It’s the time of year again, that lovebirds have been waiting for, the most awaited day of the year, February 14th!
Elaborately made up, beautifully adorned girls flutter around like bright butterflies hoping to find the most sought after guy, to be presented with gifts. A little heart or even a red rose would do, as long as it qualifies them to be paired up with someone.
On the other hand, guys dressed in their carefully chosen casual outfits, drenched in the most masculine cologne (a smell that could bruise your veins from within) seem busy shortlisting the most appropriate match for them, seeking to propose to the girl of their dreams. Finally, it is the day of enacting their well rehearsed scenarios with her.
Oh yes, it’s Valentine’s Day again!
For the last decade, we’ve witnessed that Valentine’s Day is being practiced with extreme dedication and utmost devotion; in fact the preparation for next year’s Valentine’s Day begins even before the first one is over. We are so faithful to our vows and commitments to people now, aren’t we?
Don’t worry I’m not going to bombard you with the history of Valentine’s Day, the facts about Saint Valentine etc. etc. Instead, I’m just going to share my speculations. I’m saying this in the hope that I can convince you to read until the end, before you scroll down to estimate the length of this article and decide to click off my random ramblings.
So where was I? Yes, I was trying to depict a particular picture of the most awaited day, when the promise of love fills the air. Whether young or old, single or married, it seems that on this day licenses are issued to do anything the heart desires. I need not dive into the details of how it’s celebrated, as we’ve all witnessed it at some level or other. Also, I find it disturbing to dig into the ‘oomph’ attached to the day.
This is the day for declaring mutual love and pledging to offer a perfect life with utmost care, extreme affection and complete understanding whilst promising to be together forever and ever. Couples imagine themselves to be on top of the world with their true love, before kicking them head first from the top on the onset of their first misunderstanding, that is.
Sometimes I wonder at the way we allow ourselves to go with the flow of life, satisfying our desires. How effortlessly we allow self deceit to penetrate our lives where it will create emotional imbalance and physical chaos. How much simpler can it get for the devil to pave our way to deception while pushing us towards a terrible fate? Despite understanding the evil that it’s leading to, we assist him by willingly following his path.
I choose not to elaborate on the intricacies of a relationship outside marriage, as our deen leaves no margin for us to entertain any possibility of such relationships. But before someone flings a brick at me for judging their pure and sincere premarital relationship by covering it with a blanket statement, please allow me to explain that a believer is not allowed to indulge in any intimate association with a namahram outside the sacred bond of nikah on any level, under any circumstances.
We cannot love (the kind of love that gives you butterflies in your tummy and when a glimpse of your beloved makes your heart skip a beat) someone namahram even for the sake of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) because such a love only applies to our spouses when we love them selflessly in order to seek Allah’s pleasure. How can we possibly hope to seek His pleasure through acts forbidden by Him? (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) How can a relationship be blessed when its foundation is based on sin?
However, one might debate that Valentine’s Day is not just about such a relationship, because lately its scope has been broadened and people now consider their parents, siblings and other relatives too as their Valentine’s Day companions. In fact, most people think that they’ve been blessed with a day to express their love for someone special and that there is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day because it’s a sacred day for carrying out a virtuous deed.
On the contrary, our deen emphasizes fulfilling the obligations of each and every relationship, each and every day. This means that every relative is required to be treated in a special way all the time, in accordance with the teachings of the Quran and sunnah, whereas designating a day to make them feel special kills this purpose. How can a day compensate for the entire year of love, care and compassion shown to us by our loved ones? It can’t. And even if one does want to do something extra special one day out of the blue for a loved one, then why does this day have to be against divine commands?
Moreover, according to a hadith, being a believer means our faith is incomplete unless we love Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and rasoolAllah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) more than anything and everything. Indeed, the one we believers deem to love so much, the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) himself says:
The one who imitates people other than us is not from us. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians. (Tirmithi)
Through the repeatedly narrated history of St. Valentine we clearly understand that it is a belief of disbelievers and is ardently celebrated by them. By following their festivals and cherishing their rituals, whether directly or indirectly, we are not only going against the hadith by being careless about our beloved rasoolAllah’s warning, we are also belittling his words by incurring the displeasure of Allah. As Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) commands us in Surah Hashr:
And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. (Quran: 7)
Can we afford to lose the love of our Prophet? (salallahu alaihi wasallam) Would it be okay if he disowned us? As we know, we will be raised with those we want to be with in this life. If we will embrace the teachings of rasoolAllah by obeying him then we can hope to be embraced by him on the day when all relatives will disown each other, in the akhira. Knowing this, is the risk of disobeying him and displeasing Allah worth taking? These are the questions we need to allow our intuition to respond to, as a sound instinct will guide us towards our wellbeing in dunia and akhira, in sha Allah.
This article was first published in Muslimaat Magazine.