Wednesday, December 27, 2006Hari Raya Haji a.k.a Hari Raya Korban or Aidil Adha is just around the corner. Malaysians will have the last Public Holiday of the year.
Like the turkeys before Christmas, there are some nervous goats, lambs and cattle hoping against hope that Hari Raya Haji will never come. These animals do not know about the history of Korban. (Qurban is the way Bollywood spelt it. Means the same.)
Hundreds of years ago Nabi Ibrahim (Abraham) was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Ismail. Even though Nabi Ibrahim loved his son very much, he loved God more and being the faithful servant of God, he obeyed. Ismail too was not afraid to die. He was ready to be slaughtered in God's name. God, being Most Merciful, spared Ismail's life and Abraham's agony by replacing Ismail with a sheep at the last moment. The tradition lives on in the Muslim world although it is not compulsory for every Muslim to sacrifice an animal every Hari Raya Haji. It is compulsory for those doing the pilgrimage (the haj) in Makkah al Mukaramah to sacrifice an animal (goats, sheep or camels) though. When I was there, I did not have to look for an animal. I just went to the bank, paid for a coupon, said my niat (intention) and the Islamic Development Bank would slaughter the animal on my behalf and distribute the meat to the poor, even outside Saudi Arabia. Otherwise I would not know what to do with my portion of the meat. Makkah is hardly the place to have a barbecue.
My parents and my family sometimes bought a part of a lembu for the korban. Most of the meat is distributed to the needy as required by Islam. When I was a child, I was told that in the Hereafter, you got to ride the animal you sacrificed on the way to Heaven. I got a severe tongue lashing when I asked my mother to sacrifice a motorbike.