After a month-long endeavour to earn the pleasure of Almighty Allah and to strengthen our relationship with him through fasting, praying, giving Zakat, reciting Quran, invocation & so on, and the trials & difficulties that Muslims all across the globe went through in the form of starvation & thirst, Allah (swt) bestows his blessings and joy to his slave in the form of “Eid”.
Since you succeeded in all the tribulations, the transient bindings of Ramadan are lifted from you now. I had ordered you to abstain from food & drink; today the order is reversed. This is actually to instil a sense of obedience in the believer: that the required thing is Amr (order) not Amal (deed). Any act of worship in Islam like Salat (prayer), Zakat (almsgiving), Hajj (pilgrimage) or Soam (fasting) is not Matloob (desired) in itself, but what is essential is following the ‘order’. When Shari’ah (law giver) decrees something to do, it becomes reward worthy to perform that act, but if He forbids from anything then it has no Ajr (reward). Take the example of Arafah (Makkah). If one stays there for the whole year except for the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (Islamic month of pilgrimage), it will not fetch a single benefit or reward because Shari’ah has not ordered to stay there in other days albeit it’s the same place of Arafah & same Jabl-e-Rehmat. When Allah said to spend 9th of Dhul-Hijjah in Arafah, then staying there on that day would be accepted and enumerated as Sawab (reward). Interestingly, this is to be done by leaving the Harm e Kaabah (sanctum) where the Ajr of one prayer is equal to a hundred-thousand prayers offered elsewhere. Now If someone thinks let’s pray five prayers of 9th of Dhul-Hijjah in Harm e Shareef for more sawab instead of praying in barren land of Arafah, it would be deemed as violation of divine ruling, let alone the Ajr of one lakh prayers. Hence the desired thing is not ampleness of deeds but the “obedience”. Same goes with fasting.
On sighting the crescent of Ramadan we were ordered to observe fast for a complete month. And now on the appearance of crescent of Shawal we are commanded to break the fast. Now the Ajr lies in eating & drinking. That’s why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has forbidden from fasting on Eid days. In a Hadith, Hazart Umar (ra) gave a sermon on the day of Eid and said, “O people, the Messenger of Allah forbade fasting on these two days (i.e., the two Eids).”
Essence of Eid-ul-Fitr:
Eid is a festival of Muslims. When the prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah, he found that people used to celebrate two days during the time of ignorance period (Jahiliyya). He said: “I came to you and you have two days that you celebrated during Jahiliyya and Allah has substituted for you better days: the day of sacrifice (Eid ul Azha) & the day of breaking fast” (Abu Dawood). Eid for Muslims is a time of unity when they all break their fast together and perform a prayer out in the open. It’s also a time when Muslims remember the poor by giving charity before Eid prayer so the poor can use it to enjoy on such a day. Therefore at the end of Ramadan every Muslim is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr (a special fast-breaking alm) which is given to the poor and needy.
Islam 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 prayers in congregation.
Etiquette of a Muslim on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr:
1. A Muslim is required to make Ghusul or ablution before going out for prayer.
2. It’s Sunnah to eat dates before leaving for Eid prayer. Hazrat Anas (ra) reports: “The prophet would not go out on the festival of breaking the fast until he had eaten an odd number of dates” (Bukhari).
3. It is highly recommended that one should wear his/her best clothes on this day. Ibn al Qayim writes in Zaadul Mi’aad: “The Prophet used to wear his most beautiful clothes & he had a special cloak that he would wear on two Eids.”
4. Apply perfume and remove all offensive smells which might harm others.
5. The Shari`ah urges women and children to go out and attend the Eid prayer. This includes married, single, young, old, or menstruating women. Umm Atiyyah reported: “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” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
6. Every Muslim should go to the prayer by one route and return by another in order to manifest the symbols of Islam & remembrance of Allah (zikhr) on both routes. It was narrated that Jaabir Ibn Abd-Allah (ra) said: “On the day of Eid, the prophet (pbuh) used to vary his route” (Sahih Al Bukhari).
Rulings of Eid-ul-Fitr:
Going out to the Musallaa (place for prayer): It’s preferred to perform Eid prayer out in open ground. Our prophet (pbuh) would pray the two Eids on the outskirts of Madeenah and he never prayed it in his mosque, except once when it was raining heavily.
Takbeeraat on the day of Eid:
It’s Sunnah to pronounce the takbeeraat on Eid-ul-Fitr. The holy Quran says: “You should complete the prescribed period and that you should glorify Allah [i.e., say takbeeraat] for having guided you and that you may give thanks” (2:185).
The majority of the scholars say that the time for takbeeraat during Eid ul Fitr is from the time one goes to the Eid prayer until the khutba begins. Some say that the takbeeraat are from the night before the Eid, when the moon is sighted until the person goes to Musalla and the Imam arrives.
Words of Takbeeraat:
Different wordings have been mentioned in narrations regarding takbeeraat which are recited on this day, like “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La ilaha illallah, Wallahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd” (Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah. And Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.) Or the aforementioned words with the addition of “Allahu akbar kabeera Walhamdulil Allah hi kaseera wa subhan Allah hi bukrataon wa aseelaa.” (Allah is Most Great and much praise be to Allah and glorified be Allah at the beginning and end of the day.)
Time of Eid prayers:
The majority of scholars say that 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 it’s Zenith. Ibn Qudamah says: “It is sunna to pray Salatul Azha 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 give people time to pay Zakat al-Fitr” (Al-Mughnaee).
The Azaan & Iqamat for Eid prayers:
Eid prayers are performed without saying any Azan or Iqamat. Whenever the messenger of Allah would go for Eid he would perform the Salah without any azan or iqamat (Bukhari).
Khutbah on Eid:
Usually khutba (sermon) is delivered before prayer as with the case of Friday prayer. Here it’s delivered after Salaatul Eid.
People may exchange congratulations & good greetings on Eid, no matter what form the words take. For instance, we in Kashmir say “Eid Mubarak” which is replied with the words “Khair Mubarak/ Salamat”. However, it’s better to greet one another with the words Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to congratulate one another on the occasion of Eid, i.e., “Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minkum (may Allah accept [the fast & worship] from us and from you).
May Allah almighty on this special occasion of Eid end all the sufferings of humanity and may this Eid be blissful and bright for Muslim Ummah.
TMR Mohsin has a master’s in Public Administration. Aijaz Kashmiri is a social activist