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4113Eid Mubarak: The fiqh of Eid al-Adha

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  • Zafar Khan
    Feb 1 4:30 AM
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      The 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.[1]

      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 Qur’an 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.’”(Qur’an, 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 one’s 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,
      are many:

      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 one’s 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 one’s 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 one’s hands with each takbir (to
      one’s earlobes), as one does with the opening takbir.

      After each takbir, one lets one’s hands rest at one’s

      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 rakat’s takbirs, except that one leaves
      one’s hands to one’s sides after the third takbir,
      after which one gives one’s normal takbir for going
      into ruku, without raising one’s hands.

      5. This is the sunna way of giving the takbirs in the
      Hanafi school.

      However, if one’s imam performs them differently, one
      follows one’s imam: the sunnah practice has been
      reported in different ways, and the difference between
      the Sunni schools on this is in terms of optimality,
      not validity.

      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 one’s opening takbir and go
      into ruku`. Then, one should recite the additional
      takbirs in ruku` before the tasbihs of ruku`. One does
      not raise one’s 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 one’s 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
      taking place;

      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
      Prophet’s 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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