THE TWO ‘EIDS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
Praise be to Allâh, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.
DEFINITION OF ‘EID:
The Arabic word "Eid" refers to something habitual, that returns and is repeated, thus stands literally for a recurrent event. It also implies a place often visited by people, and the period oftime in which a particular act is regularly performed. Likewise, each gathering that assembles regularly comes under the category, ‘Eid’. Eids or festivals are symbols to be found in everynation, including those that are based on revealed scriptures and those that are idolatrous, as well as others, because celebrating festivals is something that is an instinctive part of humannature. All people like to have special occasions to celebrate, where they can come together and express their joy and happiness.
THE UNBELIEVERS’ RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS
There are numerous religious festivals and fairs of the unbelievers. Islam prohibits the Muslims to celebrate their festivals and fairs. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam had prohibited his companions from sports and enjoyment on two particular days on which the pre-Islamic Arabs used to hold sports. Likewise, he forbade them to sacrifice their animals at the places where the polytheists used to celebrate their festivals.
The festivals of the kaafir nations may be connected to worldly matters, such as the beginning of the year, the start of an agricultural season, the changing of the weather, the establishment of a state, the accession of a ruler, and so on. They may also be connected to religious occasions, like many of the festivals belonging exclusively to the Jews and Christians, such as the Thursday on which they claim the table was sent down to Jesus, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and holidays on which gifts are exchanged. These are celebrated in allEuropean and North American countries nowadays. And in other countries where Christian influence is prevalent, even if the country is not originally Christian, some so-called Muslimsjoin in these holidays, out of ignorance or hypocrisy. The Magians (Zoroastrians) also have their own festivals, such as Mahrajaan, Nowruz and so on.
Muslims are strictly prohibited from joining these religious festivals of the People of the Book and other unbelievers on two grounds; (1): it represents a resemblance to the unbelievers and (2): these are acts of innovations. All such festivals and fairs which have come into vogue as a result of innovation are to be treated in the same way, whether these resemble the practice of the unbelievers or not.
MUSLIMS’ INNOVATED RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS:
1. Al-Raghaib: it is the first Thursday and the following Friday night of the month of Rajab celebrated by ignorant Muslims. There is no evidence of this ceremony from the GloriousQur’aan and Sunnah of the Prophet (!). According to Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, it was first introduced after the 4 th century A.H A fabricated hadeeth is presented in support of thispractice. See Al-Fawaaid-ul-Majmoo‘ah fil Ahaadeeth-il-Muwdoo‘ah: pp. 67-8, no. 106.
2. Salaat Umm Daadoo: A prayer which is offered in the middle of the month of Rajab. A particular day is set apart and a specific prayer is offered on this day. See Al-Fawaaid-ul-Majmoo‘ah fil Ahaadeeth-il-Muwdoo‘ah: p. 69, no. 107.
3. ‘Eid Khum Ghadeer: The Baatinis have their own festivals too, such as "Eid al-Ghadeer", when they claim that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam gave the khilaafah to ‘Alee (may Allâh be pleased with him) and to the twelve imams after him. It is the name of place where the Prophet had delivered a sermon on 18 th Thul-Hijjah. This report is based on Hadeethnarrated by Zayd ibn Arqam which is collected by Imaam Muslim in Sahih Muslim: vol. 4, p. 1286, no.5920. Shaykh Imaam ibn Taymeeyah said in regards to this hadeeth in his bookIqtidaa as Siratil Mustaqeem: "the misguided people have, however, effected certain interpolations into this report. They even claim that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam had clearly commanded that ‘Alee be appointed the Caliph and had seated him at an elevated place. …". He further said: " We are not concerned here with the issue of Imaamah. Our objection lies in declaring that it is an innovation to regard this particular day as a special day." See for further details, ‘Mukhtasar Iqtidaa As-Siraatil Mustaqeem: English Translation: the right way: pp.45-58.
These festivals and fairs of the people of the book or unbelievers or similar festivals introduced by Muslims are all innovations and every Muslim should avoid them to protect his faith. All kaafir or innovated festivals are haraam, such as Independence Day celebrations, anniversaries of revolutions, holidays celebrating trees or accessions to the throne, birthdays, Labour Day, the Nile festival, Shimm al-Naseem (Egyptian spring holiday), teachers’ day, and al-Mawlood al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Birthday).
Every Muslim must consider the following saying of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam very seriously, Jaabir reported that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to deliver his sermon with this opening:
"The best word is the Book of Allâh and the best way is that of Muhammad ( !). The worst deed is innovation and each innovation is a deviation from Islaam." [Sahih Muslim: (vol. 2, p. 410, no. 1885).]There is an additional remark in Sunan An-Nasaaee:
"Every deviation from Islaam leads to Hell-fire". [Sunan Nasa’i: English Translation: (vol. 2, pp. 343-4, no. 1581.)]‘Aayshah reported that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever does an act which is not in agreement with our faith, such an act is rejected." [Sahih Al-Bukhari: (vol. 3, no. 861.).]
