Eid Prayer & Recommended Acts

Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim

by Naielah Ackbarali

The Companion Anas (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ migrated to the city of Medina and saw the people celebrating two days of festivities. He ﷺ said, ‘What are these two days?’ The people of Medina replied, ‘They were days of festivities in the pre-Islamic era (jahaliyya).’ Then he ﷺ said, ‘Verily Allah has replaced these two days with (what) is better for you—the day of Adha and the day of Fitr.’” [Abu Dawud]

After much reflection upon the meanings and actions surrounding Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the depth of the Prophet’s ﷺ words befit a striking reality. These two days are not ‘holidays’ in the sense that Muslims take the ‘day off’ from worship, but they serve as yet another opportunity for the believer to excel in devotion and rejoice in praise of the Lord of the Worlds. There is an inspiring message and strong, spiritual motivation behind each of these days as they both mark the remembrance of a major act of worship.

Eid al-Fitr is a time of celebration that follows after a month of refraining from indulging in worldly human desires from dusk to dawn out of pure submission to God. Eid al-Adha comes after the day of Arafa, which is the most significant day of the ritual pilgrimage (hajj). It is a day full of worship, repentance, tears, hope, supplication, and forgiveness. A day every Muslim longs to behold at least once in a lifetime.

The sacrifice of Eid al-Adha also symbolizes the enormous act of obedience performed by Prophet Abraham (Allah bless him) who was prepared to sacrifice his own beloved son for the sake of his Lord. After showing his unwavering conviction in God’s command, God replaced Prophet Abraham’s son with an animal to slay instead. This is the reason why Muslims sacrifice for Eid al-Adha. It is done in an effort to recall the strength of submission that one of the greatest Prophets ever to live exemplified for mankind.

These two holidays are void of the detriments of commercialism and self-absorbed gifts. Instead, they replace the holiday ‘season’ with acts of giving to the poor and spending one’s free time with the entire community. For Eid al-Fitr, there is a mandatory charity given to the poor from those who meet certain requirements, and it remains an overall recommendation for everyone to give in charity beyond their normal habit. For Eid al-Adha, the same recommendation for charity remains in addition to sharing a third of one’s sacrificial meat with the poor and hosting one’s community with another third of the animal. One is encouraged to show one’s happiness to others and thank God for all the blessings He bestowed upon one.

Not to mention, both of these holidays begin the day with an act of worship, which is the required communal prayer, of which the details are outlined below for those servants of God who seek to celebrate the two greatest holidays bestowed upon humanity.

What are the Eid holidays that Muslims celebrate?

The two Eid holidays that Muslims celebrate are:

  • Eid al-Fitr (1st of Shawwal), which follows the month of Ramadan.
  • Eid al-Adha (10th of Dhul Hijjah), which follows the day of Arafa (9th of Dhul Hijjah).

The three days following Eid al-Adha are known as the days of tashriq (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah).

Who must attend the Eid prayer?

The congregational Eid prayer is necessary (wajib) upon adult men who are sane and resident.

If women, children, travelers or sick individuals attend the Eid prayer, they are rewarded for their attendance. The aforementioned point is merely illustrating that it is not incumbent upon them to attend, which means that they are not sinful if they miss the prayer.

How does one perform the Eid prayer as a follower?

Both Eid prayers are only 2 prayer cycles (raka’at). It is necessary (wajib) for both the imam and follower to give the additional takbirat for Eid during the prayer.

To perform the prayer as a follower:

1. One makes the intention in one’s heart to perform the Eid prayer as a follower of the Imam. It is recommended to say the intention with one’s tongue.

2. One gives the opening takbir (Allahu Akbar) with the Imam.

3. One says the opening supplication quietly to oneself.

4. One gives three additional takbirs (Allahu Akbar) with the Imam.

For each additional takbir, one raises the hands like the opening takbir, says the takbir out loud with the Imam, returns the hands to one’s sides, and pauses for a brief moment before proceeding with the other takbirs with the Imam.

For a man, after the third and final takbir, he places his hands together, right on left under the navel. For a woman, she places her hands upon her chest.

5. One listens to the Imam recite the Fatiha and an additional sura.

6. One says the sunna ‘Allahu Akbar’ while moving into the bowing position with the Imam and completes the prayer cycle (raka’) like usual. One does not raise the hands when saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ as one moves into the bowing or prostrating position.

7. In the second prayer cycle (raka’), one listens to the Imam recite the Fatiha and an additional sura upon standing up from prostration.

8. One gives three additional takbirs (Allahu Akbar) with the Imam.

For each additional takbir, one raises the hands like the opening takbir, says the takbir out loud with the Imam, returns the hands to one’s sides, and pauses for a brief moment before proceeding with the other takbirs with the Imam.

After the third and final takbir, one places one’s arms next to one’s sides.

9. One says ‘Allahu Akbar’ while moving into the bowing position with the Imam and completes the prayer cycle (raka’) like usual. One does not raise the hands when saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ as one moves into the bowing or prostrating position.

