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The guide to Hari Raya Haji in Singapore

Nope, this is not the Islamic new year celebrations either

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Written by
Delfina Utomo
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While Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of Ramadan and a whole month of fasting, Hari Raya Haji signifies the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. Also known as Eid al-Adha, the religious event falls on July 20 this year. This journey is an important one for any practising Muslim because it is one of the five pillars of Islam which they have to fulfil.

There are several social restrictions in place this year due to the heightened alert period. The prevailing permissible group size for social activities, or number of visitors to households per day is currently five persons. This year, the congregational prayers should be done in mosques, with a valid booking. 

RECOMMENDED: Guide to Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Singapore

What is Hari Raya Haji?
Photo: Haidan Soendawy

What is Hari Raya Haji?

The day symbolises the end of the Hajj, which is a pilgrimage every able-bodied and financially capable Muslim is obliged to make once in their lives. During the pilgrimage, Muslims have to perform several rituals and actions in Mecca and also three other locations around like Mina, Arafat and Mudzalifah. 

Due to the pandemic, MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) has officially deferred this year's Hajj to next year.

Origins
Photo: Adli Wahid

Origins

Hari Raya Haji is a Muslims’ celebration to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail – a sign of Muslims' submission to God. As Ibrahim was about to complete the sacrifice, God intervened and provided a sheep for sacrifice instead. It is said that the father and son were on a task by God to build the square stone building (Kaaba) in Mecca, which is in the direction that all Muslims around the world pray towards.

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Prayers
Photograph: Terence Ong

Prayers

On the morning of the festival, Muslims head to the mosque for sermons and prayers. Then after, the korban is carried out. During this period, a total of 8,790 slots have been made available for worshippers to book online or via the Muslim.sg app to perform Hari Raya Haji prayers at various mosques. More details are available on MUIS' Facebook page.

The Korban
Photograph: Unsplash/Sam Carter

The Korban

An important ritual of Hari Raya Haji is the korban – or the sacrifice. After morning prayers, livestock such as sheep, goats and cows will be sacrificed. The sacrifice takes place to commemorate prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail. The meat from the sacrifice will be donated and distributed to the poor and needy. Hari Raya Haji is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice.

This year's korban is slightly different due to the pandemic. No livestock is imported to Singapore, and only 42 mosques have organised modified korbans where they will be performed in Australia. The meat is then chilled and shipped to Singapore for distribution.

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Lessons to learn
Photo: Shivam Garg

Lessons to learn

Compared to the bright and vibrant celebrations of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Hari Raya Haji is a lot more contemplative. But there are many things to take away from this Muslim holiday. Sacrifice is a big theme in most Muslim celebrations and this one highlights the importance of faith in God. On top of that, it is also a reminder that there are many around us that might need our help. This makes the act of donating and distributing the sacrificed meat to those who would enjoy it more than us an honourable one. 

Learn more

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