Eid: the Great Muslim Festival, By Murtada Gusau

Imam Murtada Gusau

By Murtada Gusau,

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Alhamdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.

I bear witness that there is no (true) God except Allah alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His abd (Servant) and Messenger.

“O you who have believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Ali-Imraan, 3:102)

“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah through whom you demand things from one another and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever-watchful over you.” (An-Nisaa, 4:1)

“O you who have believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory.”(Al-Ahzaab, 33:70-71)

Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad’s (SAW) guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the Fire.

Servants of Allah!
The two days of Eid are the celebrations for completing the fast of Ramadan (eid al-fitr) and completing the Hajj pilgrimage (eid al-adha). These two days have certain etiquette and traditions we should follow in order to get the most out of them.

First, it is recommended to wear our best clothes for attending the Eid prayer.

Ibn Abbas reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would wear a red-striped cloak on the day of Eid.” (Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat 7808)

Nafi’ reported that:

“Abdullah ibn Umar would wear his best clothes on the days of the two Eids.” (Sunan al-Kubra 5667)

Imam An-Nawawi said:

“The scholars agreed with Ash-Shafi’i that it is recommended to wear the best clothes on the day of Eid.” (al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 5/12)

It is recommended to perform a ritual bath (ghusl) before heading to the Eid prayer.

Nafi’ reported that:

“Abdullah ibn Umar used to perform a ritual bath on the day of breaking fast before he would depart for prayer.” (Al-Muwatta 428)

Imam An-Nawawi said:

“The narrations of Ash-Shafi’i and his companions agree upon the recommendation to perform a ritual bath on the day of Eid for those present at the prayer as well as for those who do not attend.”(al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 5/11)

It is recommended to eat something, specifically an odd number of dates, before heading to the prayer on Eid Al-Fitr. It is forbidden to fast on Eid Al-Fitr and eating some dates affirms this practice.

Anas ibn Malik reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would not proceed on the day of breaking fast until he had eaten some dates.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 910)

However, on Eid Al-Adha (the coming one) it is recommended to wait until after the prayer to eat from the animal that is sacrificed.

Imam ibn Al-Qayyim said:

“As for the day of Eid Al-Adha, the Prophet would not eat until he returned from the place of prayer. Then he would eat from the animal he slaughtered as his sacrifice.” (Zad al-Ma’ad 1/426)

It is recommended to declare the greatness of Allah (takbir) when one leaves his house to perform the prayer until the Imam arrives.

Allah the Most High said:

“Allah intends for you ease and He does not intend for you hardship and He wants you to complete the period of fasting and to exalt Allah for that to which He has guided you, for perhaps you will be grateful.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)

Nafi’ reported that:

“Abdullah ibn Umar would depart to the Eid prayer from the Mosque and he would raise his voice declaring the greatness of Allah until he arrived at the place of prayer. He would continue to exalt Allah until the Imam arrived.” (Sunan al-Kubra 5652)

The traditional formula by which Allah is exalted is the following:

“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La llaha illa Allah, wa Allahu Akbar, wa Lillahil Hamd.”


“Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no God but Allah, Allah is the greatest, and for Allah is all praise.”

My respected people!
The Eid prayer is a voluntary prayer, even though it is highly recommended, so there should not be an announcement (adhan) for the prayer.

Jabir ibn Samurah reported that:

“I performed the Eid prayers with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, several times without announcing the two calls to prayer.” (Sahih Muslim 887)

Imam At-Tirmidhi said:

“This tradition is acted upon by the scholars among the companions of the Prophet and others that there is no announcement for the Eid prayers and neither for any other voluntary prayer.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 532)

It is recommended for men, women, and children to attend the Eid prayer, even the menstruating women. All of the Muslims should attend the prayer unless they have a good excuse.

Umm Atiyyah reported that:

“We were ordered to come out on the day of Eid, even the young girls and menstruating women from their houses, so that we would stand behind the men and declare the greatness of Allah along with them and supplicate to Allah along with them, hoping for the blessings of that day and its purification from sin.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 928)

The Eid prayer is performed slightly different than regular prayers, with seven takbir in the first bowing and five takbir in the second bowing.

Amir ibn Awf reported that:

“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would declare the greatness of Allah (takbir) during the Eid prayer seven times before the recitation in the first bowing and five times before the recitation in the second bowing.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 536)

It is recommended for the Imam to recite in the prayer Surah Qaf and al-Qamar, or Surah al-‘Ala and al-Ghashiyah.

Ubaidullah ibn Abdullah reported that:

“Umar ibn Al-Khattab asked Abu Waqid Al-Laithi what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would recite in the prayer on the two Eids. Abu Waqid said: The Prophet would recite in them, “Qaf by the honored Quran,” (50:1) and, “The Hour has come near and the moon has split.”(54:1) (Sahih Muslim 891)

Nu’man ibn Bashir reported that:
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would recite in the two Eid prayers and in the Friday prayer the chapters, “Glorify the name of your Lord the Most High.” (87:1) and, “Has there come to you the report of the Overwhelming?” (88:1), and if the Eid and Friday prayer were to occur on the same day, he would recite them in both prayers.” (Sahih Muslim 878)

After the prayer, the Imam will deliver a sermon in which he will advise people, encourage them to give in charity, and remind them about Allah.

