The scholars differed concerning the ruling on Eid prayers. There are three scholarly points of view:
1 – that Eid prayer is Sunnah mu’akkadah (a confirmed Sunnah). This is the view of Imam Maalik and Imam al-Shaafa’i.
2 – that it is a communal obligation. This is the view of Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him).
3 – that it is a duty for each Muslim and is obligatory for men; those who do not do it with no excuse are sinning thereby. This is the view of Imam Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him), and was also narrated from Imam Ahmad. Among those who favoured this view were Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and al-Shawkaani (may Allaah have mercy on them).
See al-Majmoo’, 5/5; al-Mughni, 3/253; al-Insaaf, 5/316; al-Ikhtiyaaraat, p. 82.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (16/214):
What I think is that the Eid prayer is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation), and that it is not permissible for men to miss it, rather they have to attend, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined that. He even commanded the women – including virgins and those who usually stayed in seclusion – to come out to the Eid prayer, and he commanded menstruating women to come out to the Eid prayer, but told them to keep away from the prayer-place itself. This indicates that it is confirmed.
He also said (16/217):
What seems more likely to be correct in my view, based on the evidence, is that it is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation), and that it is obligatory for every male to attend the Eid prayer apart from those who have an excuse.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 13/7 concerning the view that it is fard ‘ayn
Timing of the Eid Prayer
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. But the Eid prayer should not be delayed for too long
‘Abd-Allaah ibn Bishr, the companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) we would have finished by now,” and that was at the time of al-Tasbeeh .”
(Reported by al-Bukhaari )
Where is Eid prayed?
We know that praying the Prophet’s masjid is equivalent to a thousand prayers but the Prophet peace be upon him never prayed the Eid in his masjid but would rather take the congregation to the Musala which is an open piece of land and they would pray under the open sky.
Due to various difficulties in non Muslim countries in the west the Eid prayer is performed in the Masjids, although some Masjids have started to pray in local parks in recent years.
Attending Eid prayer
The Prophet peace be upon him has commanded both men and women to attend the Eid prayer. Those women who are on their menses have been also ordered to attend the gather but not to take part in the prayer.
Umm Atiyyah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to bring them (women) out on (Eid) al-Fitr and (Eid) al-Adha, and to bring out adolescent girls, menstruating women and virgins, but the menstruating women were to stay away from the prayer, but were to witness goodness and the gathering of the Muslims. I said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what if one of us does not have a jilbaab? He said: “Let her sister lend her a jilbab.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Hafsah 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) [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).
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 that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to take a bath on the day of al-Fitr before coming to the prayer-pla
Also Before setting off for the Eid ul fitr prayer we should eat something but for Eid ul Adha we should eat food after we come back from the Eid prayer.
We should also go to the Eid prayer via one route and return via another route
Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: On the day of Eid, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would vary his route, i.e., he would go via one route and come back via a different route. Al-Bukhaari
Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did 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)
Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out to the Eid (prayer) walking and come back walking. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah(1295).
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said: It is Sunnah to go out to the Eid (prayer) walking. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi (530).
There is no Azan nor iqamah for the Eid prayer
Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah said: I attended the prayer on the day of Eid with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He started with the prayer before the khutbah, with no adhaan or iqaamah. Muslim (885)
Ibn Abbaas and Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah al-Ansaari said: No adhaan was given on the day of al-Fitr or the day of al-Adha (i.e., for the Eid prayer). Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah al-Ansaari said: There is no adhaan for the prayer on the day of al-Fitr when the imam comes out, or after he comes out; no iqaamah, no call, nothing. There is no call on that day and no iqaamah.Al-Bukhaari (960) and Muslim (886)
Eid Prayer is performed before the Eid Khutbah
Abu Saeed [al-Khudri] said : The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out to the prayer-place on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha. The first thing that he did was to pray, then he would move away and stand facing the people, when the people were (still) sitting in their rows, and he would exhort them and advise them and issue commands to them. If he wanted to dispatch an army he would do so, and if he wanted to issue some command, he would do so. Then he would leave. Abu Saeed said: The people continued to do that until I came out with Marwaan when he was the governor of Madeenah, on (the day of) al-Adha or al-Fitr. When we came to the prayer place, there was the minbar that had been built by Katheer ibn al-Salt. Marwaan wanted to ascend the minbar; I grabbed his clothes but he pulled away, and he ascended and delivered the khutbah before the prayer. I said to him: You have changed it, by Allaah. He said: O Abu Saeed, gone is that which you know. I said: By Allaah, what I know is better than that which I do not know. He said: The people will not sit and listen to us after the prayer so I did it before the prayer.
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 956; Muslim, 889.
It was narrated that Abu Saeed said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to come out on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha to the prayer place, and the first thing he would do was to offer the prayer. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 956
Ibn ‘Abbaas, who testified that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed before the khutbah on Eid, then he gave the khutbah.” (Musnad Ahmad, 1905. The hadeeth is also in al-Saheehayn).
How is the Eid prayer performed.
Eid prayer is prayed in congregation. Eid prayer is a two Rakkah prayer with extra takbir followed by a Khutbah (sermon). A person may stay and listen to the khutbah or he/she may leave when the Eid prayer ends.
Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The prayer of al-Fitr is two rakahs and the prayer of al-Adha is two rakahs, complete and not shortened, on the tongue of your Prophet, and the one who fabricates lies is doomed. Narrated by al-Nasaai, 1420 and Ibn Khuzaymah. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaai.
Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her), The takbeer of al-Fitr and al-Adha is seven takbeers in the first rakah and five takbeers in the second, apart from the takbeer of rukoo. Narrated by Abu Dawood and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa al-Ghaleel, 639.
