4113Eid Mubarak: The fiqh of Eid al-Adha
- Feb 1, 2004The fiqh of Eid al-Adha
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
And the blessings and peace of Allah be upon His
Chosen Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad, his family,
companions, and followers.
Islam has two major holidays, Eid al-Fitr
(Post-Fasting Festival) and Eid al-Adha.
The word Eid itself is an Arabic word, whose root
connotation is that which comes back, time after
time, and rejoicing. Its particular usage in Islam,
for the two major holidays, is because these two days
are meant to be days of rejoicing.
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him
peace) said, They are days of eating, drinking, and
remembrance of God.[Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih,
an authoritative collection of the sayings of the
In this same spirit, the Quran mentions that, Jesus,
son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for
us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may
be a feast (eid) for us, for the first of us and for
the last of us and a sign from You. Give us
sustenance, for You are the Best of
Sustainers.(Quran, 5: 114)
Eid al-Adha is meant to be a recognition the material
and spiritual favors of God to His creation,
manifested by the ritual slaughtering necessary for
all able Muslims to perform, following the sunna (way)
of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him).
This is a manifestation of total submission to the
command of Allah: one submits ones mind, wealth, and
body to the Command and Pleasure of Allah. On this
day, Muslims all over the world thank God for the gift
bestowed on them.
The lessons of the way of the Prophet Ibrahim, where,
in utter submission to the Divine Command, he was
about to slaughter is very own son, until at the last
moment Allah sent an animal to be slaughtered instead,
Complete submission to the command of Allah, out of
thankfulness, love, and true slavehood. On this day,
able Muslims slaughter an animal, whose meat is
eating, and distributed to family, friends and the
poor, and go early in the day to perform the Eid
Recognizing ones blessings and thanking God for them:
Muslims are encouraged to wear their best clothes,
give gifts (especially to children) and celebrate with
family, friends, and neighbors.
Remembering the plight of the poor and giving in
charity: On Eid day, it is especially recommended to
give in charity.
In this and other ways, Muslims seek to join between
worldly and spiritual celebration, for it is said,
True rejoicing is not (merely) in wearing new
clothes, but in becoming true in ones devotion to
The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said,
For every people there is a feast and this is our
feast.[Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih]
The Fiqh of Eid al-Adha
1. The Eid Prayer is wajib. It consists of two rakats,
with extra takbirs. The wisdom behind the Eid prayers,
like the Eid days themselves, is to thank Allah for
His countless blessings.
2. After the Eid prayer, there is a khutba. It is
necessary to listen to this khutba, and everything
disliked in the Friday khutba is disliked here.
3. In the first rakat of the Eid prayer, one gives 3
additional takbirs after the opening takbir and
opening supplication but before reciting the Fatiha.
One should raise ones hands with each takbir (to
ones earlobes), as one does with the opening takbir.
After each takbir, one lets ones hands rest at ones
One pauses briefly after each takbir.
One places ones hands together, right on left under
the navel, after the third and final takbir.
After this, one recites the ta`wwudh (seeking refuge
in Allah from Satan), says the basmala (Bismillahi
al-Rahman al-Raheem), and recites the Fatiha and
another surah, as normal. The rest of the rakat is the
4. In the second rakat of the Eid prayer, one also
gives 3 additional takbirs. These are given after one
finishes reciting the Fatiha and Surah. They are like
the first rakats takbirs, except that one leaves
ones hands to ones sides after the third takbir,
after which one gives ones normal takbir for going
into ruku, without raising ones hands.
5. This is the sunna way of giving the takbirs in the
However, if ones imam performs them differently, one
follows ones imam: the sunnah practice has been
reported in different ways, and the difference between
the Sunni schools on this is in terms of optimality,
6. It is disliked to perform any prayers before the
Eid prayer, whether at home or at the place where the
Eid prayer is being performed.
7. It is only disliked to perform any prayers after
the Eid prayer at the place where the Eid prayer is
performed; it is not disliked to do so elsewhere.
8. The latecomer, who misses the additional takbirs
with the Imam, should perform the takbirs immediately,
even if the Imam is reciting.
9. If one joins the imam while he is in ruku`, one
should perform the additional takbirs while standing
if one will be able to catch the imam in ruku`.
Otherwise, if one fears not catching the imam in
ruku`, one should give ones opening takbir and go
into ruku`. Then, one should recite the additional
takbirs in ruku` before the tasbihs of ruku`. One does
not raise ones hands in ruku`, however.
10. If one misses a rakat of the Eid prayer, one says
the additional takbirs after the recitation. This is
how it has been established through the practice of
the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and
give him peace).
[from: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Haskafi/Ibn Abidin, Radd
al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Shurunbulali, Imdad
al-Fattah Sharh Nur al-Idah, and other works]
The Sunnas of the Day of Eid:
The sunnas of the Day of Eid al-Adha include:
1. To adorn oneself according to the Shariah, by:
a. Performing ghusl (this is a confirmed sunnah
for the Eid prayer);
b. Brush ones teeth, using a miswak if possible;
c. Apply perfume;
d. Wear the best clothing one possesses, without
excess. White, when available, is optimal;
2. To wake up early, in order to prepare for the
sunnas of the day;
3. To go early to the place the Eid prayer is
4. To delay eating until after the Eid al-Adha
5. To return from the Eid prayer by a different
route to the one taken there, as established by the
Prophets practice (Allah bless him & give him peace);
6. To walk, when reasonably possible without
7. To give the takbirs of Eid.
And Allah alone gives success.
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