What to Do On Eid Night, Eid Day, and During the Month

Shawwal – Beginning of the Ashur-ul-Hajj

Shawwal is the first of the three months named as “Ashhur al-Hajj” (i.e. the months of Hajj). Although the major acts of Hajj are normally performed in the first ten days of Zulhijjah, yet the whole period starting from the first of Shawwal up to the 10th of Zulhijjah is held to be the period of Hajj because some acts of Hajj can be performed any time during this period. For example, the Tawaf-ul-qudum, followed by the Sai’ of Hajj cannot be performed before Shawwal, while it can be performed any day after the beginning of Shawwal. Similarly, an ‘Umrah performed before Shawwal cannot be treated as the ‘Umrah of Tamattu: while the ‘Umrah performed in Shawwal can be affiliated to the Hajj, making it a Hajj of Tamattu: Moreover, ihram of Hajj should not be started before Shawwal, because itmakruh. For these reasons these three months have been named as the ‘months of Hajj’ and the month of Shawwal has the distinction of being the first of these.

 

Eid-ul-fitr

The second meritorious aspect of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of “Eid-ul-fitr”, one of the only two annual festivals recognized by the Shari’ah. This happy day is designed by the Shari’ah as a sign of gratefulness by the Muslims on the accomplishment of Ramadan, and as an immediate reward by Allah for those who spent the month of Ramadan in fasting and performing other forms of ‘ibadah.

Instead of commemorating an event from the past, the Shari’ah has prescribed the first of Shawwal as an annual festival for the Muslims at an occasion when they themselves accomplish a great ‘ibadah. This approach reminds the Muslims that they should not rely only on the accomplishments of their ancestors, rather, they should themselves perform meritorious acts to please their Creator.

In prescribing the ways to celebrate the happy day, Islam has adopted another unique approach. The festivals of other religions or nations normally comprise of some acts of rejoicing and enjoyment. The whole happy day is normally spent in dancing, singing and playing.

In contrast, Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe the happy day. First of all, it is mandatory on all the well-off Muslims to start their day by paying “Sadaqat-ul-fitr” to the poor of their society, so that they, too, may enjoy the day along with others, and may not be worried for earning their livelihood at least on that day of happiness.

After paying the “Sadaqat-ul-fitr”, the Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the Eid prayer collectively. In this way, they are supposed to present themselves before their Creator and offer two rak’ats of this special type of Salah, which makes them receive blessings from Allah and start their celebration by these divine blessings.

After the Salah also, they are supposed to rejoice the day in a responsible manner, without violating the limits prescribed for them and never indulging in the acts prohibited by Allah.

Keeping this point in view, we will now discuss specific rules prescribed for observing the day of Eid-ul-fitr.

 

The Night Preceding ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’

It had been the practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that he would not sleep in the night preceding the day of Eid-ul-fitr. This night has been named in a Hadith as the Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza). Almighty bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari’ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers in this night. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have said:

Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die. (Ibn Majah)

To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.

 

Before Going to Eid Prayer

The following acts are prescribed as Sunnah at the beginning of the day of ‘Eid-ul-Fitr before proceeding to the Eid prayer:

1. To wake up early in the morning.

2. To clean one’s teeth with a Miswaak or a brush.

3. To take a bath.

4. To put on one’s best available clothes.

5. To wear perfume.

6. To eat a sweet food, preferably dates, before the Eid prayer.

7. To recite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the ‘Eid prayer:

Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd

 

Sadaqat-ul-fitr

Sadaqat-ul-fitr is an obligation for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, or in the form of some goods or commodities beyond one’s normal needs. Every person who owns such an amount has to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr, not only on behalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children. The prescribed amount of Sadaqat-ul-fitr is 1.75 Kilograms of wheat or its value in money. This amount is prescribed for paying Sadaqat-ul-fitr for one person only. If a person has some minor children, the same amount has to be paid on behalf of each one of them separately. The following points must be remembered concerning the payment of Sadaqat-ul-fitr.