There is another report by her with different wordings:
"Whoever invents something in our faith which does not originally exist, has nothing to do with us." [ Sahih Muslim: (vol. 3, p. 931, nos. 4266-7).]
‘Irbaad ibn Saariyah reported that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever survives me would observe many differences. However, you should follow my sunnah and that of my rightly guided caliphs. Adhere to it firmly. Beware! Avoid innovation, for each innovation is a deviation from Islaam." [Sunan Abu Dawud: (vol. 3, p. 1294, no. 4590).]
Muslims must celebrate only three ‘Eids:
(3): Friday is the day of ‘Eid for Muslims
These three Eids are exclusively for the Muslims, and that it is not permissible for Muslims to imitate the kuffaar and mushrikeen in anything that is a distinctive part of their celebrations, whether it be food, dress, bonfires or acts of worship.
THE DECREES OF AL-‘EID:
There are three opinions among the scholars:
(1): Some say it is waajib (obligatory);The evidence of those who say it is waajib:
(2): Some say it is Fardul Kifaayah (if some offered the prayer then it is enough and it is not obligatory upon all); and
(3): Some say it is Sunnatul Muakkadah (recommended)
Some of the scholars say that ‘Eid prayers are waajib (obligatory) – this is the view of the Hanafee scholars and of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah (may Allâh have mercy on him). They say that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam always prayed the ‘Eid prayer and never omitted to do it, not even once. They take as evidence the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),"Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)" [al-Kawthar 108:2], i.e., the ‘Eid prayer and the sacrifice after it, which is an instruction, and the fact that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam ordered that the women should be brought out to attend the ‘Eid prayers, and that a woman who did not have a jilbaab should borrow one from her sister. [See Tamaamul Minnah: by Al-Albaanee: p.344. Refer to Al-Mughnaee by Imaam ibn Qudaamah: vol. 2, p. 223.]
The evidence of those who say it is Fardul Kifaayah: Some scholars say that Eid prayer is Fardul Kifaayah. This is the view of the Hanbalees. Refer to Al-Mughnaee by Imaam ibnQudaamah: vol. 2, p. 223.
The evidence of these who it is sunnatul Muakkadah: A third group say that ‘Eid prayer is sunnah mu’akkadah. This is the view of the Maalikis and Shaafa’is. They take as evidence the hadeeth of the Bedouin which says that Allâh has not imposed any prayers on His slaves other than the five daily prayers. Refer to Al-Mughnaee by Imaam ibn Qudaamah: vol. 2, p. 223.
SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSLIMS’ ‘EIDS:
So the Muslim should be keen to attend ‘Eid prayers, especially since the opinion that it is waajib is based on strong evidence. The goodness, blessings and great reward one gets fromattending ‘Eid prayers, and the fact that one is following the example of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam by doing so, should be sufficient motivation.
‘Aayshah reported that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:
"For every people there is a feast and this is our feast." [Sahih Al-Bukhari: (vol. 5, no. 268).]
"Our feast" has a great meaning to Muslims because it tells us that our feasts are our own and derived from our Sharee‘ah alone. Holidays are usually based on religious traditions. It isvery important that we demonstrate our celebrations with great joy and gathering, and observe them in such a way that distinguishes us from the Mushrikeen. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam has ordered us in numerous speeches to defy the Mushrikeen, and these ‘Eids are among what the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam wanted us to take special care of. That is why he has said, after seeing that the people of Madeenah had two holidays which they celebrated from before Islaam, which is reported by Anas ibn Maalik that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said,
"Allâh has given you better than those feasts: the ‘Eid-ul-Adh-haa (Feast of Sacrificing), and ‘Eid-ul-Fitr (feast of Breaking the fast)." [Sunan An-Nasaaee: English translation: (vol. 2, p.333, no. 1559), Sunan Abu Dauwud: English translation: (vol. 1, p.293, no. 1130). It is authenticated by Shaykh Al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Aboo Daawood: vol. 1, p. 210, no.1004.]
Due to these clear facts, Muslim scholars put great emphasis on the concept of being different from the Mushrikeen in our ceremonies. This is because ceremonies have great effects over the human mind and behavior. Being different in our ceremonies means too that we must not participate in the Mushrikeen’s ceremonies on their holidays. It is mentioned in Sunan Al-Bayhaqee the statement of ‘Umar that, he said, "Do not learn the language of the Mushrikeen without a necessity nor enter the churches of Mushrikeen on their festivals because the anger of Allâh dissends on them then". Muslims should not celebrate their festivals instead they should oppose them. Muslims can fast on the Mushrikeen’s holidays.
Umm Salamah said the Prophet used to fast on Saturdays and Sundays, and when asked he said: "They are two days of Mushrikeen’s holidays so I like to oppose them in theirceremonies." [Musnad Imaam Ahmad.]
