In the modern world, all around us we see concerted and focussed efforts striving to make society more and more immoral and immodest. Whether it be through the indecent images on billboards which have reduced the honour of women to a mere sales tool, or the constant barrage of obscenity reaching devices in the hands of the old and the young via social media, immodesty is spreading through society. The family unit is malfunctioning, children are losing their innocence, the teenage pregnancy and abortion rates are skyrocketing, and children are growing up sometimes not knowing who their parents are. In this way, society is plummeting into complete and utter disarray. As Muslims, we are guided at every step of life by the noble teachings of the Holy Quran, the book of guidance sent by Allah Almighty containing the solutions to all the problems of society in every generation until the Day of Judgement. So what does the Quran say about those who are responsible for spreading immodesty?
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
‘Indeed those who love for immodesty to spread amongst those who believe – there is a painful punishment for them in the world and in the hereafter. And Allah knows, yet you do not know’
In the modern world, one means that has been adopted to spread immodesty amongst those who believe is Valentine’s Day. This yearly event is named after a Christian priest named Valentine who was executed for secretly marrying off soldiers against the emperor’s orders. There are many other tales and fables surrounding this individual, whose day has now become a means of duping naive people into squandering their hard earned money and a means of young males and females waving goodbye to their modesty and chastity. One shocking thing that comes to light from researching into the life of this man is that he stood for the institution of marriage, not for illicit relations outside of marriage. So, modern Valentine’s Day celebrations have even distorted the very message of the day’s namesake. Regardless of who this person was and what his story was, for Muslims the word of Allah and the speech of His Beloved صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ should be enough to open our eyes to the truth. Our Beloved Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ clearly outlined the importance of modesty in our religion. He صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said so beautifully and concisely:
الْحَيَاءُ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ وَالإِيمَانُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَالْبَذَاءُ مِنَ الْجَفَاءِ وَالْجَفَاءُ فِي النَّارِ
‘Modesty is a part of faith, and faith is in Paradise. And immodesty is a part of rudeness, and rudeness is in the Fire.’
In one report it is stated that he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said:
إِنَّ لِكُلِّ دِينٍ خُلُقًا وَخُلُقُ الإِسْلاَمِ الْحَيَاءُ
‘Indeed every religion has a special characteristic, and the special characteristic of Islam is modesty.’
In another narration, he صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said:
مَا كَانَ الْفُحْشُ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ شَانَهُ وَمَا كَانَ الْحَيَاءُ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ زَانَهُ
‘Immodesty blemishes everything it is found it, and modesty beautifies everything it is found in.’
Muslims today must reflect upon these words and ask themselves whether they are beautified by the attribute of modesty, or blemished by the trait of immodesty. Muslims today must ponder as to whether their faith contains the essential component of modesty or not. Muslims today must contemplate as to whether Valentine’s Day is in accordance with key values of Islam or in total conflict with them. We must realise that there are forces at work trying to snatch away this vital part of our faith through popularising events such as Valentine’s Day for monetary gain and other evil purposes. O Muslims! Wake up, and don’t fall prey to their plotting and planning; or else you will face shame in this world and punishment in the hereafter! As the final phrase in the verse of the Quran mentioned earlier told us, ‘Allah knows, yet you do not know!’
Our Beloved Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ dealt with the fatal and destructive disease of immodesty with such immense and timeless wisdom that even strikes hearts over 1400 years later. A young man once came to the Holy Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ and said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit adultery.” The people turned to rebuke him, saying, “Quiet! Quiet!” The Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said, “Come here.” The young man came close and he told him to sit down. The Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said, “Would you like that for your mother?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their mothers.” The Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said, “Would you like that for your daughter?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their daughters.” The Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said, “Would you like that for your sister?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their sisters.” The Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said, “Would you like that for your aunts?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their aunts.” The Prophet placed his hand on him and he said, “O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and guard his chastity.” After that, the young man never again turned to anything sinful. In another narration, the Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said to him, “Then hate what Allah has hated, and love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
The question to those preparing to indulge in Valentine’s Day celebrations, not stopping to think of the consequences on those they are targeting in relation to their chastity, their family honour, and their future prospects for happiness, is ‘Would you like for you sister to be sent Valentine’s flowers by an unrelated young man?’ Would you like for your mother to be taken out to the cinema by a stranger? Would you like a random youngster to flirt with your daughter?’ If the answer is ‘No!’, and it will certainly be ‘No!’, then why do you engage in these things with the sisters and daughters of others?! The popularization of Valentine’s Day is a ploy to uproot modesty, the fabric of faith and society, and replace it with immodesty. When modesty prevails in society, our sisters and daughters will feel protected. When modesty prevails in society, our communities will be filled with peace and tranquillity. When modesty prevails in society, no-one will walk the streets trembling with fear of being abused or molested. To achieve this, Muslims must reject the concept of Valentine’s Day and not allow it to settle into our society.
Finally, let’s read the words of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar regarding modesty, and make a firm decision to choose Islam, faith, and modesty, and to reject the devil, immodesty, and Valentine’s Day –Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Umar said, “Modesty and faith are together. If one of them is removed, the other is removed.”
May Allah guide the Muslims to adopting modesty, and may He protect the Muslims from the evil plotting of their enemies!