There are two festivals (‘Eids) for the Muslims; ‘Eidul-fitr (lesser ‘Eid) observed after the month of Ramadan and ‘eidul-adha (Greater ‘Eid) observed after the day of ‘Arafah. Allah has substituted all festivals observed in Jahiliyyah (the days of ignorance) and all other newly invented festivals with these two festivals. On the authority of Anas bn malik t, who said: “The people of the days of ignorance used to have two days in which they celebrate every year, but when the Prophet ﷺ arrived in Madinah, he said: “You used to have two days in which you celebrated, but Allah has substituted these with that which is better; the days of the lesser and greater ‘Eid.” [ Source: An-Nasai.] It is not permissible to celebrate or participate in the festivals of the unbelievers, since it (the festival) is the most obvious sign of any religion and the most obvious of its laws and ways (belief).
Allah (the most High) says: “To each among you we have prescribed a law and a clear way” (Al-Maidah: 48)
Allah prescribed a prayer in the two Eids called Salatul-‘Eid (the Salat observed during the two festivals) which is one of the most important manifestations of Islam.
Rulings on the Two Festive Salats(Al fitr and al Adha)
It is a Fardhu kifa’yah (a collective obligation); when enough people observe it, those not observing it are relieved of sin- even though the order given to attend the Salat is very emphatic. The Prophet ﷺ had ordered that it be observed, and indeed ordered that women, young or old, attend, such that menstruating women, even though they will not observe Salat, are mandated to attend. All these are as a result of the virtues of the Salat and due to the emphasis placed on it. The proofs for its obligation are as follows:
1- Allah’s statement: “Therefore, turn in Salat to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” (Al-Kawthar: 2)
2- The Prophet ﷺ ordered that it be observed by men and women alike. Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ ordered us to bring out the following during fitr and adha (lesser and greater ‘Eids): the ‘awa’tiq[ The young woman as soon as she has reached puberty.] (adolescent females), the huyyadh (menstruating women) [ Menstruating women.] and possessors of al-khudur (virgin teenagers) [ The virgin girl.]. As for the menstruating women, they are to stay away from the Salat, but they should witness the blessings and prayers of the Muslims.” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
The Time of the Two Festive Salats(Al fitr and al Adha)
The time for it starts from the time one can clearly see that the sun has risen above the horizon the measure of a spear. Its approximation is about twenty minutes after the sun has risen. Its time extends until the entrance of Dhuhr.
It is Sunnah to pray ‘Eid Al-Adha early so that there will be more time to make the sacrifice; and to delay praying Eid Al-Fitr; so there will be more time to pay the Zakatul-Fitr.
Description of the Two Festive Salats(Al fitr and al Adha)
The two festive Salats consist of two raka’at with neither an Adhan nor Iqamah, and with loud recitation in both. The manner is as follows:
1- After the initiating takbir and the invocation said at the start of the Salat, and before saying ‘al-Isti’aadha’ (seeking refuge) and recitation, the imam says seven takbirs.
2- Next he says ‘al-Isti’aadha’ and then ‘Bismillahi-r Rahmaanir-Rahim’. Thereafter he proceeds with the recitation of Suratu al-Fatiha and a chapter thereafter. It is Sunnah to read al-A‘la in the first raka’ah, after al-Fatiha, and al-Ghashiyah in the second, or Qaf in the first and al-Qamar in the second.
3- After the rising takbir (from the first rak’ah), he says five takbirs. The correct view is to not raise his hands for each takbir.
4- In between the takbirs, he praises and glorifies Allah, and seeks blessings on the Prophet ﷺ.
5- After saying Tasleem, he mounts the pulpit and delivers two sermons, separating between each sermon by sitting for a short time.
6- The preacher delivers two sermons that suits the occasion of ‘Eidul-fitr, and he delivers two sermons for ‘Eid Al-Adha about the rulings of sacrificial animals and what suits that occasion.
