What Is Eid ul-Fitr?May 11, 2021 2023-08-23 22:33
What Is Eid ul-Fitr?
The blessed month of Ramadan is already coming to an end, subhanAllah! As we are putting in our best effort to try and make the most of these last few days, nights, hours and minutes insha’Allah, we also start looking forward to the celebration that concludes this special month: Eid ul-Fitr! But what is Eid ul-Fitr, and what are some of the Prophetic ﷺ traditions that we are encouraged to follow? Read on to find out!
There are two different celebrations during the Islamic calendar year, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. Both of these celebrations are very important to Muslims around the world, but they are celebrated for different reasons. Eid ul-Fitr literally means “The Festival of Breaking the Fast” and occurs at the end of every Ramadan to mark the end of our fasting. This is a joyous occasion for Muslims because it is a chance to celebrate the end of the month of fasting and worship with friends, family, and the entire community.
For the celebration, communities come together for the special Eid prayer, share meals together and give Zakat al-Fitr. Zakat al-Fitr (almsgiving of breaking the fast) is the obligatory charity due upon every single Muslim (regardless of age, gender or income) at the end of the month of Ramadan, and must be paid before maghrib of the last day of Ramadan, or before going to the Eid prayer on Eid day at the latest. Traditionally, Zakat ul-Fitr is one sa’ (i.e. a volume measure equivalent to four double-handfuls) of a staple food of any given area (for instance, a sa’ of rice, dates, wheat, barley, etc.). Most contemporary scholars have agreed that the payment of Zakat ul-Fitr can be the equivalent value in money for any specific local area. Check with your local mosque and follow their guidelines regarding when to pay and what to give.
Eid ul-Fitr is a special occasion for Muslims to celebrate the end of the blessed month of Ramadan. It is a day during which it is forbidden to fast, to reflect on and be grateful for everyday blessings during and after Ramadan, and to have a chance to purify themselves through almsgiving. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى describes the month of Ramadan in the Quran by stating, “Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.” – Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185.
Eid ul-Fitr starts after maghrib prayer of the last day of fasting, which marks the beginning of the new Hijri month, the month of Shawwaal.
Some of the Prophetic ﷺ traditions of Eid al-Fitr that we find in the narrations include:
- Making ghusl (full-body ritual purification) before the Eid prayer (anytime between maghrib on the last fasting day and the Eid prayer itself).
- Reciting the Takbeeraat as much as possible between maghrib time of the last fasting day until the Eid prayer, and even during the rest of the day of Eid.
- Eating before heading to the Eid prayer – if possible, an odd number of dates as was the tradition of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. In a hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik, it is reported that, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of Eid-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: “The Prophet ﷺ used to eat odd number of dates.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 953, Book 13, Hadith 5). Remember that it is forbidden to fast on the day of Eid.
- Wearing your best clothes while still maintaining Islamic modesty in appearance and behavior, and perfume for men.
- Offering the Eid prayer in community – there might still be restrictions and limitations in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic in many areas around the world, so check with your local mosque and public health agencies and follow their guidelines. Know that if, for whatever reason, you are not able to attend a communal Eid prayer, the prayer can be offered at home as well. Here is a great video with Ustadh Mohamad Baajour from EPIC Masjid in Plano, TX that goes over how to perform the Eid prayer at home and also goes over some of the points above.
- Celebrating with family, friends and communities – depending on Covid-19 pandemic guidelines, official celebrations and family gatherings might be limited but make sure to still wish those around you, including non-Muslims, a happy and joyous Eid even if just with a text, a card or a call!
The month of Ramadan centers around self-control and dedication to bring oneself spiritually closer to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. After a full month of sacrifice and dedication, Eid ul-Fitr is a gift to us to come together with family, friends and communities to enjoy the food and blessings that have been provided by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
EID UL-FITR MUBARAK!