Eid ul-Fitr is a Muslim festival of great zeal and zest which comes on the 1st of the Islamic month of Shawwal ever year at the end of a month long fasting period of Ramadan. This is the time of great celebration and merriment for the true disciples of the Religion of Peace who have fasted for the entire month of the Holy Ramadan. It is the occasion of tremendous amount of happiness for all the Muslims throughout the world which lasts for first three days of Shawwal. The history of this most auspicious festivity goes back to the days when the Holy Prophet ﷺ first migrated from Makkah to Madina. Narrated by Hazra Anas (R.A):
“The Messenger PBUH came to Madinah, the people had two days in which they used to entertain and amuse themselves. He PBUH asked: “What are these two days?” They said: “We used to amuse ourselves and take pleasure in these two days during the Days of Ignorance (jahiliyyah). The Messenger PBUH of Allah said, “Allah has substituted for you something better than these two; the Eid of Adha (sacrifice) and the Eid of Fitr .” (Abu Dawud)
According to various traditions, first ever Eid ul-Fitr rejoiced by Rasulullah ﷺ and His rightful companions was in 624 C.E in the year Ghazw e Badar was fought and won by the Muslims. It is the time of thanksgiving to the Gracious God and showing gratitude towards Him for giving the believers ability to successfully accomplish fasting in Ramadan and awarding them with immense cheerfulness.
Meaning of the Term Eid Ul Fitr
Eid and Fitr and both Arabic words which mean “Celebration” and “To Break Fast” respectively, thus constitute a great deal of festivity which comes at the end of the process of obligatory fasting. It means that the believers are free to eat and drink all through the day and there is no compulsion on them regarding that matter.
Date of Happening in 2015
Every year, Muslims all over the world commemorate this highly blessed occasion with great enthusiasm. This time around, in 2015, Eid ul-Fitr is expected to arrive on 17th of July in most geographic regions of the world and on 18th in other.
Things to Do during Eid ul-Fitr 2015
Every one of us wants to make this Islamic Carnival memorable through outdoor activities with friends, meeting and visiting the family members and making peace with all. But not each one of us is aware of the true meaning and the rightful way of celebrating this occasion. Following are some of the considerations that every Muslim should know about and try its best to meet their requirements in order to rejoice this amazing short phase of blessings in the most desired manner:
i) Taking Bath and Wearing Neat Clothes
According to Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, every believer needs to get up early in the morning and wash its body thoroughly observing Ghusl (Greater Ablution) on the day of Small Eid. Those who can afford, are also directed to be dressed in new clothes, and those cannot do so, should at least be putting on some tidy garments.
“God is beautiful, and He loves that which is beautiful” (Muslim)
Therefore, we should all appear orderly and neat especially on the day of Eid ul-Fitr in order to be presentable in front of Allah SWT and fellow Muslims.
ii) Giving Zakat al-Fitr to Deprived Ones
Zakat (Charity) has been made obligatory to perform for all those believers who possess enough wealth and property. But there is a specific Zakah that is associated with Eid ul-Fitr only and is called Zakat ul-Fitr.
Narrated by Ibn Umar (R.A):
“Allah’s Apostle PBUH enjoined the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the ‘Id prayer. (One Sa’ = 3 Kilograms approx.)” (Bukhari)
The above mentioned Hadith clearly explains the great importance of the alms that should be given to the poor people on day of Eid ul-Fitr. It is a compulsory religious act and every family head should give stated food items in the Prophetic Saying or pay the needy equal amount of its money. It is also worth noting that Zakat al-Fitr must be paid before observing Namaz e EId in the mosque.
iii) Eating Food Items before Eid Prayer
It is commonly seen on the day of Eid ul-Fitr that in every Muslim house, sweets and desserts are made and served in the family members and neighbors to start the festival in charming way. Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ also used to have some food in the morning before Salah of Eid. Reported by Hazrat Anas (R.A):
“Prophet (PBUH) did not go (to the place of prayer) in the morning on the days of Eid-ul-Fitr till he ate some dates, and he used to eat an odd number.” (Bukhari)
Therefore, none of us should go for prayer without actually having eaten some sweets preferably dates to fulfill the Sunnah of our beloved Messenger ﷺ.
iv) Reciting Takbir en Route to Mosque
It is customary to rehearse the phrases of High Praise of Allah SWT while being on the way towards Masjid for Eid Prayer.
“Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd.”
