Do we really need to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I am sitting here watching all my friends express their love for their better halves all over Facebook and I am wondering, do we really need to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it necessary for everyone to share one given day of the year with everyone else to express their love and to spend a considerable amount of money confirming that love? It is not that I do not take heed about other people’s affections towards their companions, I just would like to know, why are we so open about these feelings?

There was once an era when people would be too humble and reserved to show others that they are truly, madly and deeply in love. In fact I have never seen my parents or my elders express their love in front of us children. For generations, love was expressed through so many different ways. Our forefathers never needed 14th February to show the strength of their love.

So, what is it about the 14th of February that makes everyone turn into Romeos and Juliets? What is so special about this date in particular? Why cannot I express and celebrate my love on the 24th of August or 3rd     of June? Who are you (whoever created this concept) to give me a date for the celebration of my love? Why must I open my intimacy for the world to see?

Salman Khan, a famous Indian movie superstar, often says on television when asked about his love-life, that the love-life is HIS, his girl is HIS, why is everyone so worked up about it? I could not agree with him more. I do not need to show everyone that I love my mate. My mate can see that, and I know how much I love him. Is the virtue of our love diminishing every year that the 14th of February becomes a sort of renewal date?

I believe that the expression of love has become a show-business. It has become a competition; who can express their love better than whom? And it is a competition that will generate a lot of negativity in society. In certain ways, it can damage relations between people.

Women will begin to compare what their husbands or boyfriends did for them and what their friends’ companions did for them. The financially “fortunate” ones will be confident and proud of their husband or boyfriend. The financially “less fortunate” ones will be swimming in a pool of envy. Men will have to listen to this comparison from their women, and they would either be pressured to do more the following year or they will develop an unconscious hatred for those with whom they are being compared to.

To the Muslims, Valentine’s Day should not even be considered. When Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that Valentine’s Day was “not suitable” for Muslims, he was absolutely right. It is purely a pseudo-Christian celebration – not even truly Christian though they cleverly use a Christian saint’s name – to dupe innocent Christians to go on a shopping spree in his name. We Muslims should not observe it. It will lead to unaccountable spending and possibly immoral activities. Why, don’t you remember the famous Arabian couple Laila and Majnun? Their love story was legendary and iconic to everyone all over the world! They died for one another. Did they need a 14th of February?

I am not saying that we should not love one another, nor should stop expressing our love for our companions. If anything, our Prophet taught us to express our love – even by telling directly – if we love someone. I am not against love. In fact, I believe that love should be a given factor between any couple. I do not want to have to have kept reassuring my partner that I love him every year. It should be known to us and to our friends that we are happy with one another. What we do to celebrate this love is, frankly, none of anybody else’s business. And nobody has the right to tell me when I can celebrate this love.

Valentine’s Day is an annual commemoration that celebrates love and affection between intimate companions. Intimacy is a private and personal issue. I do not believe that it should be shared with the whole world.

It is just a date, my friends, with absolutely no substantial value. It was a date created from no historical or religious event. Please do not oblige one another to be lovers on this date. I will love my partner until I stop breathing and whenever I feel like celebrating my love, I will do it in a way that makes my partner happy. Not in a way set by Archie’s or Hallmark. Do not commercialise “love” or allow it to be a business. It is a very spiritual and personal subject upon which couples are making their lives ever since the birth of mankind.

Sheikh Sibat-e Mubeen

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