Weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations

Q 1: What is the opinion on celebrations held by Muslims in Trinidad on the occasions of marriage and moving to a new house, in addition to individual birthdays and other joyful occasions, during which they recite the Noble Qur'an and songs of praise about the noble Messenger (peace be upon him), after which, they stand up as a way of revering and respecting the noble Messenger (peace be upon him)?

A: First, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has prohibited secret marriages. He (peace be upon him) has ordained for us to announce and celebrate marriage and the moving of the bride to her husband's house. Therefore it is permissible to do this unless the celebration includes dissolute singing, mingling between men and women, or the like of prohibited things. Second, there are three festivals in Islam; `Eid-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast), `Eid-ul-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice), and Friday. As for individual birthdays and other days on which people gather in joyful occasions, such as the beginning of the Hijri or the Gregorian year, the day or night of mid Sha`ban, the Prophet's birthday (peace be upon him), or the day on which a certain leader or ruler is appointed an office for example, such things neither existed in the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor His Rightly Guided Caliphs, or even the three early centuries that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said are the best, rather, they are acts of Bid`ah (innovation in religion) (Part No. 19; Page No. 110) which were transferred to Muslims from others, which has lead to Muslims' attachment to such acts, and their tendency to celebrate them the same as they celebrate other Islamic festivals or even more. Moreover, during such festivals, some forms of excessiveness in revering some people, waste of money, mingling between non-Mahrams (not a spouse or an unmarriageable relative) men and women, as well as resembling the Kafirs (disbelievers) in their traditional celebrations, which they call festivals. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Avoid newly invented matters (in religion), for every newly invented matter is Bid`ah, and every Bid`ah is(leads to) going astray. And: Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected. This clearly occurs, whether this celebration is made to glorify a person, seek his blessings or seek reward by assuming such acts, like in celebrating the Prophet's Birthday (peace be upon him), the birthday of Al-Husayn, Al-Badawy and others. Also when celebrating some days and nights, seeking the reward by doing this, such as celebrating the day or night of mid of Sha`ban or the night of Isra' (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven) and the like. Hence, celebrating the previously mentioned and suchlike is a form of drawing closer (to Allah) and seeking reward. Even though some celebrations do not seek blessings or reward, such as celebrating children's birthdays, the beginning of the Hijri or Gregorian years, or the day of appointing leaders to their offices, they are all considered Bid`ah in traditions, as they include resemblance to the kuffar in their festivals, which represents a means to other types of (Part No. 19; Page No. 111) prohibited celebrations, which seek reverence and glorification of individuals, it is prohibited so as to block the means (to Shirk), and to stay away from resembling the Kuffar in their festivals and celebrations. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever imitates a group of people is considered to be one of them. Third, reciting the Qur'an is one of the best pious acts, but it is impermissible to render it as the closing ceremony for such innovated celebrations, for this abuses the Qur'an since it involves assigning it for something other than the purpose it was revealed for. As for songs that praise the Prophet (peace be upon him), this is a good act, unless it contains excessiveness. However, it is also impermissible to render it as a closing ceremony for the mentioned celebrations and the like. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do not excessively praise me like the Christians did with the son of Maryam (Jesus, peace be upon him); I am but a servant, so just call me: 'the Servant of Allah and His Messenger' He (peace be upon him) also said: Do not exceed the limits (in your religion) for those who preceded you were destroyed due to their excessiveness (in religion). It is also impermissible to single out a certain day to be rendered as a festival or occasion for doing this. Fourth, closing the celebrations by standing up out of reverence and respect to the Messenger (peace be upon him), is a bad ending that is neither approved by Allah, nor by the Shari`ah (Islamic Law), for it is one of the forms of Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) which Allah has prohibited to His Servants, because standing up for a deceased person is a kind of drawing closer and worshipping, as is the case when a person stands up during Salah (Prayer) before Allah (Exalted be He) as a way of getting closer to Him, but for the Messenger (peace be upon him), it is a form of excessiveness that he (peace be upon him) has forbidden us to do. (Part No. 19; Page No. 112) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.