Hari Raya Haji – The Greatest Sacrifice
Hari Raya Haji or Eid ul Fitr is a religious event for the Muslims all over the world. The event is celebrated with great affection. Also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, the event is celebrated for a span of three days. The event depicts the willingness of Prophet Abraham (A.S) to sacrifice his son in the path of Almighty Allah. According to the Islamic Calendar, Hari Raya Haji starts on the 10th Dhul Hijja. It represents the end of the spiritual pilgrimage the Holy city of Saudia Arabia, Makkah. The spiritual pilgrimage, known as Hajj, marks the attendance of millions of Muslims from around the world regardless of color, creed and cast. After Haj, the Muslims celebrate the occasion by offering Eid day prayers and then sacrificing the animals. Most of the people buy the animals long before Eid and take care of them. The Muslims celebrate the day with great zeal and zest. All the Muslim states declare holidays on the occasion. Hari Raya Haji 2012 is expected to start on Friday, October 26, 2012; however, the exact date will be announced by Islamic scholars based upon moon-sighting.
The sacrifice counts back when Prophet Ismail (A.S) was 13 years old. Prophet Abraham (A.S) dreamt of a command from Almighty Allah to offer his sons’ sacrifice. The Prophet knew there was some message in the dream and upon confirmation of the sacrifice, the Prophet decided to sacrifice His beloved son. The unimaginable act saw the true faith of the Prophet and He decided to obey the divine orders.
Prophet Ismail (A.S) did not let his father down on the occasion. He himself offered to be sacrificed after being consulted for the divine act. It’s hard to take such a decision at an age of mere 13 years, but such was the faith.
After the agreement of both Prophets, they started to act practically on the sacrifice. At the point of knife on the throat, Allah Almighty approval their test and a goat was placed in place of Prophet Ismail (A.S). The incident has been discussed in the Holy Quran. The incident represents the level of faith of the Prophets. It marks that nothing comes before Islam.
The end of Hajj is marked with the celebration of Hari Raya Haj. Hajj is also the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. Considered as the fifth pillar of Islam, it is only a must for those who are well shaped and have financial resources.
During the day of Eid, the Muslims wear new dresses. They gather to perform the prayers of the day and then they attentively listen to the sermons. After the prayers, the session for the sacrifice of goats, cows and camels starts. The animals need certain standards to be fulfilled. The sacrifice illustrates the Great Sacrifice of the Prophets. The meat is distributed accordingly among the poor, among the relatives and among the friends, though the less fortunate are prioritized. According to the Islamic Court, the three parts are divided into one third parts. One of them is given to the poor, one to the relatives and friends, and one is kept for home use. The distribution reminds that the wealth should be distributed among the poor masses. It is a perfect time to take oath and implement the Islamic rules and ethics in future.
After sacrificing and distributing the meat, families start visiting each other’s houses. They visit their parents, friends, relatives and enjoy hearty meals. The rest of the day is passed with celebration. The visits continue till night. Even the ones with hatred and enmity meet each other. The day renders as a dispute ending day.
Hari Raya Haji comes 70 days after Hari Raya Puasa. It refreshes the faith, acts as a day when sacrifices are made and huge amount of meat is distributed among the poor. The people forgive each other. Those who take the spiritual journey called Haj find their life completely manifested with the teachings of Islam. Their faith reaches a new level.