Shawwal: What to Do On Eid Night, Eid Day, and During the Month
By Mufti Taqi Usmani
The second meritorious aspect of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of "Eid-ul-fitr", one of the only two annual festivals recognized by the Shari'ah. This happy day is designed by the Shari'ah as a sign of gratefulness by the Muslims on the accomplishment of Ramadan, and as an immediate reward by Allah for those who spent the month of Ramadan in fasting and performing other forms of 'ibadah.
Instead of commemorating an event from the past, the Shari'ah has prescribed the first of Shawwal as an annual festival for the Muslims at an occasion when they themselves accomplish a great 'ibadah. This approach reminds the Muslims that they should not rely only on the accomplishments of their ancestors; rather, they should themselves perform meritorious acts to please their Creator.
In prescribing the ways to celebrate the happy day, Islam has adopted another unique approach. The festivals of other religions or nations normally comprise of some acts of rejoicing and enjoyment. The whole happy day is normally spent in dancing, singing and playing.
In contrast, Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe the happy day. First of all, it is mandatory on all the well-off Muslims to start their day 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 worried for earning their livelihood at least on that day of happiness.
After paying the "Sadaqat-ul-fitr", the Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the Eid prayer collectively. In this way, they are supposed to present themselves before their Creator and offer two rak'ats of this special type of Salah, which makes them receive blessings from Allah and start their celebration by these divine blessings.
After the Salah also, they are supposed to rejoice the day in a responsible manner, without violating the limits prescribed for them and never indulging in the acts prohibited by Allah.
Keeping this point in view, we will now discuss specific rules prescribed for observing the day of Eid-ul-fitr.
The Night Preceding 'Eid-ul-Fitr'
It had been the practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that he would not sleep in the night preceding the day of Eid-ul-fitr. This night 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 Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari'ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers in this night. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have said:
Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die. (Ibn Majah)
To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.
Before Going to Eid Prayer
The following acts are prescribed as Sunnah at the beginning of the day of 'Eid-ul-Fitr before proceeding to the Eid prayer:
- 1. To wake up early in the morning.
- 2. To clean one's teeth with a Miswaak or a brush.
- 3. To take a bath.
- 4. To put on one's best available clothes.
- 5. To wear perfume.
- 6. To eat a sweet food, preferably dates, before the Eid prayer.
- 7. To recite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the 'Eid prayer:Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd
Sadaqat-ul-fitr is an obligation for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, or in the form of some goods or commodities beyond one's normal needs. Every person who owns such an amount has to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr, not only on behalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children. The prescribed amount of Sadaqat-ul-fitr is 1.75 Kilograms of wheat or its value in money. This amount is prescribed for paying Sadaqat-ul-fitr for one person only. If a person has some minor children, the same amount has to be paid on behalf of each one of them separately. The following points must be remembered concerning the payment of Sadaqat-ul-fitr.
1. Sadaqat-ul-fitr is obligated on each adult male or female separately, and the relevant adult person himself is responsible to pay it. The husband is not required to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of his wife nor is the wife supposed to pay it on behalf of her husband. Similarly, a father is not bound to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of his adult children or vice-versa. However, if the head of the family, by his own free will, wishes to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr for each one of the members of his family, he should seek their authorization for that purpose. In this case the Sadaqat-ul-fitr paid by him will be valid on their behalf. If he did not pay the Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of any of the members of his family, he will not be responsible for it. Rather, it is the duty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or to request the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.
2. It is a Sunnah that the Sadaqat-ul-fitr is paid before performing the 'Eid prayer. It can also be paid before the 'Eid day, but it is 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 as soon as possible, whereby the obligation will stand discharged.
3. The Sadaqat-ul-fitr is not necessary on behalf of a child who was born after the break of dawn in the 'Eid day, nor is it necessary to pay Sadaqat-ul-fitr on behalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the Eid day.
4. Sadaqat-ul-fitr should be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive Zakah.
The 'Eid Prayer
The second obligation on 'Eid day is to perform the 'Eid prayer. Some rules in this respect are mentioned hereunder:
- 1. The Eid prayer is Wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.
- 2. The Eid prayer can be performed any time between the Ishraq and Zawal.
- 3. It is preferable that the 'Eid prayer is performed at an open field and not in a mosque. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in an open field, it can also be performed in a big mosque.
- 4. It is not advisable to hold the 'Eid prayer in every mosque, rather it is preferable that the people from several small mosques get together to either perform it in an open field or, in its absence, in a big mosque which can accommodate a large number of people.
- 5. No Nafl Salah can be performed before the 'Eid prayer, neither in one's home, nor at the place of' Eid prayer. Similarly, Nafl prayer cannot be performed after the Eid prayer at the same place. However, it can be performed after one comes back to his home.
- 6. The Eid prayer has neither Adhan nor Iqamah.
How to Perform Eid Prayer
The Eid Prayer has two rak'ah to perform in the normal way, with the only addition of six takbirs, three of them in the beginning of the first 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:
The Imam will begin the prayer without Adhan or Iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands up to the ears, and reciting the takbir, you give a little pause during which you should recite Thana' (Subhanak Allahumma.......)· After the completion of Thana' the Imam will recite takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times, and after reciting each Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, you should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But, after the third takbir, you should set them at the level of your navel as you do in the normal prayer.
After these three takbirs the Imam will recite the Holy Qur'an, which you should listen quietly. The rest of the rak'ah will be performed in the normal way.
After rising for the second rak'ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Qur'an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three takbirs once again, but this time it will be before bowing down for ruku'. At each takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after saying "Allahu Akbar' bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbirs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another takbir for bowing down into the ruku' position. At this takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku' saying, 'Allahu Akbar'. The rest of the Salah will be performed in its usual way.
Khutbah: The Address of 'Eid-ul-fitr
In this Salah, Khutbah is a Sunnah and is delivered after the Salah, unlike the Salah of Jumu'ah where it is Fard and is delivered before the Salah. However, listening to the Khutbah of 'Eid Salah is wajib or necessary and must be heard in perfect peace and silence.
It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutba by reciting takbirs 'Allahu Akbar' nine times and the second Khutbah with reciting it seven times.
Note: The way of 'Eid prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslim jurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Shafi'i, have some other ways to perform it. They recite Takbir twelve times before beginning the recitations from the Holy Qur'an in both rak'ah. This way is also permissible. If the Imam, being of the Shafi'i school, follows this way, you can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal
It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab of fasting for the whole year. (Sahih Muslim)
This hadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month. Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also be fulfilled.
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.
SUNNATS OF EID
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
-To recite the Takbeer while walking to the Eid Gah.
SOME RULES REGARDING EID SALAAT
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.
EID SALAAT FORMULA
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
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.
THE KHUTBAH FORMULA
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.