Q 4: What is the ruling on
banquets held annually in the honor of Awliya' (pious people)?
In our country, there are banquets for which people pay a lot of money, and naive people believe that this is obligatory for them.
It is not permissible to make banquets in the name of Awliya', because this is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion). It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
Anyone who does an action which is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.
Similarly, it is not permissible for Muslims to attend such banquets as it is a kind of cooperation in sin and transgression. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) forbade that, saying:
...but do not help one another in sin and transgression.
The same can be said when the aim of such banquets is to draw closer to Awliya' for healing the sick or gaining their Shafa`ah (intercession) on the Day of Resurrection, or seeking their support (Part No. 3; Page No. 99) for the living who offer such banquets. These are acts of major Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship that takes the Muslim out of Islam) because they amount to worshipping them.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.