By Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi
It is recommended that one give special attention to the day of `Id al-Fitr and the ten days of Dhi l-Hijjah by remembering Allah and glorifying Him. `Abdullah ibn `Abbas reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days.” The Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even jihad in the way of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad, save for the man who leaves with his life and wealth in the path of Allah and returns with neither of them.”(al-Bukhari, k. al-`idayn, b. fadl al-`amal fi ayyam al-tashriq)
`Abdullah ibn `Umar narrates that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
“There is no day more honourable in Allah’s sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allah than those in these ten days. So, say the tahlil لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ الله there is no God but Allah, the takbir اَللهُ أَكْبَر’Allah is the greatest, and the tahmid, اَلْحَمْدُ لله all praise is due to Allah, a lot.”(Ahmad, al-Musnad, 5446)
The most authentic form of takbir is related from `Umar and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and is as follows:
اَللهُ أَكْبَر اَللهُ أَكْبَر لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ الله وَاَللهُ أَكْبَر اَللهُ أَكْبَر وَلله الْحَمْد
Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no God but Allah. Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. All praise belongs to Allah.
These takbirs are wajib after every fard salah in congregation. The time for these takbirs is from the fajr of the day of `Arafah until the time of the `asr on the thirteenth of Dhi l-Hijjah.
Imam Muhammad narrates from `Ali ibn Abi Talib that he would make the takbir from the fajr salah of the Day of `Arafah to `asr on the last day of tashriq. Imam Muhammad also says:
“This is what we adhere to, but Abu Hanifah did not adhere to it; rather, he followed the opinion of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud who used to say takbir from the fajr salah of the Day of Arafah until the `asr salah of the Day of Nahr (Day of Sacrifice) he would say takbir in `asr then he would stop.”(K. al-athar, 54)
Fasting on the Day of `Arafah
It is recommended to fast on the day of `Arafah (9th Dhi l-Hijjah). Abu Qatada narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
“Fasting on the day of `Arafah removes the sins of two years: the previous year and the coming year.”(Muslim, k. al-siyam, b. Istihbab thalathati ayyam min kull shahr…)
However, it is disliked for those doing the hajj to fast the day of `Arafah. `Ikrimah said:
We were with Abu Hurayrah in his house when he narrated to us: “The Apostle of Allah, peace be upon him, prohibited fasting on the day of Arafah at Arafah.”(Abu Dawud, k. al-sawm, b. fi sawm yawm `arafah bi `arafah; al-Nasa’i, k. al-hajj, b. al-nahy `an sawm yawm `arafah)
Forbidden days of fasting
There are five days when the fasting is forbidden: the day of `Id al-fitr, the day of `Id al-adha, and the three days of tashriq (11th, 12th and 13th Dhi l-Hijjah). Abu `Ubayd says:
I attended `Id prayer with `Umar ibn al-Khattab; he started the prayer before the khutbah and said: “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, forbade fasting on these two days: the day of `Id al-fitr, and the day of sacrifice. As for Id al-fitr, that is the day for the breaking of the fast. And as for Id al-adha, that is the day when you have to eat from your sacrifice.”
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “The days of Mina (10th, 11th, 12th and 13th) are the days of eating and drinking.”(al-Bukhari, k. al-sawm, b. sawm yawm al-fitr; Muslim, k. al-siyam, b. al-nahy `an sawm yawm al-fitr wa yawm al-adha)
Nubayshah al-Hudhali reported Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, as saying:
“The days of tashriq are days of eating and drinking.”(Muslim, k. al-siyam, b. tahrim sawm ayyam al-tashriq)
Ibn Ka’b ibn Malik reported on the authority of his father that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, sent him and Aws ibn Hadathan during the days of tashriq to make this announcement:
“None but the believer would be admitted into Paradise, and the days of Mina are the days meant for eating and drinking.”(Muslim, k. al-siyam, b. tahrim sawm ayyam al-tashriq)
Sunnahs of the days of `id
It is sunnah to do ghusl for `Id salahs. Al-Fakih ibn Sa`d narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, took a bath on Fridays, on the Day of `Arafah, and the two `Ids. (Ahmad, al-Musnad, 16766)
Muhammad al-Baqir narrates that `Ali used to take a bath on the day of `Id al-Fitr and on the day of `Id al-Adha before leaving for the salah. (`Abd al-Razzaq, al-Musannaf, iii. 309)
`Abdullah ibn `Umar took a bath on `Id al-Fitr. (Malik, al-Muwatta’, 93)
Abu Ishaq narrated that`Alaqamah used to take a bath before leaving for `Id al-Fitr. (`Abd al-Razzaq, al-Musannaf, iii. 308)
It is recommended that one puts on one’s best clothing and uses perfume before leaving for `Id salah. Hassan ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib says:
“The Messenger of Allah ordered us to wear the best clothes we could find for the two ‘Ids and to apply the best perfume we could find and to sacrifice the best animal we could find.”(al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iv. 256)
`Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Abi Talib narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, would wear a cloak specially designed for him on every `Id. (al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-kubra, k. salat al-`idayn, b. al-zinah li al-`id)
Nafi’ narrates that `Abdullah ibn `Umar used to wear his best clothes on both `Ids.” (al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-kubra, k. salat al-`idayn, b. al-zinah li al-`id)
It is recommended for Id al-Fitr, to eat something before going to prayer, while for `Id al-Adha the eating should be delayed until one returns from the `Id salah and then one should eat from sacrifice. (al-Kasani, Bada`i al-sana`i`, ii. 249)
Anas reports: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, would not go out on the festival of breaking the fast until he had eaten an odd number of dates.” (al-Bukhari, k. al-`idayn, b. al-akl yawm al-fitr qabla al-khuruj)
Buraydah reports: “The Prophet would not go out on the day of breaking the fast, `Id al-Fitr, until he had eaten, and on the day of sacrifice (`Id al-Adha) he would not eat until he had returned (from salah).” (al-Tirmidhi, k. al-jumu`ah, b. fi al-akl yawma al-fitr qabla al-khurðj)
Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab said: “The people were ordered to eat before they went out on the day of breaking the fast.” (Malik, al-Muwatta’ 96)
Imam Muhammad narrates on the authority of Abu Hanifah about Ibrahim al-Nakha`i, that he used to eat on the day of `Id al-Fitr before going for the salah, and did not eat on the day of `Id al-Adha until he returned from the salah. Imam Muhammad says of this: “We adhere to it, and this is the opinion of Abu Hanifah.” (K. al-athar 54)
It is preferable to go to Salat al-`Id by one route and then to return home by another route. Jabir reports: “On the days of ‘Id, the Prophet would take different routes.” (al-Bukhari, k. al-`idayn, b. man khalafa al-tariq idha raja`a yawm al-`id).
