CAIRO - Muslim scholars in the Indonesian province of Aceh have taken a strict position against celebrating the Valentine's Day, describing the occasion as a threat to Islamic values and Shari`ah.
It is haram for Muslims to observe Valentine's Day because it does not accord with Islamic Shari`ah Tgk Feisal, general secretary of the Aceh Ulema Association (HUDA), told The Jakarta Globe on Monday, February 6.
Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14, by many people throughout the world.
In the West, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their feelings for each others.
Feisal said Islam teaches Muslims to express love all through their lives and not to commit it to a certain day or event.
Therefore, Islam's younger generation should not participate in the celebration of a foreign festivity, Feisal said.
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.
Acehnese Muslim scholars urged the government and parents to instruct youth to abide by the Islamic teachings on the issue.
We must prevent the Muslim younger generation in Aceh from being poisoned by a culture that contradicts our Muslim values, Faisal Ali, the chairman of the Aceh branch of Nahdlatul Ulama, told The Jakarta Globe.
Therefore, everybody, parents in particular, should give our youth the proper guidance, he said.
Ali also urged the government to watch out for youths participating in Valentine's Day activities in Aceh.
He also called on the government to uphold and implement Islamic Shariah in serious and sincere ways and not just out of political expediency or momentarily.
Islamic Shari`ah cannot prevail in Aceh as expected if it is not supported fully by the government and other parties in authority, he said.
Aceh, located on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, is gradually implementing Shari`ah under a broad autonomy package granted by the central government in 2001 to pacify demands for independence.
It also has a religious police force whose task is overseeing Islamic regulations on dress, alcohol, gambling and immoral acts.
Over the past years, the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) has taken a strict position against celebrating the Valentine's Day.
But last year, MUI scholars allowed people to celebrate the occasion, but warned against practices that contradict with Islamic teachings.