Translation: “Allah is great, Allah is great. There is no god but Allah. Allah is great, Allah is great. And all praises are for Allah”
These strong words of elevating the Name of the Creator of the universe are testimony of having gratitude towards Him for blessing one with the great event of Eid ul-Fitr.
v) Performing Eid Salah in the Morning
First of all, every Muslim man needs to reach the mosque as early as possible for Namaz e Eidain (Wajib/Strongly Recommended) in congregation. The Imam, before start of Salah, everyone should closely listen to the set format of Prayer being told by the Imam which involves description of two Rakats (units) with additional Takbirs as discussed in the following Hadith:
“The Prophet (PBUH) said the Takbir in first (raka’at) seven (times) before recitation, and in the last, five (times) before recitation.” (Tirmidhi)
It shows that Eid Prayer is a special kind of Namaz and one should follow the said procedure of Sunnah in this regard. Secondly, at the end of the prayer, one should stay at its praying place in order to benefit from the greatest of the blessings of Khutba (Lecture) and offer supplications at the end of Eid Prayer. Ibn Abbas (R.A) narrated:
“I participated in the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer with the Messenger PBUH of Allah, Abu Bakr (R.A), Umar (R.A) and Uthman (R.A), and all of them held Eid prayer before Khutbah, and then the Prophet Muhammad PBUH delivered the Khutbah (sermon).” (Muslim)
The aforementioned Saying of the Messenger ﷺ of God tells us that we should remain silent at our respective places after having offered two Rakats as Imam delivers the Lecture at the end of Eid Salah which is compulsory to listen to.
vi) Using Different Routes To and From Mosque
The entire life of Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ is a great means of inspiration and enlightenment for all the believers in all walks of life. Nobody has ever perfected in achieving the rightful way of performing responsibilities and duties than Him, therefore, it is necessary for Muslims to follow His way in every matter.
There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. [Quran, 33: 21]
Eid is no exception to that: the Messenger ﷺ used to walk different paths while going to and coming back from Masjid for the Eid Prayer. Jabir Ibn Abdullah (R.A) narrated the Holy Prophet ﷺ saying as:
“On the day of Eid, the Prophet PBUH would vary his route, i.e., he would go via one route and come back via a different route.” (Bukhari)
Thus, each and every one of us should try its best to adopt the way of our beloved Prophet ﷺ and use different courses while going towards and coming back from Mosque for Salah of Eid ul-Fitr.
vii) Greeting Every Muslim Fellow
It is highly recommended that every Muslim should greet its Muslim brothers and sisters with open arms on this most auspicious day of celebration. This process must start right from the Mosque when after the Imam has delivered the concluding Sermon and has made supplications to Allah SWT, each one of us should try to hug our fellow attendees by Saying “Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid) to as much as possible. One can also distribute Eid Greeting Cards, send Cheerful Messages, exchange Gifts and share moments of joy with less known people in order to make acquaintances and involve as many Muslims in the festivity as possible.
viii) Expressing Thankfulness to God
One should be highly grateful to the Almighty Lord for He has made it possible for us to go successfully through the month of fasting and has blessed us with tremendous joy of Eid. It means that one is able to effectively carry out all the religious acts during Ramadan which is why Eid ul-Fitr serves as great moment of being grateful to Allah SWT.
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” [Quran, 2: 185]
It shows that we should be thankful to the Gracious God who gave us energy and desire to perform all religious obligations during Ramadan productively and that also for giving us prosperity for being able to help the poor.
ix) Rejoicing the Occasion Humbly
Eid ul-Fitr is that time of the year when Muslims all over the world feel highly cheerful and enjoy the event with great fervor. But most of us do not know the actual meaning of being joyful at this moment: it is because one has been able to go through the Holy month of Ramadan in the most rightful manner. It is the sign of eternal happiness as fasting will lead eventually one to enter the Paradise in the hereafter. Rasulullah ﷺ is narrated by Abu Hurrairah (R.A) to have said:
“Those who fast will have two times at which they will feel happy: When they break their fast, they feel happy for breaking the fast, and when they meet their Lord, they will be happy because of their fast” (Bukhari and Muslim)
According to this Hadith, the gladness after fasting is actually about the great number of rewards that one will receive from the Gracious God as a result of successful completion of Ramadan. Same is the case with celebration during Eid ul-Fitr where one should rejoice the instance of happiness with a view that it is the result of a month long struggle in the way of Allah SWT. Therefore, one should celebrate this occasion within limits and avoid from being excessive in terms of spending money and wasting time.
x) Visiting and Inviting Family and Friends
As the time passes, people are getting more and more away from one another especially the close relatives. Nowadays, one cannot find enough time to pay visit to family and friends regularly which lead to weakening of relationships. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has strongly advised all the believers to look up to their ties of kinship.
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relations with his or her kindred.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Eid is that one day on which everyone has ample amount of time and the desire to involve others in the process of celebration. Therefore, this time around, every one of us should try to remove all the past grievances and invite and pay visit to our relatives, friends and family members in order to share the moments of great joy with them and bring each other closer. One should also be kind enough to children and give them gifts, sweets and pocket money which is generally a tradition among Muslims all over the world.
Eid ul-Fitr 2015 is approaching quickly with every passing Soum (fast). Therefore, it is necessary to know about the essentials of this most promising happening in order to celebrate it in the most desirable fashion.