HARI RAYA HAJI: The Festival of Sacrifice
Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world make the journey to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage (or Hajj). Dressed in the same simple white clothing to represent human equality, the pilgrims gather to perform rites dating back to the time of Abraham.
is considered one of the five "pillars" of Islam. Muslims are
required to make the pilgrimage once in a lifetime, if they are physically and
financially able to make the journey to Mecca.
Hari Raya Haji or Hari Raya Aidil Adha (the malays in Malaysia called it for the festival of sacrifice) is one of two Islamic Eid festivals that Muslims celebrate, the origin of which comes from the Quran. The Qur'an describes Abraham as follows:
"Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous." (Qur'an 16:120-121)
Hari Raya Haji also known as Eid al-Adha, Idul Adha, Hari Raya Kurban, Qurban, or the Festival of Sacrifice, the Eid al-Adha is one of the several religious festivals celebrated by Muslims all over the word. Here, the Muslim community commemorates God’s forgiveness of Prophet Ibrahim, or Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice everything for God, including the life of his son Ishmael as commanded by Allah. The pilgrimage is done approximately seventy days after the end of the month of Ramadan.
When is Hari Raya Haji 2012 / Eid al-Adha 2012 / Qurban 2012 ?
The Hari Raya Haji festival annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic Calendar immediately follows the Day of Arafat. Although only the pilgrims in Mecca can participate in the Hajj fully, all the other Muslims in the world join with them by celebrating Hari Raya Haji or "Celebration of Sacrifice." It runs for two to three days, or even more, depending on the country celebrating it. In Malaysia, it is only recognize as one day public holiday.
The festival is based on the Islamic lunar calendar, and thus in Gregorian calendar the date changes every year. Hari Raya Kurban 2012 is expected to fall on Friday, 26 October 2012. However since the festival is determined by moon position based on moon-sighting, the exact date of the Hari Raya Haji 2012 will be announced by the Islamic authority closer to the festival.
What Is Expected During Hari Raya Haji 2012 / Kurban 2012?
Because God spared Ishmael, substituting a sheep in his stead, Muslims commemorate this occasion by slaughtering an animal and distributing its meat among family, friends and the needy as a special act of charity for the occasion. Because of this, many poor Muslims are able to enjoy the unusual luxury of eating meat during the four days of the festival.
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 Prophet 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. It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations:
"It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)
Men, women, and children of the Muslim community are required to dress in their finest clothing to perform the Eid prayer. They wear their nicest clothing and attend Salatul-Eid (Eid Prayer) in the morning. This is followed by a short sermon, after which everyone socializes.
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