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What is the ruling for attending events or functions that has elements of transgressions?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

To answer this question, it is better to analyse the ruling of attending wedding receptions as a case example. Then, other events or functions can be compared to it through qiyas.

The original ruling for attending wedding receptions if he is invited specifically, it is obligatory according to most of Islamic scholars from mazhab Maliki, Syafie and Hanbali. They referred to a hadith from Ibn Umar RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِذَا دُعِيَ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى الْوَلِيمَةِ فَلْيَأْتِهَا

“When you are invited to a wedding (walimah), then attend it.”

Sahih Muslim (1053)

The ruling that it is obligatory is taken from the Prophet PBUH’s words of فَلْيَأْتِهَا, that is a command word that brings the obligatory ruling in fiqh.

The following are scholars’ discussions on the original ruling of attending weddings. Mazhab Hanafi and one opinion in mazhab Syafie and Maliki states that it is sunnah. While there is another opinion in mazhab Hanbali and Syafie that states that it is fardu kifayah (collective obligation), which means it is enough if some people of the community attend it. Refer Al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah (45/235-236).

The Ruling of Accepting an Invitations to Functions or Events That Has Elements of Transgressions

All Islamic scholars agrees that if someone is invited to a wedding that he knows the event would have elements of transgression, such as they serve alcoholic beverages, and he cannot refuse it, then it is no longer an obligation for him to attend it. (See Hasyiyah al-Dusuqi: 2/377, Syarh al-Zurqani: 4/53, al-Hawi al-Kabir: 12/199, Raudhah al-Talibin: 7/334).

This is in accordance to a statement by Allah SWT:   

وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ 

“And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so, do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed, Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together,”

Surah al-Nisa’ (140)

According to the verse above, the act of sitting in an event that has transgressions and insults the verses of Allah SWT, then it is prohibited. This is clearly stated with the phrase بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ that comes from ‘la al-Naahiyah’ that would result in the ruling of prohibition.

Imam Abu Ja’far al-Thabari Rahimahullah in his commentaries on the verse said:

وفي هذه الآية، الدلالة الواضحة على النهي عن مجالسة أهل الباطل من كل نوع، من المبتدعة والفسَقة، عند خوضهم في باطلهم

This verse is a clear evidence of the prohibition of sitting in an event with the falsehood people of any kind. This includes people of bid’ah and the fasiq people, when they are committing sins and transgressions. See Al-Jaami’ al-Bayan, al-Thabari (9/320).

Furthermore, there is another clear narration from the Prophet PBUH about the prohibition of sitting or attending an event where alcoholic beverages are served. From Ibn bbas R.Anhuma, the Prophet PBUH said:

من كان يؤمنُ باللهِ واليومِ الآخرِ فلا يشربِ الخمرَ من كان يؤمنُ باللهِ واليومِ الآخرِ فلا يجلسْ على مائدةٍ يشربُ عليها الخمرَ

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, don’t drink wine. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table over which wine is being served.”

Sunan al-Haithami (1/283)

Siyaq or the context of this hadith, clearly states the prohibition of sitting in an event where wine is served. This is due to the words used, whoever believes in Allah and the last day, don’t drink wine. The restriction on drinking wine does not refers to it being undesirable but as a prohibition to the act. Thus, the next restriction of sitting in an event where wine is served follows the same ruling of drinking wine, which is, it is prohibited.

Fatwa by Authorized Bodies

First: Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah

In a fatwa issued by Syeikh al-Allamah Jaad al-Haq Ali Jaad al-Haq in 1979 M, he said, regarding events where there is giving or receiving of drugs, his words are: Allah SWT praises His servants that avoids any events that are frivolous or unbeneficial. Allah SWT states:

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ

“And they who turn away from ill speech”

Surah al-Mu’minun (3)

Abu Daud narrated from Umar R.Anhu, he said:

نَهَى رسُولُ الله صلَّى الله عليه وسَلَّم عَنِ الجُلُوسِ عَلَى مَائِدَةٍ يُشربُ عَلَيهَا الخَمْرُ

“The Prophet PBUH prohibits sitting where wine is being served,”

The lesson that could be taken from both the Quranic and prophetic evidences is that they both prohibit attending or sitting in the same event with those that transgressed the Islamic rulings in any form. And whoever that sits in such events would act with the same attitude of those that commits the transgressions. They would follow what is normally done by the transgressors such as drinking alcoholic beverages.

Second: There are differing opinions of attending such events. The azhar and strong opinion from mazhab Syafie and mazhab Hanbali prohibits it, referring to the hadith from Jabir bin Abdullah, where the Prophet PBUH prohibits sitting at a table where wine is served. This is due to the fact that attending an event where he knew there are elements of transgression, is as if he wants to hear or see the transgression. Refer Al-Hawi al-Kabir, Al-Mawardi 12/199, Raudhah al-Talibin, Al-Nawawi 7/334.

Mazhab Hanafi clearly states that anyone invited to a wedding while he knew there are elements of transgression in it, then it is not obligated for him to attend it. See Hashiyah Ibn ‘Abidin (5/222).

However, there is one opinion from mazhab Syafie, from Iraqis scholars that permits it, on the condition of denying the transgression in the heart. The reason for its permissibility is in hopes that their attendance would make the organizer feel ashamed and stops or decreases the transgressions in the event.

There’s an incident where Imam al-Hasan al-Basri and Muhammad bin Ka’ab were invited to a wedding. In the ceremony, they heard a singing concert, then Muhammad stands up to leave the ceremony, but al-Hasan pulled him back saying; “Their transgressions do not obstruct your obedience.”



To conclude, we would like to state that the ruling of attending events or functions that has elements of transgressions in it should be specified into two conditions:

First: For the general public, where his attendance would not affect the event in any way, then it is not necessary for him to attend it nor is he obliged to do so when he already knew there are elements of transgression before attending the event.

Second: For scholarly figures, such as religious leaders, if their attendance would make the organizer of the event feel ashamed and stop the transgression or at the very least decrease it, then their attendance is permitted.

In our Muslim society of Malaysia today, where the government uphold noble values ​​and pure manners, we suggest that any form of celebration at the farewell party or otherwise, any elements of transgression should be avoided. This is how it should be.

Lastly, may Allah SWT give us the right understanding in religion. Ameen.