Ibn Abbas reported that:

“I witnessed the prayer on the day of breaking fast with the Messenger of Allah, Peace and blessings be upon him, and Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. All of them performed the prayer before the sermon, and then he would deliver the sermon.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 936)

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would go out on the days of Eid and lead the prayer. When the Prophet finished the prayer and invoked peace, he would stand and turn to the people while they were sitting in their places of prayer. The Prophet would say: Give in charity. Give in charity. Give in charity.” (Sahih Muslim 889)

Brothers and Sisters!
It is voluntary but highly recommended to attend the sermon. If the Eid prayer occurs on a Friday, then it is not necessary for those who attended it to also attend the Friday sermon.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said that:

“The Prophet made a concession to those who attended the Eid prayer to either listen to the sermon or to depart. He also made a concession not to attend the Friday prayer if Eid prayer falls on a Friday and they attended the Eid prayer.” (Zad al-Ma’ad 1/432)

It is recommended to congratulate one another on the days of Eid and to supplicate for Allah to accept our good deeds during Ramadan and the Hajj season.

Muhammad ibn Ziyad reported that:

“I was with Abu Umamah Al-Bahili and others among the companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and when they would return from the Eid prayer, they would say to each other: May Allah accept good deeds from us and from you.”

Imam Ahmad said that:

“There is nothing wrong if a man says to another man on the day of the Eid celebration: May Allah accepts good deeds from us and from you.” (Al-Mughni 2/129)

It is recommended to return home from the Eid prayers by following a different direction. This is for us to have a greater opportunity to congratulate and supplicate for one another.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported that:

“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would return on the day of Eid by using a different route from which he came.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 943)

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said that:

“It is said that the reason he did this was to greet the people with peace who lived on both fairways, or so that the blessings of his passing would reach both areas, or to fulfill the needs of those among them. It is said that he did so to establish the symbols of Islam in the various roads and paths. Another reason given is that he did so to frustrate the hypocrites when they witnessed the might of Islam and its people. It is said that he did so in order for the various areas to testify to his obedience to Allah. Surely, he who walks to the mosque and the place of prayer will earn this virtue: one step raises him a degree and another erases a sin until he returns home. It is also said, and this is the correct opinion, that all reasons mentioned here are possible as well as other unknown wisdom that always accompanied his actions.” (Zad al-Ma’ad 1/432)

Servants of Allah!
It is also permissible to play halal games, sing, and enjoy amusement on the days of Eid in moderation and within the limits of Islam.

Aisha reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came to my house when two girls were beside me singing songs of Bu’ath. The Prophet laid down and turned his face to the other side. Then, Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly, saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet?” The Prophet turned his face toward him and he said: “Leave them alone.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to the girls and they left. It was the day of Eid and the Abyssinians were playing with shields and spears. Either I asked the Prophet or he asked me whether I would like to watch. I said yes. Then the Prophet made me stand behind him while my cheek was touching his cheek and the Prophet was saying: “Carry on, O tribe of Arfida.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 907)

In another narration, the Prophet said:

“Leave them Abu Bakr. Verily, for every people there is a celebration and this day is our celebration.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3716)

Imam Al-Ghazali deduces from these narrations the following points. Saying:

“All of these hadiths are reported in the two authentic books, Al-Bukhari and Muslim, and they demonstrate that singing and playing on Eid days is not unlawful (Haram). From them we may deduce the following lessons. First, it is permissible to play as the Abyssinians were in the habit of dancing and playing. Second, it is permissible to do this in the mosque. Third, the Prophet’s saying to Arfidah was a command and a request that they should play, so how then can playing during Eid celebrations be considered unlawful? Fourth, the Prophet prevented Abu Bakr and Umar from interrupting and scolding the players and singers, and he told Abu Bakr that this festival was a joyous occasion and that singing was a means on enjoyment. Fifth, on both occasions he stayed for a long time with Aisha, letting her watch the show of the Abyssinians and listening with her to the girls singing. This proves that it is better to be good-humored in pleasing women and children with games than to disapprove of such amusements out of a sense of harsh piety and asceticism. Sixth, the Prophet encouraged Aisha by asking her if she would like to watch. Seventh, singing and playing with the drum during eid festivals is permissible.” (Ihya’ Ulum al-Din 2/278)

My people!
Permission to play, sing, and enjoy amusement on the days of Eid is due to the flexible, lenient, and moderate nature of Islam. In fact, the Prophet specifically wanted the Jews to witness the Muslims enjoying the days of Eid so that they could see the virtues of Islamic legislation, as many of them endured harsher prohibitions in their own religion.