Where to Observe the Two Festive Salats(Al fitr and al Adha)
The Sunnah is to observe the two ‘Eid Salats on a plain praying ground and not in the mosque. There is no harm however if it is observed inside a mosque, if the need arises.
Recommended Acts of the Two Festive Salats(Al fitr and al Adha)
1- A man beautifies himself by wearing his best clothes. Concerning women, they are One should go to the place of Salat without any adornment or finery, and they should not wear perfume.
2- The congregation is to arrive early and occupy the first rows.
3- One should go to the praying ground through one path and return through another, on foot- if possible; on the authority of Ja’bir , who said: “The Prophet ﷺ used to return (after the Salatul-‘Eid) taking a different path (from that by which he went to the prayer).” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
4- To eat an odd number of dates (3 or 5 dates) before going to pray on the lesser ‘Eid, and not to eat, if it is the greater ‘Eid, until he returns.
5- It is preferable to delay the Salah of ‘Eidul-fitr in order to allow for the distribution of zakaatul-fitr by the worshippers to whom it is due. As for the Salah of ‘Eid Al-Adha, it should, however, be hastened.
Rulings of the Two ’Eids
1- It is improper to perform supererogatory prayer before or after Salatul-‘Eid, unless it is performed as Salatu tahiyyatul Masjid (Salat for saluting the mosque) when entering the mosque.
2- It is recommended for those who missed Salatul-‘Eid, or some of it, to make it up by offering it in its manner; by praying two rak’ats with their Takbeer, or by making up what one missed of the prayer so that one completes two rak’ats, both in the manner the Salatul-‘Eid should be performed.
3- One should say the Takbeer throughout these days by saying: “Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar. La ila-ha ill-lal-lah. Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar. Wa-lilahill hamd” Meaning: “Allah is Greater (than all things), Allah is Greater (than all things), there is no god worthy of worship except Allah. Allah is Greater (than all things), Allah is Greater (than all things), and all praises are for Allah.”
It can also be said like this: “Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar, Allahu Akbaru Kabeera.” Meaning: “Allah is Greater (than all things), Allah is Greater (than all things), Allah is the Greatest of All.”
4- It is Sunnah for men to raise their voices in Takbeer, but women should say Takbeer in a low voice, as they are commanded to lower their voices.
5- Takbeer during ‘Eidul-fitr starts from the dawn of ‘Eid day and continues until the Imam starts the prayer of ‘Eid. As for Eidul-adha, Takbeer starts from the morning of the day of ‘Arafa and continues until the sunset of the last day of Ayamut-Tashreeq (the thirteenth day). He should say Takbeer on his way to the mosque and while sitting in it until the Imam comes, and also after the compulsory prayers performed in congregation, or in the market, or in the house, etc.
1- It is recommended for the Muslims to greet one another during the ‘Eid celebration by saying: “Takabal Allahu minna wa minkum” Meaning: May Allah accept from you and me our good deeds.
2- It is recommended to be happy that it is ‘Eid and express this happiness during the celebration, and to greet one’s relatives and Muslim brothers and sisters.
3- ‘Eid is an opportunity that should be harnessed to unite a broken tie of kinship and to settle the dispute among quarrelling people.
4- It is illegal to visit graves on the ‘Eid day. Indeed, doing that negates what the ‘Eid connotes; gladness and happiness.
5- It is prescribed to spend generously on clothing, food and entertainment for one’s family from that which Allah has permitted. For, indeed, the two ‘Eids are days of happiness, rejoicing and gladness. Allah, the Exalted says: “Say (O! Muhammad), by the Bounties and Mercy of Allah, and by that they should rejoice. That is better than all that which they gather” (Yunus: 58).
6- It is not permissible for the celebrations of Muslims on ‘Eid to contain things which go against the teachings of Islam, like free mixing of men and women, neglecting a prayer, a prohibited form of entertainment, listening to music, or other Haram activities.