Hari Raya Haji

Category: Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events

Hari Raya Haji, also known as Eid-al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), is a festival observed by Muslims. It lasts for four days, during which prayers called takbir are chanted. The festival marks the end of the Haj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are encouraged to make at least once in their lifetime.

Hari Raya Haji, 2013Hari Raya Haji, 2013. Source: Roots.sg

The festival commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey Allah’s commands and sacrifice his son Ishmael. Before the sacrifice took place, Allah intervened and allowed for a sheep to be sacrificed in Ishmael’s place. Similar to Hari Raya Puasa, Muslims make house visits to their relatives on Hari Raya Haji, but only for the day.

Muslims will fast on the day before Hari Raya Haji, and on the day itself, attend prayers at mosques before carrying out the korban, a ritual sacrifice of livestock. One-third of the meat will be distributed to the poor while the remainder is kept by the buyer and distributed to friends and family respectively.

Due to the urban context of Singapore where communities in Singapore do not own livestock, korban is carried out at local mosques with imported livestock. Some Singaporean Muslims may also choose to conduct the korban overseas as a way to gather and bond with relatives abroad, or make donations of livestock to Muslims in other countries who cannot afford it. 

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