Today is Hari Raya Haji.
Hari Raya Haji marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage period.
Hence it is called the ‘Festival of the Pilgrimage’.
Every year, millions of Muslims make the journey to the holy land of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj, a requirement in Islam, as it makes up one of the 5 tenets of the Religion.
As long as they have the means to do so, and are able health-wise, Muslims must perform the Hajj at least once in life.
Upon completion of the Hajj, the men earn the title of “Haji” and the women, “Hajjah’.
Aidiladha also commemorates the sacrifice made by the prophet Abraham and hence the word ‘Korban’ which means sacrifice.
The Morning of Hari Raya Aidiladha
On the first day of Aidil Adha, prayers are held at the mosque in the morning.
After prayers, pilgrims new and old will open their doors to visitors and serve them with food, drinks and sweets.
Visitors usually comprise close friends, fellow pilgrims or family members.
Aidiladha is also marked by the sacrifice of animals such as lambs, goats, bulls and camels.
The animals are slain in accordance with the proper religious rites, such that they suffer minimal pain.
An individual or a family will donate the sacrificial animal, and Muslims from a particular community will gather in fairly large numbers to help out in the slaughtering and distribution of the meat.
Recipients include the poor and the destitute and other Muslims.
One third of the meat is reserved for the family or the individual who donated the animal.
It should be noted that sacrificing an animal during this festival is not compulsory but more of an obligation to those who can afford it.
This ritual traces its origins back to the story of Prophet Abraham.
Story Behind Hari Raya Haji
Prophet Abraham was commanded to offer his only son Ishmael up for sacrifice to the Lord.
Though it grieved him greatly, he made ready to perform the task.
However, as he was about to strike his son, God stopped him and revealed that it was a trial of his devotion to the Lord.
Ishmael’s life was spared and a ram sacrificed in his place.
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