Aisha reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, placed my chin on his shoulder so I could look at the Abyssinians until I felt tired and turned away from them. The Prophet said: “This is for the Jews to know that there is flexibility in our religion. Verily, I have been sent with a lenient, upright religion.” (Musnad Ahmad 24333)

My dear respected Brothers and Sisters!
The eid festivals in Islam are confined to two occasions as mentioned earlier: Eid al-fitr (feast at end of fast) which immediately follows the month of Ramadan, and eid al-Adha (feast of sacrifice) which falls on the tenth day of the month of pilgrimage (Dhul-Hijjah). Both are occasions to thank Allah for having allowed individual and community to fulfill their religions duty.

Therefore, we should do our best to follow the traditions of the days of Eid. We should wear our best clothes, perform a ritual bath, exalt Allah on the way to prayer, attend the Eid sermon, give in charity, congratulate and supplicate for each other, and enjoy our celebration within the limits of Islam.

Observing the Eid Festival and etiquettes of eid al-Adha in summary:

1. Taking a bath on the occasion of the two eid festivals is recommended. This can be done any time after midnight preceding the eid day.

2. A Muslim should dress well and wear a pleasant perfume before leaving for the eid prayers.

3. Before going to pray in the morning on the day of eid al-fitr, eating some dates, or food, is recommended.

4. It is preferable not to eat anything on the day of eid al-Adha until performing the eid prayer in the morning; and then one should return home, slaughter an animal, and prepare the feast meal.

5. Walking to the place of the eid prayer is recommended unless it is too far away to do so, or any reason.

6. The eid congregational prayer is usually not performed in the Mosque, unless it is raining. To perform it in an open square is recommended.

7. It is recommended that the whole Muslim community, with the exception of invalids and the disabled, should gather in the open square for the eid prayer. This includes menstruating women, who may be present at the occasion but who may not participate in the prayer.

8. It is strongly recommended to wait and listen to the eid sermon given by the Imam, but it is not obligatory.

9. When going back to his home after the prayer a Muslim should return by a different road from the one he took when going to the prayer. This will provide him with an opportunity to meet a larger number of Muslims than would otherwise be the case.

10. One should take the initiative and congratulate Muslims on this occasion by saying: Taqabbal Allah minna Wa minkum.

11. The rules of conduct and behaviour in the Mosque must be followed here as well.

12. Fasting on the day of eid al-fitr or during the three days following the day of eid al-Adha is forbidden.

13. A Muslim should dress his children beautifully, buy them sweets, chocolates, and help them to celebrate and experience the occasion. This is necessary to help them identify with their Islamic culture.

14. A Muslim must avoid doing anything that would annoy his family or dampen their good spirits and spoil their good humour on this occasion.

15. Fathers, Islamic leaders, and responsible persons should ensure on such occasions that Islamic law is adhered to, as these festivals are to thank Allah and not to indulge in disobedience to Him. Thus, such things as illegal mixing of the sexes, etc. should not occur, although such happy occasions could easily give rise to the wish to do so.

16. According to some Islamic Scholars, it is obligatory, whether one is a pilgrim or not, that every family who have the means, offer a sacrifice on this occasion. By sacrifice is meant the slaughtering of certain kinds of animals.

17. The sacrificial animal should be chosen from healthy stock. An animal whose ear or tongue has been clipped, whose horns have been broken, or who is crippled, should not be selected; the animal should be more than one year old; if sheep, goat, cow or ox, more than two years; and if camel or she-camel, more than five years.

18. The sacrificial animal is irreplaceable by alms equal to the cost of the animal.

19. The sacrifice may be a sheep, a goat, a cow, or a camel. A cow or a camel serves for seven people, who share with one another the sacrifice.

20. The correct time for slaughtering is upon return from the eid prayer. Therefore, slaughtering should be avoided before that time, since that will not be considered a sacrifice. If one sacrifice is made before the prayer, another sacrifice may be made after the prayer.

21. If a person can slaughter well, then it is recommended that he performs the slaughtering himself, otherwise he should entrust someone to slaughter on his behalf.

22. When slaughtering the sacrifice the knife must be sharp, the animal must face towards the Qibla (Ka’abah) and Allah’s name must be mentioned, saying: Bismillah, Allahu Akbar.

23. A sacrifice may be slaughtered at home, though it is preferable if possible, to perform the slaughtering in the open square where the prayer was performed.

24. Parts of the animal may be eaten or kept by the person making the sacrifice. A large part of it, however, should be given to the poor. Something may also be given to the relatives of the person making the sacrifice.

25. The time of slaughtering sacrifices lasts four days including the first day of the eid festival. But according to Imam Abu Hanifah, it is limited to three days.

26. Selling any part of the sacrifices animal or giving any part of it, including the hide/skin, to the butcher or person who slaughtered it, in payment, is forbidden.

27. It is desirable and highly recommended for anyone who will be sacrificing an animal for eid al-Aha to avoid cutting their hair or nails from the beginning of the month of Dhul-Hijjah until after the animal is slaughtered.

I ask Allah to accept our good deeds and bless our days of Eid, Ameen.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul Hijjah 7, 1437 A.H (September 9, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.