Valentine's day. A day on which a couple show their outward affection for each other through gifts and other acts of devtion. It may involve flowers and even chocolate. Isn't this the height of western decadence mixed with fairytale Hollywood romance?
Surely this is something that all Muslims should stay away from Or should they?
If you look at the underlying message of Saint Valentine, who was Christian, the message is not one of romance, decadence or fairytales. It is a simple tale of marriage.
Saint Valentine conducted marriage ceremonies for individuals who wanted to get married but for whatever reason wanted to get married, religion allowed but but for whatever reason they couldn't (including reasons of societal taboo).
Looking at his infamy in this light, not only was his work good, its something to be approved of. Especially now and especially by Muslims.
Western Muslims have fallen into a trap when it comes to marriage, that marriage is delayed to such an extent that it can on average be as late as it is for non Muslims, who do not believe marriage to be necessary.
Non Muslims carry out marital activities from the teen ages onwards outside the sanctum of marriage and the Muslim community has copied this where now the average age of marriage is 29.
While for non Muslims, especially those who do not hold the principles of Islam dear, this may not seem an issue, that is because they carry out what is only permitted in marriage outside of marriage.
It is unnatural for a human to not have desires and Islam allows and encourages satisfaction of desires within the confines of marriage. As marriage is often delayed in today's Muslim culture, this leaves Muslims to either act in unnatural ways, or fall into sin.
Worse, many have even fallen into criminal activities where young and vulnerable women have been abused. We often feel that the whole Muslim community has been tarnished when we see media attention focussing on mass criminal proceedings and and cases where young women have been exploited and even raped in gangs in a semi organised manner, however the root causes and cures are often ignored in this topic.
Not all of the people involved in such criminal activity are unmarried, however a significant number are. They have desires and instead of finding halaal means to satisfy them, they are finding criminal means and this is hurting not only their victims but also the whole Muslim community.
Marriage is half our deen, and it protects us from many ills and on this day those that would normally turn their noses at the thought of valentines should consider the real act that this day is remembered for: Marriage.
Saint Valentine assisted people in getting married and that is a noble cause.