To Sohibul Korban of Aaliyah’s Pte Ltd:

My ruminations of the recent Korban 2023.

Alhamdulillah, all praise to Allah, after slogging for 3 days, we completed the ritual slaughter of 500 sheep and 150 goats at 2 mosques.  We would like to thank all our SKs for entrusting us with this amanah, and to the hundreds of volunteers who gave their all.

This year, we were able to conduct a special training session for our slaughtermen, animal handlers, skinners and butchers, on the Sunday before Aidul-Adha at MPMS.  Hay Dairies supplied 25 goats for the session.

Most of you would have seen a “Mat Salleh” with us – Dr Michael Patching, our AWO.  At the end of the training session, as the trainees were taking leave, one makcik from MPMS (sorry, Kak Leha) chided him.  She reprimanded him and insisted that Michael stay a while whilst the kitchen staff was preparing briyani for everyone.

Now, Michael is no weakling.  He has no qualms locking horns (pun intended) with authorities.  But with Kak Leha, he submissively stayed back.  He enjoyed the briyani served in a dulang.  Whilst many of us were sharing 4 to 1 dulang, Michael had 1 dulang all to himself and another person.  After eating, he washed his hand (yes, he ate with his right fingers) and dutifully sought Kak Leha’s permission to leave.

For any media interviews, I have fastidiously deferred to my colleague Rafee.  With his gravitas, and shining pate, he is the face of Aaliyah’s and is recognizable by people.  However, when HHWT wanted to do an interview, Rafee was away, and I had to sacrifice myself (pun definitely intended) to submit to questions.  Click on the link below to read their report.

We strongly believe that this symbol of Islam should not go into oblivion in the land of our birth.  And we need to develop the young amongst us to step up.  I was very heartened to see many young faces volunteering themselves doing what many consider menial, but still necessary, work.

One of the young people I’d like to share an anecdote about is Rifqi, son of Rafee.  He started with us in 2021, when he was 11.

At this year’s inaugural visit to Hay Dairies farm on 7 May 2023 to host the first 30 SK select their goats, Rifqi walked around the animal pens.  Then he pointed out one goat to his father and said that that goat had a “vision” problem.  On closer examination, it did.  It was blind.

Rifqi is now in Secondary 1.  He a part of the defence backbone of his secondary school’s hockey team.  Rifqi and hockey stick – almost a perfect metaphor for a shepherd wannabe, or perhaps a shepherd-in-waiting?

Just as we were packing up to go home on the third day, a woman volunteer called out to Michael to take a selfie (or wefie) with her.  Rafee came along, and he joined in too.  All this was happening in front of my eyes.  I waited to be invited to partake in the celebratory photo taking but the invitation was not forthcoming.  I suppose to her, four’s a crowd.  But I want you to imagine this image: a tudung clad woman, with an Aussie with flowing mane to her right, and Rafee with, well, not so flowing mane, to her left.

Just before we started operations on the final day someone asked Michael to literally count sheep.   We wanted to verify whether we have extra sheep to sell (which we did).  Michael reported the number, with a variation of 1.  I thought that was impressive.  Two days before that, I had problems counting goats to be transported from Hay Dairies to MAF.  When I asked Michael, how does someone count sheep.  His answer – count the number of legs, and divide by 4.

*Khutbah Kedua*

Pada permulaannya, projek korban ini diuar-uarkan sebagai satu projek kendalian sebuah syarikat swasta yang menggunakan masjid untuk melaksanakan ibadah korban.  Pihak masjid tiada kena-mengena dengan ibadah ini selain sebagai pemilik tanah yang menyewakan ruang untuk aktiviti ini.

Ia tidak mengambil masa lama untuk andaian ini dicabar.  Anggota masyarakat, apabila mendapat tahu, langsung menelefon masjid, dan bukan pihak kami.   Kesimpulannya, rakyat Muslim Singapura mengaitkan ibadah korban dengan masjid. 

Saya berpeluang berbual-bual dengan SK.  Ada yang menghargai usaha kami; ada membawa anak dan cucu agar si cilik tahu apa itu korban.

Pada hari terakhir korban kami, saya tiba awal di MPMS.  Ramai kaum ibu yang berpakaian seragam sudah tiba.  Saya beranggap ini mungkin SK yang “kiasu”.  Kemudian saya diberitahu bahawa mereka adalah sukarelawan dari Masjid Assyakirin yang telah bertandang dengan makanan (termasuk bubur durian).  Saya terharu dan dalam benak saya, kita harus memanfaatkan sifat saling membantu di antara masjid-masjid di tanah air.

Saya juga terpandang beberapa pengerusi masjid lain yang berkunjung ke MPMS and MAF, selain dari pegawai-pegawai dari MUIS/Salam SG.


AWO – Animal Welfare Officer

HHWT – Have Halal Will Travel (a travel website)

MAF – Masjid Al Firdaus

MPMS – Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang

SK – Sohibul Korban


2 July 2023

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