ONAM- A cultural Misgudiance

In the Name of Allah 
                  The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

All Praises to Allah, The Lord of the entire creations and May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and those who follow their path.

We Muslims, these days are exposed to many innovations and cultural misguidances that we take up in our lives and pass to our future generations. We lack in following the Quran and Sunnah as per the way of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and in the opposite we strive hard to follow the ways of the disbelievers.

It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too.” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said: “Who else?”

[Bukhaari, 1397; Muslim, 4822]

One of the celebrations that the Muslims of Malabar (Kerala – India) are indulged in is 

What is Onam?
As per the website of State Govt. of Kerala , Onam is explained as below:

“ A legend of Onam is about the sweet memories of distant past when Mahabali, a celebrated emperor of the Asuras (Demons), was supposed to rule over Kerala. His period is believed as the golden age in the history of the country. A popular folk song narrates the glories of that period. When Mahabali (Mavely) ruled, all men were equal, they were leading a life of happiness and nobody had any calamity-thus goes the song. There was neither dishonesty nor deception, nor was there any instance of false utterance, use of counterfeit measures or other kinds of unfair practice. Perfect harmony, communal and otherwise, prevailed. In short it was ideal welfare state, the legend tells us. But the Devas (gods) got annoyed with the rule of Mahabali as their popularity were deteriorating alarmingly. They complained to Lord Vishnu and he reincarnated as Vamana, the dwarf. He approached Mahabali and begged for three feet of land. Mahabali immediately granted Vamana’s wish. Suddenly, the dwarf sized Vamana grew into the skies and with one step covered the earth and with another step the heavens. With no place to keep the third step, Mahabali offered his head, which was pushed by Vamana into the netherworld or pathalam(underground beneath the earth). But before sending Mahabali to the netherworld,Lord Vishnu gave Mahabali the boon that he can visit his subjects once in a year. The day Mahabali visits his subjects is celebrated as Onam. The time for his annual visit was in the first Malayalam month Chingom (August-September) and this occasion became one of Jubilation throughout the land, reminiscent of the prosperous times of Mahabali.”

A Muslim who have learnt the basics of correct Islamic Creed (Aqeedah) and about Tawheed will understand what are the aspects of shirk and false beliefs which  are mentioned in the above quotation regarding Onam. Do you muslims believe in the many number of gods?, Do you muslims believe in incarnation, Do you believe that Mahabali still lives and visits every year?

The strange aspect of the whole festival is that it is taught in our education system that it is the national festival of Kerala and it is celebrated among keralites (Malayalees) irrespective of religion or caste where as in reality the whole festival is based on Hindu myths and religion. Moreover, the hindus have their own rituals on this day.

When it was asked to Shk Assim Al Hakeem (May Allah preserve him)
[who is a well-known Daee and a great student of knowledge studied in Umm Al Qura University, Makkah]
about celebration of such festival and eating the Onam feast named ‘Sadhya’; after reading about Onam, he said
“This is all part of the non Muslims feasts that are probably Hindu based. Therefore, it is forbidden to eat or to participate in such feasts.”

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever imitates a people is one of them.’”
(Abu Dawood, al-Libaas, 3512. Al-Albaani said in Saheeh Abi Dawood, (it is) hasan saheeh. No. 3401).

Below are some of the opinions of Scholars who have clearly stated that it is impermissible to celebrate such festivals.

Ibn al-Qayyim said:
It is not permissible for the Muslims to attend the festivals of the mushrikeen, according to the consensus of the scholars whose words carry weight. The fuqaha’ who follow the four schools of thought have stated this clearly in their books… Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab that he said: “Do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on the day of their festival, for divine wrath is descending upon them.” And ‘Umar also said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.” Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a jayyid isnaad from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that he said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their new year and festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”
(Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/723-724) 

Ibn al-Qayyim in his book Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, where he says: 
"Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so onIf the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden.
It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah." 
Extracted from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/44. 

The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked about Argentinean national celebrations and celebrations that are held in their churches such as Independence Day, and Christian Arab celebrations such as Easter. 

They replied: It is not permissible for Muslims to hold such celebrations or attend them or participate in them with the Christians, because that is helping in sin and transgression, and Allaah has forbidden that. 
And Allaah is the Source of strength. 

End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (2/76). 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke at length in his book Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem li Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem (The Requirements of the Straight Path in Differing from the People of Hell), condemning the innovated occasions and festivals that have no basis in the pure Sharee’ah and the ways in which they corrupt people’s religious commitment.

Shk Ibn Jibreen Rahimahullah said "It is not permissible to celebrate innovated festivals such as the Christmas of the Christians, or Nowrooz (Persian New Year) or Mahrajaan (Persian festival), or festivals that have been innovated by Muslims such as the Prophet’s birthday in Rabee’ al-Awwal or the Israa’ in Rajab and so on. It is not permissible to eat from that food which the Christians or Mushrikeen prepare on the occasion of their festivals. It is also not permissible to accept their invitations to join them in their celebrations of those festivals, because this encourages them and is tantamount to approving of their bid’ah, which gives the wrong idea to ignorant people and makes them think that there is nothing wrong with that. And Allaah knows best. "
 From Al-Lu’lu’ al-Makeen min Fataawaa Ibn Jibreen, p. 27.

Conclusion: It is not permissible for a Muslim to celebrate Onam or congratulate others on this occasion. It is forbidden to eat Onam Sadhya (feast) or participate in the Onam feast. Instead of congratulating, A muslim must convey the truth to ignorant muslims and non-muslims about Islam, Oneness of Allah, correct Islamic Aqeedah, Tawheed , Day of Judgement, Paradise, Hell  and guide them to the true religion.

“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment”
[Qur`an 5:2]

I ask Allah to guide us Muslims to the way of Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamah and make us follow true Islam upon Qur`an, sunnah and understanding of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors). I also ask Allah to accept this opportunity I have undertaken to make awareness of the ignorant ways among  Muslims of Kerala.

Please pass on the article on all the mediums you can in order to educate the Muslim from the evil practises.