Al-Tirmidhi narrated from the hadeeth of Katheer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf, from his father, from his grandfather, that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited takbeer in the Eid (prayer), seven times in the first rakah before reciting Quran and five times in the second rakah before reciting Quran. Al-Tirmidhi said: I asked Muhammad – i.e., al-Bukhaari – about this hadeeth and he said: There is nothing more sound than this concerning this topic. And I say likewise.
Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah who said, The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out on the day of al-Fitr and started with the prayer before the khutbah. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 958; Muslim, 885
1). The Eid prayers are started by raising the hands with Takbir (Allahu Akbar) then place hands on his chest
2). Then Dua’ al-Istiftaah is recited (i.e. “Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika, wa tabaaraka ismuka wa ta’aala jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruka”) (silently)
3). Then 7 extra Takbirs are performed, with each takbir the hands are raised above the shoulders and then placed on the chest. (some Imams will say 6 instead of 7)
It was reported from ‘Aa’ishah: 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; saheeh by the sum of its isnaads)
4). After the 7th takbir the hands are placed on the chest and the first rakah of the prayer is recited as normal starting from the following A’oodhu Billaahi minash-shaitaanir-rajeem ….
5). At the end of the secound Sajdah (prostration) of the first rakah we get up saying Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and in the standing position 5 extra Takbirs are performed and the secound rakah is performed as normal.
6). Note which surahs to recite in the first and secound rakah?
It is recommended (mustahabb) that in the Eid prayers the imaam should recite Qaaf [soorah 50] and Aqtarabat al-saa’ah [al-Qamar, soorah 54], as it is reported in Saheeh Muslim that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab asked Abu Waaqid al-Laythi, “What did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite at [Eid] al-Adhaa and al-Fitr?” He said, “He used to recite Qaaf. Wa’l-Qur’aan al-majeed [Qaaf 50:1] and Aqtarabat al-saa’ah wa anshaqq al-qamar [al-Qamar 54:1].
Most of the reports indicate that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite Soorat al-A’laa  and Soorat al-Ghaashiyah , as he used to recite them in the Friday prayer. Al-Nu’maan ibn Bishr said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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)
7). After completion of the secound Rakah the khutbah is given. The congregation can listen to the khutbah or leave.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had finished the prayer, he would move away and stand facing the people, with the people sitting in their rows, and he would address them, preaching and exhorting, with commands and prohibitions. If he wanted to dispatch anyone on a mission he would do so, and if he wanted to enjoin anything he would do that.
There was no minbar on which he would stand, and the minbar of Madeenah was not brought out. Rather he would address them standing on the ground. Jaabir said: I attended Eid prayer with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He started with the prayer before the khutbah, with no adhaan and no iqaamah, then he stood, leaning on Bilaal, and enjoined us to fear and obey Allaah. He preached to the people and reminded them, then he went over to the women and preached to them and reminded them. (Agreed upon. )
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha to the prayer place. He would start with the prayer, then he would go and stand facing the people, with the people sitting in their rows. ( Muslim )
‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Saa’ib said: I attended Eid (prayer) with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and when he had finished the prayer he said: “We are going to deliver the khutbah, so whoever wants to sit and listen to the khutbah, let him do so, and whoever wants to leave, let him go.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. (1155)
Missing some of the Takbirs due to coming late
If a person joining the prayer catches up with the imaam during these extra takbeeraat, he should say “Allaahu akbar” with the imaam, and he does not have to make up any takbeeraat he may have missed, because they are sunnah, not waajib. With regard to what should be said between the takbeeraat, Hammaad ibn Salamah reported from Ibraaheem that Waleed ibn ‘Uqbah entered the mosque when Ibn Mas’ood, Hudhayfah and Abu Moosa were there, and said, “Eid is here, what should I do?” Ibn Mas’ood said: “Say ‘Allaahu akbar’, praise and thank Allaah, send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and make du’aa’, then say Say ‘Allaahu akbar’, praise and thank Allaah, send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)…etc.”
(Reported by al-Tabaraani. It is a saheeh hadeeth that is quoted in al-Irwaa’ and elsewhere).
What if you miss one rakah?
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): “When the iqaamah for prayer is given, do not come rushing. Rather come walking, in a tranquil manner; whatever you catch up with, pray, and whatever you miss, complete it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (636) and Muslim (602). Scholars say this rule also applies to Eid prayer, prayer for rain or any other prayer that is prayed in congregation. So if you miss the first rakah of Eid prayer then you should not say the salam when the Imam says salam and get up saying Allahu Akbar( and regard the rakah you prayed with the imam and your first rakah ) and say the 5 Takbirs and pray the secound rakah.
If one Arrives so late that the Eid prayer has finished and the Imam has started the khutbah then some scholars say he should listen to the khutbah and after the khutbah has finished he can perform the two rakah with the additional Takbirs as shown above.
There are two opinions amongst scholars as to whether a person can pray Eid prayer at home or if he/she has misses the prayer at the musala. The Majority of Scholars (maliki’s, shafis and hambalis) say you can prayer it if you missed it without a khutbah. However the Hanafis say this is not permissible. They say this prayer was to be prayed in congregation , in an open area and not even the Masjid. This opinion was favoured by Sheik ul Islam Ibn Taymiyya and Sheik Uthameen.
There is hadith that when Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) missed the Eid prayer, he would gather his family and his sons, then his freed slave ‘Abdullah ibn Abi ‘Utbah would lead them in praying two rakahs, saying the takbeeraat, like the prayer and takbeeraat of the people of the city