Sunday, February 13, 2011
It’s that time of the year again
Yes, indeed it is that time of the year again; the time where every shop has bold displays of chocolates, hearts and teddy bears. Where the colour red can be seen from miles away and when suddenly people seem to remember that they have loved ones. They call it Valentine’s Day!!!
Now seriously, I know that being completely against Valentine’s Day might make me come across as a cold hearted, destroyer of love, type- Which I am not. There are many reasons to be against this day. At this time of the year many Muslims will be telling you why Valentine’s Day should not be a practice to follow. It’s based on a pagan ritual, we do not need to follow what everyone else is doing, we should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). These are all very important points, but I am not going to write about all that today, mainly because I know that other much more knowledgeable people will be able to write about it much better than me.
(You can check out a really good article on Valentine's Day at the following link: http://eislaminfo.blogspot.com/)
The main reason that I don’t like Valentine’s Day is because it’s all just so superficial! One “special day” in the year to “celebrate” your “love”. I’ll tell you why I take up issue with this. Firstly, why do you need one specific day in the year? If you really love someone shouldn’t you be showing this to them all the time? Why should you show them how much you love them on that one day, just because someone else is telling you that’s the day you should be expressing your love? Secondly, celebrating love with chocolates, teddy bears and hearts. (Okay, chocolates I understand, who doesn’t feel loved when they get chocolates?:)) But seriously now, is that really a way to express love, with worthless gifts. It’s not like most people even take the time to buy a special gift based on their loved ones likes or even needs. Most people just end up buying the nicely wrapped up red and white gifts on display. Then the day or the week or the month after Valentines Day, how many people remember that they love the person they showered with gifts the day before? Then it’s all back to the normal routine and suddenly all the chocolates, roses and teddy bears are nowhere to be seen, and neither is the "love" that was so vividly expressed on Valentine's Day.
I remember back in my school days, people would show off about the amount of Valentine’s gifts they received. From cards to roses, chocolates, teddy bears...people would walk around school flaunting their gifts. It was a mark of popularity, a testimony that you are lovable. Those unfortunate people that didn’t receive anything ended up feeling like they were unworthy of love. It was always a big deal when it came to Valentine’s Day, events would be planned long beforehand and girls and boys would wait to see what they would receive. The strange thing is that many years after people leave school, things are still the same, and if a spouse does not shower you with Valentine’s gifts then many people regard this as a lack of love.
I feel irritated just writing this, not because I don’t believe in love, not because I am unromantic. I actually do believe in love and that this is truly a mercy from Allah Almighty. I also believe that romance is important. But it should be based on real feelings and it should have meaning. There should not be one” special” day, love should always be celebrated. It should be celebrated in the way in which couples treat one another, how they respect and honour one another, how they appreciate one another. Compliments should be paid to each other often, not only on Valentine’s Day. Gifts should be given at any time, and thought should be put into the gift. I truly believe that real love is very far away from the idea of love portrayed through Valentine’s Day, which is quite ironic since this is claimed to be the “Day of Love”. I can’t help but see the superficiality in all of this every year when the hearts, teddy bears, red roses and chocolates are to be seen all over the place, I can’t help but wonder why a fake ideal of love is so easily soaked up by people.
The best way to celebrate love is to start by thanking Allah (SWT) for giving you a partner to love because this is a mercy from Allah and it should be recognised as this. The second way to celebrate love is with mercy, respect, understanding and compassion, not one day in the year, but every single day. With this comes acceptance of one’s partner. Accepting the good and the bad and not ever wishing that you had something better. This is real love, love in its truest form as it was modelled to us by our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). If we learn the seerah (life of the Prophet) we will see the beautiful manner in which he celebrated love. There may not have been any roses, chocolates and teddy bears, but there definitely was mercy, compassion, warmth, laughter and acceptance. There was true love instead of the fake romanticised ideals of love which are so often thrown out at us.
Let’s try and start our own traditions, let’s celebrate love in our own ways. We don’t need other people to tell us when and how to show love. Let us relate to one another in meaningful ways. Let’s do things that matter. Let’s be genuine people, that’s all I’m trying to say here!!!
Image taken from: http://free-extras.com/images/anti_valentines_day-13244.htm