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The Muslim Guide to the Eid prayer

Muslims only have two Eids

When Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) migrated to Madeenah, he found that they had two days in which they would celebrate.  So the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘I came to you and you had, in Jaahileeyah two days for play and amusement. Indeed Allaah has replaced them for you by that which is better than them: The day of Nahr (i.e. Eid al-Adha) and the day of Fitr (Eid al-Fitr).’ (Saheeh. Reported by Aḥmad). Both Eids, which are chosen for us by Allah, follow the conclusion of two great acts of worship, the fasting of Ramadan and the Hajj. During this time of joy and happiness, the Muslim celebrates but does not forget his Lord.

  1. Prior to the Eid prayer
  1. taking a bath

It is recommended to take a ghusl on the morning of Eid. This is based upon the practice of a number of Companions.  It is reported that Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Alī would take a ghusl on the day of Eid. (Bayhaqi and the Musannaf of Abdul al-Razaaq).

  • wear your best clothes

Allah’s Messenger would wear his best clothes to the Eid prayer. He (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) had an overgarment lined with red, which he would wear on the two Eids. (Tabarani). Men are encouraged to wear perfume as stated by Imām Mālik.

  •  eating

It is recommended to eat early on the morning of Eid al-Fitr to show that the fasting has ended. As for Eid al-Adha, it is recommended to delay eating until after the Eid prayer. (based upon h̩adīth in Aḥmad)

  • The Musalla
  1. definition

A musalla means a place of prayer. In relation to Eid, it refers to an outside space, large enough to accommodate the residents of a town for the Eid prayer.

  • the Sunnah of praying at the Musalla

It was the consistent practice of the Prophet to perform the Eid prayers in the musalla as stated in Bukhari. He (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) commanded everyone including menstruating women to attend the Eid prayer at the musalla (Bukhari).  Thus despite the immense reward for praying in Masjid al-Nabawi, the Prophet left his masjid and went to the musalla. However if due to rain or cold weather the organisers choose to pray indoors then this may be better, as Islam is the religion of ease and not hardship.

  • walking to the musalla

It is recommended to walk to the Eid prayer (Ibn Majah), unless it is difficult due to distance or weather.

  • arriving early

The Salaf would arrive early at the musalla and sit to recite the takbeer.

  • The Takbeer
  1. when to say it

The takbeer (in a raised voice for men) starts from the moment you leave your house until the Imām arrives at the musalla. If the Imām continues with the takbeer, then you should also continue. The saying of takbeer en route to the musalla is nowadays a neglected sunnah.

In the case of Eid al-Adha, the takbeer starts on the first of Dhul Hijjah and ends at sunset on the thirteenth of Dhul Hijjah.  It can be said at anytime and is not specific to after each obligatory prayer.

  • what to say

There were a number of ways in which the Companions would say it.

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd”  (Ibn Abī Shaybah from Ibn Ma’sūd)

Also:

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allahu akbar laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaah akbar, Allaah akbar wa Lillaah il-hamd”  (Bayhaqi from Ibn al-‘Abbās)

  • what not to say or do

It is important not to add any additions to the wording of the takbīr such as: Allahu abkari kabira wal hamdu lillahi kathira wa subhan Allahi wa bi hamdihi bukratan wa asila. Even though the meaning of these are additions are good, the Sahaaba never said them, so we should stop where they stopped.

Secondly, the takbirs should be done individually, as this was the practice of the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions. It should not be done in unison.

  • The Eid prayer

The Eid prayer, unlike Jummah, is an obligation upon both men and women.

  1. No Sunnah prayers with the Eid prayer

Once you arrive at the musalla, it is not recommended to precede or follow the Eid prayer with any voluntary prayers. (Bukhari, Muslim).

  • No Athaan or Iqaamah

This is based upon the h̩adīth Muslim and Abū Dāwūd.

  • Number of rakaat

The Eid prayer consists of two rakaat. (Ahmed and Nasaa’i)

  • The additional takbirs

Following the takbir ul-ihram (opening takbīr that starts the prayer) and the opening supplication, seven additional takbirs are made in the first rakat (i.e. before reciting Faatihah).

In the second rakaat, the Imām says the takbīr for rising up from sujood, followed by an additional five takbīr. (Abū Dāwūd, Ibn Majah). Some ulema allow raising the hands with each takbīr as this was the practice of Ibn ‘Umar.  Also, other than the Imām, the takbīr in the prayer should be said silently.

  • What if I miss the Eid prayer

Deliberately missing the Eid prayer is sinful, however one should still pray two rakat by himself as stated by Imām Bukhari.

  • What if the day of Eid coincides with Jummah

If Eid occurs on a Friday, it is optional for men to attend the Jummah prayer. (Abu Dāwūd, Ibn Majah).

  • The Eid Khutbah
  • Its time

The Eid prayer should be immediately followed by a khutbah. The Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) would go to the musalla and the first thing that he would do was perform the prayer, followed by a khutbah. (Bukhari and Muslim).

  • The Imām should not sit during the Khutbah

Contrary to the Jummah khutbah, the Eid khutbah is delivered as one unit without sitting. 

  • Listening to the khutbah is optional

The Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) said (after finishing the Eid prayer): “We will now deliver a khutbah. Whoever wishes to sit and listen to the khutbah may sit, and whoever wishes to leave may leave”. (Abū Dāwūd).  It is better to sit and listen to the khutbah.

  • Returning home from the Musalla

It is recommended to take a different route when returning home from the musalla. (Bukhari).