Family gatherings on the Prophet’s birthday and ‘Ashoora’

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
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:

Is it permissible to have family gatherings – among brothers and cousins – and to eat together on special occasions and Eids (by special occasions I mean the Prophet’s birthday, ‘Ashoora’ etc)? What is the ruling on one who does that? And what about gatherings after someone had memorized or completed the Qur’aan?.

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Praise be to Allaah.

Undoubtedly exchanging visits and getting together with brothers, cousins and relatives on the Eids that are prescribed in Islam (namely Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha), and on happy occasions, is something that brings happiness and increases love and strengthens the bonds between relatives. But what happens in many of these family gatherings, such as mixing between men and women, even if they are relatives and cousins, are bad customs that go against the teachings of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, which enjoin lowering the gaze and forbid wanton display, being alone with a member of the opposite sex (khulwah), shaking hands with non-mahram women, and all the things that lead to fitnah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned against the dangers of taking matters lightly with relatives. He said: “Beware of entering upon women.” A man from among the Ansaar said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about the in-law?” He said: “The in-law is death.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4934; Muslim, 2172. Al-Layth ibn Sa’d said: The in-law is the brother and similar relatives of the husband, his cousin and so on. It was also narrated by Muslim. (See question no. 1200 for more discussion on the issue of mixing). 

With regard to celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), ‘Ashoora’ and other occasions, and taking them as special occasions and festivals (Eids), we have explained previously that there are only two Eids or festivals in Islam, namely Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated. See questions no. 5219, 10070 and 13810. For the ruling on celebrating ‘Ashoora’ please see question no. 4033

With regard to the family expressing happiness and gathering to congratulate one who has memorized the entire Qur’aan I cannot see anything wrong with it in sha Allah. This is a recently invented kind of celebration, but it is okay so long as they do not make this day like an Eid which they celebrate every year. 

It becomes clearer that this celebration is acceptable if the one who has memorized the Qur’aan is young in age, and needs to be encouraged to continue checking it and helped so that he will not neglect it and forget it. 

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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