20 Questions on Eid al-Fitr
1. So what is Eid?
Eid is a recurrent event, celebrated for its significance and Importance. In that sense, it can be called a holiday. Any day which is commemorated and specifically celebrated on a reoccurring basis is considered an Eid.
2. And what is al-Fitr?
Al-Fitr means to break the fast, and Eid al-Fitr is a celebration of breaking the fast of Ramadan. It is a celebration of abundance after scarcity. Muslims having abstained from worldly pleasures now continue the praise of God and indulge in the blessing he sustained them with. Muslims give thanks to God for the ability to fast the month of Ramadan, the blessings of abundance, and the strength to be able to carry on in the worship of God.
3. Who has to pray it?
Everyone should come out to the Eid gathering, and everyone should pray except a person who is ritually prevented from doing so. Even that person (who is unable to pray) should still attend, make Dua, and share in the blessings of the day, but they shouldn’t approach the area the people pray on.
In a hadith narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim, The Messenger of God said: “Let the women, the youing girls, and the menstruating women attend the Eid prayer, and witness the good and the supplications of the believers. As for the menstruating women, they should stay away from the Musallah (i.e.. should not participate in the prayer itself).”
4. What day do we Pray Eid al-Fitr on?
Eid al-Fitr is prayed on the day immediately after Ramadan. If there is something that prevents the community from praying it on that day (such as rain, snow, a natural disaster, public danger, etc) then it is acceptable to pray it the day after.
5. What if Eid prayer falls on a Friday?
If the Eid falls on a Friday, it is optional to attend Jumu’ah. Abu Hurayrah reported that when this happened once, the Messenger of God said: “Two Eids have coincided on this day of yours; thus whoever wishes, is exempted from attending the Jumu’ah prayer. Yet, we shall hold it.” Friday is the Eid of the week, so when an annual Eid and the weekly Eid are on the same day, you have the option to pray Jumuah (the weekly Eid).
6. Waking up in the morning, what should I do before going to prayer?
It’s important to:
(a) Bathe and observe general standards of hygiene before going out to pray Eid.
(b) Wear clean presentable clothes which are decent and befitting of the day.
(c) Make sure your Zakat al-Fitr is paid.
(d) It is Sunnah to eat something before you go out to pray, to show you are not fasting.
(e) To arrive early to the prayer location.
7. Are there special Eid clothes? What should or shouldn’t I wear?
There are no special Eid clothes other than the nice, presentable clothes you choose for yourself. It is not obligatory or recommended to wear thobes, shalwar Kamees, Turbans, Kufis, or in general “Eastern dress.” You can, but you should wear clothes that are acceptable in your culture, are not flamboyant, and are clean and presentable. Women should not go out in makeup and flashy clothes, should wear Hijab and should observe the confines of modesty normal to a Muslim woman’s apparel at all times.
8. What time should Eid al-Fitr be performed at?
While Eid can be prayed anytime after the sunrise above the horizon until noon, it is better to pray Eid al-fitr a little later, so as to allow people time to pay Zakat al-Fitr.
9. Where should it be prayed?
Eid prayer should be prayed in a public place, somewhere where the general public can see the Muslims and their numbers, and hear them praising God’s name.
10. O Snap! Our community prayed Eid al-Fitr in the Masjid, is that ok?
Yes, it is OK to pray Eid in the Masjid, but it is better and closer to the Sunnah to pray in a park or publically accessible place. While the Sunnah of the Messenger of God was to pray in a Musalla on the outskirts of the city, when the cities expanded and it became difficult for the weak and elderly to leave Ali b. Abi Talib placed people in the Masaajid to lead them in Eid prayer.
11. When I get to the Eid prayer location, what do I do when I get there?
(a) Sit and wait for the prayer to begin.
(b) You should not pray any prayer before the Eid prayer when you get there, nor any prayer after.
(c) It is OK to see friends and greet them,
(d) but it is better to sit and partake in the Takbeer.
12. Ok, So how do I make Takbeer?
The best thing you can say is:
Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar.
Lā ilāha illà l-Lāh wal-Lāhu akbar, Allahu akbar walil-Lāhi l-ḥamd
Other phrases are OK to say as well, as long as they praise Allah and send blessings on the Prophet and the righteous. Anything which is excessively long and unable to follow must be avoided.
13. Ok so I’m here, takbeering and stuff, so what should happen now?
Wait patiently for the Imam to come out for the Prayer. He will generally come out and the takbeer will fade, so pay attention to when he comes out so that you can hear instructions to pray.
14. How is Eid prayer prayed?
Eid prayer is prayed in two Rakah just like Jumuah prayer. There are a few differences however. (a) there is no Adhan or Iqamah before it, (b) there is no Sunnah prayer before or after, (c) in the First Rakah, you make Takbir to start prayer, then follow the Imam with (7) seven extra takbirs – that’s (8) eight in total before al-Fatihah, (d) in the 2nd Rakah, (5) five extra takbirs are made after the takbir for rising from Sujood,
15. I got to the prayer RIGHT when the Imam was sitting, what do I do!?
Join the prayer and complete it just as you would any other prayer. You’ve made it and finished your Eid prayer.
16. Eid Prayers done, what now?
Immediately after the prayer, the Imam will stand to give a sermon (Khutbah). You should sit attentively and listen to this Khutbah. Even though the sermon is not obligatory (meaning if you have to go you can), you should still sit and listen to it. Don’t stand up and start Eid-Mubaraking everyone around you, disturbing the people that do want to listen to the Khutbah. If you must talk, move away from the Musalla so you don’t cause a disturbance to the Imam and those sitting.
17. What should the Khutbah contain?
The Khutbah should contain the Praise of God, prayers for the Prophet and the righteous, and a reminder to be worshipful of God. Anything else relevant to the faith of the community is OK as well.
18. I got to the Eid prayer when the Imam was making Khutbah, I missed the prayer so what do I do?
You should sit and listen to the Khutbah. When it is finished, you can stand as a group and pray the Eid prayer with those that were late as well. Even if you wake up late in your home and absolutely not make it to the Musalla, you can gather your family and pray in the house.
19. Is it OK to say “Eid Mubarak”, “buhat buhat eid Mubarak”, “Kullu 3am wa anto bi kheir”, “Happy Eid”, or similar phrases?
It is acceptable to say these phrases as well as others, such as the phrase “TaqabbalAllahu mina wa minkum,” (May God accept from us all). Greetings and congratulations of this sort are acceptable customs. Customs, as long as they do not contradict known prohibitions or contain any harm then they are acceptable according to all scholars of Islam.
20. So what do I do the rest of the day?
Have fun! The day of Eid is a day for gratitude, remembrance, and celebration. On the day of Eid, one of the companions wanted to forbid two little girls from singing. The Prophet ordered him to leave them and said “Every people have a festive time, and this is our festive time (Eid).” So take some time off, give gifts, go out to a park, visit friends and family, and enjoy your time on Eid day!