Eid is marked by three acts of worship:
- Zakat ul-Fitr
- Eid prayer
Below is a summary of how to perform each of them.
(1) Zakat ul-Fitr
Zakat ul-Fitr is also called Sadaqa ul-Fitr. It is a prescribed amount of food given by a Muslim during the last ten few days of Ramadan or prior to Eid prayer.
“Messenger of Allah ﷺ made zakat ul-Fitr obligatory to purify the fasting person from indecent words or actions, and to provide food for the needy. It is accepted as zakat for the person who gives it before the Eid prayer, but it is mere charity for the one who gives it after the prayer.” (Abu Daud, Ibn Majah, Darqutni, Hakim)
This statement of Ibn Abbas lays out two wisdoms behind paying zakat ul-Fitr:
(a) To purify the person who fasted and cleanse him of indecent talk and minor sins performed during Ramadan.
(b) To feed poor Muslims so they have enough food during Eid.
This statement also indicates that paying zakat ul-Fitr is obligatory (wajib). It is wajib on every Muslim capable of giving for himself and on behalf of every member of his family under his care.
The proof for this in the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar:
“Allah’s Messenger ﷺ has made obligatory zakat al-Fitr in the amount of sa’a of dates or one sa’a of barley, for the Muslims – slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered it to be given before the people went out to the Eid prayer. We would give it out before Eid by a day or two.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
This hadith tells us four things:
- the quantity of food to be given out
- the type of food that can be given out
- the best time to give it out
- the permissible time to give it out
(a) The quantity of food to be given out is one sa’a of food
One sa’a is roughly equal to four handfuls of an average man put together. It’s weight will be different for different foodstuffs. An estimate is 3 kg or 5-6 pounds. Some scholars allow giving money also, but it is safest to give it as food as it is the Sunna endorsed by the majority of Muslim scholars.
Money can be collected by an Islamic center and given as food to the needy. Currently, it is estimated to be $10/person.
(b) The strongest opinion as far as what type of food is suitable: the staple food of the people where one is living.
Dates, barley, wheat, olives, raisins, wheat, and dried yogurt used to be commonly eaten food in the time of the Prophet ﷺ.
Today in America, cereals, rice, beans, cheese, sugar, and other food is more common. So you can buy a bag of rice, a box of wheat cereal, etc.
(c) The best time for it to be given out is on Eid before going to the prayer.
(d) Permissible time as proven by the action of the Sahaba in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ was one or two days before Eid. If it is delayed after Eid prayer, then it is a mere charity and the delay is impermissible. Even though the delay is a sin, yet one still has to give it.
Who should zakat ul-Fitr be given to?
The Muslim masakeen as the hadith of Ibn Abbas indicated, meaning not someone in complete poverty, but rather with limited financial means.
In Arabic, “Eid” means a day on which people gather.
In Islam, there are only three occasions of Eid:
- yearly Eid al-Fitr
- yearly Eid al-‘Adha
- weekly Jumu’ah
Islam teaches us how to celebrate these occasions of joy. Their spirit is to remember Allah’s bounties, that is why the major part of the celebration is an extra prayer. It is an occasion to increase good deeds at the conclusion of a significant worship. It is not an occasion to sin and disobey Allah with the ears an the eyes.
The following are some recommended acts to be performed on Eid:
(i) Ghusl: Ibn ‘Umar used to take a bath on the day of Fitr before proceeding to the musalla.
(ii) Beautifying oneself: The Prophet ﷺ used to wear his best clothes to go to the Eid prayer. He had a cloak that he wore specifically on the two Eid’s and Friday. Ibn ‘Umar also used to wear his best clothes on he two Eid’s. Men may put on perfume, wear headcover, not shave their beards, while women must observe modest dress and hijab without perfuming themselves.
(iii) Eating on the morning of Eid: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ would not leave his house on the Day of Fitr until he had eaten some dates. (Bukhari)
(iv) Prayer in the Musalla: The Sunna is to hold the Eid prayer in the open. This outdoor place is called the musalla.
(v) Taking different routes: The Prophet ﷺ would take different routes on the day of Eid.
(vi) Walking: Ali said it is Sunna that you go to Eid walking. It may not be practical for many people living in the West.
(vii) Saying Takbeer: is a distinctive feature of Eid and has been mentioned in the Quran.
