We received an invitation to witness a Sikh wedding which will take place at the Gurdwara. They will only serve vegetarian food. Are Muslims allowed to attend this wedding?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide our hearts, tongues, and deeds to that which perpetually pleases Him.
It is disliked for Muslims to attend a wedding feast of this nature unless it is the wedding of a neighbor, relative, or similar, or because the presence of Muslims may lead to the guidance of the inviter, and Allah knows best.
General Rulings on Attending Wedding Feasts
Hosting a wedding feast (walima) is recommended (sunna), and it is generally obligatory upon invitees to attend. [Nawawi, Minhaj Al-Talibin]
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The rights of a Muslim over his fellow Muslim are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, attending funerals, accepting invitations, and saying “may Allah have mercy on you (yarhamuka Allah)” when he sneezes.” [Agreed upon]
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) also said: “The worst kind of food is the food of a wedding feast that is withheld from those who would come [because of unlawful practices at the feast], and to which people are invited who may refuse the invitation. Whoever does not accept the invitation has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger.” [Agreed upon]
Wedding Feasts One Should Refuse to Attend
One of the conditions for attending a feast is that there should be nothing objectionable (munkar) in the place where the celebration occurs. Some examples mentioned in the classical Shafi’i Sacred Law literature are the mere presence of flutes, wine, silk-covered sitting mats, pictures of animate life (on the ceiling, walls, throw-pillows, or draperies); or clothing inscribed with something blameworthy, etc. Attending in the presence of such things is tantamount to accepting and consenting to what is condemnable. [Misri, ʿUmda Al-Salik]
Invitations from Non-Muslims
Another necessary condition that makes responding to the invitation obligatory is that both the inviter and invitee are Muslim. If either of them is not Muslim, then responding to the invitation is disliked (makruh) unless it is the invitation of a neighbor, relative, or similar, or because the presence of Muslims may lead to the guidance of the inviter. Though inclining (liking or accepting) their ways is unlawful. [Qulyubi, Hashiya]
Please note that while attendance for the sake of kinship may be allowed (with the above conditions), one should be conscious of protecting one’s faith by disliking any evil present and using discretion to know when being present would amount to disobedience to Allah.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. He served as the resident Imam of Masjid al-Munowar in Retreat, Cape Town, for several years.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.