Fearing that graduation ceremony might include Sharia violations
Fatwa No: 350854

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. Should I aim to be among the world's highest in my subjects? I think that if I work hard I can do it, Allaah willing. But then I have to attend the special ceremony to get a special certificate, for example, and I do not think that these will be halal ceremonies. I cannot guarantee that it will be a haram ceremony either. Getting such certificates might help me to get a scholarship and attend an expensive boys' university. It is not easy to find a boys-only university in Bangladesh. So what do you advise. Should I aim to be among the world's highest or not?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is Islamically praiseworthy for a Muslim to have high ambitions and seek to obtain honorable positions, and doing all that would bring good to him and to his nation.

Abu Wahb Al-Jushami  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “Call yourselves by the names of the Prophets, and the dearest names to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd-ur-Rahmaan, and the truest are Haarith (cultivator) and Hammaam (one with resolve and ambition).” [Abu Daawood]

Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commenting on this hadeeth, said, “Hammaam is the one who is always striving and working hard, but he does not do except what he hopes would be of benefit or what repels harm.” 

A group of scholars stated that learning the useful sciences on which the interests of the nation depend is one of the communal obligations, which are obligatory upon the nation as a whole. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “...among which is when people need a craft – such as farming, weaving, building, and so on. The ruler can oblige the people to do it in return for wages equivalent to the job, as the interest of the people is not achieved except with it. It is for this reason that a group of scholars of the companions of Ahmad and Shaafi’i said: ‘Learning crafts is a communal obligation because of the need of the people for them.’

It could also be an individual obligation on the Muslim if there is no one other than him to learn them. For more benefit, please refer to fatwas 84369 and 266869.

We do not know what made you think that these ceremonies are not permissible according to the Sharia. In principle, they are permissible because they are among the customs. This principle means that they are allowed unless there is something that entails forbidding them.

Salmaan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “What is lawful is what Allah has made lawful in His Book, and what is unlawful is what Allah has made unlawful in His Book, and whatever He kept silent about is forgiven.” [At-Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah]

There is nothing wrong with studying for higher degrees, nor with attending graduation ceremonies. If it happened that the ceremonies include any evil, then avoid the evil and receive your certificate.”

Allah knows best.

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