Celebrating Eid in the Way of the Prophet

Celebrating Eid is something many of us take for granted, we can get wrapped up in cultural trappings. What was the Prophet’s way of celebrating Eid?

Twice a year Muslims engage in celebrating Eid. We enjoy celebrating Eid ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan with great feasts. Then we look forward to celebrating Eid ul Adha with the sacrifice and distribution of meat.

Here, Sheikh Bassam explores the concept of celebrating Eid from the Prophet’s guidance:

by Sheikh Bassam Obeid

All praises due to Allah. We ask Allah to shower His blessed peace & prayers on his Prophet Mohammed and upon his companions and family.

Linguistically, Eid is from “repetition” and “return”. Eid was named as such because it comes back and repeats happiness every year (Alfiqh al-Islami 2-362).

The EID prayer was mandated in the first year of the prophet’s migration (1AH). Anas bin Malik said, “The prophet PBUH came to Medina and the people of Medina had two days of celebration. So, he asked them “What are these two days?” They said these are two days that we used to celebrate during the days of pre- Islamic ignorance [Jahiliyah]. So the Prophet said, “Allah has given you something better than that [two pre-Islamic days of celebration]: the day of Adha and day of Fitr.” This hadith is a clear indication that our Ummah cannot celebrate any other holiday other than these two according to all traditional and most modern scholars.

The religious ruling pertaining to the Eid prayer: the Hanafi school’s most authoritative opinion is that it is mandatory [wajib] and the sermon which proceeds is optional [sunnah].

The Hanbali school opinion is that  it suffices if at least a group from the community performs it [fard kifayah]. The Maliki and Shafi’i schools’ opinions is that Eid prayer is a sure/documented practice of the Prophet [sunnah mu’akadah].


There is a consensus among scholars about the time for the Eid prayer: approximately half an hour after sunrise until prior to Dhuhr time.

Imam Shafi’ says that the prophet PBUH once had written to Amru bin Hazm in Najran to, “Pray AlAdha Eid prayer early and delay al-Fitr Eid prayer and remind people.” This is to give people more time to perform the sacrifice  after prayer during the Eid of sacrifice and to give more time in Eid fitr to pay the mandatory fitr zakat prior to the Eid prayer’s start.

But our situation here in the US is rather different. We all congregate from different parts of the area and do not have the day off most of the time. Also traffic can be an exacerbating factor. Therefore, it is favorable to delay both prayers so that people would have the chance to pray. The sacrifice can be in any of the 3 days after the Eid [Ayyam Tashreeq 11,12 and 13th of Dhul Hijjah].

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