The two 'Eid prayers - Al-Fitr and Al-Adhha - are Sunnahs that are compulsory like obligations. [Indeed, some of the people of knowledge have said that the two 'Eid prayers are obligatory upon the same people as those that the Jumu'ah prayer is obligatory upon, and that it is recommended for women.]
Allah ordered Muslims to perform this prayer when He said:
Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad) Al-Kawthar (a river in Paradise); therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only). [Al-Kawthar 108:1, 2]And Allah Almighty made the success of the believer conditional upon it in this verse:
Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success. And remembers the Name of his Lord, and prays... [Al-A'la 87:14, 15]The Prophet (SAW) always prayed the two 'Eid prayers and he ordered others to do so as well; he (SAW) even ordered women and children to come out and attend. The 'Eid prayer is one of the religious practices of Islam, one of its outward aspects through which faith and piety are manifest.
When the sun rises the length of a spear, Muslims should perform the 'Eid prayer; this means that it can be performed fifteen minutes after the sun rises until midday. It is best to perform Al-Adhha at its earliest time, allowing people to slaughter their sacrifices. And it is best to delay the Fitr prayer, allowing people extra time to pay their Fitr charity, because that is what the Prophet (SAW) did. Jundub, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Prophet (SAW) would pray the Fitr when the sun was up the length of two spears and Al-Adhha when the sun was up the length of a single spear." [Refer to Talkhis Al-Habir, by Ibn Hajr.]
Manners Related To The 'Eid Prayer
- One should perform Ghusl, apply perfume, and wear beautiful clothing. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "For the two 'Eids, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) ordered us to wear the best that we could find, to wear perfume with the best we could find, and to sacrifice with the most expensive that we could find." [Related by Al-Hakim, and there is no harm in its chain.]
"And the Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to wear a stripped robe every 'Eid." [Related bu Ash-Shafi'i, and there is no harm in its chain due to supporting narrators.]
- Before going to the 'Eid-ul-Fitr prayer, one should eat; and after the 'Eid-ul-Adhha prayer, one should eat from the sacrifice, rulings about that are based on the following saying of Buraidah, may Allah be pleased with him, "The Prophet (SAW) wouldn't leave early in the morning on the day of Al-Fitr until he ate, and he wouldn't eat on the day of Al-Adhha until he returned, and then he would eat from his sacrifice." [Related by Tirmithi and others, and declared to be authentic by Ibn Al-Qattan.]
- One should say the Takbir on the nights before both 'Eids, and for Adhha, one should continue to do so until the end of the days of Tashriq - when the sun sets on the thirteenth (of Thul-Hijjah). And one should continue to say the Takbir on Al-Fitr until the Imam comes out for the 'Eid prayer.
The wording of this special Takbir is as follows:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great), Laa Ilaha Illallah (None has the right to be worshiped but Allah). Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great), Wa lillahil-Hamd (And to Allah belongs all praise).It especially becomes significant to say Takbir when one leaves for the place of prayer, and after the obligatory prayers, until the end of the days of Tashriq.
- One should go to to the 'Eid prayer, taking one route, and return, taking another, for that is what the Prophet (SAW) did. Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "On the day of 'Eid, the Prophet (SAW) would take different routes." [Al-Bukhari]
- The 'Eid prayers should be performed in open areas unless rain or something similar prevents that from happening, in which case they may be performed in a Masjid, as has been related in the Sahihs.
- One should congratulate his brother Muslim, saying, "May Allah accept from me and you." When the Companions would meet one another on the day 'Eid, they would say, "May Allah accept from us and from you." [Recorder by Ahmad with a good (Jayyid) chain of narration.]
- There is no harm on these days to eat and drink abundantly and to play those games or sports that are permissible in Islam. On the day of 'Eid-ul-Adhha, the Prophet (SAW) said:
The days of Tashriq are days for eating and drinking and remembering Allah. [Muslim]Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "When the Prophet (SAW) came to Al-Madinah, its inhabitants had two days that they would play in. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,
Indeed, Allah Almighty has replaced those two days with that which is better than them: the day of Al-Fitr and the day of Al-Adhha. [Related by An-Nasa'i with an authentic chain.]On the day of 'Eid, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, scolded two girls for reciting poetry in the house of 'Aishah, and the Prophet (SAW) said:
O Abu Bakr, indeed every people have an 'Eid (festival holiday), and indeed today is our 'Eid. [Al-Bukhari]
People go out to the place of the 'Eid prayer, declaring Allah's Greatness. When the sun rises a few meters, the Imam stands and leads the people in a prayer of two units that has neither Athan nor Iqamah. Then after making the final Taslim, he should rise and give a sermon to the people, dividing it into two by sitting for a brief period of time during it. He should admonish, advise, and remind the people, interposing Takbirs during the sermon. He should open his sermon by praising and extolling Allah, and if it is 'Eid-ul-Fitr, he should advise people to pay the Fitr charity, clarifying for them some of its rulings. And if it is 'Eid-ul-Adhha, he should encourage people to follow the Sunnah of the sacrifice (Udhhiyah), clarifying the minimum age of the animal for it to be correct. When he finishes his sermon, he and the people leave, since there is neither a Sunnah prayer before it or after it. The exception is the person who comes late and misses the 'Eid prayer, for he should pray four units. Ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Whoever misses the 'Eid prayer, then let him pray four, but as for him who catches a portion of the prayer with the Imam, even if it is only the Tashahhud, he should stand up after the Imam makes Taslim and perform two units of prayer..." [In Al-Fatwa (4:507) compiled by Dr. 'Abdullah At-Tayyar and Shaikh Ahmad bin Baz, his eminence Shaikh 'Abdul-'Aziz bin Baz said, "If one misses the 'Eid prayer, he should make it up for just as he does for the obligatory prayers."]
[Credit goes to 'What Must Be Known About Islam', a comprehensive book, compiled by Muhammad bin 'Ali Al-Arfaj, translated by Darussalam, global leaders in Islamic books.]