`Eed is any day of gathering. It is derived from `Aada (meaning returned), because people return to it periodically.
Some scholars say that it derives from `Aadah (custom or practice) because people are accustomed to celebrating it. Its plural is A`yaad. Ibn ul-`Araabee said:
"It is called `Eed because it returns every year with renewed happiness."
Ibn `Aabidayn said:
`Eed days are thus named because Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) renews His bounties in them; and He distributes His blessings to His worshippers. Thus on `Eed ul-Fitr, He permits them to eat after having been restrained from food; and He requires paying sadaqat ul-fitr (the charity of breaking the fast) to the needy.
"And on `Eed ul-Adha, He permits the completion of Hajj (pilgrimage) with the final tawaaf (circulating around al-Ka`bah); and He requires offering sacrifices and distributing their meat, etc.
"Also, it is customary for people to be joyful, happy, and to rejoicing during the `Eed days."
The Two `Eeds are a Mercy from Allah
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that upon arriving in al-Madeenah, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) found its people celebrating two days whose significance was held over from the Jaahiliyyah. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from the Jaahiliyyah; indeed Allah has substituted them for you with what is better: the day of Sacrifice and the day of Fitr (breaking the fast).
Shaykh Ahmad `Abdurrahmaan al-Bannaa said:
"(They are better because,) the day of Sacrifice and that of Fir are legislated by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), and are His choice for His creatures. They follow the completion of two of the greatest pillars of Islam, Hajj (pilgrimage) and fasting. On these days, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) forgives those who performed Hajj and who fasted, and He sheds mercy on all of His obedient creatures.
On the other hand, the days of Nayrooz and Mihrajaan were devised by the people of those times, because of good weather or other passing qualities.
The difference between the two cases is apparent for whomever ponders upon this."
Holidays Are Part of the Complete Deen
Evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah clearly demonstrates that the `Eeds are distinctive features for every nation.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) said:
To every people we have appointed rites (of sacrifice) that they must observe.
From authentic hadeeths that are cited above and subsequently, it is concluded that the Muslims have only three `Eed days, a weekly `Eed every Friday, and two annual `Eeds: al-Fitr and al-Adha.
Thus, the `Eeds are purely religious occasions for the Muslims. They are the only holidays in Islam, and were granted to the Muslims by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
This indicates His great love and mercy toward those who adhere to His blessed religion: Islam.
And when Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), the most Generous, grants something, he grants it complete and perfect. Thus, He granted us the `Eeds, as well as instructions for celebrating them. It becomes clear then that:
• Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Alone has the right to prescribe `Eeds and to set their dates.
• Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Alone has the right to prescribe the manner of celebrating them.
The Islamic Concept of Celebrating
Islam teaches Muslims how to celebrate the `Eeds. On these days, the Muslims take a bath and wear their best clothes.
Even though fasting is not permitted on the `Eed days, yet, the major part of the celebration is not eating or drinking - rather, it is a prayer that brings Muslims together to remember Allah's bounties and celebrate His glory and greatness.
The `Eeds and their celebration in Islam carry a distinctive meaning and spirit. They are totally different from the celebrations in other nations and cultures.
For other nations, a holiday is a chance to immerse in worldly pleasures, or to involve oneself in prohibited acts to the utmost. Not so for Muslims!
For Muslims, the `Eed is an occasion to increase in good deeds.
Each `Eed marks the conclusion of an important worship, and the determination to continue in obedience and submission to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
In moments of extreme pleasure or sadness, a Muslim never forgets his Lord's Greatness, Might, Glory, and Watchfulness.
A Muslim's actions are always controlled by this continued remembrance and awareness.
Thus the `Eed is not an occasion to take a vacation from Islamic responsibilities and commitments, nor to waste time and money in extravagance. It is not "fun for the sake of fun". Rather, it is controlled and directed rejoicing that is of ultimate and definite benefit for the Muslim.
The `Eed is a chance to multiply good deeds by bringing happiness and pleasure to the hearts of other Muslims, by helping and supporting the poor and needy, and by getting involved in pastimes that emphasize the strong and serious Islamic character.
And Allah Almighty Knows best.
 Lisaan ul-`Arab.
 Haasheeyatu Ibn `Aabidayn.
 According to some scholars, the two days were the day of Nayrooz and the day of Mihrajaan (two Persian holidays). See `Awn ul-Ma`bood by al-`Azeemaabaaddee.
 Jaahiliyyah: The state of ignorance and disbelief prevalent in Arabia before Islam.
 Ahmad, Abu Dawood, and others; authentic.
 Al-Fath ur-Rabbaanee.
 Al-Hajj 22:67.
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