Aidiladha, falls on the tenth day of Zulhijjah, the twelfth month in the Islamic calendar. In Malay countries, it is known as Hari Raya Haji which means “great day of the Haj”.

Muslims in Brunei and all around the world observe this special occasion, which means the ‘feast of the sacrifice’. Sometimes it is also known as Hari Raya Korban. So, why is it special you might ask? It honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice and slaughter of his own son, Ismail, as an act of obedience to Allah’s command. At the very moment Ibrahim raised his knife, Allah told him to stop, that he passed the test and to replace Ismail with a ram, a male sheep. This event is the basis for the sacrifice performed every year.

Aidiladha also marks the end of Hajj. Zulhijjah is the annual time for pilgrimages to go for Hajj, one of the pillars of Islam. It is mandatory for a Muslim to go for Hajj to the holy city of Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

On this day of the calendar, the Muslims will sacrifice cows, goats, lambs, among other animals in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah, and after that, distribute the meat to family, neighbours and the needy.

The first morning of Hari Raya Aidiladha is where you can see Muslims around the world attending morning prayers at their local mosques, just like how they would for Eid al-Fitr. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point prior to the event, members of the family will visit a local farm to make arrangements for the purchase and slaughter of an animal. The meat is then distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly after.

I once worked part-time at a telco company in Brunei and I remember attending a lecture about Aidiladha. On a separate day, there would be a one whole event starting from five in the morning where different tables would be preparing the meat in certain containers to give to the needy as sedekah. Certain people voluntarily gave their money to purchase a goat or lamb.

Behind a whole array of delicacies on the table, we should instill the meaning of Qurban in our children. They may be too young or too small to understand the true meaning of it, but it is surely good exposure for them to see what is really happening on the day.

Aidiladha is all about sacrifice, therefore, it should be realized that sacrifice should not be limited to the day of Aidiladha. Instead, sacrifice should be part and parcel of a Muslim’s character which is practiced every day of his or her life. This form of sacrifice can be tangible or intangible, be it in the form of material, financial, time and or energy.

It is not easy to give up on the things that are close to our hearts, but that pretty much explains what sacrifice is all about. The main question is, are we prepared to part ways from our wealth to help those who are in need, or just freely undertake charity work? With a good and sincere heart, we

When Muslims are gathered in the congregation of prayer on the day of Aidiladha, they will pray for forgiveness and strength of faith. We will find it in our heart to purify our hearts and souls. Aidiladha encourages Muslims to fully grasp the spiritual meaning of sacrificing in the name of Allah and for the good of mankind. Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha.