What is the ruling of attending a wedding or walimatul urus without being invited and eat the feast prepared?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The original ruling of attending walimah when one is invited specifically is wajib according to majority of the scholars from madhhab Maliki, Shafi’e and Hanbali. This is in accordance with a hadith from Ibn Umar RA where the Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا دُعِيَ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى الْوَلِيمَةِ فَلْيَأْتِهَا
When any one of you is invited to a feast, he should attend it.
Sahih Muslim (1053)
The ruling of wajib here comes from the phrase فَلْيَأْتِهَا of the Prophet PBUH’s statement which is an imperative clause with the ruling of wajib according to basic fiqh methodology.
Hanafi madhhab and an opinion of Shafi’e and Maliki madhhab state that the ruling of attending walimah is Sunnah. While there is a different opinion in Hanbali and Shafi’e madhhab which state that it is fard kifayah and it is enough if it is being attended by part of the community. (Refer Al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah 45/235-236).
Attending walimah without being invited
The question arises on attending walimatul urus without being invited by the host or his proxy. According to Imam Badruddin al-‘Aini, those who attend walimatul urus without being invited is named by the scholars as al-tufaili (الطفيلي), in which they come to a ceremony or human gathering when they are not invited. (Refer ‘Umdah al-Qari Syarh Sahih al-Bukhari 21/63)
It is decided by the scholars of four madhhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’e and Hanbali) that it is haram to attend wedding if he is not invited, or when one is unsure whether the host welcomes him or not. He is considered fasiq in term of eyewitness and a dishonor if one repeats the action as it is categorized under eating haram foods. This is as stated in a hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar R.Anhuma:
مَنْ دُعِيَ فَلَمْ يُجِبْ فَقَدْ عَصَى اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَمَنْ دَخَلَ عَلَى غَيْرِ دَعْوَةٍ دَخَلَ سَارِقًا وَخَرَجَ مُغِيرًا
He who does not accept an invitation which he receives has disobeyed Allah and His Apostle, and he who enters without invitation enters as a thief and goes out as a raider.
Sunan Abi Dawud (3741)
(Refer Al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah 12/143; Nihayah al-Muhtaj 6/377 and Al-Mughni li Ibn Qudamah 10/163)
The same is for a hadith narrated by Abu Mas’ud R.A which state:
جَاءَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ يُكْنَى أَبَا شُعَيْبٍ فَقَالَ لِغُلاَمٍ لَهُ قَصَّابٍ اجْعَلْ لِي طَعَامًا يَكْفِي خَمْسَةً، فَإِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَدْعُوَ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَامِسَ خَمْسَةٍ، فَإِنِّي قَدْ عَرَفْتُ فِي وَجْهِهِ الْجُوعَ. فَدَعَاهُمْ، فَجَاءَ مَعَهُمْ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم " إِنَّ هَذَا قَدْ تَبِعَنَا، فَإِنْ شِئْتَ أَنْ تَأْذَنَ لَهُ فَأْذَنْ لَهُ، وَإِنْ شِئْتَ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ رَجَعَ ". فَقَالَ لاَ، بَلْ قَدْ أَذِنْتُ لَهُ
An Ansari man, called Abu Shu'aib, came and told his butcher slave, "Prepare meals sufficient for five persons, for I want to invite the Prophet (ﷺ) along with four other persons as I saw signs of hunger on his face." Abu Shu'aib invited them and another person came along with them. The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to Abu Shu'aib), This man followed us, so if you allow him, he will join us, and if you want him to return, he will go back." Abu Shu'aib said, "No, I have allowed him (i.e. he, too, is welcomed to the meal).
Sahih al-Bukhari (2081)
It is clear from this hadith of Abu Mas’ud that even though one originally cannot attend to eat in a feast or walimah without being invited. However, if the host gives permission, or it is known that there is permission from the host, then it is permissible.
Consequently, the scholars prohibit one attending a feast without being invited, if it is sure that the host will not be pleased with him.
While if it is sure that the host is pleased by us attending, for example, one is a friend or relative and there is no enmity between them, but the host only forgets to invite him or her, then, in this situation, it is not haram to do so.