What to Do on Eid al Fitr Night, Day and During the Month of Shawwal

Shawwal: What to Do On Eid Night, Eid Day, and During the Month

ByMufti Taqi Usmani


Thesecond meritorious aspect of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by AllahAlmighty for the celebration of "Eid-ul-fitr", one of the only twoannual festivals recognized by the Shari'ah. This happy day is designed by theShari'ah as a sign of gratefulness by the Muslims on the accomplishment ofRamadan, and as an immediate reward by Allah for those who spent the month ofRamadan in fasting and performing other forms of 'ibadah.
Insteadof commemorating an event from the past, the Shari'ah has prescribed the firstof Shawwal as an annual festival for the Muslims at an occasion when theythemselves accomplish a great 'ibadah. This approach reminds the Muslimsthat they should not rely only on the accomplishments of their ancestors;rather, they should themselves perform meritorious acts to please theirCreator.

Inprescribing the ways to celebrate the happy day, Islam has adopted anotherunique approach. The festivals of other religions or nations normally compriseof some acts of rejoicing and enjoyment. The whole happy day is normally spentin dancing, singing and playing.

Incontrast, Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe the happyday. First of all, it is mandatory on all the well-off Muslims to start theirday by paying "Sadaqat-ul-fitr" to the poor of their society,so that they, too, may enjoy the day along with others, and may not be worriedfor earning their livelihood at least on that day of happiness.

Afterpaying the "Sadaqat-ul-fitr", the Muslims are required toproceed to an open place where they can offer the Eid prayercollectively. In this way, they are supposed to present themselves before theirCreator and offer two rak'ats of this special type of Salah, whichmakes them receive blessings from Allah and start their celebration by thesedivine blessings.

Afterthe Salah also, they are supposed to rejoice the day in a responsiblemanner, without violating the limits prescribed for them and never indulging inthe acts prohibited by Allah.
Keepingthis point in view, we will now discuss specific rules prescribed for observingthe day of Eid-ul-fitr.

The Night Preceding 'Eid-ul-Fitr'

Ithad been the practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that hewould not sleep in the night preceding the day of Eid-ul-fitr. Thisnight has been named in a Hadith as the Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza).Almighty bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Ramadanabiding by the dictates of Shari'ah, and all their prayers in this night areaccepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers in thisnight. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have said:

Whoeverstands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewardsfrom his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die. (IbnMajah)

Tobenefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this nightas he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.

Before Going to Eid Prayer

Thefollowing acts are prescribed as Sunnah at the beginning of the day of'Eid-ul-Fitr before proceeding to the Eid prayer:

  • 1. Towake up early in the morning.
  • 2. Toclean one's teeth with a Miswaak or a brush.
  • 3. Totake a bath.
  • 4. Toput on one's best available clothes.
  • 5. Towear perfume.
  • 6. Toeat a sweet food, preferably dates, before the Eid prayer.
  • 7. Torecite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the 'Eid prayer:AllahuAkbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa LillahiAlhamd

Sadaqat-ul-fitrisan obligation for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silveror its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, orin the form of some goods or commodities beyond one's normal needs. Everyperson who owns such an amount has to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr, not only onbehalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children. The prescribedamount of Sadaqat-ul-fitr is 1.75 Kilograms of wheat or its value inmoney. This amount is prescribed for paying Sadaqat-ul-fitr for oneperson only. If a person has some minor children, the same amount has to bepaid on behalf of each one of them separately. The following points must beremembered concerning the payment of Sadaqat-ul-fitr.

1. Sadaqat-ul-fitris obligated on each adult male or female separately, and the relevantadult person himself is responsible to pay it. The husband is not required topay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of his wife nor is the wife supposed topay it on behalf of her husband. Similarly, a father is not bound to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitron behalf of his adult children or vice-versa. However, if the head of thefamily, by his own free will, wishes to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr for each oneof the members of his family, he should seek their authorization for thatpurpose. In this case the Sadaqat-ul-fitr paid by him will be valid ontheir behalf. If he did not pay the Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of any ofthe members of his family, he will not be responsible for it. Rather, it is theduty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or torequest the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.

2. Itis a Sunnah that the Sadaqat-ul-fitr is paid before performingthe 'Eid prayer. It can also be paid before the 'Eid day, but itis not advisable to delay it up to the performance of'Eid prayer.However, if a person has failed to pay on its proper time, he should pay it assoon as possible, whereby the obligation will stand discharged.

