Hari Raya Haji

 

Hari Raya Haji, known as the "Festival of Sacrifice" (or Hari Raya Aidiladha or the "pilgrimage festival"), is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. It commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's (also known as Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead. It is also celebrated one day after Haj pilgrims converge on Arafat in Mecca, the Islamic Holy Land, to perform the major rites of the annual pilgrimage. This falls on the tenth day of Dhul Hijja, the 12th month of the Muslim calendar, 70 days after the holy month of Ramadan. Hari Raya Haji is a day to commemorate this religious occasion, and to honour pilgrims who have completed their Haj to Mecca. It’s a joyous affair, filled with festivities and cheer to welcome the return of the assiduous pilgrims. The highlight of the occasion is the sacrifice of an animal as a mark of gratitude to Allah (God).

 

The Festival

 

Men, women, and children of the Muslim community are required to dress in their finest clothing to perform the Eid prayer. This day is also called the Hari Raya Korban, meaning festival of Sacrifice. Well-off Muslim devotees sacrifice their best domestic animals, usually sheep, cows, goats and even camels, as a reenactment of Ibrahim’s sacrifice. These sacrificed animals, or udhiya, have to meet certain age (the animal must be at least a year old) and quality or else it is considered as an unacceptable sacrifice. During the sacrifice ceremony, Allah’s name is recited with the offering statement and a supplication, as said by Muhammad.

 

According to the Quran, ample portions of the sacrificed animal meat should be given to the poor and hungry, so that they too can join in the festivities. The remainder of the meat is cooked for the family celebration meal, wherein it is shared among friends and families. During the celebration, Muslims are also expected to visit their kin, from their parents down to their friends.

 

Rules related to the Person offering the Sacrifice

 

1. Being a Muslim 2. It is necessary for the one who intends to offer the sacrifice that he does not remove any hair or nail from the sunset on last day of Zhul-Qa’dah until the sacrifice is done on the Eid day 3. Doing the slaughter with one’s own hands. If one is not able to do so then he can appoint some one else to do the slaughter on his behalf. In such case one should witness his slaughter if at all possible. 4. It is a necessary condition of the sacrifice that the animal be slaughtered with the intention of offering a sacrifice (udhiyah). The intention must be in the heart, and should not be spoken out loud. 5. Taking the Name of Allah at the time of slaughter.

 

The Haj

 

The Haj is a pilgrimage to the holy places in and around the holy city of Mecca (the birthplace of Islam) in Saudi Arabia where pilgrims will perform certain religious rituals and prayers. It is one of the central religious duties of Muslims and is enshrined in the Quran. According to the fifth tenet of Islam, Muslims who are financially and physically able are required to perform a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca at least once in their lifetime. During the pilgrimage, pilgrims are supposed to wear simple garments, which represents the stripping off distinctions in class and culture, and that all are equal before Allah. Upon completing the haj, the men will earn the title of “haji” and the women, “hajjah”.

 

The festival also commemorates the story of Ibrahim and his son Ismail, both of whom were said to have been guided by Allah to build the Kaaba: a square stone building in the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca that is considered by Muslims to be their most holy site. It is in the direction of the Kabaa that all Muslims face during prayers.

 

In the city

 

You can partake in the festivities in areas such as Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam, where lively bazaars and dazzling local decorations are held to mark this important day for locals and visitors to soak in the atmosphere.

 

Popular greetings for Hari Raya Haji

 

Selamat Hari Raya Haji !
Selamat Menyambut Hari Raya Haji !
Selamat Hari Raya Kurban !
Selamat Hari Raya Idul Adha !
Happy Eid !
Eid Mubarak !