As far as Islamic Shari`ah is concerned, there is nothing objectionable about wearing the gowns associated with convocation ceremonies. These gowns have no particular religious significance attached with them.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: Wearing the gowns associated with convocation ceremonies is simply an innocent custom; there is nothing objectionable about wearing them. In fact, some of these customs have origins in Islamic cultures as well: For example, wearing particular turbans or gowns or mantles as part of initiation or graduation ceremonies had been part of the traditions of Sufis and `ulama (scholars) in Islam long before they were introduced in the West. So there is nothing un-Islamic about them.
These convocation gowns have no particular religious significance attached with them. Secondly, even if one were to admit for argument’s sake that it had a religious basis, even then, that cannot be used as an argument for shunning it, for two reasons. First, such a religious association has almost withered away, and therefore it can be considered as almost non-existent. Second, it is not correct to assume that as Muslims we are ordered to shun everything that people of other faiths practice or do. Rather we are ordered to shun only those things that have clear pagan associations.
In conclusion: We are allowed to attend convocation ceremonies, to wear gowns for graduation, and take pictures and celebrate such occasions. There is nothing in the teaching of the pristine Shari`ah to consider such actions as un-Islamic or unlawful.