Attending the graduation ceremony at an American university

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As-Salaamu-Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I would like to know the Islamic Rulling of attending the Graduation Ceremony at an American University. I am a doctoral student at an American University and I am planning to graduate in the end of this term Spring 2001. I know it is optional to attend this event, however it is very important for doctoral students and their advisors to attend. At these ceremonies, the students must were what so called CAP and GOWN, and I do not know what the historical background of these types of clothing.
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Praise be to Allaah.

If attendance is optional, do not attend, so as to be free from imitation of the kaafirs in wearing this dress which is unique to them, and also to avoid the evils that are usually present in such celebrations. 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4031, from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. 

For more information, see Question # 21643

And Allaah knows best.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

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