Thursday, 28 April 2011

Should he attend the university graduation ceremony that is sponsored by Buddhists?


I am of a Muslim minority. There is a party for us to receive our university degrees. I have two questions regarding this matter: 

1- What is the ruling on attending such a party, knowing that the Buddhist priests pray, according to their religious rituals, to bless the party?  

2- If the party starts before Dhuhr and ends after ‘asr, is it permissible for us to pray them together at the time of ‘asr? Or it is not permissible to attend that party in the first place?.

Praise be to Allaah.

We ask Allaah to bless your graduation and to benefit the
Muslims through you. 

The occasion of the students’ graduation is a moment of joy
for the student on his graduation and for his family on their son’s success.
That is one of the blessings of Allaah to His slaves, and is part of His
great bounty and kindness. 

What is required is to give thanks for this blessing and to
pay attention to Allaah’s rights in this matter, by adhering to His sacred
limits and laws. But unfortunately we see many wrongs and sins that occur in
students’ graduation ceremonies, and they have even become something regular
and unavoidable in graduation ceremonies. That includes the following: 

1 – Celebrating with music, and usually they bring a large
band, and it is major part of most ceremonies. 

The ruling on listening to music in Islamic sharee’ah is that
it is haraam, and some scholars narrated that there is consensus on this

2 – Mixing of male and female students, and their sitting
together in one place and entering and leaving in one line, and men mixing
with women who are present, among whom are those who are wearing makeup and
perfume, and those whom shyness does not prevent from expressing their joy
in ways that are not appropriate, such as shouting, making gestures and
movements, clapping, whistling, shaking hands with men, and other wrong
actions that accompany haraam mixing.  

3 –With regard to wearing the “graduation suit” that is well
known nowadays, with the black cloak and mortarboard, this is clothing that
belongs specifically to the kuffaar, then it came to us. Some scholars have
said that it is taken from the clothing of monks and bishops at some era of
history, hence they ruled that it is haraam to wear it. 

Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

The graduate comes wearing a black cloak or gown and this is
a church tradition. The people of knowledge and faith should differ from
them in this regard. End quote. 

Al-Majmoo’ah al-‘Ilmiyyah (Risaalah
al-Ta’aalum, p. 85)   

The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas

It is haraam for the Muslims to imitate the kuffaar in the
clothing that is uniquely theirs, whether the kaafirs in question are Jews,
Christians or anything else, because of the general meaning of the evidence
in the Qur’aan and Sunnah that forbids imitating them. For example, it is
proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad,
Abu Dawood and others. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) said, when he saw ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr wearing two garments
dyed with safflower: “These are among the garments of the kuffaar; do not
wear them.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. And it is proven in
Saheeh Muslim that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) wrote a
letter to his governor in Azerbaijan, ‘Utbah ibn Farqad (may Allaah be
pleased with him) in which he said: “Beware of luxury and the clothing of
the people of shirk and wearing silk.” 

Based on that, it is not permissible to wear what is known as
the “gown” when graduating from a school, institute or college, because it
is the clothing of the Christians, and the Muslim should be proud of his
religion and his following his Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him), and he should not pay any attention to the customs of those
with whom Allaah is angry and who have gone astray such as the Jews,
Christians and others. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah
(24/26, 27) 

The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas
were also asked:

In the American universities there is a tradition: when the
students graduate they wear so-called graduation clothes, which is a gown
that resembles the Arabic abayah, and a head cover of a certain shape. It is
said that this is the clothes that their monks used to wear in the past. Is
it permissible, when a Muslim student takes part in this celebration, to
wear these clothes? 

They replied: 

It is not permissible for the student to wear these clothes
if they are garments that belong only to them, because the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people
is one of them” and the prohibition is more emphatic if it is proven to be
one of the symbols of their monks. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah

4 – One of the greatest evils that may be noticed in these
celebrations is missing the prayers, because the ceremony goes on for
several hours, during which some of the times for prayer come, but you do
not see any of the people or the students or people in charge of the
ceremony respecting Allaah’s rights or doing their duties, and they do not
pay any attention to the adhaan or calls or reminders; they forget the
rights of Allaah and are preoccupied with this passing world and a little of
its pleasures. They are blind to the words of Allaah (interpretation of the
meaning): “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up
As‑Salaah (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salaah (prayers) to be lost, either
by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering
them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts. So they will be
thrown in Hell” [Maryam 19:59]. 

Ibn Mas’ood said: “Giving up” does not mean that they forsook
it altogether, rather they delayed it beyond its proper time. 

Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  

The seventy-seventh major sin is deliberately delaying prayer
beyond its time, or doing it too early with no excuse. End quote. 

Al-Zawaajir ‘an Iqtiraab al-Kabaa’ir

The presence of Buddhists at these ceremonies and their
performing some of their religious rituals to bless – or so they claim! –
the ceremony is another evil. What blessing can come from associating others
with Allaah and disbelieving in Him? It is not permissible for you to attend
in a place where others are associated with Allaah unless you are forced to
do so. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  

“And it has already been revealed to you in the Book (this
Qur’aan) that when you hear the Verses of Allaah being denied and mocked at,
then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if
you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them. Surely,
Allaah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell”

[al-Nisa’ 4:140]. 

Based on that, attending this celebration is haraam, and if
it is haraam it cannot serve as an excuse to join Zuhr and ‘Asr prayers. 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


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