Remember the spirit of sacrifice despite muted Hari Raya Haji, says President Halimah

Worshippers participating in the takbir at An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan on July 30, 2020. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Although Covid-19 has affected Hari Raya Haji celebrations this year, President Halimah Yacob said Muslims in Singapore should not forget the spirit of the occasion.

"As we celebrate the value of sacrifice on this day, let us also reflect on how the smaller sacrifices we make today, such as limited numbers during congregational prayers at mosques, will protect the larger community from harm, by minimising any transmission risks," Madam Halimah said in a Facebook post on Thursday (July 30).

She called on the Muslim community to continue giving to those in need, in line with the meaning of the festival, which takes place on Friday.

Hari Raya Haji commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's trust in God, who had asked him to sacrifice his son. The boy's life was spared and a ram was slaughtered instead.

Muslims mark the day with prayers and the korban ritual, which involves slaughtering livestock and distributing the meat to the poor.

This year, the korban will not take place in Singapore. Instead, the slaughter is performed in Australia, and the meat will be chilled and shipped over. Traditionally, one-third goes to the person sponsoring the animal, one-third to family, friends and neighbours, and the rest to the poor.

While 65 mosques will be open for Hari Raya Haji prayers on Friday morning, only a total of 8,750 worshippers will be able to attend. Most will hold three sessions with no more than 50 worshippers each time. The worshippers had to book slots online.

On Thursday, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) reminded Muslims to continue to abide by national restrictions on gatherings in public and private.

They should limit social gatherings to not more than five people, and households should receive no more than five visitors at one time. Visitors to the cemetery should remember to wear masks and maintain safe distancing of at least 1m.

Muis said: "In our eagerness to celebrate this special occasion with our loved ones, let us continue to be socially responsible and stay vigilant to prevent the spread of Covid-19."

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