The above hadeeth is inauthentic in the view of some scholars of hadeeth like Al-Albaanee in Irwaaul Ghaleel: vol. 4, p. 125 and authentic in the view of Imaam Al-Haakim and ImaamAth-Thahabee. Fasting on Friday or Saturday is haraam (prohibited) in Islaam when a man chooses these days as particular days for fasting and does not fast the day before or afterbecause it is in the hadeeth narrated by Imaam At-Tirmithee which is authenticated by Al-Albaanee in Irwaaul-Ghaleel: vol. 4, p.118, no. 960. by prohibition of fasting on Saturday it is meant to oppose the Jews who keep fast on Saturday. But if someone wants to fast Saturday then he must fast Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday, two days together. Only that person is allowed to fast who has missed his fast of Ramadaan so that he can fast that day. Also the one who has vowed to fast then he can fast or fast as an atonement, and for expiation on Saturday.
THE PURPOSE BEHIND THE ‘EID PRAYER:
Islaam exhorts its followers to make social life a visible expression of God-consciousness. Prayer is the most effective means of fostering this virtue in man. This is the reason why it has been made essential for Muslims to observe obligatory prayers in congregation. It starts with five daily prayers then Jumu‘ah is a step forward in this respect, then comes ‘Eids prayers and then once a year the Hajj. The purpose behind it is to provide opportunities to a greater number of Muslims to attend larger congregations in an atmosphere of religious piety. Apart from prayer, the sermon has also been made an integral part of this gathering and the prayer.
FOR WHOM THE PERFORMANCE OF SALAATUL ‘EID IS VALID:
The ‘Eid prayer is valid for men, women, children, travellers, residents, people in congregation, and people praying individually. It is also valid if performed in a house, mosque, or a distant place designated for the salah, and so on.
ETIQUETTE OF A MUSLIM ON THE DAY OF ‘EID-UL-ADH-HAA:
To assess the concept of being different from the Mushrikeen, it is very important to say that: in order to be different in our ceremonies in the way the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam wanted us to be, we must follow the Sunnah literally. That would give us the deeds of bieng true followers of he Prophet (!). So if we want to be his sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam followers we must be aware of Bid‘ah. Bid‘ah comes at the expense of Sunnah which is replaced by it. Ibn Taymiyah said inhis book Al-Iqtidaa: "There is no place in the heart for both Sunnah and Bid‘ah".
Allâh says: "Say-O Muhammad-if you love Allâh follow me, Allâh will love you." [Aali ‘Emraan: 31.]
A Muslim is required to follow the teachings of the Messenger of Allâh sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam before going to the ‘Eid prayer. It is of great important to follow the Sunnah of ‘Eid so we can truly say that our feasts are different from the Mushrikeen’s feasts.
SUNAN AL-’EID FOR ALL THOSE WHO ATTEND THE ‘EIDS PRAYER
1: The Muslim is required to make ghusl or ablution on this day. It can be done at any time but to serve the purpose it is recommended to do it before going out for the prayer. The ‘Eid prayer is held in congregation and it is held in a huge gathering more than the Jumu‘ah prayer, therefore, as the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam asked Muslims to make ghusl for Friday prayer, it should also be considered for ‘Eid prayer to serve the purpose. The purpose and the goal is to be clean for prayer and avoid harming the people with odor, etc. The Muslim is required to make ghusl or ablution on this day. It can be done any time but to serve the purpose it is recommended to do it before going out for the prayer. This is recommended because, the person will feel fresh throughout the day, he will have full concentration in his prayer and to what is being mentioned in the khutbah after the prayer and most importantly, he will not harm others with the bad smell.
Imaam Al-Baghawee said in ‘Sharhus Sunnah’: vol.4, pp.301-302, that, "And the sunnah is to take a bath on the day of ‘Eid. It is reported that ‘Alee used to take bath on the day of ‘Eid, and similarly it is reported that Ibn ‘Umar and Salamah ibn Al-Akwa‘ used to do so"
The report of ‘Alee is found in Imaam Shaafa‘ee’s book: Musnad Ash-Shaafi‘ee: vol.1, p.168, but this report in inauthentic due to Ibraaheem ibn Muhammad, who is week in the opinion of the Scholars of Hadeeth. The other report of Ibn ‘Umar is found in the book of Imaam Maalik: Muatta’ Imaam Maalik: (Arabic) vol: 1, p.177 and (English Translation): p.84, chapter: 104, hadeeth: 421. Refer to Zaadul Ma’aad: vol. 1, pp. 441-2.
2: Eating on the two ‘Eids: It is a sunnah to eat dates before leaving for ‘Eid-ul-Fitr. It is preferable not to eat anything on the day of ‘Eid-ul-Adh-haa until performing the ‘Eid prayer in the morning; then one should return home, slaughter an animal, and prepare the meal and eat from it. For ‘Eidul Fitr, it is a sunnah to eat an odd number of dates before going to pray salaatul ‘Eid while for ‘Eidul adh-haa the eating should be delayed until one returns from the ‘Eid prayer and then he may eat of his sacrifice if he has sacrificed an animal.
"The Prophet would not go out on the festival of breaking the fast until he had eaten an odd number of dates." [This is related by Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 2, no.73.]
