“Eid” is an Arabic word referring to something habitual, that returns and is repeated.
The festivals which are prescribed in Islam to the Muslims are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and the weekly “Eid” of Jumu’ah. There is no other festival in Islam apart from these three.
The Muslims are distinguished by their festivals. The Prophet’s words “Every nation has its festival, and this is your festival” indicate that these two Eids are exclusively for the Muslims, and that it is not permissible for Muslims to imitate the non Muslims in anything that is a distinctive part of their celebrations, whether it be food, dress, bonfires or acts of worship.
The Muslims have no festivals apart from Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa, because of the hadeeth narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah and the people had two days when they would play and have fun. He said, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We used to play and have fun on these days during the Jaahiliyyah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Allaah 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 Allaah which we must celebrate and understand the aims and meanings behind them.
Rulings and Etiquettes of Eid
No Fasting on Eid:
It is haram to fast on the days of Eid because of the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade fasting on the day of Fitr and the day of Sacrifice (Adhaa). (Reported by Muslim, 827)
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 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 Sahaabah.
A man asked ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) about bathing and he said: Bathe every day if you wish. He said: No, (I mean) bathing in the sense of ghusl (as an act of worship). He said: (Do ghusl) on Fridays, the day of ‘Arafah, the Day of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) and the day of al-Fitr (Eid al-Fitr). Narrated by ash-Shaafa‘i in his Musnad (p. 385); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (1/176).
Wearing best clothes to beautify oneself:
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) found a suit of brocade being offered for sale in the market, so he took it and brought it to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said: O Messenger of Allah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for ‘Eid and for (meeting) the delegations. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “This is only a garment for the one who has no share in the Hereafter.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (906) and Muslim (2068).
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad from Naafi‘ that Ibn ‘Umar used to wear his finest clothes on the two Eids.
He also said:
This adorning oneself on the occasion of Eid applies to the one who goes out to the prayer, the one who stays at home, and even women and children.
Fath al-Baari by Ibn Rajab (6/68, 72)
Putting on the best perfume:
It is narrated in a saheeh report from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to put on perfume on the day of al-Fitr, as it says in Ahkaam al-‘Eidayn by al-Firyaabi (p. 83)
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Maalik said: I heard the scholars describing it as mustahabb (encouraged) to adorn oneself and put on perfume on every Eid.
That was also regarded as mustahabb by Ibn Rajab (6/68)
This beautifying oneself and putting on perfume is only to be done at home in the case of women, in front of their husbands, fellow women and mahrams.
It is Sunnah to recite takbeer on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, for the one who sights the moon, because Allah, may He exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah (i.e. to say Takbeer (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal) for having guided you…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]. Completing the same number of days means completing the fast. Recitation of takbeer ceases when the imam comes out to deliver the khutbah [before the Eid prayer].
On Eid al-Adha, the takbeer begins on the morning of the day of ‘Arafah, until the last of the days of at-Tashreeq, which is the thirteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
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.”
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.”
The practice of making Takbeer from home to the prayer-place, and until the imaam comes in, was well-known among the salaf and was reported by a number of authors such as Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd al-Razzaaq and al-Firyaabi in his book Ahkaam al-‘Eidayn from a group of the salaf. An example of this is the report that Naafi’ ibn Jubayr used to make Takbeer and wondered why people did not do so. He would say to people, “Why do you not make Takbeer?” Ibn Shihaab al-Zuhri said, “The people used to make Takbeer from the time they left their homes until the imaam came in.”
The time for making Takbeer on Eid al-Fitr starts from the night of Eid until the time when the imaam comes in to lead the prayer.
The wording of the Takbeer
Ibn Abi Shaybah reported in al-Musannaf that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say Takbeer on the days of Tashreeq as follows: “Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great… there is no god but Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, and to Allaah be praise).” Ibn Abi Shaybah reported it elsewhere with the same isnaad, but with the phrase “Allaahu akbar” repeated three times.
Al-Muhaamili also reported that Ibn Mas’ood used to say: “Allaahu akbaru kabeeran, Allaahu akbaru kabeeran, Allaahu akbar wa ajall, Allaahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great of All, Allaah is Most Great of all, Allaah is most Great and Most Glorious, and to Allaah be praise).”
