A Muslim Survival Guide to Valentine’s Day : the Facts Versus the Reality Checks

Written by Fatima Abdulrazak

The red day is almost upon us and so comes the anxiety for many Muslims especially those living as minorities in their societies. The awkward gestures and hype can live one dumbfounded and completely directionless on what to say or do. So here are some few tips to help one survive the red rose day.

1. Can we celebrate Valentine’s Day?

No, you can’t. It is not one of our celebratory holidays and our predecessors did not celebrate it so we automatically do not consider this a holiday to look forward to.

The reality check: Do I believe that we can take advantage of some amazing offers on Valentine’s Day? I say why not, 50% offer on a perfume you were so desperately saving up for, this restaurant you really wanted to go to but was so expensive and is now offering free coupons for the first 10 reservations. These offers are like end of year offers and if your whole outlook of the entire day is just these offers, I don’t see a reason not to smile about it.

2. How do I return a greeting of Valentine’s Day?

We don’t participate in the activities associated with the day so we do not have a particular greeting to say back.

The reality check: If you are like me living in a diverse religious community then it can be socially awkward not returning a greeting. So a ‘Happy Valentine’s day’ greeting can be returned with a ‘Have a good one’, it’s not too specific and  you end up seeming more involved than you really tend to be.

3. Can I have special plans on Valentine’s Day?

The essence of not celebrating occasions outside the scope of the deen means you can’t have special plans for this day.

The reality check: In a lot of cases, work ends early on Valentine’s Day. The hype associated with it makes it a good day to get off work early. So a few extra hours in the day spent with loved ones over tea or a movie night or going to a halaqa is okay in my books.

4. How do I explain that I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day?

It doesn’t hurt to have some knowledge of the day and use it as a positive platform for instance saying you do understand that Saint Valentine’s is glorified in society for his stand against an oppressive instruction to deny soldiers marriage, follow that up with a social justice cause you’re passionate about, and end that Valentine’s day is now just a hyper-commercialized day for capitalists losing its historic meaning. That should be a good distraction.

The reality check: unfortunately due to its hyper consumerism nature, most people will be too  busy trying to ‘buy off’ love that they won’t notice your lack of interest. So, don’t sweat it. It’s one day and not as awkward as the three-month Christmas festivities.

Hopefully the Q and A has helped you feel confident enough to navigate Valentine’s Day with ease. ‘Have a good one.’

Bio: Fatima Abdulrazak is a Somali, born and bred in Uganda. Professionally, she is an accountant and a financial adviser. She is passionate about writing and research. Abdulrazak is also a member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA). Her work includes writing with the former Young Muslimah magazine where she had a rant column. Currently she writes for her own blog, ‘The Human in Us’, which she dedicates to feel good stories of humanity. Finally, she is a financial expert at Holistic, a life style website dedicated to holistic well-being. You can connect with her on social media with the links provided below.

Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/fatima.siraji

Word press/Gravatar account: http://thehumanitystories.wordpress.com

Facebook pages: http://facebook.com/humaninus

http://facebook.com/thesomaliwordtunnel

http://facebook.com/Holistic360

Twitter: @FatimaAbdulraz6

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