I would like to know if it is permissible in Islam for a married couple to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
Sheikh Sâmî al-Mâjid
After a careful study of the rulings pertaining to unlawful festivals and holidays, it appears to me that these rulings concern those occassions that have a single date for all the people in society – like all of the people residing in the country or who are attibuted to it – so that the day that is specified for the festival is a conspicuous, public event where the people make a public show of joy and celebration. Such festivals and holidays resemble the `îd days in Islam, and such are the holidays that are prohibited, in my opinion.
The prohibition of such days is evidenced by the hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived at Madinah and found that they had two festive days wherein they would play and enjoy themselves. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah – Most Blessed and High – has replaced them with what is better: `Id al-Fitr and `Id al-Adhâ.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1134) and Sunan al-Nasâ’î (1556)]
It is only such festivals that are celebrated by everyone on a particular day that have the qualities that resemble the `îd celebrations.
As for a person celebrating the occasion of his wedding anniversary with his wife, I do not see this as coming under the ruling of prohibited festivals. Its day is different for different couples. Therefore, it is in no way comparable to the `îd days of Islam. Each couple celebrates their marriage on a different day.
The difference between general public festivals and such particular, personal days is that with respect to the personal days, the days themselves are generally not sanctified and considered sacrosanct and there is not a wholesale public display of festivity.
Therefore, I tend to the view that there is nothing wrong with a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary as long as they do not copy the particular practices of the non-Muslims in doing so, like lighting candles for each year that they were married.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital