As the name suggests, Eid-ul-Fitr means “the feast of breaking the fast.” It is a festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and it is celebrated on 1st Shawwal. This joyous day serves as a reward for those who observe fasts and occupy themselves in the worship of Allah during the blessed month of Ramadan.
How should a person begin the day of Eid-ul-Fitr?
As Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the very next day at the end of Ramadan, therefore a person should begin their day by carrying on the practise of offering Tahajud prayer, the obligatory prayer of Fajr and the recitation of the Holy Quran. However, one should not fast on this day. One should take a shower, wear good clothes, perfume and offer Eid prayer in congregation which is offered in an open area or the mosque before the sun begins to set. Hazrat Anas(ra) narrates,
“The Messenger(sa) of Allah never proceeded [for the prayer] on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates.” He also relates that, “The Holy Prophet(sa) used to eat an odd number of dates.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
Hazrat Jabir(ra) bin Abdullah relates,
“On the day of Eid, the Holy Prophet(sa) used to return [after offering the Eid prayer] using a different route from that which he went by.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
How is Eid prayer offered?
In the first rakat [unit of prayer] of Eid-ul-Fitr, after reciting thanaa, the imam says 7 takbirat [Allahu Akbar] in a loud voice before commencing with the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah. The imam and followers should raise their hands to their ears and drop them at each time. After the takbirat, ta‘awuz and bismillah, the imam recites Surah al-Fatihah and a portion of the Holy Quran aloud and completes the rakat as is the sunnah.
On the second rakat, instead of 7, the imam says 5 takbirat and then completes the second rakat as mentioned above. The imam delivers a sermon after the Eid prayer as is delivered before the Jumuah prayer.
Hazrat Abdullah(ra) bin Umar narrates,
“The Holy Prophet(sa) used to offer the prayer of Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr and used to deliver the khutba after the prayer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
Hazrat Ibn Abbas(ra) narrates ,
“The Holy Prophet(sa) offered a two-rakat prayer on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and did not pray before or after it. Then he went towards women along with Bilal(ra) and asked them to pay alms and so they started offering their earrings and necklaces [in charity].” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
Is it obligatory to offer Eid prayer?
The Eid prayer is Sunnat-e-Mu‘akidah (a practice that the Prophet(sa) told us to follow). Everyone should come for Eid prayer. Even women having their period should also come to the mosque, but they should not take part in the prayer and instead, occupy themselves in the remembrance of Allah.
How can we celebrate Eid in the best possible way?
A person should celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by keeping in view the lessons learned during the month of Ramadan. All those goals and aims that are achieved during the blessed days of fasting should be made part of one’s life. One should remember everyone in their happiness, especially those who are poor and needy. One should not only maintain their previous good deeds but in fact progress in spiritual development and attain the pleasure of Allah.
Highlighting the importance and spirit of Eid, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V(aa) states:
“Today, young and old, men and women have gathered together because this day holds great significance. Islam has decreed the day of Eid as a day of happiness in which Muslims should join together with their loved ones…
“Today, if Ahmadi Muslims wish to celebrate Eid in the true sense, then where they seek to attain the blessings of true Eid by bringing about a moral reformation, they should also make every effort to free the world from injustices and should engage fervently in prayer to free the Muslim world from the disorder and troubles it is engulfed in.” (Eid-ul-Fitr Sermon, Baitul Futuh Mosque, London, 19 July 2015)