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22 I SPECIAL FEATURE Passion Islam I February 2009
Are you going
to celebrate a
‘Happy Valentine’?
Islam as a religion promotes love, he Festival of Love (Valentines whips, an act which was supposed to
caring and hospitality. In fact, Islam Day) was one of the festivals of the ensure fertility.
encourages such acts. Islam teaches pagan Romans, when paganism was A point worth note, Muslims have
to live each day as if it were the last, the prevalent religion of the Romans to believe that Wisdom and Strength
hence being good to each other and more than seventeen centuries ago. can only be bestowed by the ‘One and
not saying and doing acts that one may In the pagan Roman concept, it was Only’ and although being suckled by
regret in time. Islam teaches us to treat an expression of “spiritual love”. a she-wolf is pretty impressive to say
our families and friends with sincerity There were myths associated with this the least, will not solely grant either.
and affection. To buy chocolates and pagan festival of the Romans, which As to turning this tenuous event into
flowers and to shower with gifts is a persisted with their Christian heirs. a day of celebration and for believers
practice that will encourage affection. Among the most famous of these of any Abrahamic Faith to accept and
In recent years, a new trend has myths was the Roman belief that encompass its belief, is questionable
heightened amongst many Muslim Romulus, the founder of Rome, was to his / her faith.
communities, which does not bode suckled by a she-wolf, which gave him Saint Valentine is a name, which
well with the laws of Shariyah. This strength and wisdom. The Romans is given to an ancient “martyr” of the
is evident in the simulation of the used to celebrate this event in mid- Christian Church. When the Romans
celebration of ‘Valentine’s Day’, which February each year with a big festival. embraced Christianity, they continued
has led to explanations of the rulings, One of the rituals of this festival was to celebrate the Feast of Love
so that Muslims may have a clear the sacrifice of a dog and a goat in mentioned above, but they changed
understanding of this issue and so honour of Faunus, God of fertility. it from the pagan concept of “spiritual
that they will not fall into that which Men would go to a grotto dedicated love” to another concept known as the
will weaken the belief with which Allah to Lupercal, the wolf god, located at “martyrs of love”, represented by Saint
has blessed them. the foot of Palatine Hill and where Valentine who had advocated love
“And be not as those who separated Romans believed that the founders and peace, for which cause he was
and differed among themselves after of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were martyred, according to narrations. It
had come to them evidences. These suckled by a she-wolf. The men would was also called the Feast of Lovers,
are the ones for whom shall be a sacrifice a goat, don its skin, and run and Saint Valentine was considered
torment mighty” [3:105] around, hitting women with small to be the patron saint of lovers,
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