Buraidah reports: "The Prophet would not go out on the day of breaking the fast (‘Eidul Fitr) until he had eaten and on the day of sacrifice (‘Eidul adh-haa) he would not eat until he had returned [from salah]." This is related by at-Tirmithee and Ibn Majah, and also by Sunan Ad-Daaramee who added: "And he would eat from his sacrifice." [ Sharhus Sunnah: vol. 4, p. 306, footnote: 1.]
3: It is highly recommended that he should wear his best clothes on this day. Ja'far ibn-Muhammad relates from his father on the authority of his grandfather who reported that the Prophet would wear a Yemeni cloak on every ‘Eid. This is related by ash-Shaafi‘ee and al-Baghawee. Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "The Prophet used to wear his most beautiful clothes for them and he had a special cloak that he would wear on the two ‘Eids and Jumu'ah." [Reference can be checked in Sharhus Sunnah: vol. 4, p. 302, footnote. 2. See Zaadul Mi ‘a ad: vol. 1, p.441.]
4: He is required to use hair oil.
5: He is required to apply perfume if he has his own, otherwise, he may use his wife’s perfume. Al-Hassan as-Sibt says: "The Messenger of Allâh ordered us to wear the best clothes we could find for the two ‘Eids and to apply the best perfume we could find and to sacrifice the best animal we could find." This is related by al-Haakim and in its chain is Ishaaq ibn Barzakh whom al-'Azdi declares to be weak while Ibn Hibban says he is trustworthy.
6: He should use the tooth-brush (miswaak) before going to the ‘Eid prayer.
7: He must remove all offensive smells, which might harm others. It is prohibited for him to attend the ‘Eid prayer, if he smells onion or garlic.
GOING OUT TO THE MUSALLAA (place for prayer)
Salaatul ‘Eid can be performed in the mosque but it is preferred to perform it in a place outside the city as long as there is no excuse or reason to do otherwise (e.g., rain, etc.). As theProphet would pray the two ‘Eids in the outskirts of al-Medeenah and he never prayed it in his mosque, except it is reported through a week narration that once he prayed in the mosquebecause it was raining.
1:Takbeeraat during the days of ‘Eid
It is a sunnah to pronounce the takbeeraat on ‘Eid days. Concerning the ‘Eid of breaking the fast, Allâh says: "you should complete the prescribed period and that you should glorify Allâh [i.e., say takbeeraat] for having guided you and that you may give thanks." Al-Baqarah: 2: 185.
Concerning the ‘Eid of the sacrifice, Allâh says: "that you may remember Allâh during the well known days;" Al-Hajj: 22:
The majority of the scholars say that the time for the takbeeraat during the ‘Eid of breaking the fast is from the time one goes to the ‘Eid prayer until the khutbah begins. Weak hadith have been recorded stating this, but there are also authentic reports from Ibn 'Umar and other companions that they did so.
Al-Haakim says: "This sunnah has been practiced by ahl-il hadeeth. Maalik, Ahmad, Ishaaq, and Abu Thaur [have made statements concurring that practice] ."
Some say that the takbeeraat are from the night before the ‘Eid, when the moon is seen, until the person goes to the musallaa and the imaam arrives. The time for the takbeeraat during the‘Eid of the sacrifice is from the day of 'Arafah until the time of the 'asr on the thirteenth of Thul-Hijjah. [See Sharhussunnah: vol. 4, pp. 300-1. See Zaadul Mi ‘aad: vol. 1, p. 449.]
Imaam Al-Bukhaaree says in Sahih Al-Bukahri: vol. 2, p. 45, chapter. 11. "Superiority of doing good deeds of the days of Tashreeq (11 th , 12 th , 13 th , of Thul-Hijjah ). Ibn ‘Abbaas recited the Holy verses; "Remember Allâh during the known days-i.e. the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah, and also the counted days i.e. the days of Tashreeq." Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out to the market saying Takbir during the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah and the people would say Takbir after their Takbir s. Muhammad bin ‘Ali used to say Takbir after Nawaafil.
Ibn Hajar writes in Fath al-Baaree: "None of that has been confirmed from the Prophet. The most authentic report from the companions is that ‘Alee and Ibn Mas‘ood would make thetakbeeraat from the day of 'Arafah to the 'asr of the last day of Mina. Ibn al-Munthir and others reported it. AshShafa‘ee, Ahmad, Aboo Yoosuf, and Muhammad follow that report and it is also the view of 'Umar and Ibn 'Abbaas."
There is no specific time for the takbeeraat during the days of tashriq (three days after ‘Eidul adha). In fact, it is preferred to pronounce takbeeraat during every moment of those days. Al-Bukhari recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 46, chapter. 12. "During 'Umar's stay at Mina, he would say takbeeraat in his tent [so loud] that the people in the mosque would hear it and then they would start doing it. Also the people in the market place would do the same and all of Mina would resound with the takbeeraat. Ibn 'Umar used to say the takbeeraat, during those days of Mina, after the prayers and while on his bed, in his tent, while sitting and while walking during all of those days. Maymoonah would say the takbeeraat on the day of sacrifice. The women used to say takbeeraat behind Abbaan ibn 'Uthmaan and 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz along with the men in the mosque during the days of tashreeq."
