Manners, etiquette, and traditions for Eid
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
In the name of Allah, the Gracous, the Merciful
The two days of Eid are the celebrations for completing the fast of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) and completing the Ḥajj pilgrimage (Eid al-Adha). These two days have a certain etiquette and traditions we should follow in order to get the most out of them.
It is recommended to wear our best clothes for attending the Eid prayer.
Ibn Abbas reported:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَلْبَسُ يَوْمَ الْعِيدِ بُرْدَةً حَمْرَاءَ
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would wear a red-striped cloak on the day of Eid.
Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 7609, Grade: Jayyid
أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ رضي الله عنه كَانَ يَلْبَسُ فِي الْعِيدَيْنِ أَحْسَنَ ثِيَابِهِ
Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would wear his best clothes on the days of the two Eids.
Source: al-Sunan al-Kubrá lil-Bayhaqī 6143, Grade: Sahih
Al-Nawawi commented on these traditions, writing:
وَاتَّفَقَ الْأَصْحَابُ مَعَ الشَّافِعِيِّ عَلَى اسْتِحْبَابِ لُبْسِ أَحْسَنِ الثِّيَابِ فِي الْعِيدِ
The scholars agreed with Al-Shafi’i that it is recommended to wear the best clothes on the day of Eid.
Source: al-Majmū’ Sharḥ al-Muhadhdhab 5/8
It is recommended to perform a ritual bath (ghusl) before heading to the Eid prayer.
أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ كَانَ يَغْتَسِلُ يَوْمَ الْفِطْرِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَغْدُوَ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى
Abdullah ibn Umar used to perform a ritual bath on the day of breaking fast before he would depart for prayer.
Source: al-Muwaṭṭa’ 428, Grade: Sahih
Al-Nawawi commented on these traditions, writing:
وَاتَّفَقَتْ نُصُوصُ الشَّافِعِيِّ وَالْأَصْحَابِ عَلَى اسْتِحْبَابِ غُسْلِ الْعِيدِ لِمَنْ يَحْضُرُ الصَّلَاةَ وَلِمَنْ لَا يَحْضُرُهَا
The narrations of Al-Shafi’i and his companions agree upon the recommendation to perform a ritual bath on the day of Eid for those present at the prayer as well as for those who do not attend.
Source: al-Majmū’ Sharḥ al-Muhadhdhab 5/11
It is recommended to eat something, specifically an odd number of dates, before heading to the prayer on Eid al-Fitr. It is forbidden to fast on Eid al-Fitr and eating some dates affirms this practice.
Anas ibn Malik reported:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يَغْدُو يَوْمَ الْفِطْرِ حَتَّى يَأْكُلَ تَمَرَاتٍ
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would not proceed on the day of Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 953, Grade: Sahih
However, on Eid Al-Adha it is recommended to wait until after the prayer to eat from the animal that is sacrificed.
Ibn al-Qayyim writes:
وَأَمَّا فِي عِيدِ الْأَضْحَى فَكَانَ لَا يَطْعَمُ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ مِنَ الْمُصَلَّى فَيَأْكُلُ مِنْ أُضْحِيَتِهِ
As for the day of Eid al-Adha, the Prophet would not eat until he returned from the place of prayer. Then, he would eat from the animal he slaughtered as his sacrifice.
Source: Zād al-Ma’ād 1/426
It is recommended to declare the greatness of Allah (takbir) when one leaves his house to perform the prayer until the Imam arrives.
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Allah intends for you ease and He does not intend for you hardship, and He wants you to complete the period of fasting and to exalt Allah for that to which He has guided you, for perhaps you will be grateful.
Surat al-Baqarah 2:185
أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ رضي الله عنه كَانَ يَغْدُو إِلَى الْعِيدِ مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ وَكَانَ يَرْفَعُ صَوْتَهُ بِالتَّكْبِيرِ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ الْمُصَلَّى وَيُكَبِّرُ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ الإِمَامُ
Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would depart to the Eid prayer from the mosque and he would raise his voice, declaring the greatness of Allah until he arrived at the place of prayer. He would continue to exalt Allah until the Imam arrived.
Source: al-Sunan al-Kubrá lil-Bayhaqī
6129, Grade: Sahih
The traditional formula by which Allah is exalted is the following:
اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illa Allah, wa Allahu Akbar, wa Lillahi Hamd.
Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no God but Allah, Allah is the greatest, and for Allah is all praise.
The Eid prayer is a voluntary prayer, even though it is highly recommended, so there should not be an announcement (adhan) for the prayer.
Jabir ibn Samurah reported:
صَلَّيْتُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْعِيدَيْنِ غَيْرَ مَرَّةٍ وَلَا مَرَّتَيْنِ بِغَيْرِ أَذَانٍ وَلَا إِقَامَةٍ
I performed the Eid prayers with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, several times without announcing the two calls to prayer.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 887, Grade: Sahih
Al-Tirmidhi commented on this tradition, writing:
وَالْعَمَلُ عَلَيْهِ عِنْدَ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَغَيْرِهِمْ أَنَّهُ لَا يُؤَذَّنُ لِصَلَاةِ الْعِيدَيْنِ وَلَا لِشَيْءٍ مِنْ النَّوَافِلِ
This tradition is acted upon by the scholars among the companions of the Prophet and others, that there is no announcement for the Eid prayers, and neither for any other voluntary prayer.
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 532
It is recommended for men, women, and children to attend the Eid prayer, even the menstruating women. All of the Muslims should attend the prayer unless they have a good excuse.
