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How to Pray Eid Salah

by in Soul on 13th June, 2024

Every year, Eid comes around and some of us might end up standing behind the Imam to pray and find ourselves in Ruku when everyone else around us is still standing! We perform the Eid prayer twice a year, and yet we can still make the same mistakes. Here is an ultimate guide to Eid Salah that covers it all, from the origins and dates of Eid to the details of the Eid prayer to help you finally get it right!

What is Eid and how many types are there?

Islam has two specific days of celebration each year: Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. These are days of festivities, worship, generosity and spending time with family. 

Anas ibn Malik reported, The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) arrived in Medina during two days in which they were celebrating. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We would celebrate these two days in the time of ignorance.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah has replaced these two days with two better days: Eid-al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1134)

Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated after the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and it is translated to mean “the festival of breaking the fast”. Eid-al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar, and it is translated to mean the ‘festival of sacrifice’

How do we know when it is Eid?

The day of Eid-al-Fitr is determined when the crescent moon for the month of Shawwal is sighted on the 29th night or 30th night of Ramadan. 

Eid-al-Adha is the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah, so when the crescent for this month is sighted for that month following the month of Dhul Qadah, the tenth day afterwards is celebrated as Eid.

How is Eid celebrated?

Both Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha are celebrated by Muslims by wearing their best clothes, greeting each other and most importantly performing the Eid prayer in the morning. 

Each Eid also has specific acts of worship related to it. For example, on Eid-al-Fitr, Muslims pay an obligatory charity called Zakat-al-Fitr. This helps the less fortunate Muslims in our community to have enough food to celebrate Eid too. The required amount for Zakat-al-Fitr is the equivalent of one saa’ (approximately 2.5kg) of staple food such as rice or grains for each member of the family, children and elderly included. This usually equates to the cost of a single meal and needs to be paid before Eid prayer. Watch this step-by-step guide on paying Zakat-al-Fitr.

Ibn Abbas reported: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) obligated Zakat-al-Fitr as purification of the fasting person from vain talk and misbehaviour, as food for the poor. Whoever pays it before the Eid prayer, it is accepted as Zakat. Whoever pays it after the Eid prayer, it is part of voluntary charity.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1609)

On Eid-al-Adha, Muslims sacrifice an animal to commemorate the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail (AS) when commanded to do so. Allah (Exalted is He) provided a ram to sacrifice in place of Ismail (AS), and this sacrifice continues as part of our Eid celebrations.

The Eid Prayer

The Eid prayer is a special congregational prayer performed in the morning of Eid after sunrise, but before the time of zawaal, the time in which the sun has reached its highest point in the sky. Everyone is encouraged to join the community at the musalla (the prayer space).

Eid Salah for Women

The Prophet (ﷺ) commanded all women, young and old, to come out to the Eid prayer as well, including the menstruating women but told them to keep away from the musalla itself.

Umm ‘Atiyyah reported, “We were ordered to come out on the day of Eid, even the young girls and menstruating women from their houses. We would stand behind the men and declare the greatness of Allah along with them, and supplicate to Allah along with them, hoping for the blessings of that day and its purification from sin.” (Sahih Bukhari 971)

Is Eid Prayer Obligatory?

  • According to the Hanafi Madhab, Eid salah is a duty for each Muslim and is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation) for the men, meaning it is not permissible for them to miss it. This view is favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him).
  • In the Maliki and Shafiʽi schools, it is considered to be Sunnah Al-Mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah) but not mandatory.
  • In the Hanbali Madhab, it is a communal obligation (fard kifaya).

Before the Eid prayer

There are certain acts of Sunnah associated with the Eid day that you can read about in our article Sunnah Acts of Eid-al-Fitr.

It is also recommended to recite the Eid Takbeer from the night of Eid up until the Imam comes forward for the Eid prayer. On the way to the masjid, takbeerat should be recited softly. 

The Eid Takbeer is:

الله أكبر ، الله أكبر ، لا إله إلا الله ، والله أكبر ، الله أكبر ، ولله الحمد

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. La Ilaaha Illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil Hamd

“Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, Allah is most Great there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise.”

How is the Eid prayer performed?

The Eid prayer is two units of prayer (rak’ahs) and here are the steps to perform it:

First Rak’ah:

  • Begin with the opening takbeer and then recite the opening dua for the prayer.
  • The Imam will then recite additional 3, 6, or 7 takbeers afterwards depending on your madhab.
  • In the Hanafi Madhab there are 3 additional takbeers, Shafi’i madhab is 7 additional takbeers and the Maliki and Hanbali madhab is 6 additional takbeers.
  • After the final takbeer, the Imam recites Surah al-Fatiha and a portion of the Qur’an.
  • The rest of the rak’ah is completed as normal.

Second Rak’ah:

  • The second rak’ah begins with one takbeer and then an additional 3, 4 or 5 takbeers depending on the madhab.
  • The Hanafi school begins with 1 takbeer, followed by the recitation of the Qur’an and then three additional takbeers.
  • In the Shafi’i and Maliki schools there is 1 takbeer to begin the second rak’ah, followed by 5 additional takbeers, and then the recitation of the Qur’an.
  • In the Hanbali school of thought 5 takbirs are performed in the second Rak’ah before Surah al-Fatiha.
  • The rest of the rak’ah is then completed as normal.

It is recommended to recite Surah Qaf and Surah al-Qamar in the Eid salah as this Hadith states:

‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar reported that (his father) ‘Umar b. Khattab asked Abu Waqid al-Laithi what the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite on ‘Eid-al-Adha and ‘Eid-al-Fitr. He said,

“He used to recite in them ‘Qaf. By the Glorious Qur’an’ (Surah Qaf), and ‘The Hour drew near, and the moon was rent asunder’ (Surah al-Qamar).” (Sahih Muslim 891)

Can I Pray Eid Salah at Home?

  • The Hanbali, Shafi’i and Maliki schools permit Eid prayers at home, whether individually or in congregation.
  • According to the Hanafi school, it is neither recommended nor a sunnah to perform Eid prayer at home by individuals if you miss the communal prayer. The ruling is that it is a communal event similar to the Friday prayer that needs to fulfil the same conditions as the latter, unless there are special circumstances such as during Covid lockdowns.

While there is a difference of opinion on how this prayer is performed, no madhab is definitively more correct than the other in this regard, as these groups of scholars have come to these conclusions through ijtihad (striving and reasoning) and their extensive knowledge of the religion. Try to check what is the madhab or convention being followed at your local mosque so you can follow along with ease, this is usually explained beforehand. 

We hope this guide to Eid was beneficial and useful. May Allah (SWT) grant us a joyous Eid!

Amaliah Team

Amaliah Team

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