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: "These reports show that the takbeeraat are made during all the times of these days, after salaah and all other times. Some say the takbeeraat are made only after the salaah. Some say they are to be made only after the fard prayers and not after nawaafil. Some declare them to be for men .and not for women, while some say that they are only to be said in congregations and not individually. Some reserve them only for those who perform the salaah on time and not for those who are making up a missed prayer. Some say only for residents and not travellers, whereas others think they are only for the people of the city and not for the people of the countryside. Apparently al-Bukhari is of the opinion that it is for all people and the reports that he has transmitted support his opinion."
Narrated by Muhammad bin Abee Bakr Al Thaqafee : "While we were going from Mina to 'Arafat, I asked Anas bin Malik, about Talbiya, "How did you use to say Talbiya in the company of the Prophet?" Anas said: "People used to say Talbiya and their saying was not objected to and they used to say Takbeer and that was not objected to either. " Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol. 2,p. 46, no. 87
Women can also pronounce the takbeer:
Narrated by Umm ‘Ateeyah: "We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of ‘Eid and even bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say Takbeer along with them and invoke Allâh along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins." Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p.47, no.88.
HOW ONE CAN SAY TAKBEERAAT?
These takbeeraat can be made in many different forms. The most authentic form is that which has been recorded with a sahih chain by 'Abdurrazzaaq from Salmaan, who said: "They made takbeeraat with: 'Allâhu akbar, Allâhu akbar, Allâhu akbar kabeera."' From 'Umar and ibn Mas'ood the following is related: "Allâhu akbar. Allâhu akbar. La ilaha ill Allâh. Allâhu akbar. Allâhu akbar wa lillahil-hamd."
Translation: Allâh is the greatest, Allâh is the greatest. There is no God but Allâh. Allâh is the greatest, Allâh is the greatest. All praise belongs to Allâh. [See Sharhussunnah: vol. 4, pp. 301. See Zaadul Ma’aad: vol. 1, p. 449.]
2: Women and children going out to attend ‘Eid prayer
Shari'ah requires women and children to go out and attend the salaatul ‘Eidayn. This includes married, single, young, old, or menstruating women. Umm 'Ateeyah reports: "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 would be separate from the others." [This is related by Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 48, no. 91.]
The above hadeeth clears it that the menstruating women will not prayer and will keep away from the Musallaa, Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 52, no. 97.
Ibn 'Abbas further reports: "I went out with the Prophet 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 andadmonished them, reminded them of Allâh, and ordered them to give charity." [This is related by Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 48, no. 92.]
3: Taking different routes to and from musallaa
Most of the people of knowledge are of the opinion that it is preferred for a person to go to the salaah by one route and then to return home through another route, regardless of whether he be the imaam or a member of the congregation. Jabir reports: "On the days of ‘Eid, the Prophet would take different routes." [This is related by Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 54, no. 102.]
Abu Hurairah says: "When the Prophet went to salaatul ‘Eid, he would return through a different route." [This is related by at-Tirmithee:Saheeh Sunan At-Titmthee: vol. 1, p. 168, no. 446] .
4: The time of ‘Eid prayers
The time for salaatul ‘Eid begins from the time the sun is three meters above the horizon until the sun reaches its meridian. The majority of scholars say that the time for the Eid prayerstarts when the sun has risen above the height of a spear, as seen by the naked eye, and continues until the sun is approaching its zenith. It is better to offer the ‘Eid prayer in the forenoon in the early hours after the sunrise. The reason is that the people have to slaughter the sacrificial animals on theday of saacrifice. Hence, the prayer on this occasion should be offered earlier than the prayer offered on the day of breaking the fast.
Yazeed ibn Khumayr Rahbee said: ‘Abd Allâh ibn Busr, the companion of the Prophet came out along with the people on the day of the breaking of the fast or on the day of sacrifice (tooffer the prayer). He disliked the delay of the Imaam, and said: We would finish our ‘Eid prayer at this moment, that is, at the time of forenoon. [Sunan Abu Dawud: (Eng): vol. 1, p. 293, no. 1131 and it is authenticated by Al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Aboo Daawood: vol. 1, pp. 210-1, no. 1005. Imaam al-Bukhari has mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 44, chapter. 10.
Ibn Qudamah says: "It is a sunnah to pray salaatul adha early in order to allow more time for the people to perform the sacrifice, and the salaatul Fitr is to be delayed in order to givepeople time to pay zakat al-Fitr. I know of no difference of opinion on this point." [Refer to Al-Mughnaee by Imaam ibn Qudaamah: vol. 2, p. 224.]
5: The athaan and iqaamah for salaatul ‘Eidayn
Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "When the Messenger of Allâh went to the musallaa (place of prayer), he would perform the salaah without any athaan or iqaamah and without saying 'as-salaatujaami'ah' (prayer in congregation). The sunnah is not to do any of that." [Zaadul Ma‘aad: vol. 1, p. 442.].
Ibn 'Abbaas and Jaabir both report that there was no athaan on the day of the breaking of the fast or on the day of sacrifice. This is related by al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 41, no. 78. and Muslim: vol. 2, p. 417, no. 1927 .
