service of the girl whose name he had drawn for one year, so that they could find out about one another. Then they would get married, or they would repeat the same process again on the day of the festival in the following year.
The Christian clergy reacted against this tradition, which they considered to have a corrupting influence on the morals of young men and women. It was abolished in Italy, where it had been well-known, then it was revived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when in some western countries there appeared shops which sold small books called “Valentine’s books”, which contained love poems, from which the one who wanted to send a greeting to his sweetheart could choose. They also contained suggestions for writing love letters.
MV: And they say our way of choosing our soul mates is stupid haha. So now as you can tell that the origins of Valentines Day actually came from the pagans who used to celebrate it by sacrificing dogs and goats….I don’t think that’s legal anymore. Then the Christians who edited the holiday of the pagans from changing their concept of “spiritual love” to a concept called “martyrs of love” following Saint Valentine who represented love and peace to which he was martyred for according to their claims. So lets do some research on who Saint Valentine was:
Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in thepersecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270.
MV: I think his story represents violence rather then love if you ask me. From these origins of what people today call “Valentines Day aka A Day of Love” we can tell that there completely false. As none of the origins express the real love and the concept of loving your wife or even your family. As Muslims we should remember that although we could celebrate the day with love and ignore the origin, no one can ignore what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“He is not one of us who imitates other than us. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians.”
Islam encourages love between a wife and a husband and Islam encourages love with our parents, friends and of course the Prophet (PBUH). But Valentines Day is not a holiday full of love nor is an Islamic holiday, spread some love on Eid that’s what we all need. May Allah (swt) guide us all and keep us in the right path, Ameen.