CAIRO – Ahead of the Valentine’s Day, religious authorities at the Malaysian state of Selangor have surprised high school students by distributing pink-colored leaflets with the guidelines of the day deemed by many scholars as haram or banned.
"I think most of us have been taught in class about why celebrating Valentine's Day is considered haram,” Mohd Ibrahim Faiq Hussein, 17, told New Straits Times on Thursday, February 13.
"Seeing them (the officials) talking to students about it was unexpected."
|Valentine's Day: Roots & Islamic View|
Like all students of SMK Seksyen 9 at Shah Alam secondary school, Hussein was surprised by the officials' presence.
The young Malaysian asserted that he has never celebrated Valentine's Day.
The pink-colored leaflets were titled "Hukum Valentine's Day" (Valentine's Day guidelines).
The leaflets caused much amusement among the students, who giggled after receiving them.
Most said they were aware of the ban against taking part in Valentine's Day-related celebrations and the reasons behind it.
Others, however, questioned the necessity of the campaign, as most of Muslim students do not celebrate Valentine's Day.
“I suppose this campaign is helpful to those who want to know why we should not take part,” Nadia Amyra Azirudyn, 16, said.
Another student, Suhaidi Subeli, 16, noted that the campaign could be more effective if special religious classes were held on the subject.
He added that Valentine's Day was usually celebrated among non-Muslim students at the school.
Similar leaflets are expected to be distributed to students at Universiti Teknologi Mara here on Thursday.
In the meantime, Selangor state mufti chief assistant Mat Jais Kamos said that authorities were keen on discouraging Muslim youth from getting caught up in Valentine's Day.
“The celebration emphasizes the relationship between two individuals rather than the love between family members or married couples," the New Straits Times quoted him as saying.
Islamic officials in Malaysia issued a fatwa in 2005 that the day is associated with “elements of Christianity”.
In 2011, religious authorities arrested more than 100 Muslim couples over the Valentine's Day celebrations.
Another campaign was launched on 2013 by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), when about 250 volunteers from various non-governmental organizations (NGO), launched a "Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap" campaign in Kuala Lumpur.
Its director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha said it was aimed at exposing the volunteers to the need to be people-oriented when combating social ills.
Islam does recognize happy occasions that bring people closer to one another, and add spice to their lives.
However, Islam goes against blindly imitating the West regarding a special occasion such as Valentine’s Day.
Hence, commemorating the Valentine’s Day is an innovation or bid`ah (innovation) that has no religious backing.