DESCRIPTION OF THE ‘EID PRAYER
Every Muslim must pray ‘Eid prayer as the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam has prayed. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam has said: "Pray as you see me praying". [Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol. 1, p. 345, no. 604.].
1: Sunnah before or after the ‘Eid prayer:
It is not established that there is any sunnah prayer before or after the ‘Eid prayer. The Prophet never performed any such prayer, neither did his companions upon arrival at the musalla (prayer place).
It was the practice of the Muslims at the time Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam that they would not pray any sunnah or nafl prayers before or after the ‘Eid prayer. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam never prayed any sunnah or nafl before or after the ‘Eid prayer.
‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: " the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam offered a two Rak‘aat prayer on the day of ‘Eidul Fitr and he did not pray before or after it." [Refer to Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol. 2, p. 43, no. 81].
2: The takbeer during salaatul ‘Eidayn:
The ‘Eid prayer consists of two rak'at during which it is sunnah to pronounce the takbeer seven times, after the opening takbir and before the Qur'anic recital in the first rak'ah. ‘Umar (may Allâh be pleased with him) said: "The prayer of ‘Eid and al-Adh-haa is two complete rak’ahs, not shortened. This is according to the words of your Prophet (!), and the liar is doomed."[Refer to Irwaaul Ghaleel by Al-Albaanee: vol. 3, pp.105-6, no. 638.]
During the second rak'ah, one makes takbir five times after the takbeer which is customarily made for standing after the prostration. The difference between ‘Eid prayer and the Friday isthat, in ‘Eid prayer the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam made twelve additional takbeer, whereas it is not the same for Friday prayer. The Takbeer is repeated seven times in the first rak’ah and five times in the second.
The Qur’aan is to be recited after completing the seven takbeer in the first raka‘ah, after the five takbeer in the second raka‘ah. ‘Aishah said: the Prophetsallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam would say the takbeer seven times in the first raka‘ah and five times in the second raka‘ah on the day of the breaking of the fast and on the day of sacrifice on theoccasion of both the ‘Eid prayers, the two festivals. [Sunan Abu Dawud: (Eng.): vol. 1, pp. 296-7, no. 1145. Refer to the Saheeh Sunan Aboo Daawood: vol. 1, p. 213, no. 1018.]
In another version She said: "Except the two takbeers pronounced at the time of bowing." [Sunan Abu Dawud: (Eng.): vol. 1, p. 297, no. 1146. Refer to the Saheeh Sunan Aboo Daawood: vol. 1, p. 213, no. 1019.]
'Amr ibn Shu'aib reports from his father on the authority of his grandfather that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said : "There are seven takbeers in the first raka‘ah and five in the second raka‘ah of the prayer offered on the day of the breaking of the fast and then recitation of the Qur’aan after the additional takbeers". [Sunan Abu Dawud: (Eng.): vol. 1, p. 297, no. 1147. Refer to the Saheeh Sunan Aboo Daawood: vol. 1, p. 213, no. 1020.]
NOTE: It is not the sunnaah of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam to raise the hands while saying additional takbeers and nothing besides takbeer should be uttered. [See Tamaamul Minnah: by Al-Albaanee: pp. 348-9.]
Ash-Shaukani states that the strongest opinion is that if one does not perform the takbeeraat out of forgetfulness, he is not to perform the prostrations of forgetfulness. [Naylul Awtaar: byImaam Ash-Shaukaanee: vol.3, p. 300.]
3:Recitation of Qur’aan in ‘Eid prayers:
It is not restricted that one has to read particular soorah in the ‘Eid prayers. It is recommended (mustahabb) that in the ‘Eid prayers the imaam should recite Sooratu Qaaf [soorah 50] and Sooratul Qamar[al-Qamar, soorah 54], as it is reported that: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab asked Aboo Waaqid al-Laythee, "What did the Messenger of Allâh sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used torecite at [Eid] al-Adhaa and al-Fitr?" He said, "He used to recite Qaaf. Wa’l-Qur’aan al-majeed [Qaaf 50:1] and Aqtarabat al-saa’ah wa anshaqq al-qamar [al-Qamar 54:1]. [Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, p. 419, no.1936]
Most of the reports indicate that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to recite Soorat al-A’laa  and Soorat al-Ghaashiyah , as he used to recite them in the Friday prayer. Al-Nu’maan ibn Bishr said: "The Messenger of Allâh (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) used to recite on the two Eids and on Fridays, Sabbih isma rabbika’l-a’laa [al-A’laa 87:1] and Hal ataaka hadeeth al-ghaashiyah [al-Ghaashiyah 88:1]." [Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, p. 414, no.1907]
4: The khutbah of salaatul ‘Eid:
The khutbah after salaatul ‘Eid is a sunnah and so is listening to it. It is not compulsory as with the case of Friday prayer. It is permissible to go back home without attending the sermon of the ‘Eid. The sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam is to deliver the khutbah after the salaatul ‘Eid. [Al-Mughnee: vol. 2, p. 246.]
