By Zurairi AR
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Federal religious authorities today warned Muslims against celebrating Valentine’s Day next week, in a message that consistently crops up annually in February, by pointing out that it could lead to pre-marital sex.
Today’s Friday sermon by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), read out at mosques nationwide, comes amid a campaign called “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” launched together with about 250 non-governmental organisations last month.
“Create a feeling of anti-Valentine’s Day in your hearts and minds, start hatred of celebrating it,” Jakim’s sermon told Muslims nationwide.
Jakim expressed its worry that Muslims celebrating the day will go dancing and organise candlelight dinners, which will then lead to “kissing in gardens” and pre-marital sex to prove their romantic loyalty.
The religious department referred to an oft-quoted writing of a Ken Sweiger (sic) who allegedly said that “Valentine” was a Latin term, meaning “The Mightiest, The Strongest, and The Most Powerful”, used to exalt Nimrod and Lupercus, the deities of ancient Rome.
Therefore, Jakim warned that by asking someone to “be my Valentine” is tantamount to idolatry by glorifying a mortal to the same level as God.
In his online article “Saint Valentine’s Day: Should Biblical Christians Observe It?” a pastor called Ken Swiger warned his congregation called the Seventh Day Christian Assembly of the celebration.
Swiger linked Valentine’s Day celebration to a pagan celebration of intimacy dedicated to a primitive deity called Lupercus, who might refer to the biblical Nimrod the great hunter, the great-grandson of Noah.
He wrote that the name Valentine came from the Latin word “valens”, meaning “the strong, powerful or mighty one”, in reference to Nimrod, thus making the celebration “blatant idolatry”.
Muslims were also told in Jakim’s sermon that the directive against the celebration should not portray the department as killjoys who are against the latest trends, but it was just following the Quran and the Prophet’s teachings.
“Just because we want to enjoy and follow the latest trends does not mean we should turn our backs on the Quran and Sunnah,” the sermon said.
Therefore, Muslims were told to love everyday, and were reminded that true love should lie with God, the Prophet, and through jihad.
Jakim’s “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” campaign will be conducted around Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Bukit Bintang and Masjid India, where volunteers will speak to people about social ills.
More than 300 volunteers between 19 and 25 years old joined the programme to educate young people “who still do not know why Valentine’s Day celebration is in conflict with Islamic teachings”.
The Fatwa Committee of the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs in 2005 had decreed that celebrating Valentine’s Day was forbidden in Islam as it could lead to moral decadence.