Abu Hurayrah says: “When the Prophet went to Salat al-`Idayn, he would return by a different route.” (al-Tirmidhi, abwab al-salah, b. ma ja`a fi khuruj al-nabi salla l-lahu `alayhi wa sallam ila l-`id)
It is a sunnah to pronounce the takbirs on the way to and from the musalla on `Id days.
People should congratulate each other on the days of Id. Jubayr ibn Nufayr reports: “When the Companions of the Prophet met each other on the day of `Id, they would say to each other, تَقَبَّلَ اللهُ مِنَّا وَمِنْكَ May Allah accept it from us and you.” Habib ibn `Umar al-Ansari narrates from his father: “I met Wathilah on the day of `Id and I said, تَقَبَّلَ اللهُ مِنَّا وَمِنْكَ’ May Allah accept it from us and you. Then he said: ‘Yes, may Allah accept it from us and you’.” (al-Tabarani as cited in Majma al-zawa`id, k. al-salah, b. al-tahni`ah bi-l-`id)
According to the Hanafi school any adult, sane Muslim who possesses the nisab (the sum of wealth on which zakah becomes obligatory) must make a sacrifice, which is a sheep or goat, or one share of the seven shares of a cow or camel. Whereas according to the Maliki and Hanbali schools the person responsible for the household can make the sacrifice on the behalf of the whole household.
`Ata ibn Yasar reported: “I asked Abu Ayyub al-Ansari how the sacrifices were done during the time of the Messenger of Allah.” He said, ‘A man would sacrifice a sheep for himself and the people in his household’.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
However, in many households today, it is not uncommon to have two or more people who pay zakah. The best and safest option is for all those who pay zakah to offer their own sacrifice.
The time for the sacrifice is after the `id prayer until before the sunset of the 12th Dhi l-hijjah according to one opinion, or until the 13th Dhi l-Hijjah according to another opinion.
It is strongly encouraged that the one who intends to give the sacrifice does not cut their hair or nails, starting from the sighting of the crescent of Dhi l-Hijjah until the sacrifice is done. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “When the ten days start, and one of you intends to sacrifice, then let him not cut his hair or his nails.” (Sahih Muslim)
The importance of the sacrifice
Allah, Exalted He is, says: “Their flesh does not reach Allah, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him.” (23:38) That sanctification is obtained only by seeing to it that the offering is precious in quality whether it be great or little in quantity. The Apostle of Allah — peace be upon him — was once asked, “In what does the [true] piety of the pilgrimage consist?” He said “In ajj and in thajj.” (al-Tirmidhi, k. al-hajj, b. ma ja’a fi fadl al-talbiyah wa-l-nahr; Ibn Majah, k. al-manasik, b. raf` al-sawt bi-l-talbiyah)
Ajj is the raising of the voice with the talbiya and tajj is the shedding of the blood of a sacrifice. `A’ishah reported that the Apostle of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
“No person does anything on the day of sacrifice that Allah the Most High likes more than the shedding of the blood of a sacrificial animal, for the animal will appear on the Day of Judgment with its horns and hoofs, and the blood is spilt in the presence of Allah, Exalted is He, even before it touches the ground; therefore, be pleased with it.”(al-Tirmidhi, k. al-adahi, b. ma ja’a fi fadl al-udhiyyah; Ibn Majah, k. al-adahi, b. thawab al-udhiyyah; Ibn Majah, k. al-adahi, b. thawab al-udhiyyah…)
Zayd ibn Arqam narrates that the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked:
“O Messenger of Allah, what are these sacrifices? He answered: ‘They are the sunnah of your father Ibrahim.’ Then they asked: “What do we get from them, O Messenger of Allah?” He answered: “For every hair there is a good deed.” They asked: “What about the wool, O Messenger of Allah?” He answered: “For every hair of wool there is a good deed.”(Ibn Majah, k. al-adahi, b. thawab al-udhiyyah).