Eid al-Fitr is around the corner, a festival more than one billion Muslims will celebrate across the globe. One of the major events in Islam, Eid-Al-Fitr means the “Holiday of Breaking the Fast” and Islamically, it is to be celebrated for one day but the festivity goes over three days, with the first day marking the end of the month of Ramadan. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relationship with a spouse from sunrise to sunset throughout the month. They spend most of this month in sincere devotion to the Almighty, praying, performing good deeds and giving charity. While Ramadan is a month of refraining from eating and drinking, Eid is all about celebrating the hard work. Muslims are prohibited from fasting on Eid, therefore, they must eat and drink.
The festival of Eid is celebrated on the first day of Shaw’waal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar after the completion of Ramadan. The Islamic calendar is a lunar one which is why Eid al-Fitr falls on a different date of the Gregorian calendar each year. According to the tradition, the festivities begin only after observing the new moon, meaning that some parts of the world may celebrate this festival on a different date to others.
How Do Muslims Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr
Every culture has a different way of celebrating Eid throughout the world but all of them begin with the morning Eid Prayers in a congregation at a mosque. These prayers usually take place in a large setting like a park, a grand mosque or a stadium. Muslims also give a small amount of money as Zakat Al-Fitr (Fitrana) to the underprivileged. The amount suggested for this charity is a minimum of £5 per person. It is a kind of gift to those poor families who are struggling financially to celebrate Eid, buy new clothes or gifts for their children. The quantity for Zakat Al Fitr prescribed by the Prophet (PBUH) is one Saa’ of food. One Saa’ is equal to four Madd. A Madd is an amount that can be taken up when one puts their hands together. If one translates this into money based on the price of staple food like flour or rice, it is approximately £5. Therefore the amount of Fitrana due for each person is £5. The head of the family may pay the required amount for all the members. Eid is a time of joy and celebration but we must not forget the less fortunate and must include them as well.
According to Hadith, Ibn ‘Umar said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` of dried dates or one Saa` of barley.
[Sahih Bukhari vol. 2, p. 339, no. 579]
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree said: On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves, we used to take out during Allaah’s Messenger’s (PBUH) lifetime one Sa` of grain, cheese or raisins”.
[Sahih Muslim vol. 2, p. 469, no. 2155]
On the first day of Eid, it is customary to take a bath and wear a brand new outfit. The new clothing represents spiritual renewal after a month of self-discipline. People shower their families and loved ones with gifts, wishing them “Eid Mubarak”. Kids especially receive the most attention but presents are distributed liberally amongst friends and relatives.
Read Also: What is Zakat and Why Do Muslims Pay it?
The Sunnah of Eid
According to the traditions, this is how the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions (RA) used to celebrate the day of Eid-Al-Fitr.
- Wake up early in the morning.
- Offer Fajr prayers.
- Prepare for Eid prayers and take care of clothing etc.
- Perform Ghusl (bath).
- Brush your teeth, most preferably use Miswak (Siwak).
- Dress up in your best clothes, whether new or cleaned old ones.
- Use perfume (men only).
- Have breakfast before leaving for prayer ground.
- Pay Zakat-al-Fitr before the Eid prayers.
- Go to prayer ground early.
- Offer Eid prayer in congregation in an open place except when the weather does not permit like in the case of rain, snow, etc.
- Use two separate routes for going to the prayer ground and while returning home.
- Recite Takbir on your way to the prayer ground and until the beginning of Eid Salah.
Things to Know About Eid Al-Fitr
- Eid marks the end of Ramadan and celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the Islamic month after Ramadan.
- The festivities begin only after observing the new moon of Eid which means different parts of the world may celebrate it on a slightly different day.
- The Eid celebration lasts for three days and food plays an important role. The feast typically consists of sweets, dates and all sorts of local delicacies.
- Eid is not only about the end of fasting month but also a time for community bonding and devoting oneself to prayer. Muslims usually visit a grand mosque or a park to pray in a congregation under the open sky.
- Gifts are exchanged between friends, family members and relatives but that’s not it. Muslims are also expected to pay Zakat al-Fitr, a special kind of alms to poor and underprivileged.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordained Zakat ul Fitr to purify the fasting person from indecent words or actions, and to provide food for the needy. It is accepted as zakah for the person who gives it before the Eid prayer; but it is a mere sadaqah for the one who gives it after the prayer.”
[Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]
- Eid is widely celebrated in public and brings out a sense of community. Fairs are held in public spaces and merchants sell a different kind of food, gifts and merchandise.
- Eid is not only for Muslims. In most part of the world, non-Muslims visit the homes of their Muslim friends to join the celebration and exchange gifts.
Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the main festivals in Islam, most auspicious occasion awaited by Muslims across the globe. It is a blessing of Allah Almighty on us and helps us come close to each other as a community, spread joy and love to all. May Allah (SWT) continue to grant us peace and happiness, and guide all believers to the path of righteousness! Ameen.
Read Also: Significance of Hajj in Islam