14 February 2014

The Politics of Islam and Valentine's Day

Should I celebrate Valentine's day? Should I not celebrate Valentine's day? It's funny how some of us may have these questions running through our heads every 14 Feb. But what is more funny to me is that suddenly, I have a lot of pious friends on both Facebook and Twitter on that very date. Everytime. They preach about the history of Valentine's day and why Muslims should not, in any ways, celebrate it at all. They preach about how any celebrations that originate from the West are considered un-Islamic. They preach about how sinful it is for one to celebrate Valentine's day

No doubt at all, 14 Feb is a day to commemorate a significant Christian event that happened probably way back in the AD period. Just like how Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. And April's Fool is a remembrance on how the Muslims were tricked donkey years back. Not forgetting the Halloween festival too — these are all celebrations originated from the West longer-than-long ago. 
 
But over the years, I feel that these festivals are gradually losing their religious significance thanks to commercial interests. I am pretty sure in the West, these have mainly become occasions to merely indulge in "junk" merchandise and food. People from all over the world, Christian or not, are celebrating these festivals without even understanding why to the extent that it actually is okay to not know. 

It is okay not to know and still celebrate it because it's a "norm". And it's fun. It's engaging. It makes you happy. It doesn't hurt anyone, not even your faith because you have no idea what it is about, remember? It's really for the heck of it. So when you celebrate Valentine's day, it's really not to thank St Valentine for what he did donkey years ago.

Take a thousand young lovers anywhere around the world from all walks of lives and ask them about St Valentine. I doubt you will find just one out of that thousand who actually really know the religious significance of this festival.

And I feel that it is okay to celebrate these festivals. Even if you do know their history. Because when I say Merry Christmas to my friends, I did not give my grace and thank Jesus or whatsoever prior to that. I celebrate only because I then have a valid excuse to shop for overpriced junk. When I celebrate Halloween, I did not give prayers for the souls in purgatory. It's really only because I have a reason to scare myself (and very rarely, others) silly.

And when I celebrate Valentine's day, it's really only because I want to express my appreciation to the people that matters to me. And yes, I know I can do the same on other days too. But hey, why give 14 Feb a miss? It's fun to join in the bandwagon and receive love messages and flowers (by the way, I received cards, chocolates and a sunflower from my lovely colleagues) for one day. And yeap, I'm sure my Christian colleagues really did that just for the heck of it too.

Again, this post is just my opinion and definitely do not represent my fellow Muslims. May Allah have mercy upon us and bestow on us His grace, Insya Allah.

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