Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Celebrating world and national Days and events like World Hijab Day that promote universal values and morals are praiseworthy. It couldn’t be condemned or depicted as unlawful bid`ah (innovation in religion)
Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:
In fact, the core meaning of the prohibited bid`ah in Islam is to introduce or invent a devotional or ritual act of worship into religion with no backing from the Shari`ah.
It is not acceptable, for instance, for anybody to invent a new form of salah (prayer); it would be unlawful bid`ah. Acts of worship and religious rituals should be founded on correct Shari`ah proofs.
World Days and events—such as the World Hijab Day or Orphans Day—are mostly based on cultural and social considerations. They are not meant to introduce new religious rituals or devotional acts of worship.
Muslim communities may participate and promote World Days or events that have noble goals. This is considered as cooperation in goodness.
Allah Almighty says:
“Help you one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another unto sin and transgression, but keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is severe in punishment.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)
It is absurd, therefore, for anyone to claim that it is bid`ah to promote such good goals of the World Hijab Day. It is a social event that aims at supporting universal values and morals.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.