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Pakistan maintained ban on Valentine’s Day celebration, but Saudi Arabia has quietly permitted it

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday maintained its previous judgement of imposing a ban on celebrations of Valentine’s Day on February 14 across the country.

The court ordered Islamabad chief commissioner to ensure implementation of court directives while taking actions against the people who celebrate this day.

The order read that no arrangements could be made in any city of the country regarding Valentine’s Day.

The court also ordered Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority to ensure implementation of the decision on TV channels.

After Indonesia, Pakistan’s High Court also bans Valentine’s Day’s celebration in public

However, another Muslim country, Saudi Arabia, have allowed Valentine’s Day celebration, continuing it’s trend of permitting things which Islam forbids.

In 2018, a Saudi religious figure endorsed Valentine’s Day celebrations for the first time in the Kingdom.

Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Makkah, announced on TV that celebrating Valentine’s Day does not contradict Islamic teachings, and that celebrating love is not limited to non-Muslims.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide, much like Mother’s Day, as “a positive aspect of the human being,” he said.

As a result, Valentine’s Day is becoming very lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons.

The shift in attitude represents the paradox at the heart of the new Saudi Arabia under de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A government crackdown has put dissenters on notice that they risk liberty—and even life—if they criticize the kingdom’s leadership.

But the state is also becoming more liberal and secular as some would say, allowing music concerts and cinema and permitting men and women to mix more freely in public.

The religious police, whose powers have been curbed, didn’t pay their usual visit. And they didn’t stop at nearby restaurants with orders to abstain from using candles and tablecloths in colors associated with this day for lovers—red, pink, and white.

Fahd bin Nasser, a 28-year-old technical engineer, says he doesn’t mind if Saudis celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it’s not for him. “It’s an innovation that Islam doesn’t accept,” he says, as he sips coffee on a cool evening in the popular Tahlia area of Riyadh. “I don’t even celebrate my birthday for the same reason.”

Away from the capital, in less conservative cities such as Jeddah in the west or Al-Khobar in the east, attitudes are also more relaxed. A patisserie in Al-Khobar posted a picture of a heart-shaped cake on Instagram with a caption and a winking emoji: “February’s cake has arrived,” it said. “It’s for February, not for that.”

Again, these are steps towards something which goes against the commands of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Undoubtedly, these are testing times and something which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) predicted.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that groups of his ummah would follow the non-Muslims in some of their rituals and customs. A number of evidences support this. One hadeeth is that of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, span by span, cubit by cubit, until even if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would follow them.” We said, “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?!”

(Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

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Written by Adeel Malik

Born in Hong Kong, grew up in Scotland and ethnically Pakistani, Adeel primes himself to be a multicultural individual who is an advent social media user for the purpose of learning and propagating Islam while is also a sports fan. Being an English teacher himself, he envisions a bright future for Muslims which he strongly believes can only be done with education.

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