The Mufti of Tunisia has affirmed that celebrating Valentine’s Day does not contradict Islamic principles as long as “it does not transgress good morals”.
Speaking in an interview with newspaper Akher Khabar, Othman Battikh explained how “celebrating love is not a sin,” and criticised those who say the day is not Islamic because it stems from Christian traditions.
In celebrating it, “it does not mean that one embraces the Christian religion,” he added. “Everything that brings people together is something good and needed”.
Deploring intolerance in the face of many opportunities to preach love, the Mufti said:
Love is one of the values of Islam, Islam is the love of Allah and to love others.
In countries like Pakistan for example, the public festivities of Valentine’s Day are forbidden following a decision of the High Court of Islamabad in 2017 deeming the celebration as full of “immorality, nudity and indecency”. The same sentiments are shared in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia and Indonesia.
However, from a global perspective, the Middle East is the only one recording an increase in Valentine’s Day card purchases with a 107 per cent increase year-on-year. In regions like the Gulf, expenditure surrounding the festival usually revolves around jewellery and travel unlike the more traditional card and flowers.