So as a Muslim, there’s always the obligatory “Is Valentines Day Haram or Not” discussion. My favorite piece on this is from the debate in Indonesia from a few years ago:
MUI’s edict department chairman Ma’ruf Amin said Saturday that Valentine’s Day, which falls Monday this year, should be received as an “ordinary get-together”, or silaturahmi.
“The meeting [for Valentine’s Day] is like a silaturahmi,” Ma’ruf said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Saturday.
“We will forbid it should the meeting go against Islamic teachings, such as by involving inappropriate action, liquor, frantic dancing or casual mingling between different sexes,” he said.
Ma’ruf asserted that Islam didn’t recognize Valentine’s Day, but that the religion respected the value of silaturahmi.
I’ve often heard some Muslims make a vociferous case against Muslims celebrating Valentine’s Day. Usually their rulings and opinions stem from a complete misunderstanding of what most people actually do on Valentine’s Day (which is eat a lot of chocolate and complain about being alone).
However, Valentine’s Day history shows it’s not always been a completely innocent event:
From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.
The most thoughtful discussion I’ve seen about Valentine’s Day is about domestic violence and abuse. This is a serious problem in the American Muslim community that must be robustly addressed. It is not a “Woman’s Issue” that only women should work on, it is an issue that all American Muslims must work on, especially MEN:
It became clear to me (as it already was to Eve) that violence against women was not merely a female issue; it was a human dilemma twisting the lives and consciences of men as well; men whose voices needed to be heard in order for the dialogue that began ten years ago with the founding of V-Day to be complete.
In the months to come, we will be presenting — in this space — a series of pieces written by men with the hope of bridging this gender gap.
With V-Day celebrating its ten year anniversary, and the war on female violence nowhere near won, we can no longer afford to keep men’s voices out the conversation. Writing “Rescue” was life changing for me. I learned that you don’t have to be a woman to suffer from misogyny.