– A day of gathering and charity – Enhancing Islamic spirituality and togetherness

– A day of gathering and charity –

Enhancing Islamic

spirituality and togetherness

A: This mosque, called Masjidil-Haram in Mecca, is the largest mosque in the world and is the meeting point of all Haj (and Umrah) pilgrims. The two-storey, high-ceiling and pleasantly architectured mosque is fully air-conditioned and thoroughly clean. It can now accommodate some 2 million people for any of the five obligatory prayers. It is being expanded to accommodate more than double this number. The entire roof-top is also a prayer area, so is the marbled floor all-round the exterior of the mosque.

A:  Pilgrims in and and outside Masjidil-Haram in Mecca, the largest mosque in the world.  It is the meeting point of all Haj (and Umrah) pilgrims. The two-storey, high-ceiling and pleasantly architectured mosque is fully air-conditioned and thoroughly clean. It can now accommodate some 2 million people for any of the five obligatory prayers. It is being expanded to accommodate more than double this number. The entire roof-top is also a prayer area, so is the marbled floor all-round the exterior of the mosque. (Photos: Internet)

: B: The black cube in the mosque is called the Ka’aba towards which people face when performing their prayers from this mosque, from outside the mosque and from across the globe. The direction towards the Ka’aba is called the Qibla. A Qibla compass is used to determine the Qibla from anywhere in the wide world. The Ka’aba is also the structure where pilgrims perform the tawaf (walking round it 7 times in the anti-clockwise direction) in respect for being the centre of the Islamic world during their Haj (annual pilgrimage in the month of Zulhijjah of the Islamic calendar) or Umrah (minor pilgrimage which can be undertaken any time of the year).

B:  Areal views of Masjidil Haram which contains the black cube called the Ka’aba.  It is towards the Ka’aba that people face when performing their prayers from this mosque, from outside the mosque and from across the globe. The direction towards the Ka’aba is called the Qibla. A Qibla compass is used to determine the Qibla from anywhere in the wide world.
The Ka’aba is also the structure where pilgrims perform the tawaf (walking round it 7 times in the anti-clockwise direction in respect for being the centre of the Islamic world) during their Haj (annual pilgrimage in the month of Zulhijjah of the Islamic calendar) or Umrah (minor pilgrimage which can be undertaken any time of the year). (Photos: Internet)

Part 3:  A day of gathering and charity

By 8:00 in the morning of Eid ul-Adha (or Hari Raya Haji in Malay), all mosques in Singapore were full to capacity with congrants (with many late-comers sitting outside the mosques on mats). They recited the takbir in chorus until the start of the prayers.

After the prayers, the imam (prayer leader) read out the Hari Raya Haji sermon that focussed on the importance of having a good character, enhancing interaction with all Singaporeans of various faiths and ethnicity and living together in peace and harmony as one united people.

It is good to show to the world that Singapore Muslims are people who practise Islam as it should be practised for spiritual enhancement, educational development and harmonious living.  Islam is not a religion meant only for worshipping God and asking favours from Him, but one that encompasses everything one does for righteous living.

QUR’BAN

After the Hari Raya prayers, a number of mosques with space and expertise for slaughtering sheep conducted the qur’ban (spelt korban in Malay), sheep and goats being the smallest of the three animals meant for the qur’ban; the other two being cattle and camel.

As Islam is a religion of Mercy and Compassion, it teaches Muslims to be kind to all creatures – human beings and animals.

On Hari Raya Haji and during the subsequent three days, livestock (like sheep and cattle) are slaughtered. The slaughtering of these animals ought to be conducted with strict guidance as given in the Qur’an and the Hadith which advises how to prepare the animals for slaughter and how to slaughter them based on mercy and compassion to the animal.

FUNDAMENTALS

The most important Islamic rules (basic fundamentals of slaughtering animals) to be observed when slaughtering an animal for consumption are:

  • the animal must be fit and not handicapped,
  • the animal must not be pregnant, and
  • the animal must be properly fed and maintained before the slaughter.

Other rules include:

  • the slaughter can only be performed by a sane person, an adult Muslim man who is strong and fit,
  • the knife used for the slaughtering must be very clean and sharp and resharpened after each slaughtering,
  • the slaughter must on the point of pressure and reach the jugular veins to ensure a quick death to the animal,
  • the head must not be separated from the body and, at no time, should the knife reach the back bone or spine,
  • the animal must be comforted and given water before slaughtering,
  • the animals are separated from each other out of respect for they too are conscious of the surrounding and have feelings of fear.

The invocation of Allah’s name is a must and the intention for the slaughter must be consciously realised with the basmallah (with the words uttered in a low voice or in the heart, such as: “I slaughter this animal for consumption in the name of Allah”), an instruction given in the Qur’an (at 22:36) when slaughtering qur’ban animals (and indeed any halal animal like chicken).

PIETY

The educational point of the qur’ban is given in the Qur’an, thus: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches God. It is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an, 22:37)

“Piety” in Islam, as indicated in the above verse, includes compassion to the poor through sadaqa (voluntary charity) and zakat (compulsory charity), both most often in monetary form, as well as, in this case, distribution of the qur’ban meat to the poor and needy.

In Islam, no animal should be even tortured or killed for game, sport or gambling.  Cock-fighting, bull-fighting and game-hunting are all haram (prohibited).

The book, published in 1995, narrates the experiences of the author who, with his wife, went for the Haj in 1992. The Preface mentions: “To perform the Haj is the desire of every Muslim…Those who have performed the Haj or Umrah once usually entertain the desire to perform it again…They say the trip to the Ka’aba is worth more than any visit to any part of the world.”

The book, published in 1995, narrates the experiences of the author who, with his wife, went for the Haj in 1992. The Preface mentions: “To perform the Haj is the desire of every Muslim…Those who have performed the Haj or Umrah once usually entertain the desire to perform it again…They say the trip to the Ka’aba is worth more than any visit to any part of the world.”

In my book, “The Haj – the annual pilgrimage of Islam”, (above), a narration of my experiences of my Haj in 1992, I mentioned in “Chapter 11: Rites and rules of the Haj” that: “(Qur’ban) is a praiseworthy act to do, if one has the money….qur’ban is a symbolic act. Spiritually, the act of animal sacrifice signifies sacrificing one’s life for God in all areas of living and human development.  In offering an animal for sacrifice, a Muslim is aware that it is not the meat or blood of the animal that reaches God but his piety (good deeds).”

The book, under the section “Qur’ban” in Chapter11: Rites and rules of the Haj” provides details about the Qur’ban which is carried out in Mina near Mecca on Eid ul-Adha and subsequent three days as well as in Muslim communities all over the world.

The book, under the section “Qur’ban” in Chapter 11: Rites and rules of the Haj” provides details about the Qur’ban which is carried out in Mina near Mecca on Eid ul-Adha and subsequent three days as well as in Muslim communities all over the world.

In another book of mine, “Splendours of Islam: Answers to more than 100 common questions about Islam”, under a question on Eid ul-Adha, I mentioned: “Those (pilgrims) who have the means also sacrifice animals like sheep, cattle or camel.  The meat is deep-frozen (by the Saudi government) and donated to the poor in other countries. In other parts of the world, Muslims also slaughter sheep and cattle (on Hari Raya Haji) and the meat is distributed to the poor and charitable homes.”

In the past 10 years or so, Singaporean Muslims have been increasingly conducting their qur’ban outside Singapore for they feel the Singapore poor are not that poor as to be eager to collect the qur’ban meat for consumption while communities in many Asian and African countries are very poor and delighted to eat meat.

Shaik Kadir

23 Sep 2016

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