Eid prayer and Eid celebration will be discussed from Islamic perspective. It covers a number of valuable issues related to the concept of the term Eid, Eid prayer and includes various other important matters interrelated to manners of Eid celebration, which every Muslim must know. The discussion of these great events in Islam has been supported by proofs from the Holy Book (The Qur'an) and the Sunnah (Legal ways) of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him).
Definition of Eid
Human history has known festivals from the earliest days of man on earth. Ancient Egyptians had one called the day of adornment in which temples and streets were decorated and people were on holiday. It was during one such festival that Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) defeated the magicians of Pharaoh and his officers. In Surat Taha verse 59, Allah the Most High said:
"Musa said: ‘Your appointed meeting is the day of the festival, and let the people assemble when the sun has risen (forenoon)' "
The term Eid occurs in the Holy Qur'an once meaning a joyous frequent occasion. This comes about when the disciples requested Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) (peace be upon him and his mother) to pray to Allah to send to them a table from heaven so that they can eat and satisfy their hearts with the truth. The words of prayer are mentioned in Surat Al-Ma'idah, 114:
“Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us - for the first and the last of us - a festival and a sign from You; and provide us sustenance, for You are the Best of Sustainers.””
In Islam the term Eid denotes the festivals of Muslims. Allah's Messenger (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) told Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him):
"For every nation there is a feast and this is our feast". (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
To Muslims, Eid is a day of thanksgiving and gratefulness to Allah who guides them to Islam. There are only two annual festivals of Islam recognized by the Shari’ah (Islamic laws and regulations). The first is Eid-ul-Fitr: the great festival that follow the month of Ramadan when the fast is broken. Muslims all over the world celebrate this Eid on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar and the first of the three months named as 'Ashhur al-Hajj' (i.e. the months of Pilgrimage). The other being Eid-ul-Adha, which comes on the 10th day of Thul-Hijjah, the 12th month of Islamic calendar. The two Eids have been defined by Allah's Messenger as Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Messenger (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) said:
"Eid-ul- Fitr is the day on which the people break the fast and Eid-ul-Adha is the day they offer sacrifice" (Reported by At- Tirmidhi)
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that upon arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) found its people celebrating two days. The Prophet (peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) said:
"Men 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)". (Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawood)
Fasting is forbidden on these days, as Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the month long fast of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Adha marks the days of eating when Muslims sacrifice suitable animal (s), in memorial of Ibrahim's (Peace be upon him) act of obedience to Allah. Abu Ubaida (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that: 'I witnessed the Eid with ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
“Allah’s Messenger (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) has forbidden people to fast on the day on which you break fast (the fast of Ramadan: Eid-ul-Fitr) and the day on which you eat the meat of your sacrifice (Eid-ul-Adha)." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
Eid-ul-Fitr is a spiritual celebration designed by the Shari' ah as a sign of gratefulness by the Muslims on the accomplishment of Ramadan, and as an immediate reward by Allah for the believers who spent the month of Ramadan in fasting and performing other forms of worship. Allah the Most High said:
“.... Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse: 185)
Muslims celebrate the Eid by offering special prayers and wishing peace and forgiveness to everyone. Islam has adopted a unique graceful approach to celebrate the Eid. This will be described as follows:
The Night Preceding the Eid: What to do on Eid Night?
It had been the practise of the Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) that he would perform voluntary prayers, Dhikr and Dua on the night preceding Eid prayer. Therefore, it is desirable to practise as much acts of worship as one can in the night preceding the Eid and should pray for all his/her needs and desires.
Preparation for Eid prayer (Salatul Eid)
The Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) has prescribed for us specific practices to be performed in the morning of Eid day before proceeding to the Eid prayers: these can be summed up as follows:
Waking up early in the morning, making Ghusl (taking a bath), cutting nails, performing Wudu and establishing Fajr prayer in the Mosque,
Dressing in the best available clothes, new if possible. It has been narrated that "The Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) used to wear his best clothes for the Eid prayers and he (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) had clothes that he reserved for the two Eids and Jumu'ah" (Reported by Muslim),
Wearing a sweet-smelling liquid (e.g. Misk). It has been reported that Allah's Messenger (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) used to apply the best perfume he could find for the two Eids.
Eating an odd number of dates or a light sweet snack. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) would not leave his house on the day of Fitr until he ate some dates" (Reported by Al-Bukhari).
Reciting Takbir after Fajr prayer and while going to the Mosque or the place of Salah and until the start of the Eid prayer. This is a sign of glorification and worship to Allah. Men are recommended to say the Takbir loudly; however, women should say it silently. The Code for Takbir is:
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar La illaha illallah, Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa lillahil hamd.”
“Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Allah is greatest. Allah is the Greatest and all praise is to Allah.”
Going out to the place of prayer
The prayer of the two Eids is an obligatory act essentially to be performed by each Muslim. We have been informed that the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) performed it consistently and commanded all Muslims (men, women, children) to go out for it. This is indicated in the Hadeeth narrated by Abu Umair bin Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that some men came riding and testified that they had seen the new moon the previous day. The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) therefore commanded the people to break the fast and go out their place of prayer in the morning". (Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) even specifically commanded all of the women, the virgins and the menstruating to attend instructing the latter to refrain from praying, in order for all of them to witness this good and the Muslims' supplications. He (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) used to take his wives and Daughters to the two Eids. Umm Atiyah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
"We were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two Eids in order to witness the good and the supplications of the Muslims. The menstruating women though would stay away from the prayer area" (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) further commanded the woman who did not own a jilbaab (outer overall garment for women) to borrow her friend's (Reported by Al-Bukhari). We have been informed that after Eid prayer the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) used to go to the women, preaching and reminding them. This is indicated in the Hadeeth narrated by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him):
"I went out with the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) on the day of breaking the fast or of the sacrifice, and he prayed and gave a Khutbah, and then he went to the women and admonished them; reminded them of Allah, and ordered them to give charity". (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
For Eid prayer the following rules must be remembered and taken into consideration:
- Eid prayer can be performed anytime between sunrise and noon. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The time of Eid prayer is after the sun has reached the height of a spear and until noon. It is recommended to delay Eid-ul-Fitr prayer to enable the people to give out their Sadaqah (Zakat-ul-Fitr)” (Reported by Muslim)
- Eid prayer has neither Adhan nor Iqamah. Ibn Abbas and Jabir (may Allah be pleased with them) said:
“Adhan was never given (For Eid prayer) on the day of Fitr nor the day of Adha.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
- It is not advisable to hold Eid prayer in every mosque; rather it is preferable that the people from several mosques get together to either perform it in an open area (known as the musalla) or in a big mosque, which can accommodate a large number of people. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray outdoors in a different location than his daily prayers. Consequently it is preferred to pray outdoors, if possible.
- No Sunnah Salah may precede of follow Eid Prayer. It has been reported by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him).
“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out of his house on the day of Fitr, prayed two Rakat, and did not pray before or after it” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
Eid prayer has two Rakat. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that:
"The travelers’ prayer is two Rakat, the Adha prayer is two Rakat, the Fitr prayer is two Rakat and the Jumu'ah prayer is two Rakat, This is their full length as came upon the tongue of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him). (Reported by Ahmad)
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