One of the prominent occasions for Muslims in Singapore, Hari Raya Haji will be conducted in limited sessions in the country this year. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the state has barred gathering of more than five people in one place and has asked those visiting the cemetery to wear masks without fail.
Hari Raya Haji is a festival celebrated by Muslims in commemoration of the incident that proves Propjet Ibrahim's trust in God. Ibrahim had decided to follow God's orders even when he was asked to sacrifice his son. Ibrahim was all set to offer his son in sacrifice when the sword turned into flowers and the boy's life was spared. He won the trust of God. But to complete the promise of sacrifice a ram was offered to God.
Animal Sacrifice Ritual to be Performed in Australia
Thus the day is known as Hari Raya Haji and is observed through animal sacrifice known as a korban. Accordingly, the livestock is sacrificed and the meat is offered to the poor on the occasion. But due to coronavirus conditions, this year no animal sacrifices will take place in Singapore.
However, reports claim that the ritual of animal sacrifice will be held in Australia and the meat will be chilled, packed, and shipped to Singapore. According to the rules, out of the total meat, one third has to be offered to the person sponsoring the meat, the remaining is divided into half and one part goes to the family who shares the meat with friends and neighbors and another part must be distributed among the poor.
Online Arrangement to Book Slot for Prayer
According to the Straits Times, 65 Mosques will be open on Friday morning, enabling people to offer prayers on the occasion. However, it is said that this year only 8,750 people can offer prayers due to social distancing rules. Arrangements have been made to book slots for prayers online. On Friday, three sessions with a maximum of 50 people will be allowed to offer prayers in each session.
At the time of the pandemic, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) asked the Muslims in the country to abide by restrictions both in public and private. It also said that each household cannot receive more than five guests at a time. It specified that people should maintain at least one-meter distance while in public or at home while celebrating Hari Raya Haji that is also known as Eid al-Adha.
President Halimah Yacob's Special Wish And Prayer
Singapore's President Halimah Yacob tweeted asking people not to forget the spirit and meaning of the festive occasion. She clarified that the ritual of korban will not take place this time. "As we celebrate the value of sacrifice on this day, let us also reflect on how the smaller sacrifices we make today," she said.
"It is also a time for us to express our gratitude for our blessings through giving. I am glad that mosques will continue with the practice of distributing a portion of the Korban meat, attained through a modified Korban ritual, to low-income families within the community," Halimah Yacob said.