Should a Muslim eat before or after going to the eid prayer?
One should not come out to the prayer-place on Eid al-Fitr before eating some dates, because of the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari from Anas ibn Maalik who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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)
(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 not to eat until after the prayer, when one should eat from the meat of one’s sacrifice.
Looking one’s best for Eid
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) 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 Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, buy this and wear it for Eid and when the delegations come.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This is the clothing of the one who has no share of the Hereafter…”
(Reported by al-Bukhaari, 948).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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.
Women, on the other hand, should avoid adornment when they go out for Eid, because they are prohibited from showing their adornment in front of non-mahrem men. A woman who wants to go out is forbidden to wear perfume or to show off in a tempting way in front of men, because she is only going out for the purpose of worship. Do you think that it is right for a believing woman to disobey the One Whom she is going out to worship and go against His commands by wearing attention-grabbing tight and brightly coloured clothes or by putting on perfume and so on?
Ibn Maajah (1295) narrated that 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.
Al-Tirmidhi (530) narrated that 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.
To go out one by one route and come back by another
Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 Allaah 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, because on that Day the earth will speak about everything that was done on it, good and evil. It was also said that this was done in order to demonstrate the symbols and rituals of Islam along both routes; to pronounce the remembrance of Allaah; to annoy the hypocrites and Jews and to scare them by the number of people who were with him; to meet the people’s needs by giving fatwas, teaching them and setting an example for them to follow; to give charity to those in need; or to visit his relatives and uphold the ties of kinship.
Ruling on the Eid prayers
Some of the scholars say that Eid prayers are waajib (obligatory) – this is the view of the Hanafi scholars and of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him). They say that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) always prayed the Eid prayer and never omitted to do it, not even once. They take as evidence the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)” [al-Kawthar 108:2], i.e., the Eid prayer and the sacrifice after it, which is an instruction, and the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 Allaah 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by doing so, should be sufficient motivation.
Women’s attendance at Eid prayers
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).
The ‘young girls’ (‘awaatiq, sing. ‘aatiq) are girls who have reached adolescence or are close to it, or have reached the age of marriage, or are very precious to their families, or who are spared from having to do humiliating work. It appears that they used to prevent these young girls from going out because of the corruption that arose after the first generation of Islam; but the Sahaabah did not approve of that and they thought that the ruling should remain in their time as it had been during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Where it says “My sister was with him” it seems that there is something omitted, probably “the woman said”. [This is reflected in the translation above. Translator].…
“Her jilbaabs” – she should lend her some of her clothes that she does not need.
“Secluded” – they would have a curtain in the corner of the house behind which virgins would stay.
“Menstruating women” – huyyad, sing. haa’id – this may refer either to girls who have reached the age of puberty, or women who are having their period and are not taahir (pure).
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 Allaah 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.
The hadeeth of Umm ‘Atiyah also states the reason for the ruling, which is so that women may witness the blessings of Eid, see the gathering of the Muslims, and share the blessings and purification of this day.
Women should go out in shabby clothes, not adorned or wearing perfume. Menstruating women should not enter the mosque or prayer-place; they can wait outside where they can hear the khutbah.
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 Allaahu minnaa wa minkum (May Allaah 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when people met one another on the day of Eid, they would say, ‘Taqabbal Allaahu minnaa wa minka (May Allaah accept from us and from you).’”
(Ibn Hajar. Its isnaad is hasan. Fath, 2/446).
The practice of exchanging greetings was well-known at the time of the Sahaabah and scholars such as Imaam Ahmad and others allowed it. There are reports which indicate that it is permissible to congratulate people on special occasions. The Sahaabah used to congratulate one another when something good happened, such as when Allaah accepted a person’s repentance and so on.
There is no doubt that congratulating others in this way is one of the noblest kinds of good manners and one of the highest social qualities among Muslims.
At the very least, one can return Eid greetings when they are given to you, and remain silent if nothing is said, as Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If someone congratulates me, I return the greeting, but I do not initiate it.”
Enjoying fine food and drink
It was narrated that Nubayshah al-Hudhali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The days of at-Tashreeq are days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.” Narrated by Muslim (1141).
