Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hari Raya Aidiladha


Hari Raya Aidil Adha also known as Hari Raya Haji or the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ is celebrated over a period of three days by Muslims all over the world. According to the Islamic calendar, Hiraj the festival commences on the 10th day of Dhul Hija, seventy days after the holy month of Ramadhan. The festival also commemorates the end of ‘Haj’ the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. In 2013, Hari Raya Aidil Adha is slated for 15th October.
 
During Haj thousands of pilgrims congregate on the Holy land in Mecca to perform a series of rituals. The annual Haj pilgrimage is considered to be the fifth pillar of Islam and every able-bodied Muslim with the financial means  is expected to undertake this journey to Mecca at least once during his/her lifetime.

In Malaysia, Hari Raya Haji or Hari Raya Aidil Adha is also referred to as Hari Raya Korban. The word ‘Korban’ itself means sacrifice and it is integral to the celebration, for the festival for it commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismail in accordance with the wishes of Allah. The Holy Quran says that just as Prophet Ibrahim was about to make the fatal strike, god intervened and replaced Prophet Ismail with a ram, as the entire exercise was a test of faith.

Therefore during Hari Raya Aidil Adha, it is customary for families or local communities to sacrifice animals like lambs, goats, cows, bulls and camels. The animals are further slain according to proper religious rites and the meat is distributed in three parts. The family or the local community which supplies the animal retains one third of the share, another third is distributed amongst friends, relatives and neighbors while another third is given to the poor and needy. This sacrifice is not obligatory but when people can afford it they do carry out this sacrifice.

Traditionally, this sacrifice is carried out after the congregational prayers, held early in the morning on the day of Hari Raya Aidil Adha. Additionally, the sacrifice is usually carried out within the walls of the mosque compound itself. The sacrifice symbolizes Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his own flesh and blood. After the sacrifice, the rest of the day is spent visiting friends and relatives as is customary during a festival. The celebration of Hari Raya Aidil Adha in Malaysia may seem to be relatively solemn but it is nonetheless an important day, during which Muslims reaffirm their faith in God and thank him for his many blessings.

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