“ And that you must exclaim Allah’s greatness for having guided you, so that you may be grateful.” (2:185)
The time for saying Eid takbir starts from the time a person leaves his house heading towards the musalla. According to some scholars, it begins from the time the sun sets on the last day of Ramadan. Voice is to be raised when making this Takbeer.
The Prophet ﷺ would leave his house on the Day of Fitr saying takbeer until he reached the musalla and until he performed the prayer. Once he had performed the prayer, he would stop saying the takbeer.
Unfortunately, these days people have limited saying takbeer only while waiting for the imam. There is no evidence from the Sunna or the practice of the Sahaba to say it in unison in a loud voice while waiting for the imam.
We don’t know of any authentic hadith from the Prophet ﷺ as to what should be said in the takbeer, but we find three reports from the Sahaba:
(a) Ibn Mas’ud:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akar,
La-il-la ha il-Allah, wa-Allahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar, wa lil-lahil-Hamd.
(b) Ibn Abbas:
Allahu Abkar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar wa-Ajall, Allahu Akbar ‘ala ma Hadana.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbaru Kabira.
It is not correct to say: Takbir will start at 9:00, and the prayer will be at 9:30.
(3) Eid Prayer
The Eid prayer is wajib (obligatory) according to the majority of scholars.
‘Umm ‘Atiyya reports the Prophet ﷺ commanded,
“The Prophet ﷺ commanded the free women, the virgins, and the menstruating women to go out to attend the Eid prayer, witness the good, and the supplications of the believers. As for the menstruating women, they should stay away from the musalla (i.e. they should not pray). I said, “O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, one of us does not have a jilbaab.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Let her borrow the jilbaab of her sister.” (Bukhari, Muslim, etc)
This hadith shows the following:
(a) Eid prayer is obligatory.
(b) All women, young, old, or menstruating must attend it in the musalla. Menstruating women do not pray of course but they join in the khutba and du’a. If Eid prayer is held in a masjid then they stay outside without entering the masjid hall, listen to the khutba, and join in the du’a.
(c) The women must wear a jilbaab when they come to the prayer, be they young or old. The Prophet ﷺ commanded women to attend Eid prayer. A woman who did not have a jilbaab presented it as an excuse. The Prophet ﷺ did not allow her to come without jilbaab, but he instructed her to borrow it from her sister.
No prayer before or after it: There is no Sunna prayer before or after sala tul-Eid, except if it is held in a masjid, then one must pray two rak’at of tahiyya al-masjid before sitting down. Ibn Abbas: “The Prophet ﷺ went out (of his house) on the day of fitr, prayed two rak’aat, and did not pray before or after it.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
No Adhan or Iqama
Jabir ibn Samura reports:
“I prayed Eid prayer with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ on more than one occasion, without Adhan or Iqama.” (Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi)
Description of Prophet’s ﷺ Eid prayer
Like any prayer, the prayer began with Takbir ul-Ehraam followed by the opening supplication. It is followed by seven takbee-raat in the first rak’at and five additional takbee-raat in the second rak’at. There are other ways of praying it as well.
Aisha said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ would say Takbir in both Fitr and Adha; seven in the first, and five in the second – other than the two Takbir’s of ruku’.” (Abu Daud, Ahmad, Ibn Majah)
“In the Eid prayer Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said seven takbee-raat in the first rak’at, recited Quran, said the takbir and bowed, prostrated himself, then he stood, said five takbee-raat, recited, said takbir, bowed, and prostrated.”
Ibn al-Qayyim writes in Zaad al-Ma’aad: “The Prophet ﷺ would remain silent between the two takbeers, and nothing is reported from him regarding Dhikr between them.”
But Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: “Between every two takbir’s is a praise of Allah and a salah upon the Prophet ﷺ.”
After reciting Fatiha, the Prophet ﷺ would recite either Surah Qaaf in first rak’at and al-Qamar in the second, or al-‘Ala in first and al-Ghashiya in the second rak’at.
Rest of the prayer is like any other prayer.
The Prophet ﷺ would give the Khutba after the prayer.
He would give a choice to either listen to the khutba or leave. After finishing the prayer, the Prophet ﷺ would say,
“We shall give the khutba – so let whoever wishes to sit for khutba do so, and whoever wishes to leave, leave.”
Feature Image Credit: Flickr