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‘Eid al-Fitr and our Obligations
‘Eid al-Fitr, the festival of fastbreaking, falls on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th lunar month, which follows the month of Ramadan. It celebrates the achievement of every Muslim who has successfully completed a month of fasting for Allah.
Sadaqa-tul-fitr. Muslims express their gratitude to Allah by distributing alms among the poor. This is called Sadaqa-tul-fitr, the Charity of Breaking the Fast. This is an obligatory act. Every individual Muslim who on the day of Eid has goods more than his needs, whether the property is for trade or not and whether a year has passed on it or not must give Sadaqa-tul-fitr. He must give it for himself and for each of his dependents. It is preferable to distribute the Sadaqa-tul-Fitr after Fajar prayer and before the Eid prayers, but if not given before it must be paid soon afterwards. It is permissible to pay Sadaqa-tul-fitr during Ramadan. Even those Muslims who, due to an acceptable excuse, could not fast should still give Sadaqa-tul-fitr. Dates, raisins,wheat or its flour, barley or its flour and cottage cheese may be given as Sadaqa-tul-fitr. It is also permissible to give the equivalent amount of money instead of the foodstuff. The amount due is equivalent to one Sa’ or 2 kilograms (4.4 lb.) of the foodstuff selected. This year (1423H/2002C.E.) it may be anywhere between about $3.00 and $15.00 per person. We suggest at least $5.00 per person. Those people who are eligible to take Zakat are also eligible to take Sadaqa-tul-fitr.
Eid-ul-Fitr. Before going to the prayer, it is Sunnah to eat something. The Prophet Muhammad used to eat an odd number of dates before proceeding. On the way to the Eid prayer and while waiting for it and on the way back one should recite the Takbir: Allah hu Akbar, Allah hu Akbar, La ilaha illullah, wal lah hu akbar, Allah hu Akbar, wa lil lah hil hamd. (Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and all praise belongs to Him.). It is the Prophet's tradition to go to the prayer by one way and return by another. The following acts are sunnah on the day of Eid-ul-fitr: to clean teeth with miswak; to take a bath; to adorn oneself and dress in the best clothes that are available that are permitted by Sharî'ah; to use perfume; to rise early and go to the prayer grounds early; to walk to the prayer grounds if possible and recite the takbir.
Procedure of the Eid Prayer. Eid-ul-Fitr prayer consists of two rak'ah in congregation. After the niyah (Navaito-an osalli rakaatil wajibe salate Eid il Fitri maa takbiratin-wajibah) the Imam and the followers say Allahu Akbar and fold hands just like in any other prayer and recite quietly . Then the congregation says Allah hu Akbar three times every time raising hand to the ears and dropping them except the last time hands are folded and then the Imam recites Surah-e-Fatihah and another surah. Then the congregation performs ruku and sujud as in other prayers. This completes the first rak'ah. During the second rak'ah the Imam recites sura-e-Fatihah and another sura and then says Allahu-Akbar four times. The first three times hands are raised to the ears and dropped. The fourth time the congregation goes to ruku without raising the hands to the ears. Alternately the congregation rises up from the first rak'ah and folds hands, then the Imam says five takbirs, followed by the congregation, every time raising the hands to the ears and dropping them except the fifth time when hands are folded. The Imam recites Surah-e-Fatihah and another surah and the second ruku and sujud are performed as in other prayers.
After the Eid prayer is completed, there is a khutbah, or sermon, during which the Imam speaks of the sadaqa-tul-fitr, thanks Allah on the completion of the Ramadan fasting, and preaches about other essential matters. The khutbah is given in two parts as during Jum'ah. The rules of Jum'ah khutbah also apply to the Eid khutbah. The khutbah is sunnah and should given in Arabic and be listened to quietly before leaving the prayer ground.
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar : Allah's Apostle used to offer the prayer of Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr and then deliver the khutbah after the prayer. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book XV, Ch. 7:77).
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah : On the day of Eid the Prophet used to return (after offering the Eid prayer) through a way different from that by which he went. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book XV, Ch. 24:102).
Whoever missed the Eid prayer should pray two rak'at; and similarly the women and those who are at home and in the villages should do so, as is confirmed by the statement of the Prophet : "O Muslims this is our Eid." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book XV, Ch. 25).
Eid Celebrations. In Muslim countries, the day is generally observed as a holiday. It is customary to prepare special dishes and to visit friends and relatives. All family members and relatives often receive a new set of clothes for the occasion and amongst poorer Muslims it may be the only new clothing they receive all year. Children often receive gifts or money from family and friends.
Aishah reported that Abu Bakr came to her and there were with her two girls on Adha days who were singing and beating the tambourine and the Messenger of Allah had wrapped himself with his mantle. Abu Bakr scolded them. The Messenger of Allah uncovered (his face) and said: Abu Bakr, leave them alone for these are the days of Eid. And Aishah said: I recapitulate to my mind the fact that once the Messenger of Allah screened me with his mantle and I saw the sports of the Abyssinians, and I was only a girl, and so you can well imagine how a girl of tender age is fond of watching the sport. (Sahih Muslim, 2:1940).
Published: November 2002
Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756