Hari Raya Haji, is observed on the tenth day of the last month of the Muslim calendar and this year will be marked from June 16 to 20. It is a Muslim holy day commemorating the end of the hajj and the story of the prophet Ibrahim. It symbolizes and celebrates the spirit of faithfulness to Allah through slaughtering an animal divided to feed the community and family. The ritual of slaughtering the animal is meant to pay homage to the story of Ibrahim, in which Allah ordered him to kill his son, Ismail, to test his loyalty and dedication to his faith.
History of Hari Raya Haji
Hari Raya Hajicomes from the story of ‘Akedah’ in the “Quran.” It chronicles the many trials and tribulations of the prophet Ibrahim. The most difficult task was Allah commanding him to kill his son, Ismail. Faced with this impossible task, Ibrahim wanted to defy his God. But his innate desire to please Allah resulted in him following through on the orders. The fact that he was willing to sacrifice his beloved son showed Allah Ibrahim’s willingness to give up what was dear to him, so in turn, both Ibrahim and Ismail were spared and honored.
For years, many followers of the Islamic faith believed that Ibrahim and his son were on a task by Allah to build the Kaaba, the square stone building which serves as the focal point of Mecca. Today Muslims around the world observe Hari Raya Haji, celebrating the end of the hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and commemorating Ibrahim’s devotion as well as his son’s survival. It reminds everyone of Allah’s mercy and bountiful blessings to those committed to doing good.
Hari Raya Haji is traditionally celebrated through a ritual in which a goat, sheep, or camel is slaughtered. The meat is distributed amongst the community, feeding the poor, friends and neighbors, and one’s own family, emphasizing the significance of sharing. Displaying the same values and dedication to the greater good exhibited by the prophet Ibrahim.
Hari Raya Haji timeline
Prophet Ibrahim is born, some 1948 years after the world’s creation, in Ur of the Chaldees.
Mohammad is born in Mecca and would become the founder of the Islamic faith.
The initial hajj pilgrimage — the voyage to the holy city of Mecca, takes place.
For the first and only time, Hari Raya Haji is twice in a single year, in January and December.
Hari Raya Haji FAQs
How Long is Hari Raya Haji?
It falls 70 days after the holy month of Ramadan, on day 10 of the Islamic month of Dhul al-Hijjah. It can last for up to four days.
What do You Eat on Hari Raya Haji?
Traditionally, beef ‘rendang’ is one of the most common dishes to prepare for the festivities. Other culinary treats include ‘ketupat,’ — boiled rice treat often served alongside ‘rendang,’ and satay — a Southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat, served with a sauce.
What Do You Wish for Hari Raya Haji?
Non-believers or those who do not form part of the faith of Islam can wish all Muslims an auspicious Hari Raya Haji. Among the Muslims, wishes commonly include health and prosperity for one another’s families and success in the years to come.
Hari Raya Haji Activities
Distribute meat to your community
As is tradition, an animal should be slaughtered to commemorate the orders from Allah to Ibrahim. Once the meat is ready, get the whole family involved in distributing the meat to the community to feed the poor and your neighbors.
Dress up in your finest
Men, women, and children of all ages should wear their finest clothing for the celebrations. This highlights families’ respect for their faith and commitment to celebrating the holy day.
Make sweet treats
It’s not just about the meat. Other food is added to the celebrations like unique sweets and dessert treats such as ma’amoul. People then gather with family and friends to eat and be festive.
5 Inspirational Prophet Stories From Islam
Prophet Muhammad: Education
He was commanded to seek knowledge for himself and in turn, enrich the minds of his people.
Prophet Yunus: Perseverance
He was sent to preach in Nineveh against idols and was met with defiance, which he overcame.
Prophet Ayub: Patience
After years of loss, illness, and hardship, he was blessed with sustenance from Allah.
Prophet Sulaiman: Mercy and compassion
Before crushing an ant’s nest, he realized living beings are equal no matter the size or shape.
Prophet Muhammad: Humility
While receiving revelation, he’s still humble no matter his education or enlightenment.
Why We Love Hari Raya Haji
It honors the journey
Hari Raya Haji symbolizes the end of the hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. It celebrates the sense of arrival at the end of one’s journey to enlightenment and the quest to be a devoted and true Muslim.
It conserves history and religious beliefs
This celebration honors and commemorates the story of Prophet Ibrahim’s trials and tribulations. It conserves the tradition and religious importance of doing good and being able to make sacrifices for your faith for many generations to come.
It brings families and communities together
The ritual of slaughtering an animal and distributing its meat to various community members keeps the spirit of togetherness alive. It also brings families together and puts a spotlight on tough times, perseverance, and celebrating life for people of all ages.
Hari Raya Haji dates