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What is Hajj?

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

✦ Celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice and a deep trust in faith.

This year, Hari Raya Haji falls on the evening of June 28th and will last 4 days till the evening of July 2nd, 2023. Learn about some of the common terms you hear when speaking about this festival, and as we love brilliant food, we have a recipe to share, specially from our very own Brilliant Graphic Designer, Adan!

What is the Hajj?

Hari Raya Haji marks the end of the Hajj, which is the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. Every year, many worshippers travel to Islam's most sacred mosque, the Al-Masjid Al-Harām in Saudi Arabia. This is an important expression of their deep faith and something very close to their hearts. It's how devotees show their commitment to God. It is an undertaking that Muslims want to do at least once in their lives. It does require one to have the necessary money to make the trip, and also to be physically fit enough to do it.

Devotees showing commitment to God as featured in Brilliant-Online Photo from Canva
Devotees showing commitment to God

What is the Ka’abah?

This is the famous building easily recognisable in so many beautiful photographs of the pilgrimage site. It's a building in the middle of the mosque and when devotees go on the Hajj, one of the rituals they have to do is to circle the Ka’abah seven times.

The Ka’abah is the most sacred site in Islam and if you've always wondered why Muslims have to face a certain direction when they pray, it's because they are facing where this site is, wherever they are in the world.

The Ka’abah is the most sacred site in Islam as featured in Brilliant-Online  Photo from Canva
The Ka’abah is the most sacred site in Islam
Interesting Fact: The Islamic calendar is a lunar one and their festivals take place 10 to 11 days earlier each year. This led to the unusual occurrence of Hari Raya Haji being celebrated twice in 2006 - once on 10th January and the other on 31st December!

What is the Eid al-Adha?

This is Hari Raya Haji's other known name, otherwise known as 'The Feast of the Sacrifice'. It refers to the deep faith of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who obeyed God's command to sacrifice his son. As many would know the story well, just as Ibrahim was about to kill his son on the altar, God stopped him and provided a sheep instead to be sacrificed.

Muslim devotee in prayer as featured in Brilliant-Online  Photo from Canva

What is the korban?

This led to the ritual called the korban, which is the sacrifice of livestock such as sheep, lamb and goat during this festival. During this act, the animal is placed facing the direction of the Ka’abah and saying a prayer. The animal's throat is slit for a quick death and the meat is shared among the worshippers and the needy. The korban is symbolic of sacrifice and giving and it is during this special occasion that the less fortunate have the luxury of eating meat during these four days.

The korban is usually carried out after people have gone to the mosque for sermons and prayers. After the korban, people visit family and friends to share gifts and partake in delicious meals. It is typical for families to dress up in new clothes and enjoy getting together at parties and gatherings. Children enjoy this festival because they also get some gifts from families.

Read about Jessica Garner's story of how she reverted to Islam and how it changed her life.

To celebrate this festival, why not try out some Brilliant recipes?




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