The Eid prayer
Muslims celebrate two Eids a year. They start their Eid by performing a prayer that is one of the most favourite acts to them and they consist of two rakaa and a speech that reminds them of the Islamic ethics.
Muslims have two Eids a year. The Eid is an occasion of pleasure and happiness, and each of the two Eids has a religious significance. The first, Eid al-Fitr, occurs when Muslims have finished fasting the month of Ramadan, while the second, Eid al-Adha, signals the end of the first 10 days of the lunar month, Dhul-Hijjah.
The Eid prayer is a collective duty, which means that when some Muslims offer it, the rest are not accountable for their omission. If no one offers it, then all share in the sin. This is because it is one of the clearest manifestations of the Islamic identity of the community. Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) always did it, as did his Companions after he had passed away. The Prophet (peace be upon him) even ordered that women who were in their periods, and were as a result exempt from prayer, attend it, but were not to take part in the prayer itself. They attend to share in its blessings and in the joy of the community, which clearly indicates its importance. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered women who were exempt from prayer to attend, then its attendance is more strongly incumbent on men. In fact some scholars consider it mandatory duty on all men.
Many scholars, however, are of the view that it is a confirmed Sunnah, i.e. highly recommended, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) offered it regularly and ordered men and women to attend it.
The most important conditions are that it should be offered in time, the presence of the required number of people and residence. This means that it is invalid if offered before it falls due, or if attended by less than three people. Moreover, it is not required of a person who is travelling.
It is recommended to offer the Eid prayer in an open space away from residential buildings.
:Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reports
‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go out to pray the Eid prayer of al-Fitr and al-Adha in the open space.’
Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 956; Muslim, hadith No. 889
Apparently this he did in order to publicize this Islamic tradition. It is permissible to offer it in a large mosque when there is need for that, such as rain, strong winds or other severe weather conditions.
The Eid prayer becomes due at the time when the Sunnah prayer known as Duha is due, which means it starts when the sun has risen in the sky about one spear’s length. This is when the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his successors used to offer it, and prior to the sun being at that height, prayer is discouraged. It is recommended to start the Eid al-Adha prayer at the beginning of its time range and to delay the Eid al-Fitr prayer because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that. People need to attend to their sacrifice after the prayer at Eid al-Adha, while the delay in Eid al-Fitr prayer helps a person who has not yet paid Zakat al-Fitr to pay it, as it must be paid up to immediately before the prayer.
Description and recitation
The Eid prayer consists of two rak’ahs, similar to the Friday prayer, In the first rak‘ah and after the Takbeer (glorification), Allah-u akbar, and the opening supplication, the same after that, al-Fatiha and another surah are recited glorification of takbeer is repeated seven more times, after that, al-Fatiha and another surah are recited . In the second rak’ah the same takbeer is repeated five times, other than the takbeer for standing up from sujood before reciting al-Fatihah. This is based on the hadith.
:reported by A’ishah
‘Allah’s messenger used to say Allah-u akbar in the Eid prayers of al-Fitr and al-Adha seven times in the first rak’ah and five in the second.’
Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 1,149
‘With each takbeer, it is recommended that one raise his hands, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that.’
Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 18,848
Then the imam says silently a’udhu billahi min al-Shaytan al-Rajim (i.e. ‘I seek shelter with Allah against Satan, the accursed.’) He then recites the Qur’an aloud, reciting after al-Fatihah Surah Al Al’ala (87) in the first rak’ah and Surah Al Ghashia (88) in the second, as it is reported by Jabir ibn Samurah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that:
‘It is also authentically reported that he read Surah Qaf 50 in the first rak’ah and Surah Al Qamar 54 in the second.’
Related by Muslim, hadith No. 891
Therefore, it is good to do this in turn, looking always to make things easier for the congregation.
Unlike the Friday prayer, the khutbah in the Eid prayer is given after the prayer.
:Ibn Umar said
‘The Prophet (peace be upon him), Abu Bakr and Umar used to offer the Eid prayer before giving the khutabah.’
Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 963; Muslim, hadith No. 888
It is not recommended for anyone who misses out on the Eid prayer to offer it after it has finished, because this was not reported as suggested by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Moreover, it is a prayer for which a certain congregation gathers. It must, therefore, be offered in this fashion.
What is recommended:
1-It is a Sunnah, i.e. recommended, that the Eid prayer is organized at an open, well known space, preferably outside the village or town, so that the community can gather and perform this distinctive act of worship. However, if it is offered in mosques for one reason or another, the prayer is still valid.
2-As noted when we referred to its time, it is recommended to start the Eid al-Adha prayer early and to delay the Eid al-Fitr prayer.
‘It is also a Sunnah to eat a few dates before going out to offer the Eid al-Fitr prayer, and not to eat anything on Eid al-Adha until the Eid prayer has finished and one eats from his sacrifice, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that on these occasions.’
Related by al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 542; Ibn Majah, hadith No. 1,756
‘eating an odd number of dates on Eid al-Fitr.’
Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 953
4-It is a Sunnah also to walk to the place of the prayer, and to start early, soon after finishing the Fajr prayer, so that one can sit at a convenient place near the imam, and to earn the reward for awaiting the prayer.
5- Men are recommended to take a bath before the prayer, wear perfume and put on a fine appearance, wearing some of one’s best clothes. Women are the same, but must not wear perfumes or expose their adornment.
6- The imam is recommended to give a comprehensive speech, outlining the main principles of the Islamic faith.
7-It is further recommended to say: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha illa Allah, wallahu Akbar Allahu Akbar walillahi Alhamd.
:Allah says in the verse outlining the duty of fasting in Ramadan
‘You are, however, required to complete the necessary number of days and to extol and glorify God for having guided you aright and to tender your thanks.’
This takbeer is said from the sunset of the last day of Ramadan until the Imam comes out for Eid prayer, and also from the Fajr prayer on the 9th day of Thul Hijjah till the sunset of the 13th of the same month. It is announced after the Fard prayers. Men say their Takbeer (glorifications) aloud, while women recite them in a low voice, if they are in public.
8-Changing route. It is recommended to change one’s route, going to the prayer one way and following a different route on the way back. Jabir reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did that on Eid days. It is said that this is done so that both routes will, on the Day of Judgement, testify for us, or that this special act of worship is shown in different areas.
People need to congratulate one another on this occasion, saying to one another: ‘May Allah accept your and my good actions.’ The Prophet’s (peace be upon him)Companions used to do so, showing pleasure to meet other people.
- Al-Bahuti, Kashshaf al-Qina’ , vol. 2, p. 56.
- Al-Bahuti, Kashshaf al-Qina’ , vol. 2, p. 59.
- Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 2, pp. 232–3.
- Al-Zuhaili, al-Fiqh al-Islami, vol. 2, p. 1,391.