After a month fasting and supplication, Muslims across the globe celebrate one of their only two days of celebration in the year: The day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
It is a joyous occasion, not to commemorate the end of the holy month of Ramadan, but to thank Allah for giving us the power and opportunity to please him, make the most out of his blessings, and end the month with an increased sense of Taqwa (fear of Allah), fortitude, spiritual awareness, and cleansing of the Nafs (inner-self).
The day of Eid ignites a very special feeling in our hearts.
Whether it be the many young girls roaming around bazaars the night before for that special outfit, or families getting together to decorate their homes, the buzz and happiness is contagious.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) held the day of Eid in very high regard, and left us many practices to follow for the day before, during, and after Eid.
The Night Before Eid
The rewards of Ramadan do not end after we have broken our last fast for the month. Although the next day is a joyous occasion to celebrate, some consider it Sunnah to spend the night before Eid in contemplation of the deeds we have done during Ramadan. It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would not sleep the night preceding the day of Eid-ul-Fitr but would spend it in worship. Known as the Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza), this is the night where Allah accepts all of our duas (supplications) so it is recommended to perform Nafl (optional) prayers during this night. After a month of worship, its the pay-day we’ve been awaiting for our many good deeds.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 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 (Day of Judgement).” (Ibn Majah)
The Day of Eid
1. Cleaning yourself
The Prophet and his companions performed Ghusl (ritual bath) and applied perfume on the day of Eid. Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote: “The Prophet (pbuh) had a special (Yemeni) cloak that he would wear on the two Eids and Jumu’ah.” It is also Sunnah to clean your teeth with a Miswaak.
2. Eating before going out to pray
The Prophet (pbuh) would not go out on the morning of Eid-ul-Fitr until he had eaten some dates of which he would eat an odd number (Al-Bukhari). Part of this practice is to emphasize that it is forbidden to fast on the day of Eid.
3. Saying Takbeer before prayer
We must remember Allah (swt) on the day of Eid. The Prophet and his companions would chant the following supplication before and after Eid Prayer:
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha ilal lahu wal allahu akbar, allahu akbar wa lilla hil hamnd.”
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, there is no god but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and to Allah belongs all praise.
Every Muslim should attend the Eid prayer. Even women who are unable to pray due to their menstrual cycle are encouraged to attend the celebration, and sit in the prayer area.
Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Baqarah, Ayat 185: “You shall complete the number (of days) and you may glorify God for His guiding you, and that you may be thankful.”
4. Paying Eid-Ul-Fitr
After a month of devotion to God, the day begins with another selfless and beautiful action of paying the “Sadaqut-ul-Fitr” before prayer to the poor so they may also enjoy the blessed event. Many Muslims do this action in advance so that the poor may be given new clothes and presents on the day of Eid.
4. Offering congratulations after prayer
Going up to a Muslim Brother or Sister you may have never met or seen before to congratulate them on completing the month of Ramadan is perhaps the most beautiful part of the day of Eid. So try to embrace as many people as possible – you might even make a friend!
5. Wearing your best clothes
Everyone knows that you should put on your best clothes on the day of Eid. But this should not be the highlight of your day – try to provide the less fortunate Muslim brothers & sisters with a special Eid outfit of their own.
6. Going to prayer on one route and returning on another
Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah narrated that on the day of Eid, the Prophet (pbuh) would vary his route (Al-Bukhari). It was said that the reason for this was so that the two routes would testify for him on the Day of Resurrection, for the earth will speak on this day and say what was done on it – both good and bad.
The Days After Eid
Other than continuing to regularly read the Quran, attending prayer in the masjid more often, and keeping our good habits, it is strongly recommended to keep six fasts in the month after Ramadan (Shawwal). The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan and then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the reward of fasting for the whole year.” (Sahih Muslim). This doesn’t mean that you have to fast immediately after the day of Eid – you may start on the second or even third day of Shawwal if you prefer.
May Allah (swt) accept all of our efforts in the month of Ramadan, and help us carry our good habits forward. We ask Him to bless this Eid-ul-Fitr and allow us to maintain our connection with the deen till the day we return to Him.