Hari Raya Haji in Singapore
Image credit: AP
Selamat Hari Raya Eiduladha to all our Muslim friends! The Malay name that we use for this holiday, Hari Raya Haji, comes from the fact that it marks the end of Haj, a Muslim’s pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. The Tamil Muslims say Haji Peru Nāl. The Arabic name refers to the act of sacrifice – Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice.
The festival is 70 days after the holy month of Ramadan, on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja and lasts for up to four days.
The festival commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail in obedience to Allah (God), and how God seeing Ibrahim’s devotion to him, intervened and provided him with a sheep in place of Ismail to sacrifice instead.
To mark this date, Muslim volunteers perform the sacrificial slaughtering of sheep (Korban) at mosques after the congregational prayers in the morning. The meat is distributed to relatives, neighbours and others, with special attention to the needy, as a reminder to share one’s wealth with others.
Here are three important lessons we can take away from the Festival of Sacrifice
Hari Raya Haji in Singapore
Lesson #1: Make sacrifices
The story of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God is remarkable. Teach younger kids that sharing with others what they have (instead of keeping it just for themselves) is a form of sacrifice. Encourage older children to sacrifice playing computer games to help their younger siblings with homework.
Image credit: Mugilan Raja-Segeran
Lesson #2: Care for the less fortunate
Hari Raya Haji essentially helps you think of the less fortunate and the sacrifice of sheep, goats and cows by Muslims is symbolic of that. When the korban (sacrifice) is carried out, the animal (after being slaughtered), will be skinned and cleaned before its meat is distributed to the needy in the society.
Take your bubs to see the animals before they’re slaughtered, then volunteer to send the meat to the needy families in your community. This first-hand involvement will make you kids aware on how the less fortunate live, and how they can in turn be involved in helping the underprivileged.
Lesson #3: Do not be wasteful
My parents believe that this is a great time to teach the family about living according to the principle of ‘only take what you need and not what you want.’ Try to cut down on waste during this period; only cook what you need and re-use clothes from previous years. Any money that is saved can be collected in a jar (get the kids to be involved in this mini home project), then given to a charity.
If well-guided by parents, children of any age and faith can learn a lot from this festival — sharing, making sacrifices, and being a good human being overall.
So this year, while you bask in the celebrations of the festival, make a difference by sharing these nuggets of advice with your kids.
theAsianparent wishes all our Muslim readers a very happy and blessed Hari Raya Haji!