Abu Sa‘eed says: "On the ‘Eid of breaking the fast and of the sacrifice, the Prophet would go to the musalla (prayer place) and begin with the salah and when he finished, he would face thepeople while the people were sitting in rows, and he would admonish them, advise them, and exhort them [to do good deeds]. And if he wished to send off an army or order something, he would do so and then leave." [This is related by Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 2, pp. 40-1, no. 76 and Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, p. 418, no.1931].
'Abdullah ibn as-Sa'ib said: "I prayed the ‘Eid salaah with the Messenger of Allâh sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam and when he finished the salaah he said: 'We will be delivering a khutbah. Whoever wishes to stay for the khutbah may stay. Whoever would like to leave, may leave.' " [This is related by Abu Dawud: (Eng.) vol. 1, p. 298, no. 1151, Saheeh Sunan Aboo Daawood: vol. 1, p. 214, no. 1024.]
Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "The Prophet would begin all of his khutbahs with the praise of Allâh and there is no hadeeth from him that states that he began his ‘Eid khutbahs with takbeer. IbnMajah recorded in his Sunan from Sa‘eed, the mu’ath-thin of the Prophet (!), that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam would say the takeeir during his khutbahs and even more so during the ‘Eid khutbahs. Still, this does not prove that he began his khutbah with it! The people differ over the beginning of the ‘Eid and the khutbah for salaatul istisqaa' (prayer for rain). Some say that they are to begin with takbeer. Some say that the khutbah for salaatul istisqaa' begins with praying for forgiveness while others say it begins with praises of Allâh." Shaikh al-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah says: "That is correct as the Prophet said: 'Every affair that does not begin with the praise of Allâh is deficient.' The Prophet began all of his speeches with praises of Allâh. Concerning the statement of many jurists, i.e.. he began the 'prayer for rain' by asking forgiveness from Allâh and the id speech with takbir, there is absolutely no proof for it in the Prophet's sunnah. In fact the sunnah contradicts that statement as he began all of his speeches with the praises of Allâh." [Zaadul Ma‘aad: vol. 1, pp. 447-8]
5: Congratulating one another on the days of ‘Eid
People may exchange congratulations and good greetings on Eid, no matter what form the words take. For example they may say to one another, "Taqabbal Allâhu minnaa wa minkum (May Allâh accept [the fast and worship] from us and from you" or "Eid mubarak" and other similar permissible greetings. [Al-Mughnee: by ibn Qudaamah: vol. 2, p. 259]
Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: "At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him), when people met one another on the day of Eid, they would say, ‘Taqabbal Allâhu minnaa wa minka (May Allâh accept from us and from you).’" (Ibn Hajar. Its isnaad is hasan. Fathul Baaree: vol.2, p. 446).
The practice of exchanging greetings was well-known at the time of the Sahaabah and scholars such as Imaam Ahmad and others allowed it. There are reports which indicate that it is permissible to congratulate people on special occasions. The Sahaabah used to congratulate one another when something good happened, such as when Allâh accepted a person’srepentance and so on. There is no doubt that congratulating others in this way is one of the noblest kinds of good manners and one of the highest social qualities among Muslims.
At the very least, one can return Eid greetings when they are given to you, and remain silent if nothing is said, as Imaam Ahmad (may Allâh have mercy on him) said: "If someonecongratulates me, I return the greeting, but I do not initiate it."
6: Whoever misses salaatul ‘Eid with the congregation may pray two rak'at
In Sahih al-Bukhari we find in the chapter entitled: "Whoever missed the ‘Eid prayer should pray two Raka‘ah, and similarly the women and those who are at home and in the villagesshould do so, as is confirmed by the statement of the Prophet (!): "O Muslims, this our ‘Eid". Anas ibn Maalik at Az-Zaawiyah ordered his slave ibn Abee Ghaneeyah to collect his (Anas’s) family and off-spring. Anas led prayer similar to that offered by townspeople and recited takbeer similar to theirs. ‘Ekrimah said: "The villagers should gather on the day of ‘Eid and offer two raka‘ah as the Imaam does." ‘Ataa said, "Whoever misses the ‘Eid prayer should pray two raka‘ah." [Sahih Al-Buukhari: vol. 2, p. 55, chapter. 25].
7. Making up a missed ‘Eid prayer on the next day:
Abu 'Umair ibn Anas reports: "My Ansari uncles from among the companions of the Messenger of Allâh sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said to me: 'The moon for the month of Shawwal was hidden from us and, therefore, our companions fasted. Then at the end of the day, riders came and they bore witness to the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam that they had seen the moon the previous night. The Prophet ordered the people to break their fasts and to go out to the site of the salaatul ‘Eid on the next day.'" [This is related by An-Nasaaee: (Eng): vol. 2, pp. 333-4, no. 1560, Saheeh Sunan An-Nasaaee: vol. 1, p. 341, no. 1466.]
In this hadeeth there lies evidence for those who say that if the people miss salaatul ‘Eid due to some excuse, then they may go out and pray it the next day.