1. Sadaqat-ul-fitr is obligated on each adult male or female separately, and the relevant adult person himself is responsible to pay it. The husband is not required to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of his wife nor is the wife supposed to pay it on behalf of her husband. Similarly, a father is not bound to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of his adult children or vice-versa. However, if the head of the family, by his own free will, wishes to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr for each one of the members of his family, he should seek their authorization for that purpose. In this case the Sadaqat-ul-fitr paid by him will be valid on their behalf. If he did not pay the Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of any of the members of his family, he will not be responsible for it. Rather, it is the duty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or to request the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.

2. It is a Sunnah that the Sadaqat-ul-fitr is paid before performing the ‘Eid prayer. It can also be paid before the ‘Eid day, but it is not advisable to delay it up to the performance of’Eid prayer. However, if a person has failed to pay on its proper time, he should pay it as soon as possible, whereby the obligation will stand discharged.

3. The Sadaqat-ul-fitr is not necessary on behalf of a child who was born after the break of dawn in the ‘Eid day, nor is it necessary to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the Eid day.

4. Sadaqat-ul-fitr should be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive Zakah.

 

The ‘Eid Prayer

The second obligation on ‘Eid day is to perform the ‘Eid prayer. Some rules in this respect are mentioned hereunder:

1. The Eid prayer is Wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.

2. The Eid prayer can be performed any time between the Ishraq and Zawal.

3. It is preferable that the ‘Eid prayer is performed at an open field and not in a mosque. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in an open field, it can also be performed in a big mosque.

4. It is not advisable to hold the ‘Eid prayer in every mosque, rather it is preferable that the people from several small mosques get together to either perform it in an open field or, in its absence, in a big mosque which can accommodate a large number of people.

5. No Nafl Salah can be performed before the ‘Eid prayer, neither in one’s home, nor at the place of’ Eid prayer. Similarly, Nafl prayer cannot be performed after theEid prayer at the same place. However, it can be performed after one comes back to his home.

6. The Eid prayer has neither Adhan nor Iqamah.

 

Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal

It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said:

Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab of fasting for the whole year. (Sahih Muslim)

This hadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month. Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also be fulfilled.

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

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“Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..”
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2 Responses to What to Do On Eid Night, Eid Day, and During the Month

  1. bint Yusuf says:

    assalamu alaikum,

    Eid Mubarak!!! here is another ruling on zakatul fitr:

    All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, Muhammad, his family and all his Companions. The following is a clarification of the rulings concerning Zakah al-Fitr, this great symbol of Islam, for Muslims residing in Britain and other non-Muslim countries.

    1. What is Zakah al-Fitr?
    Zakah al-Fitr is a zakah which is given at the end of the month of Ramadan by every Muslim, small or old, male or female, whether free or a slave.

    2. What is the wisdom behind it?
    This was explained by the great exegete [mufassir] of the Qur’an, the noble Companion, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas when he said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah praise and send peace and blessings upon him, obligated Zakah al-Fitr to serve as purification for the one fasting for any vain speech or indecent behaviour; and also to serve as food for the indigent. Whoever gives it before the prayer (of ‘Id), it is an accepted zakah, whoever gives it after the prayer, it is to be regarded as sadaqah.’1

    3. What is the legal ruling?
    In the view of the majority of scholars, both early and latter generations, it is obligatory. This is due to the saying of Ibn ‘Umar, ‘The Messenger of Allah obligated Zakah al-Fitr as one sa‘ of dates, or one sa‘ of barley upon the slave, the free, the male, the female, the young and the old Muslim. He ordered that it be given before the people leave for the prayer.’2

    4. On whom is it obligatory?
    It is obligatory upon the Muslim, male or female; whether a slave or free, if he finds that he has a surplus of property after having catered for his core needs on the day and night of ‘Id such as food, shelter, clothes etc. He must give this on his own behalf and on behalf of all Muslims who are dependant upon him, whether young or old, free or a slave, provided that the dependant is not able to give the zakah on his or her own behalf. If they are able, it is better that they give on their own behalf due to the generality of the address that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gave to the Muslims.
    With regard to the young and insane, it should be paid on their behalf by their legal guardian from their own wealth if they have wealth, or if not, they take the ruling of those who are unable to pay on their own behalf. If a woman is the head of the household, she must pay on her own behalf and for her dependants as previously explained.
    The meaning of ‘dependant’ is the person on whom it is a duty upon another to provide for. If someone were to give on behalf of a dependant who is a disbeliever, there is no harm in this insha’Allah in accordance to the Hanafi school.

