Lavishness in Walimah

Q: I am sending Your Eminence this letter, supplicating to Allah that when you receive it you will be in good health and that He will prolong your life. I testify by Allah that I love Your Eminence and I ask Allah to gather us and all Muslims in the highest Gardens of Paradise. Your Eminence - as a way of cooperating in doing good and being pious, and as a way of being grateful to Allah for His Bountiful Blessings to us, including the blessing of Islam and then what He has granted us in terms of food and drinks - I would like to draw your attention to the fact that some people treat these blessings wrongly. Here in the south, there are some tribes that have the custom that when guests arrive for a wedding, they have lunch. Then, two or three hours after lunch, the guests go to the husband’s home. Here they are divided between the husband and his neighbors, who prepare more food for them, such as Al-‘Arik (a dish of bread, butter, and honey), different food made from wheat, and other types of food. Another group will prepare fruit. It may cost 2 - 3,000 Riyals to prepare this food, (Part No. 22; Page No. 327) in addition to the drinks. The guests only eat one or two mouthfuls of this food, and the rest is thrown away. Two hours after this, a dinner is served for all the guests. The bad phenomenon that needs to be resolved is that of preparing food, drinks, and fruit two or three hours after lunch, most of which is thrown away. The tribal people who prepare this food call it Al-Wasl (the joining meal). This custom is carried out for weddings and on other occasions also.My question is: Why do they prepare this food two or three hours after lunch when most of it is thrown away in the garbage? Is this not a waste of Allah’s Blessings and lavishness that will cause the Blessing to be taken away? This is why I am bringing this practice to Your Eminence’s attention. Why are the people not satisfied with just having lunch and dinner on such occasions? We hope that Your Eminence will issue a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) to treat this phenomenon. The Fatwa could be published and distributed among the people who live there and to the Masjids (mosques) through the Khatibs (preachers) for Jumu‘ah (Friday) Prayers, to explain the danger of being lavish with Allah's Blessings and the necessity to stop this custom. May Allah guide us all to the Right Path!

A: Holding a Walimah (wedding dinner) on the occasion of a marriage is an Islamically acceptable practice, as there are many Hadiths that encourage people to hold them. It is regarded a way to announce a marriage. (Part No. 22; Page No. 328) It was authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) held a Walimah when he married some of his wives. It was also related in these two books that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to `Abdul-Rahman ibn `Awf, when he was getting married, “Give a Walimah, even if only with one sheep.” However, what is prescribed in this respect is that the food and drinks served at Walimahs should not be extravagant, as this is censured by the Shari‘ah (Islamic law), and those who do this are Satan’s brothers. Allah (Exalted be He) says: But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayâtîn (devils), and the Shaitân (Devil-Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord. What is required is moderation, not extravagance or miserliness. If a lot of different food is prepared and it is thrown away in the trash, without any benefit, there is no doubt that this is a great sin and danger. Those who do this expose themselves to Allah’s Punishment and Anger. Therefore, Muslims should avoid these practices and be economical in their banquets, occasions, and all other affairs.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.