Before the advent of Islam in Arabia, there is mention of festivals as well as some others among the Arabs. The Israelites had festivals as well, some directly prescribed in the Torah and others commemorating important days of their history. Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is observed on the first of the month of Shawwal at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims undergo a period of fasting. According to certain traditions, these festivals were initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad from Mecca. Anas reports: When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities at which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. At this, the Prophet remarked that the Almighty has fixed two days [of festivity] instead of these for you which are better than these: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha For Muslims, both the festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are occasions for showing gratitude to Allah and remembering Him, as well as giving alms to the poor. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Eid Mubārak (“Blessed Eid”) or ‘Eid Sa‘īd (“Happy Eid”). In addition, many countries have their own greetings in the local language – in Turkey, for example, a typical saying might be Bayramınız kutlu olsun or “May your Bayram – Eid – be blessed.” Muslims are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year. Typically, practising Muslims wake up early in the morning—always before sunrise—offer Salatul Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer), and in keeping with the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad clean their teeth with a toothbrush, take a shower before prayers, put on new clothes (or the best available), and apply perfume. It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. It is customary to acknowledge this with a small sweet breakfast, preferably of date (fruit), before attending a special Eid prayer (known as salaat). As an obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy (Arabic: Zakat-ul-fitr) before performing the ‘Eid prayer. The following list contains some general rituals:
- To show happiness
- To give as much to charity as possible
- To pray Fajr in the local Masjid
- To go early for Eid salaat
- To read the takbirat in an open field
- To go to the Eid prayer on foot
- While at the open field/praying area, same rules apply as the mosque, nl. do not speak one word other than words that remember Allah or any Islamic terms during the Imam’s lecture as well as before and after Eid Salaat. You can speak once you’ve left the Masjid, ormosque or any other place you were praying.
- SayEid Mubarak to other Muslims
- Muslims recite the followingincantation in a low voice while going to the Eid prayer: Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar. Lā ilāha illà l-Lāh wal-Lāhu akbar, Allahu akbar walil-Lāhi l-ḥamd. Recitation ceases when they get to the place of Eid or once the Imam commences activities.
- Muslims are recommended to use separate routes to and from the prayer grounds.
- Women are encouraged to join Salat of Eid
The Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas like fields, community centres, etc. or at mosques. No call to prayer is given for this Eid prayer, and it consists of only two units of prayer with an additional six incantations. The Eid prayer is followed by the sermon and then a supplication asking for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy, peace and blessings for all living beings across the world. The sermon also instructs Muslims as to the performance of rituals of Eid, such as the zakat. Listening to the sermon at Eid is not required and is optional, a Sunnah i.e. while the sermon is being delivered. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends and acquaintances or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centres or rented halls. Eid gifts, known as Eidi, are frequently given at eid to children and immediate relatives.