Permissible leisure activities
There is nothing wrong with taking the family for a trip on land or on the water, or visiting scenic places, or going to a place where there are permissible leisure activities. There is also nothing wrong with listening to some nasheeds that are free of musical accompaniment.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) came in and there were with me two young girls who were singing the songs of Bu‘aath. He lay down on the bed and turned his face away. Then Abu Bakr came in and rebuked me, saying: Singing of the Shaytaan in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)? The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) turned to him and said: “Let them be.” When he turned away I signalled to them and they left. And on the day of Eid, the black men were playing with shields and spears. Either I asked the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) (to let me watch) or he said, “Do you want to watch?” and I said: Yes. So he made me stand behind him, with my cheek against his, and he was saying, “Carry on, O Banu Arfidah!” until I had had enough, then he said, “Have you had enough?” and I said yes, so he said, “Go then.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (907) and Muslim (892)
According to another report, ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “So that the Jews may understand that in our religion there is some leniency, I have been sent with monotheism that is of an easy nature.” Musnad Ahmad (50/366); classed as hasan by the commentators; its isnad classed as jayyid by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah (4/443).
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) included it in a chapter entitled: The concession allowing play in which there is no sin during the days of Eid.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
In this hadith we learn that it is prescribed to be generous to one’s family and children during the days of Eid, with different kinds of things that will bring them pleasure and joy, and allow the body to relax after the effort of worship.
We also learn that expressing joy on Eid is one of the symbols of Islam.
Fath al-Baari (2/514)
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Something else that is done on this Eid is the exchange of gifts, in other words they make food and invite one another, and they get together and celebrate. There is nothing wrong with this custom, because these are the days of Eid. Even Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), when he entered the house of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him – and he narrated the same hadith.
This indicates that one of the ways in which Islam makes things easy for people – praise be to Allah – is that it prescribes for them to express joy and happiness on the days of Eid.
Majmoo‘ Fataawa ash-Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen (16/276).
Warning against wrongdoing
1). Some people believe that it is prescribed to spend the night of Eid in worship. This is a kind of innovation (bid’ah) that is not proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Rather it was narrated in a da’eef (weak) hadeeth which says, “Whoever stays up on the night of Eid, his heart will not die on the day when hearts die.” This hadeeth is not saheeh. It was narrated via two isnaads, one of which is mawdoo’ (fabricated) and the other is da’eef jiddan (very weak). See Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth al-Da’eefah wa’l-Mawdoo’ah by al-Albaani, 520, 521.
2). Visiting graves on the two Eid days.
This is contrary to the purpose of Eid which is to express joy and happiness, and it goes against the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the actions of the salaf. It comes under the general meaning of the Prophet’s prohibition on visiting graves on a specific day and making that like a festival, as the scholars stated.
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The worst of matters are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going-astray.” Narrated by Muslim, 867; al-Nasaa’i, 1578. Al-Nasaa’i’s report adds the words: “And every going astray will be in the Fire.”
3). Some people get together on Eid for the purpose of singing and other forms of idle entertainment, and this is not permitted.
4). 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 Allaah has helped them to complete the month of fasting, not because the fasting ,which some people regard as a heavy burden, is over.
5). Some women going out wearing perfume and makeup, and without veils
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume and passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 5126; al-Tirmidhi, 2783; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 2019.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell whom I have not seen. People with whips like the tails of cattle with which they beat the people, and women who are clothed yet naked, going astray and leading others astray, with their heads looking like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will not enter Paradise nor even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance may be detected from such and such a distance.” Narrated by Muslim, 2128.
6). Listening to singing and haraam things.
Some more important hadith
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The worst of matters are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going-astray.” Narrated by Muslim, 867; al-Nasaa’i, 1578. Al-Nasaa’i’s report adds the words: “And every going astray will be in the Fire.”
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.” (Bukhaari -5514) and Muslim -4621)
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience if it involves sin; obedience is only in that which is right and proper.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7257; Muslim, 1840.
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “They will follow the ways of those who came before them, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit, until even if they entered a lizard’s hole they will follow them.” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said: “Who else?” Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim…
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3512; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 2691.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”