3. The Sadaqat-ul-fitris not necessary on behalf of a child who was born after the break of dawnin the 'Eid day, nor is it necessary to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr onbehalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the Eid day.

4. Sadaqat-ul-fitrshould be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive Zakah.

The 'Eid Prayer

Thesecond obligation on 'Eid day is to perform the 'Eid prayer. Somerules in this respect are mentioned hereunder:

  • 1. The Eidprayer is Wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.
  • 2. The Eidprayer can be performed any time between the Ishraq and Zawal.
  • 3. Itis preferable that the 'Eid prayer is performed at an open field and notin a mosque. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in anopen field, it can also be performed in a big mosque.
  • 4. Itis not advisable to hold the 'Eid prayer in every mosque, rather it ispreferable that the people from several small mosques get together to eitherperform it in an open field or, in its absence, in a big mosque which canaccommodate a large number of people.
  • 5. No NaflSalah can be performed before the 'Eid prayer, neither in one'shome, nor at the place of' Eid prayer. Similarly, Nafl prayercannot be performed after the Eid prayer at the same place. However, itcan be performed after one comes back to his home.
  • 6. The Eidprayer has neither Adhan nor Iqamah.

How to Perform Eid Prayer

TheEid Prayer has two rak'ah to perform in the normal way, with theonly addition of six takbirs, three of them in the beginning of thefirst rak'ah, and three of them just before ruku' in the second rak'ah.The detailed way of performing the 'Eid prayer is as follows:

TheImam will begin the prayer without Adhan or Iqamah. Hewill begin the prayer by reciting takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). Youshould raise your hands up to the ears, and reciting the takbir, yougive a little pause during which you should recite Thana' (SubhanakAllahumma.......)· After the completion of Thana' the Imam willrecite takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times, and after reciting each Takbir(Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, you should bring your hands down and leavethem earthwards. But, after the third takbir, you should set them at thelevel of your navel as you do in the normal prayer.

Afterthese three takbirs the Imam will recite the Holy Qur'an, whichyou should listen quietly. The rest of the rak'ah will be performed inthe normal way.

Afterrising for the second rak'ah, the Imam will begin the recitationsfrom the Qur'an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imamfinishes his recitation, he will recite three takbirs once again,but this time it will be before bowing down for ruku'. At each takbir youshould raise your hands up to the ears, and after saying "Allahu Akbar'bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbirs havebeen called and completed, the Imam will say another takbir forbowing down into the ruku' position. At this takbir you need notraise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku' saying, 'AllahuAkbar'. The rest of the Salah will be performed in its usual way.

Khutbah: The Address of 'Eid-ul-fitr

Inthis Salah, Khutbah is a Sunnah and is delivered after the Salah, unlikethe Salah of Jumu'ah where it is Fard and is deliveredbefore the Salah. However, listening to the Khutbah of 'Eid Salah iswajib or necessary and must be heard in perfect peace and silence.

Itis a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutba byreciting takbirs 'Allahu Akbar' nine times and the second Khutbah withreciting it seven times.

Note:Theway of 'Eid prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslimjurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Shafi'i, have some other ways to performit. They recite Takbir twelve times before beginning the recitations from theHoly Qur'an in both rak'ah. This way is also permissible. If the Imam, beingof the Shafi'i school, follows this way, you can also follow him. Both ways arebased on the practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal

Itis commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet,Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: Whoevercompletes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the monthof Shawwal, it will carry the thawab of fasting for the whole year. (SahihMuslim)

Thishadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month.Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such anenormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are keptin other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also befulfilled.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said: "The heart of the person who remains awake 
(in Ibadat) during the night of Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adhaa will not die on the Day when 
hearts will be dead, i.e. the Day of Qiyaamah."(TIBRANI) 
The nights of both Eids, i.e. the nights preceding the Days of Eid, are auspicious occasions, which should be 
observed with reverence and worship. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ءlayhi Wasallam) said that these nights are 
great occasions of Ibadat and of gaining the proximity and special Mercy of Allah Ta'ala. These holy nights,
should therefore not be allowed to pass by in idleness. Full advantage should be taken of these opportunities by 
offering obedience and Ibadat unto Allah Ta'ala to the best of our abilities. Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness for sins),
Tilaawat (reciting the Quran), Nafl Salaat, Durood, etc. should be profusely offered on these holy nights.
Among the rewards which will be obtained as a result of observing the sanctity of these glorious Eid Nights, the 
greatest reward is the tiding conveyed to us by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ءlayhi Wasallam) in the abovementioned 
Hadith, viz., the heart will not be smitten with terror and fear on the Day of (Qiyamah when the upheavals of that 
Day will be so fearsome that men will appear to be intoxicated. 
To rise as early as possible (in fact much of this night should be spent in Ibaadat). 
-To make Ghusl. 
-To use the Miswaak. 
-To apply Itr (Halaal, non-alcoholic perfume). 
-To wear one's best clothes, ensuring that it conforms with Shariلh (sunnah dress). 
-To eat something sweet (such as dates) before departing for Eid Salaat. 
-To got to the 'Eid Gah' as early as possible. 
-To give 'Sadaqatul Fitr' before leaving for the Eid Gah. 
-To perform Eid Salaat on the 'Eid Gah' rather than the Masjid. There is no harm for aged and the sick to perform 
their Eid Salaat in the Masjid. Rain is also an excuse for performing Eid Salaat in the Masjid. 
-To choose a separate route when returning from the Eid Gah.
-To walk to the Eid Gah. However, there is no harm in using any means of conveyance if the Eid Gah is a 
distance away. 
-To recite the Takbeer while walking to the Eid Gah.
A person who joins the Eid Salaat after the Imam has already recited the Eid Takbeers should recite the 
Takbeers immediately upon entering the Salaat. However, If he enters the Salaat when the Imam is about to go 
into Ruku and he (the latecomer) fears that he will not he able to join the Imaam in the Ruku if he stands and 
recites the Takbeers, then he should instead recite the Takbeers in the Ruku, and forgo the Tasbeeh of the Ruku.
But, while reciting the Takbeers in the Ruku hands should not be raised as is done when reciting the Takbeer
 when in Qiyaam (the standing posture of Salaat). 
If the Imaam emerges from the Ruku and the latecomer has not yet completed the recitation of his Takbeers,
which he had missed, then he should leave off the balance of the Takbeers and join the Imam in emerging from
the Ruku. In this case the balance of the Takbeers, which he could not complete, are waived (Maaf).
If someone missed a Rakaat of the Eid Salaat he should fulfill it as follows: 
After the Imam terminates the Salaat with the Salaams he (the one who missed the Rakaat) should rise and 
perform one Rakaat on his own, reciting Qiraat, the Takbeers should be recited. The rest of the Rakaat is then 
completed as usual.
The Eid Salaat (Eid-ul-Fitr) is performed on the 1st day of Shawaal. It consists of two Rakaats and two Khutbas, 
and is very much like the Jummu'ah Salaat with a few variations.
During Juma Salaat the Khutba precedes the two Rakaats and on Eid day it is in reverse. First comes the two 
Rakaats of prayer and then the two Khutbas. On the best authority of the Hanafi Imams (R.A.), there are six 
additional Takbeers (Allah-u-Akbar) for the Eid Salaats. 3 Takbeers in the first Rakaat and 3 Takbeers in the 
second Rakaat.
After everybody has made 'Niyyat' the Imam recites the 'Takbeer-E-Tahreema', (Allah-u-Akbar) and starts the 
Eid Salaat. Everybody raise their hands to their earlobes and folds them under their navel. Then the imam recites
three Takbeers one after the other with brief intervals. (Allah-u-Akbar). We raise our hands and drop them to our 
sides after the 1st and 2nd Takbeers and after the 3rd Takbeer we place our hands below our navel. The Imam 
then recites the Surah Fatiha and follows it with any passage from the Quraan. We then proceed into Rukoo and 
Sijdahs and return for the second Rakaat.
The Imam recites the Surah Fatiha and a passage from the Quraan and is now ready for the Rukoo. At this stage
 just before going into the Rukoo, he recites the remaining 3 Takbeers with brief intervals. We drop our hands 
each time to our sides. When the Imam recites the 4th Takbeer, we go into Rukoo and then into Sijda. After the 
Thashahhud and Salaam, remain seated and wait for the Imaam to deliver the Khutbahs.
After the two Rakaats, the Imam rises to deliver his Khutba. It is Sunnah for the Imam to start his first Khutba with 
9 Takbeers and the second with 7 Takbeers. He reminds the Muslims of their duties towards Allah, towards 
themselves and their fellow - men. Eid is a day of happiness and joy. This cannot be fully appreciated if animosity,
hatred, old grudges and bygones are left to remain in our hearts.