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MUSLIM FESTIVALS


There are only two annual festivals in Islam. They are: (1) The Festival of Fast Breaking (‛Eed-ul-Fitr), which is celebrated on the first day of the lunar month of Shawwaal, and (2) the Festival of Sacrifice (‛Eed-ul-Adha), which is celebrated on the tenth day of the lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah.

 

Table of Contents

 

The Festival of Fast Breaking (‛Eed-ul-Fitr)

Festivals represent apparent rituals of religion. When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found that the people there had set aside two days in the year for fun. He asked them, ‘‘What are these two days?” “We used to play and have fun on these days before the advent of Islam,” they replied. The Prophet then said, “Allah has given you two better days: ‛Eed-ul-Fitr and (‛Eed-ul-Adhaa.” Sunan Abu Dawud: 1134, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2021. Explaining that festivals represent the religion of their followers, he once observed, “Every nation has a festival, and this is our festival.” Sahih Al-Bukhari: 909; Sahih Muslim: 892

 

‛Eed-ul-Fitr falls on the first day of the lunar month of Shawwaal, marking the end of the month-long Ramadaan fast. Just as fasting during the month of Ramadaan is an act of worship, celebrating ‛Eed-ul-Fitr is also an act of worship whereby Muslims express their gratitude to Allah for enabling them to perform this act of worship and for completing His grace upon them. As the Qur’an states, “You should complete the number of days and proclaim Allah’s greatness for the guidance He has given you so that you will be thankful.” Quran Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:185 [1]

 

The Festival of sacrifice (‛Eid-ul-adha)

Eid al-Adha is the tenth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the last (twelfth) month of the Hijri or Islamic calendar. It is, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The greatest day in the sight of Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, the Day of Sacrifice . . .” Abu Dawud 1765; Saheeh al-Jaami‘, 1064 It is also the greatest day of Hajj, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us. al-Tirmidhi, see Saheeh al-Jaami‘, 8191

 

The reason why it is described as the greatest day of the year is that it combines so many acts of worship which are not combined on any other day, such as the Eid prayer, offering the sacrifice, reciting Takbeer (glorifying Allaah), and widespread remembrance of Allaah. For the pilgrims in Makkah, it also includes offering a sacrifice, stoning the pillars representing Shaytaan (the devil), shaving the head (for men only; women merely cut a little off their hair), and performing Tawaaf (circumambulation of the Ka‘bah) and Sa‘ee (running between the two hills of Safaa and Marwa). [2]

 

What Should Be Done On the ‛Eed Day?

  1. Offering the ‛Eed Prayer: Islam stresses that the ‛Eed prayer should be performed. In fact, it was one of those practices which the Prophet observed consistently and even encouraged not only men but also women and children to observe. Its time starts after the sun has risen to the length of a spear above the horizon (just over 1 meter) and lasts until it has crossed the meridian.
     
  2. Paying Zakaat-ul-Fitr: Allah has enjoined zakaat-ul-fitr (literally, the purifying obligatory charity of the breaking of the fast) on anyone who possesses a day’s and night’s worth of food. It consists of one saa‛of the most common staple food of the country, be it rice, wheat or dates, and must be given to the Muslim poor and needy so that there would be no person in need of food on the ‛Eed day(Meaning Eid ul Fitr).

    Time of Its Payment: Zakaat-ul-fitr is to be paid from the time the sun sets on the last day of Ramadaan up to the time before offering ‛Eed prayer. It may, however, be paid a day or two before the ‛Eed day as well if any organization is collecting Zakatul fitr and giving to Muslims.

    The amount of zakaat-ul-fitr is one saa‛of the usual foods tuffs of the country, be it rice, wheat or dates. One saa‛is equivalent to approximately 3 kg (other opinions are that it can be 2.7kg based on the items).

    A Muslim must pay it for himself and all the persons he is legally bound to support, such as his wife and children. It is recommended to pay it on behalf of an unborn child.

    The Prophet enjoined it as, “atonement for any obscene language used while observing the fast and for providing food for the needy. It would be accepted as zakaat from those who pay it before the ‛Eed prayer, but it would be considered as mere sadaqah (voluntary charity) for those who pay it after the ‛Eed prayer.” Sunan Abu Dawud: 1609
     
  3. Muslims on this occasion: spread joy and merriment to all family members, young and old, men and women, providing all possible types of lawful amusements. They wear their best and most beautiful clothes and eat and drink, as doing so is an act of worship. Fasting on this day is strictly forbidden.
     
  4. They recite the: takbeer on this special occasion on the night preceding the ‛Eed day and on the way to the ‛Eed prayer, and continue doing so until the Imaam appears for the‛Eed prayers starts, expressing gratitude to Allah for enabling them to complete the fast of Ramadaan. The Qur’an states, “He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful.” Quran Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:185

 

The manner of Takbeer on Eed day

 Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, walillaahil-hamd (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest; there is no god worthy of worship except Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest; all praise belongs to Allah).

 

One may also recite the following: Allaahuakbaru kabeeran, wal-hamdu lillaahi katheeran, wa subhaan-Allaahi bukratan waaseelaa (Allah is the Greatest;His is the abundant praise, and glory be to Him day and night).

 

Men generally pronounce the Takbeer aloud, but without disturbing other people; women, however, pronounce it quietly.

 

See also

Allah; Eid ul fitr; Eid ul Adha; Dhulhijjah; Ramazaan; Zakatul fitr; Fasting virtues and wisdom; Last ten nights of RamazaanVoluntary Fasting;

 

References

[1] [3] http://www.newmuslim-guide.com/en/your-fast/60

[2] http://islamqa.info/en/628

 

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