8. Playing, amusements, singing, and eating on the days of ‘Eid
Recreation, amusements, and singing, if they stay within the moral bounds, are permissible on the days of ‘Eid. Anas reports: "When the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam came to Medeenah they had two days of sports and amusement. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Allâh, the Exalted, has exchanged these days for two days better than them: the day of breaking the fast and the day of sacrifice." " [This is related by An-Nasaaee: (Eng.): vol.2, p. 333, no. 1559 Saheeh Sunan An-Nasaaee: vol. 1, p. 341, no. 1465.]
'Aishah says: "The Abyssinians were preforming in the mosque on the day of ‘Eid. I looked over the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam shoulders and he lowered them a little so I could see them until I was satisfied and left." This is related by Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol.1, p. 265, no. 445. Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, p. 421, no. 1943].
Sahih al-Bukhari, and Sahih Muslim also record that she said: "Aboo Bakr entered upon us on the day of ‘Eid and there were some slave girls who were recounting [in song the battle of]Bu'ath in which many of the brave of the tribes of Aus and Khazraj were killed. Aboo Bakr said: 'Slaves of Allâh, you play the pipes of the Satan!' He said it three times. The Prophetsallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said to him: 'O Aboo Bakr, every people have a festival and this is our festival.' " Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol.2, p. 38, no. 72. Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, pp. 419-20, no. 1938].
In al-Bukhari's version, 'Aishah said: "The Messenger of Allâh (!), entered the house and I had two girls who were singing about the battle of Bu'ath. The Prophet lied down on the bed and turned his face to the other direction. Aboo Bakr entered and spoke harshly to me, 'Musical instruments of the Satan in the presence of the Messenger of Allâh (!)!' The Messenger of Allâh sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam turned his face to him and said: 'Leave them.' When Aboo Bakr became inattentive I signaled to the girls to leave. It was the day of ‘Eid and the Africans were performing with their shields and spears. Either I asked him or the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam asked if I would like to watch them [I don't recall now]. I replied in the affirmative. At this the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam made me stand behind him and my cheek was against his. He was saying: 'Carry on, O tribe of Arfadah,' until I tired. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam asked: 'Is that enough for you?' I replied: "yes," so he said: 'Leave [then].' " [Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol.2, p. 37, no. 70 . Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, pp. 420-1, no. 1942].
Ibn Hajar writes in Fath al-Baaree, "Ibn as-Siraj related from Abu az-Zinad on the authority of 'Urwah from 'Aishah that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said that day: 'Let the Jews of Madeenah know that our religion is spacious [and has room for relaxation] and I have been sent with an easy and straight forward religion.' "
Muslim record from Nubaishah that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "The days of tashreeq (i.e., the days in which the ‘Eid is celebrated) are days of eating and drinking [non alcoholic drinks] and of remembering Allâh, the Exalted." [Sahih Muslim: vol. 2, p. 554, no. 2539].
9. The excellence of good deeds in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days [meaning the ten days of Thul-Hijjah]."The companions asked: "O Messenger of Allâh (!), not even jihaad in the way of Allâh?" He said: "Not even jihad, save for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger [for Allâh's sake] and returns with neither of them." [Sahih Al-Bukhari: vol.2, pp.45-6 , no. 86]
Ahmad and At-Tabaraanee record from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allâh sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "There is no day more honorable in Allâh's sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allâh than those in these ten days. So say tahleel ["There is no God but Allâh"], takbeer [Allâh is the greatest] and tahmid ["All praise is due to Allâh"] a lot [on those days]." [Irwaaul Ghaleel: vol. 3, pp. 398-9.]
10. Warning against wrongdoing:
1. Some people think that Islaam tells us to stay up and pray on the night of ‘Eid, quoting an unsound hadeeth which says that "whoever stays up and prays on the night of ‘Eid, his heartwill not die on the day when hearts die." This hadeeth was reported with two isnaads, one of which is da’eef (weak), and the other is very da’eef. [See Al-Fawaaidul Majmoo‘ah: by Imaam Ash-Shaukaanee: p. 71.]
Islaam does not tell us to single out the night of ‘Eid for staying up and praying; if, however, a person habitually stays up and prays at night (qiyaam), there is nothing wrong with himdoing so on the night of ‘Eid as well.
2. Mixing of men and women in some prayer-places, streets, etc. It is a pity that this happens not only in mosques but even in the most sacred of places, al-Masjid al-Haraam [in Makkah].Many women – may Allâh guide them – go out uncovered ,wearing make-up and perfume, flaunting their adornment, when there is such serious overcrowding in the mosques – thedangers of this situation are quite obvious. So those who are in charge must organize the ‘Eid prayers properly, by allocating separate doors and routes for women and delaying the men’sdeparture until the women have left.
3. Some people get together on ‘Eid for the purpose of singing and other forms of idle entertainment, and this is not permitted.
4. Some people celebrate on ‘Eid because Ramadaan is over and they no longer have to fast. This is a mistake, the believers celebrate at ‘Eid because Allâh has helped them to complete the month of fasting, not because the fasting ,which some people regard as a heavy burden, is over.