    5. To whom should it be given?
    It is best for Zakah al-Fitr to be given to the poor and indigent. They are the first two categories of the eight to whom Zakah is normally given to. This is due to his (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, ‘…and as food for the indigent’. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that Zakah al-Fitr is not to be given to non-Muslims.
    It is possible for a person to give his and his dependants Zakah al-Fitr to one person just as it is possible that the Zakah al-Fitr of one person be distributed amongst a number of indigent people.

    6. When should it be given?
    It is best that it be given one or two days before the ‘Id prayer, meaning that it should be given on the twenty-ninth day of Ramadan onwards; al-Bukhari records, ‘They would give Zakah al-Fitr a day or two before (‘Id).’
    In the case that one giving Zakah al-Fitr gives money to an Islamic organisation which acts as a representative on his behalf to convert this money to food, there is no harm in giving the value in money to such an organisation a number of days before ‘Id. This is because in this case someone else is acting on his behalf and he is not giving Zakah directly; the person to whom he is giving money is acting as his representative and hence he is not actually giving the Zakah at the time he hands over the money.
    It is best for a person to give it before his ‘Id prayer and that to not delay it till after the prayer due to the saying of Ibn ‘Umar, ‘The Prophet ordered that it be given before the people leave for the prayer.’ Agreed upon.
    If the person is to pray in a Mosque in which a number of ‘Id congregations will be held, and he decides to pray in the second congregation, for example, then the deadline for his Zakah al-Fitr is extended until just before he prays his prayer.

    7. What should be given?
    Zakah al-Fitr should be given as staple food of the country in which one resides. Hence it is possible that it be given as rice in some countries and flour or wheat in others etc. It is also possible to give it as modern day food items, provided that the food can be stored, such as pasta. The proof for this is the hadith of Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri who said, ‘We would give zakah al-Fitr as a sa‘ of food, or a sa‘ of barley, or a sa‘ of dates, or a sa‘ of dry cheese, or a sa‘ of raisins.’3

    8. How much should be given?
    A sa‘ of food in modern day usage translates to approximately 2.25kg.

    9. Can the monetary value of food be given as Zakah al-Fitr?
    The majority of scholars say that this is not permissible whereas the Hanafis say that it is. It is best for a person to not give its monetary value but give it as food because this is what the texts specify. Moreover, the specific reasoning of the text further proves that this is what should be given. Therefore, it is not possible to exercise ijtihad on this issue by claiming that one is looking to the reasoning behind the ruling. Furthermore, Zakah al-Fitr is a very specific form of Zakah and one cannot make an analogy between it and the Zakah of one’s wealth and property: its source is different, the ones upon whom it is obligatory are different and its timing is different. As such, it cannot be said that it has the same purpose and can be associated to it in this manner.

    10. How should one give Zakah al-Fitr in the UK and other similar countries?
    If a Muslim finds one who is deserving of Zakah al-Fitr, he must give them a sa‘ of food. If he does not find anyone, he can give an amount of money which is equivalent to the cost of food in these countries to an Islamic organisation that can distribute it as food in other lands. His intention should be that he is giving this money to a representative who can act on his behalf to buy food. The scholars have allowed this transferral, especially in demanding situations. Our state of affairs here, where it is hard to find the poor and indigent; the difficulty that exists in trying to give it as food; along with the dire need that exists in other lands presents a compelling case for the allowance of food to be distributed in other countries.

    And Allah knows best.

    Like

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