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Hope you have heard of Onam festival in my state which is Kerala.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum 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:

Dear Brother Burhaan,

Assalamualaikum va Rahmatullahi va Barkatahu,

 

May Allah give the best reward to you for your kind work and I pray Allah to give his hidaya to all Muslim ummah and to me to walk on the way of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS... in the best possible way, dear brother the reason to write the mail is I have a question in my mind and want it to be clear, My name is Afroz Khan and I am from India, as I am working in a company there is one of my friend from Kerala and he is too a Muslim, but yesterday on the day of Onam which is celebrated in Kerala by all state people to eat a particular type of food, in order to maintain the old style form by the king there once upon a time in which all community come together and eat the food all together when the first cultivation is being processed, can you please clear my doubts that being a muslim to take part in festival called onam, and eat the food that is the symbol of that festival, and pls do give all answers in the light of Hadees and Qur'an,

 

Hope you have heard of Onam festival in my state which is Kerala. In Saudi and other Gulf countries, Muslims during this time, indeed though not in the form of worship and other rituals (which of course we do not know also), they gather together by wearing the particular dhoti, shirt and make the food of Onam which is called Onasadya (meal of Onam).


Is this an imitation and is it prohibited? If we are invited, should we attend ? What if our Hindu friends invited us to their home for this feast?

 

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Answer:

 

Onam festival

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

The festival of Onam is celebrated by the pagans in the state of Kerala, India. The most popular and accepted legend behind the origin of this day is as follows:


In Hindu mythology, it is believed that there once lived a wise and generous Asura (Demon) King called Mahabali. He was highly regarded by his subjects and everybody was happy in his kingdom.


The gods felt challenged with the growing popularity of Mahabali. They sought help from their chief god Vishnu who was worshiped by King Mahabali. Vishnu took the avatar (incarnation) of a poor and dwarf Brahmin, called Vamana and came to the kingdom of Mahabali just after his morning prayers, when the King gave boons to the Brahmins.


The disguised god Vishnu asked for as much land as could be covered by his three steps. The King made a promise to do so. Suddenly, Vamana increased to a massive size. With his one step he covered the whole of the sky and with the other he covered the whole of earth. He then asked for a place to put his third step. King Mahabali realized that the boy was no ordinary Brahmin and asked Vamana to put his third step on his head.


Vamana did so, pushing Mahabali in the nether world, the Patala. The god Vishnu was pleased with King Mahabalis generosity and granted him a boon. Deeply attached with his people, the King said he would like to visit Kerala and his people every year. The god Vishnu was pleased to grant the request.

 

It is this homecoming of King Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year.

 

Your Question: Is this an imitation and is it prohibited? If we are invited, should we attend ? What if our Hindu friends invited us to their home for this feast?

Every people have their own civilization, their culture and days of celebration. Allah and His Messenger (saws) have appointed the two Eids for celebration in Islam, and have made every Friday a day of Eid and celebration for the believers. For a true believer, every day that dawns is a Sign from our Merciful Lord, and every day that Allah gives us life, can be a day of celebration for us.

 

There is absolutely no harm if one celebrates or congratulates ones non-muslim friends on their personal accomplishments and happy occasions like their marriage, the birth of their baby, or their childrens graduation, or a promotion in their job, etc. But it would neither behove nor befit a believer who believes in Allah and the Last Day to greet or celebrate any of their religious occasions with them like Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Holi, Oanam, etcfor that then would be to intentionally witness a falsehood.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 25 Surah Furqaan verse 72:

72 (The true slave-servants of Allah are) Those who witness no falsehood (intentionally), and if they pass by futility they pass by it with honorable (avoidance)

 

In light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah, the jurors in Islam have listed four categories which would make any celebration or gathering forbidden:

  1. The celebration should not be a pagan religious festival.
  2. The celebration should not involve any shirk.
  3. The celebration should not involve or encourage fahisha or indecency or any of the things absolute forbidden in Islam (alcohol, gambling, etc.)
  4. The celebration should not indulge in excess spending.

 

The pagan beliefs and religions and thus their religious festivals are based on absolute falsehoods, and it does not behove one who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day as Truth to indulge in celebrations of falsehood. To greet or celebrate pagans on their pagan and religious days of festivals would be to justify their false beliefs.

 

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4020 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar

The Prophet (saws) said: He who copies any people is one of them.

 

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4649 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As

Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "He does not belong to us who imitates other people.

 

It would be absolutely forbidden for the believers who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day to greet or participate in any way whatsoever in the religious festivals of the pagans.

 

If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of being led astray.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

 

Burhan


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