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Eid Etiquette

18 Aug

Eid Etiquette

“Eid” is an Arabic word referring to something habitual, that returns and is repeated. Eids or festivals are symbols to be found in every nation. All people like to have special occasions to celebrate, where they can come together and express their joy and happiness.

Some are based on revealed scriptures and some are non-scriptural. Non-scriptural festivals may be connected to worldly matters, such as the beginning of the year, the start of an agricultural season, the accession of a ruler to the throne, and so on.They may also be connected to religious occasions, such as the Thursday on which the Christians claim the table was sent down to Jesus, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and holidays on which gifts are exchanged.

The Muslims festivals

The Prophet’s words “Every nation has its festival, and this is your festival” indicate that these two Eids are exclusively for the uslims. The Muslims have no festivals apart from Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa. Hazrat Anas (ra) reported that “The Messenger of Allah (sas) came to Madinah and the people had two days when they would play and have fun.  He (sas) asked, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We used to play and have fun on these days during the Jaahiliyyah. The Messenger of Allah (sas) said, ‘Allah has given you something better than them, the day of Adhaa and the day of Fitr (Sunan Abi Dawood, 1134)

These two Eids are among the signs or symbols of Allah which we must celebrate and understand the aims and the meanings behind them.

Eid prayers

There is difference of opinion among some scholars. Some regard Eid prayers as waajib (obligatory) – this is the view of the Hanafi scholars and of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (ra). They say that the Prophet (sas) always prayed the Eid prayer and never omitted to do it, not even once. They take as evidence the ayah:

“Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)” [al-Kawthar 108:3], i.e., the Eid prayer and the sacrifice after it, which is an instruction, and the fact that the Prophet (sas) 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.

Some scholars say that Eid prayer is fard kifaaya. This is the view of the Hanbalis. 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 Allah has not imposed any prayers on His slaves other than the five daily prayers.

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 from attending Eid prayers, and the fact that one is following the example of the Prophet (sas) by doing so, should be sufficient motivation.

Timing of Eid prayer

The prayer should be offered in jamaa’ah (congregation) and the time for the Eid prayer starts 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.

Description of the Eid prayer

Hazrat Umar (ra) said: “The prayer of Eid and al-Adhaa is two complete rak’ahs, not shortened. This is according to the words of your Prophet, and the liar is doomed.

Hazrat Abu Sa’eed (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sas) used to come out to the prayer-place on the day of Fitr and al-Adhaa, and the first thing he would do was the 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 each.

It was reported from Hazrat Aa’ishah (ra) : the Takbeer of al-Fitr and al-Adhaa is seven in the first rak’ah and five in the second, apart from the takbeer of rukoo’.  (Reported by Abu Dawood)                                                  

If a person joining the prayer catches up with the imaam during these extra takbiraat, he should say “Allaahu akbar” with the Imaam, and he does not have to make up any takbiraat he may have missed. (Reported by al-Tabaraani. It is a saheeh hadeeth that is quoted in al-Irwaa’ and elsewhere).

Recitation of Qur’aan in Eid prayers

Most of the reports indicate that the Prophet (sas) used to recite Soorat al-A’laa [87] and Soorat al-Ghaashiyah [88], as he used to recite them in the Friday prayer. Al-Nu’maan ibn Bishr said: “The Messenger of Allah (sas) 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].” (Saheeh Muslim, 878).

Samurah (ra) said: “The Prophet (sas) used to recite on the two Eids, Sabbih isma rabbika’l-a’laa [al-A’laa 87:1] and Hal ataaka hadeeth al-ghaashiyah [al-Ghaashiyah 88:1].”  (Reported by Ahmad and others; it is saheeh. Al-Irwaa’, 3/116)

The prayer comes before the khutbah

One of the rulings of Eid is that the prayer should come before the khutbah, as is reported in Musnad Ahmad from the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbaas, who testified that the Messenger of Allah (sas) prayed before the khutbah on Eid, then he gave the khutbah.” (Musnad Ahmad, 1905. The hadeeth is also in al-Saheehayn).

Another indication that the khutbah should be after the prayer is the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed (ra): “The Prophet (sas) used to go out to the prayer-place on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adhaa, and the first thing he would do was to pray, then he would stand up facing the people, whilst they were still sitting in their rows, and would advise and instruct them. If he wanted to send out a military expedition, he would decide about the matter then, or if he wanted to issue a command, he would do it then.”   (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 956).  

‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Saa’ib said: “I attended Eid with the Prophet (sas), and when he finished the prayer, he said: “We will give the khutbah, so whoever wants to sit (and listen to) the khutbah, let him sit, and whoever wants to leave, let him go.’” (Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/96)

Not delaying the prayer for too long

‘Abd-Allah ibn Bishr, the companion of the Prophet (sas) went out with the people on the day of Fitr or al-Adhaa, and objected to the fact that the Imaam came very late. He said, “At the time of the Prophet (sas) we would have finished by now,” and that was at the time of al-Tasbeeh .” (Reported by al-Bukhaari )

There are no naafil prayers to be done either before or after the Eid prayer, as Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that the Prophet (sas) used to come out on the day of Eid and pray two rak’ahs, with nothing before or after them.

This is the case if the prayer is offered in a prayer place or public place. If, however, the people pray the Eid prayer in a mosque, then they should pray two rak’ahs for Tahiyat al-Masjid (“Greeting the mosque”) before sitting down.

Listening to the Eid khutbah

Ibn Qudaamah (ra) said in his book al-Kaafi (p. 234):

“When the imaam has said the salaam (at the end of the prayer), he should give a khutbah in two parts, like the two Friday khutbahs, because the Prophet (sas) did this. (The Eid khutbah) differs from the Friday khutbahs in four ways … the fourth of which is: that it is sunnah and it is not obligatory to listen to it, because it was reported that ‘Abd-Allah ibn al-Saa’ib said: “I attended Eid with the Messenger of Allah (sas), and when he had finished the prayer, he said: “We are going to give a khutbah, so whoever wishes to sit (and listen) to the khutbah, let him sit down, and whoever wants to leave, let him go.

Whereas attendance at the Friday khutbah is obligatory, because Allah says: “O you who believe! When the call for prayer on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday) is given, come to the remembrance of Allah [Jumu’ah khutbah and prayer], and leave off business …” [al-Jumu’ah 62:10]. Attendance at the Eid khutbahs is not obligatory, and a person is allowed to leave, but if he stays he must not talk to anyone.

If people did not know about Eid until the next day

Abu ‘Umayr ibn Anas reported from his paternal uncles among the Ansaar who said: “It was cloudy and we could not see the new moon of Shawwaal, so we started the day fasting, then a caravan came at the end of the day and told the Messenger of Allaah (sas) that they had seen the new moon of Shawwaal the day before, so he told the people to stop fasting, and they went out to pray the Eid prayer the next day.”                                    (al-Irwaa’, 3/102)

Women’s attendance at Eid prayers

Hazrat Hafsah (ra) said: “We used to prevent prepubescent girls from attending Eid prayers. Then a woman came and stayed at the fort of Banu Khalaf, and told us about her sister. Her sister’s husband had taken part in twelve campaigns with the Prophet (sas) and [she said], ‘my sister was with him on six of them. She said, “We used to treat the wounded and take care of the sick. My sister asked the Prophet (sas) whether there was anything wrong with her not going out [on Eid] if she did not have a jilbaab. He said, ‘Let her friend give her one of her jilbaabs so that she may witness the blessings of Eid and see the Muslims gathering.’”’ 

When Um ‘Atiyah came, I asked her, ‘Did you hear the Prophet (sas) [say this]?’ She said, ‘May my father be sacrificed for him’ – and she never mentioned him without saying ‘may my father be sacrificed for him’ – ‘I heard him saying that we should bring out the young girls and those who were secluded, or the young girls who were secluded, and the menstruating women, so that they could witness the blessings of Eid and see the gathering of the believers, but those who were menstruating were to keep away from the prayer-place itself.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 324).

The hadeeth urges everyone to attend Eid prayer, and to co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety. The menstruating woman should not forsake the remembrance of Allah or places of goodness such as gatherings for the purpose of seeking knowledge and remembering Allah – apart from mosques. The hadeeth also indicates that women should not go out without a jilbaab.

Ibn Abi Shaybah also narrated that Ibn ‘Umar used to take whoever he could of his household out to the Eid prayers.   (Al-Tirmidhi, 495).

Ghusl (taking a bath)

One of the manners of Eid is to take a bathe before going out to the prayer. It is reported in a saheeh report in al-Muwatta’ and elsewhere as well that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to take a bath on the day of al-Fitr before coming to the prayer-place. (al-Muwatta’ 428)

It was reported that Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said: “Three things are sunnah on Eid: to walk (to the prayer-place), to take a bath and to eat before coming out.” This is what Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said, and he may have learned this from some of the Sahabah.

