Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is Valentine's Day Haram?

The Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) has issued a fatwa/Edict that consider Valentine Day as Haram (Forbidden).

Although MUI's decision is not part of our national legal system therefore there is no sanction for violation, however considering that MUI is the highest official Islamic organization in Indonesia, therefore such Fatwa would be followed by many Muslims especially those who are fanatics.

The problem is that most Indonesian Muslims are moderates who think and see things from a positively point of view. For them, Valentine Day is a celebration of Love, that is not related to any religion.
I can only hope that these two different groups of people would not conflict frontally against each other.

Please find below an article in The Jakarta Globe for your reference.

A man works out in a Jakarta gym. The Indonesian Ulema Council has warned against provocative aerobics moves and tight clothes in gyms. (JG Photo)

Indonesian Clerics Slap a Ban on Valentine's Day


Devout Muslims should not spend Sunday gazing at their sweethearts across a romantic, candle-lit dinner, the Indonesian Ulema Council has recommended, declaring celebrations of Valentine’s Day as forbidden in Islam.


Amidhan, head of the council, also known as the MUI, told the Jakarta Globe that celebrating Valentine’s Day was tantamount to spreading Christianity.


“We have to ban Valentine’s Day because we are celebrating another religion’s holiday,” the outspoken cleric said. “Santo Valentino was a Christian, so it is not allowed in Islam. People who celebrate Valentine’s Day are spreading Christian beliefs.”


Muslim leaders in the Islamic stronghold of East Java have already called on their congregations not to celebrate the holiday, arguing that it was sinful and would promote casual sex.


The MUI also ruled against aerobic exercises in “sexy” attire, and expressed reservations about Koranic verses used as cellphone ringtones. “Overenthusiastic aerobic moves with sexy attire, such as tight pants, can arouse sexual desire,” Amidhan said.


“Besides, women are not allowed to wear such attire as they reveal their aurat,” he said, referring to parts of the body that must be covered.
The MUI’s South Sumatra chapter on Friday declared that most workout clothing was un-Islamic and that aerobic exercises involved movements that could ignite sexual desire.


MUI leaders in Tasikmalaya, West Java, also declared Koranic ringtones inappropriate because it would “degrade” the holy book if phones rang in the bathroom or at places such as discotheques.


Soleh Mahmud, deputy secretary general of the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI), supported the MUI’s advice.


“We have seen the degradation of morals among Muslims in this country as they are adopting Western lifestyles,” he said. “The MUI should be the moral compass for the country’s Muslims.”


But Azyumardi Azra, a prominent academic who advises the vice president, said the MUI was going overboard with its fatwas, or religious decrees.


“They should weigh the issues they want to ban carefully as we have to see it in the social, cultural and political contexts,” he said.
If the MUI continues to issue edicts and bans without considering the broader context, Muslims will just end up ignoring them, Azyumardi said.


“The substance of Valentine’s Day is love, and love is the basis of Islam,” he said. “We don’t have to relate this to faith, as that’s just going overboard. It seems to me that those ulemas who issued the fatwa are narrow-minded.”

6 comments:

colson said...

I think a nice, ironic, exchange of opinions between moderates and fundamentalists would be good ( and funny as well).

It strikes me these guys are so obsessed with sex( aerobics???).

H. Nizam said...

Colson,

The big problem is that the fundamentalists tend to be violent. And if that happens, no agency seem take sides on the moderates who are usually silent.

Re: decision on on clothes for aerobic is to much.

Rob Baiton said...

Harry...

Too much time and nothing to do!

Rather than be choosy the MUI should just issue a fatwa that bans all non-Islam themed celebrations, and just be done with the fatwa thing.

The aerobics and tight clothes is not that surprising considering the heated discussion about Yoga not so long ago.

Nevertheless, that said, a walk around any mall in most parts of Indonesia will "reveal" good jilbab wearing Indonesian women in tight jeans and t-shirts. So, the aerobics part seems a little irrelevant unless there is a push to ban women from any physical activity outside of the home. There was some recent news about the Saudi government shutting down all-female gyms.

Hmmmm.....

H. Nizam said...

Rob,

It's good to read your comment again. Thanks a lot.

The fatwa is unrealistic because facts shows that there are so many women wearing jilbab but wearing skin tight jeans and T-shirts
in many places all over Indonesia, except Aceh perhaps.

Anonymous said...

i think valentine's day is haram. for reason, i read history about that day on http://bayurimba.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/valentine/

H. Nizam said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for dropping by. I wish that you mention your name so that we can be friends.

I really appreciate your comment, I believe that everyone has a right to say whatever he/she thinks.