10. One sits for the tashahud, gives blessings upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and says the two final salams with the Imam.

What if the imam pronounces more than three takbirs?

One simply follows the imam with regards to the number of takbirs. One can follow him up to 16 takbirs. The sunnah practice has been reported in different ways, and the difference between the schools of thought on this is in terms of optimality, not validity.

What if one misses the Eid prayer? Can one perform the Eid prayer alone?

No, the Eid prayer is only performed in a formal congregation.

If one misses the Eid prayer, one does not make it up.

For those who missed the Eid prayer, it is recommended to pray the supererogatory Duha prayer with four raka’at.

If it was incumbent upon one to attend, then one must repent for missing a necessary (wajib) prayer.

Which acts are sunna on the days of Eid?

The following is a list of recommended actions for Eid al-Fitr. Most apply to Eid al-Adha, and any differences will be pointed out below.

It is recommended to:

  • Wake up early, preferably before Fajr or at the entering of Fajr.
  • Pray the Fajr group prayer in the masjid.
  • Eat something sweet after the Fajr prayer before going to the Eid prayer area. (Eid al-Adha: One delays eating until after the Eid al-Adha prayer.)
  • Eat dates if one can find them, and to eat them in amounts of odd numbers.
  • Perform the purificatory bath (ghusl) before the Eid prayer, even for a person who is not attending the prayer.
  • Clean one’s teeth with a siwak or similar object as much as possible.
  • Wear scented perfume. (Women do not wear strong scented perfume outside of their homes.)
  • Wear the best of one’s clothes, which consist of the most beautiful, cleanest or newest garments, even if they are not white.
  • Make one’s happiness and joy apparent, thanking Allah for one’s blessings.
  • Smile and display one’s happiness when meeting others.
  • Give much in non-obligatory charity, more than one’s usual habit.
  • Direct oneself to the Eid prayer area, while saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ quietly to oneself and to stop saying it when the Imam begins the Eid prayer. (Eid al-Adha: One says ‘Allahu Akbar’ out loud when going to the Eid al-Adha prayer.)
  • Go to the Eid prayer area by foot.
  • Pay the sadaqat al-fitr (zakat al-fitr) if it is necessary for one to do so. (Eid al-Adha: There is no sadaqat al-fitr, rather one sacrifices an animal if financially able.)
  • Arrive early at the Eid prayer area so one can pray in the first line.
  • Return from a different direction after performing the Eid prayer.

Can I fast on the days of Eid?

It is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahrimi) to fast on the days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

It is also sinful to fast on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah, which are the days that follow Eid al-Adha.

One is sinful for fasting any of these days and must break the fast.

What are the Takbirat al-Tashriq?

Allah Most High says in the Quran, “Celebrate the praises of God during the Appointed Days…” [Qur’an, 2: 203] The Qur’anic exegetes explain that the phrase ‘appointed days’ is referring to the days of tashriq.

The takbir al-tashriq is an invocation that is said once, out loud, immediately after performing each obligatory (fard) prayer. One starts from the Fajr prayer on the day of Arafat (9th of Dhul Hijjah) up to the Asr prayer five days later (13th of Dhul Hijjah).

This equals 23 prayers: 5 on the 9th-12th, which equal 20, and 3 on the 13th. This includes the Friday congregational prayer if it falls within these days.

The takbirat al-tashriq are not said for the supererogatory (nafl) prayers, the witr prayer, or the janaza prayer. There is no harm in saying it after both Eid prayers.

Who must say the Takbirat al-Tashriq?

The Hanafi School follows the position of Imam Abu Hanifa’s two companions, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad, because their position is more precautionary. May Allah have mercy on all of them.

According to the two companions, chanting the takbirat al-tashriq is necessary (wajib) upon every man and woman who performs the obligatory (fard) prayer in these days, even if they are praying alone.

Menstruating women are exempt from this duty, although they are encouraged to chant the takbirat al-tashriq because it is a form of dhikr.

How does one say the Takbirat al-Tashriq?

One says at least once, out loud, immediately after each obligatory prayer:

‘Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. La ilaha illa Llah. Wa Llahu Akbar. Allah Akbar. Wa liLlahil-Hamd.

‘Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. There is no God save Him. And Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. And to Allah belongs all praise.’

Women should say the takbirat al-tashriq in a soft voice and not loudly.

It is optimal to say the takbirat al-tashriq more than once according to the Imam al-‘Ayni.

It is necessary (wajib) to make the takbir al-tashriq immediately after the final salam of the obligatory (fard) prayer. If one talks purposely or forgetfully, loses one’s wudu, or performs other actions completely foreign to the prayer, one has missed the wajib.

May Allah bless the entire ummah with a joyous Eid, inshaAllah.


References:

  • Imam Ala al-Din Abidin, الهدية العلائية
  • Imam ibn Abidin, رد المحتار على الدر المختار
  • Imam Shurunbalali, مراقي الفلاح

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