I’ve been asked many time before, “So, why do you have two Eids/Hari Rayas? Is there a difference between the two?” There is!
Hari Raya, which loosely translated from Malay means Day of Celebration (also can be said to be Eid, which is an Arabic word for ‘celebration’ too) is celebrated twice a year.
One is Hari Raya Puasa, or Eidulfitri, which is a celebration of completing the fasting month, and Hari Raya Haji, or Eiduladha. There are 2 things most often associated with Eiduladha/Hari Raya Haji: the Muslim pilgrimage and the animal sacrifice. The Muslim pilgrimage happens annually, where millions of Muslims travel to Islam’s holiest city of Makkah.
Being the fifth pillar of Islam, hajj, or the act of making a pilgrimage, is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims. Muslims are required to perform hajj at least once in lifetime if they have the physical and financial ability.
In it, pilgrims follow the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim and his family. Prophet Ibrahim, along with his son, Prophet Ismail, built the Kaaba in the holy city of Makkah. This pillar reflects the notion of complete submission to Allah and the Abrahamic faith.
Makkah is the center towards which the Muslims converge, meet and refresh in themselves the faith that all Muslims are equal and deserve the love and sympathy of others, irrespective of their race or ethnic origin. The pilgrimage unites the Muslims of the world into one international fraternity. More than two million persons perform the Hajj each year, and the rite serves as a unifying force in Islam by bringing followers of diverse backgrounds together in worship.
The holy journey requires the pilgrim to perform ten rituals before and during hajj. Pilgrimage serves as a penance – the ultimate forgiveness for sins, devotion, and intense spirituality.
Beside the hajj, Eiduladha is about the animal sacrifice. The sacrifice, or Qurban, follows the true story of father and son, Ibrahim and Ismail, and their unflinching loyalty and devotion to Allah (SWT). It’s personally one of my favourite stories. ❤️
The story serves as a means of motivation, education and inspiration to millions of Muslims around the world today. It is said that Prophet Ibrahim had a dream one night, in which Allah told him to sacrifice Ismail, his beloved son. At first Ibrahim thought it was the devil playing tricks on him and he immediately disregarded it. However the following night, the same dream occurred again commanding him to do the same. Ibrahim then came to realise that this was no fluke and in fact, a message from Allah.
Ibrahim loved his son, Ismail. Yet he was fully prepared to follow Allah’s command and do as He instructed. He took his son to Mount Arafat along with a knife and rope. Upon reaching there, he told his son about his dream and what Allah SWT had commanded him to do. Being an obedient son, Prophet Ismail immediately obliged and asked that his hands and legs be tied so that he may not struggle and that his father blindfold himself so that he won’t have to witness him suffer.
Ibrahim did as Ismail had said. Blindfolded and with the knife in his hands, he did as Allah SWT had asked of him. When he took the blindfold off, to his surprise, he saw the body of a dead ram in front of him. Ismail was completely unharmed standing right next to him. At first he thought that something had gone horribly wrong and that he had disobeyed his Creator. But then he heard a voice telling him that Allah looks after his followers and that he need not worry.
Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) had just passed a difficult test from Allah.
Since then, Muslims from around the world perform Qurban to honour and remember what Ibrahim did. Muslims sacrifice animals (preferably a goat, cow or camel) in memory of the deed. It is also a time for honest reflections on what personal sacrifice and piety means to the individual.
So there you go! Hope this was enlightening. ❤️ Eid Mubarak, or Happy Eid, sweethearts!