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The Significance of Hari Raya Haji

Wong Shu Lee  


  July 15, 2021

Muslims around the world celebrate two great festivities (Hari Raya) annually - Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. 


Most of us, regardless of race and religion, are familiar with Aidilfitri. In fact, many non-Malays would also celebrate the festive by dressing up with colorful traditional Malay outfits and visiting Malay friends. However, less can be seen in the celebration of the Aidiladha besides the annual sacrifice of animals or the Qurban. So, what is so significant about the upcoming Aidiladha? 


Muslims observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which are ordained by Allah, to the best of their ability. Among the most challenging forms of worship among these 5 pillars are the Saum (fasting during the whole month of Ramadhan) and the Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca). 


For Aidiladha, also known as Hari Raya Haji, in particular, it is a celebration that marks the completion of all the Pillars of Islam by fulfilling the fifth pillar, the Hajj. The Hajj pilgrimage is only obligatory once in a lifetime, for those who are physically, physiologically, and financially able. 


All the acts of Hajj require a significant physical and financial commitment. As Muslims go through the pilgrimage, it is not just about the rituals. They would reflect deeply on the incredible strength and fortitude of Prophet Ibrahim and his family. At the same time, they would renew their intentions and remind themselves of their life purpose. 


In the spirit of the festive occasion of Aidiladha, it is encouraged for Muslims to perform the Qurban. It is a religious rite that originated from the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim a.s. Prophet Ibrahim a.s. loved Prophet Ismail a.s. deeply. Muslims believe that Allah commanded Prophet Ibrahim a.s. to sacrifice his son to symbolically show that one needs to sacrifice whatever is dear to them for the sake of Allah. 


This act of sacrifice continued to be a tradition where Allah has given everyone the benefit to be a part of this joyous occasion, from the one who partakes in the Qurban to the one who receives and consumes the meat. Part of expressing gratitude to Allah is through giving. It is a manifestation of love that fills the air as we celebrate this Day of Gratitude. 


In these blessed days, let’s ask ourselves what would we willing to give up? Even in a non-religious perspective, everyone needs to make some sacrifices in order to achieve the goal or dream that one wishes. For example, most of us wish the pandemic could end soon. To achieve that, we must sacrifice our freedom to stay at home and practice social distancing. 


We wish everyone has a safe and blessed Aidiladha. Stay safe! 


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