Eating before coming out

One should not come out to the prayer-place on Eid al-Fitr before eating some dates, because of the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari from Anas ibn Maalik who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (sas) would not go out on the morning of Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… and he would eat an odd number.” (al-Bukhaari, 953)

It is mustahabb to eat before coming out because this confirms that we are not allowed to fast on this day, and demonstrates that the fast is now over. Ibn Hajar (ra) explained that this is to prevent people extending the fast and it also means obeying the commandment of Allaah. (Fath, 2/446).

If a person does not have any dates, he can eat anything permissible for breakfast. On Eid al-Adhaa, on the other hand, it is mustahabb (preferable) not to eat until after the prayer, when one should eat from the meat of one’s sacrifice.


It is haraam to fast on the days of Eid because of the hadith of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (ra), who said that the Messenger of Allah (sas) forbade fasting on the day of Fitr and the day of Sacrifice (Adhaa). (Reported by Muslim, 827)

Takbeer on the day of Eid

This is one of the greatest sunnahs of this day, because of the words of Allah: “… (He [Allah] wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah (say Takbeer – ‘Allaahu akbar’) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [al-Baqarah 2:186]

Al-Waleed ibn Muslim said: “I asked al-Oozaa’i and Maalik ibn Anas about saying Takbeer aloud on Eid. They said, ‘Yes, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to say it aloud on the day of Fitr until the Imaam came out.

’”Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Salami said: “On Eid al-Fitr they would say it louder than on Eid al-Adhaa.” Wakee’ said, “i.e., the takbeer.” (Irwaa’, 3/122).

Al-Daaraqutni and others reported that when Ibn ‘Umar came out on Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa, he would strive hard in making Takbeer until he reached the prayer-place, then he would continue making Takbeer until the imaam came.

Ibn Abi Shaybah reported with a saheeh isnaad that al-Zuhri said: “The people used to make Takbeer on Eid when they came out of their houses until they reached the prayer-place and until the Imaam came out. When the Imaam came out, they fell silent, until the imaam said Takbeer, then they said Takbeer.”      (Irwaa’, 2/121).

The wording of the Takbeer

Ibn Abi Shaybah reported in al-Musannaf that Ibn Mas’ood (ra) used to say Takbeer on the days of Tashreeq as follows: “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaha ill-Alaah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa Lillahi’l-hamd (Allah is Most Great… there is no god but Allaah, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise).” Ibn Abi Shaybah reported it elsewhere with the same isnaad, but with the phrase “Allahu akbar” repeated three times.

Al-Muhaamili also reported that Ibn Mas’ood used to say: “Allahu akbaru kabeeran, Allahu akbaru kabeeran, Allahu akbar wa ajall, Allahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allah is Most Great of All, Allah is Most Great of all, Allah is most Great and Most Glorious, and to Allah be praise).” (al-Irwaa’, 3/126).

Congratulating one another

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 Allahu minnaa wa minkum (May Allah accept [the fast and worship] from us and from you” or “Eid mubarak” and other similar permissible greetings.

Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: “At the time of the Prophet (sas)), when people met one another on the day of Eid, they would say, ‘Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minka (May Allah accept from us and from you).’” (Ibn Hajar. Its isnaad is hasan. Fath, 2/446).

Looking one’s best for Eid

Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (ra) said: “ ‘Umar picked up a jubbah (long outer garment) made of silk that was for sale in the market, brought it to the Messenger of Allah (sas) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, buy this and wear it for Eid and when the delegations come.” The Messenger of Allah (sas) said, “This is the clothing of the one who has no share of the Hereafter…”        (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 948).

The Prophet (sas) approved of ‘Umar’s idea of looking one’s best, but he rejected and denounced the idea of buying this jubbah because it was made of silk.

Jaabir (ra) said: “The Prophet (sas) had a jubbah that he would wear on Eid and on Fridays.”   (Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 1765).

Al-Bayhaqi reported that Ibn Umar used to wear his best clothes on Eid, so men should wear the best clothes they have when they go out for Eid.

To go out by one route and come back by another

Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (ra) reported that the Prophet (sas) used to vary his routes on the day of Eid.   (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 986)

It was also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to go out walking, and he prayed without any adhaan or iqaamah, then he would come back walking by a different route. It was said that this was so that the two different routes would testify in his favour on the Day of Resurrection, .

 Warning against wrongdoing

Some people celebrate on Eid because Ramadan is over and they no longer have to fast. This is a mistake, the believers celebrate at Eid because Allah has helped them to complete the month of fasting, not because the fasting,which some people regard as a heavy burden, is over.

Was-salatu was salaamu ala Saiyadul Mursaleen, wa akhri dawana anil hamdulil-lahi Rabbil Alameen.  

Mohammed Dean Usman Khan

Secretary Tabligh

1st August,09

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