Tunis: Stating that "love is one of the values of Islam", Grand Mufti of Tunisia Othman Battikh on Tuesday said that Valentine’s Day is not "haram" and celebrating it is permissible subject to the condition that "morals are not violated."
Speaking in an interview with newspaper Akher Khabar, Othman Battikh explained how “celebrating love is not a sin".
The Tunisian Mufti also condemned preachers and extremists who think celebrating Valentine’s Day is “an imitation of Christians,” and called for using this occasion to spread love among people.
“Everything that brings people together is good. There is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day as long as morals are respected,” Battikh said.
“(Preachers) must urge people to love each other as love is part of Islamic values. To love God is to love all people,” he added.
Valentine's Day is said to have acquired its name from that of a saint, yet there is no consensus over which one. The Catholic Church, in fact, recognizes several saints with the name Valentine or Valentinus, each said to have some link or another to the now internationally renowned holiday.
However, the pope who declared February 14 as Valentine’s Day was Pope Gelasius I, the third and last Bishop of Rome of berber origin.
He came from the Roman province of Africa which is now known as modern-day Tunisia and included parts of Algeria, Mauritania and Libya.
Though celebrating Valentine's Day is not common in the Muslim world, the Middle East countries recorded an increase in Valentine’s Day card purchases with a 107 per cent increase year-on-year.
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