Hari Raya Haji is a special celebration in Islam that honours Prophet Ibrahim. During this time, Muslims perform Korban, where they sacrifice animals as an act of devotion. This teaches them to be generous and care for others. The meat from the sacrificed animals is shared with family, friends, and those in need. But how do we do that in Singapore?
Meet Zakaria, a passionate advocate, driven by a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to preserve the syiar (symbol) of Islam. He works in Aaliyah's Pte Ltd , a company which oversees the Korban efforts in Singapore! Zakaria plays a vital role in ensuring its success while also upholding the rich traditions of Korban within the community.
While Korban may seem to take only a few hours, the planning and preparation leading up to this event takes 3-4 months! Zakaria is actively involved in ensuring everything runs smoothly. Running a korban operation entails obtaining approvals from various government agencies such as the Singapore Food Agency, NParks, Singapore Land Authority, National Environment Agency, and the Public Utilities Board.
Zakaria explains the process, "Having decided to do a korban, we would consider venues, types of animals (goats, sheep), local or imported, etc."
His team plans everything carefully, including making a detailed plan for the chosen location and getting it approved. Additionally, he and his team market the animals to the public and carry out the slaughter on the designated sacrifice days.
A concern that Zakaria faces may be one we dont often think about. He is worried about the changing practices of Korban. He's concerned that the traditional meaning of korban might be forgotten, especially when people move the practice to other countries. He thinks it's important to preserve the cultural and religious significance of korban, especially in places where Muslims haven't had the chance to experience this tradition due to economic limitations.
Reflecting on his challenges, Zakaria remarks, "The challenges faced when dealing with people from various organisations, different experiences are no different from those I used to face when doing IT projects in my previous life." He draws upon his past experiences in the IT industry to navigate the difficulties posed by government regulations and collaborations with various organisations.
Zakaria fondly recalls the emotional reactions of participants during the korban event at Hay Dairies in 2021, stating, "To see participants (sohibul korban) crying after their sacrificial goats were slaughtered, and then thanking us, was humbling."
Zakaria emphasises that following both government regulations and Shariah is important. He says, "Much of what government regulations prescribe when slaughtering concurs with the Shariah."
Zakaria recognises the importance of their commercial relationship with Hay Dairies and partnerships with government agencies like NEA and PUB. He understands the need to protect the environment and prevent contamination of waterways, reservoirs, and drainage systems.
Fun fact: Did you know that the goat’s blood will be mixed with sawdust to ensure a better way to dispose of the blood? This was in work with PUB to avoid contamination of the waterways.
Zakaria cherishes the feedback they receive. He considers it a priceless affirmation of their efforts. One thing that Zakaria is excited about is involving younger generations in the Korban event. He hopes that Aaliyah's Pte Ltd . will continue to be performed in their homeland (Singapore). He concludes optimistically, saying, "I look forward to Aaliyah's Pte Ltd being performed in the land of our birth year after year, and that the young will take over the mantle."
Zakaria's dedication, careful planning, and collaborative spirit ensure the success of Aaliyah's Pte Ltd . while preserving the tradition of korban in Singapore. With his commitment and the growing involvement of younger generations, the future of Aaliyah's Pte Ltd looks bright, guaranteeing a cherished tradition for years to come.