Significance of 'takbir raya'

Highly recommended: Worshippers at Jame 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah performing 'takbir raya' last night to herald in the month of Syawal. Picture: BT/Zamri Zainal

Monday, September 21, 2009

AS SOUND of Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Wa Lillah Ilham, echoed from the minarets of mosques nationwide last evening, heralding the month of Syawal, it's time to take a pause and take a closer look at the significance of takbir raya.

The Brunei Times talked to people from all walks of life to ascertain whether takbir raya has just become a customary thing or do people know its significance?

Acting Senior Religious Officer Ustaz Haris Hj Subuh said that the takbir is the time when Muslims should remember Allah (SWT), through constant recital of zikir, tahmid and tasbih as encouraged by Islam.

He noted how the raya festivities have become more "commercial" and has lost its religious essence as people are now more interested in doing last minute shopping and staying up late just to decorate their houses.

Muslims in the country tend to forget that the end of Ramadhan was about observing the victory of fasting, performing ibadah (religious practices) and remembering the Almighty for all his blessings up to this very day, he said.

A woman from Lumut, who wished to be known as Lelawati said the takbir indicates the victory for Muslims who had overcome the test put by the Almighty in battling temptation throughout the month of Ramadhan.

However she usually finds the takbir moving, as she is reminded of her loved ones.

It was especially overwhelming for her this year, as she is celebrating her hari Raya for the second time without her younger sister who passed away due to illness last year.

She described her Hari Raya celebration last year as "gloomy" as she lost her celebratory mood because of her sister's passing.

"However, takbir should not be about mourning people that we have lost and when we remember them (the deceased). We should instead recite the Al-fatihah or Surah Yassin for them," said the private sector employee, adding that by doing so, the souls of the departed would get blessing from Allah (SWT).

Echoing the same view, Hj Mustafa Hj Abd Rahman, commented that the raya eve would be best appreciated with the recital of zikir.

"There are many surahs that offer many fadilat (benefits), and it is Suna (recommended and encouraged) that we recite them during that night (raya eve)," the 47-year-old said.

He added that until the Sunat Hari Raya prayer is performed the next day, raya eve is the night when zakat fitrah (tithes) payment is afdal (best practiced).

"We are encouraged to recite several surah and zikir when we hear the takbir as we never know that it could be the last Ramadhan," said Mukhlis, 36, an expatriate from Indonesia.

He added that the first thing that came to his mind whenever he heard takbir raya was his family back home.

The Brunei Times