By: Dr Badri Najib Zubir
‘Eid in Islam, as is well-known, falls on two days in a Hijri calendar year, one on 1st of Shawwal (‘Eid al-Fitr) and the other on 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah (‘Eid al-Adha). As expected, the Prophet (Peace be upon him), whom Allah describes as the ‘guide’ and the ‘light’, never failed us in letting us know how we should approach ‘Eid and what we should do on the day.
- The Prophet reminds us to recite takbir right from the Maghrib time on the night of the ‘Eid. The period for this special ‘Eid takbir ends with the imam starting the ‘Eid prayer. This takbir is not ‘tagged’ to the customary prayers, thus any time during the specified period is a right time for the takbir. There is no specific number that the Prophet guided us with concerning this takbir, so the more, the better in sha’ Allah. The takbir for this occasion is as follows:
الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر، لا إله إلا الله هو الله أكبر، الله أكبر ولله الحمد
- The Prophet reminded us that on the night before the ‘Eid day, we should not forget to do qiyam al-layl. A few pointers on qiyam al-layl are in order:
- The Prophet has informed us that those who perform qiyam al-layl on the night of each of ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adha, will be rewarded with a soft heart that is alive with inclinations to attain closeness to Allah instead of going away from Him.
- Many people tend to think that qiyam al-layl is waking up during the wee hours of the night to perform tahajjud prayers, but the door to Allah is wider than that. Indeed, the last third of the night is a special time in which Allah forgives those who seek His forgiveness and reward abundantly those who offer any form of ‘ibadah. However, the starting time for qiyam al-layl on any day is actually after the performance of the ‘Isha’ prayer. That is why tarawih too is part of qiyam al-layl.
- It is highly commendable for a person to wake up during the last third of the night before the dawn of the ‘Eid day, to do istighfar, read the Qur’an, read some translations or tafsir to understand the meaning of the verses, recite adhkar and even better, perform any prayer, be it salat al-tawbah, salat al-wudu’, salat al-hajah or salat al-tahajjud.
- It would be prudent, however, to put ourself in a safe spot by performing some ‘ibadah after performing the ‘Isha’ prayer so that whether we wake up pre-dawn or not, we would have performed qiyam al-layl on the night of ‘Eid al-Fitr and be accepted among those whose hearts will be softened.
- Performing the ‘Eid prayer prayer on the day of ‘Eid. Although the most preferred way to perform this prayer is to come together at one place in a community and the prayer is offered in a big congregation, it is not forbidden for individuals to perform it at their homes or other places individually and in small congregations. Thus, with the MCO or CMCO being implemented:
- we should perform the ‘Eid prayer this year individually or in a small congregation with family members at home.
- it is encouraged that we prepare ourselves in the best possible manner before performing the prayer, by (i) taking bath, (ii) brushing the teeth, (iii) wearing a nice attire, (iv) applying some perfume so that we stand before Allah in our prayer in the best shape possible. All this can be found in the practice of the Prophet who never taught anyone anything without setting an example with his own practice.
- The Prophet show the practice of greeting a person on the ‘Eid day by:
- saying “May Allah accept [the deeds] from us and from you.”
- (تَقَبَّلَ اللهُ مِنَّا وَمِنْكُمْ )
- spreading the feeling of happiness among people on this day. This can be done with whatever means that are within the boundaries of the Shari‘ah. Thus it can be in the form of providing food to the needy, or having conversations with relatives that we don’t regularly meet, exchanging gifts (e.g. cards) and so on.
All in all, it must be remembered that ‘Eid al-Fitr is a day for celebrating our efforts in gaining closeness to Allah and attaining the attributes of taqwa and therefore we should strive to make our ‘Eid day free from being tainted with any form of disobedience to Allah, the Merciful, the Benevolent.
Dr. Badri Najib Zubir is an associate professor in Department of Arabic Language and Literature. He is currently the Director of Academic Programmes & Student Management, IIUM Academy of Graduate & Professional Studies,