Umm ‘Atiyyah reported:
كُنَّا نُؤْمَرُ أَنْ نَخْرُجَ يَوْمَ الْعِيدِ حَتَّى نُخْرِجَ الْبِكْرَ مِنْ خِدْرِهَا حَتَّى نُخْرِجَ الْحُيَّضَ فَيَكُنَّ خَلْفَ النَّاسِ فَيُكَبِّرْنَ بِتَكْبِيرِهِمْ وَيَدْعُونَ بِدُعَائِهِمْ يَرْجُونَ بَرَكَةَ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَطُهْرَتَهُ
We were ordered to come out on the day of Eid, even the young girls and menstruating women from their houses. We would stand behind the men and declare the greatness of Allah along with them, and supplicate to Allah along with them, hoping for the blessings of that day and its purification from sin.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 971, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi
The Eid prayer is performed slightly different than regular prayers, with seven takbir in the first bowing and five takbir in the second bowing.
‘Amir ibn ‘Awf reported:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَبَّرَ فِي الْعِيدَيْنِ فِي الْأُولَى سَبْعًا قَبْلَ الْقِرَاءَةِ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ الْقِرَاءَةِ
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would declare the greatness of Allah during the Eid prayer seven times before the recitation in the first cycle and five times before the recitation in the second cycle.
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 536, Grade: Sahih
It is recommended for the Imam to recite in the prayer Surat Qaf and al-Qamar, or Surat al-‘Ala and al-Ghashiyah.
Abu Waqid al-Laythi reported:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقْرَأُ فِي الْأَضْحَى وَالْفِطْرِ ق وَالْقُرْآنِ الْمَجِيدِ وَاقْتَرَبَتْ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would recite in the Eid prayers, “Qaf, by the majestic Quran,” (50:1) and, “The Hour approaches and the moon is cleft asunder,” (54:1).
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 891, Grade: Sahih
Al-Num’an ibn Bashir reported:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقْرَأُ فِي الْعِيدَيْنِ وَفِي الْجُمُعَةِ بِسَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى وَهَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ قَالَ وَإِذَا اجْتَمَعَ الْعِيدُ وَالْجُمُعَةُ فِي يَوْمٍ وَاحِدٍ يَقْرَأُ بِهِمَا أَيْضًا فِي الصَّلَاتَيْنِ
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would recite in the two Eid prayers and in the Friday prayer the chapters, “Glorify the name of your Lord the Most High,” Quran (87:1) and, “Has there come to you the news of the overwhelming?” (88:1). If the Eid and Friday prayers occurred on the same day, he would recite them in both prayers.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 878, Grade: Sahih
After the prayer, the Imam will deliver a sermon in which he will advise people, encourage them to give in charity, and remind them about Allah.
Ibn Abbas reported:
شَهِدْتُ الْفِطْرَ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ يُصَلُّونَهَا قَبْلَ الْخُطْبَةِ ثُمَّ يُخْطَبُ
I witnessed the prayer on the day of Eid al-Fitr with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, may Allah be pleased with them. They performed the prayer before the sermon, then would deliver the sermon.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 979, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi
Al-Nawawi commented on this tradition, writing:
فِيهِ دَلِيلٌ لِمَذْهَبِ الْعُلَمَاءِ كَافَّةً أَنَّ خُطْبَةَ الْعِيدِ بَعْدَ الصَّلَاةِ
In this is evidence for the way of the majority of scholars, that the Eid sermon is after the prayer.
Source: Sharḥ al-Nawawī ‘alá Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 6/171
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would go out on the days of Eid and lead the prayer. When the Prophet finished the prayer and invoked peace, he would stand and turn to people while they were sitting in their places of prayer.
If he needed to dispatch an expedition, he would mention it to the people. If he had another need, he would order them regarding it. The Prophet would say three times:
Give in charity.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri added:
وَكَانَ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ يَتَصَدَّقُ النِّسَاءُ ثُمَّ يَنْصَرِفُ
The women would give the most of those who gave, then the Prophet would return.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 889, Grade: Sahih
It is voluntary but highly recommended to attend the sermon. If the Eid prayer occurs on a Friday, then it is not necessary for those who attended it to also attend the Friday sermon.
Ibn al-Qayyim writes:
وَرَخَّصَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِمَنْ شَهِدَ الْعِيدَ أَنْ يَجْلِسَ لِلْخُطْبَةِ وَأَنْ يَذْهَبَ وَرَخَّصَ لَهُمْ إِذَا وَقَعَ الْعِيدُ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ أَنْ يَجْتَزِئُوا بِصَلَاةِ الْعِيدِ عَنْ حُضُورِ الْجُمُعَةِ
The Prophet made a concession to those who attended the Eid prayer to either listen to the sermon or to depart. He also made a concession not to attend the Friday prayer if Eid prayer falls on a Friday and they attended the Eid prayer.
Source: Zād al-Ma’ād 1/432
It is customary to congratulate one another on the days of Eid and to supplicate for Allah to accept our good deeds during Ramadan and the Ḥajj season.
Muhammad ibn Ziyad reported: I was with Abu Umamah al-Bahili and others among the companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. When they would return from Eid prayer, they would say to each other:
تَقَبَّلَ اللَّهُ مِنَّا وَمِنْك
May Allah accept good deeds from us and from you.
Source: Tārīkh al-Kabīr lil-Bukhārī 1/116, Grade: Jayyid
Imam Ahmad commented on this tradition, saying:
وَلَا بَأْسَ أَنْ يَقُولَ الرَّجُل لِلرَّجُلِ يَوْمَ الْعِيدِ تَقَبَّلَ اللَّهُ مِنَّا وَمِنْك
There is nothing wrong if a man says to another man on the day of Eid: May Allah accept good deeds from us and from you.
Source: al-Mughnī 2/295
It is recommended to return home from the Eid prayers by following a different direction. This is for us to have a greater opportunity to congratulate and supplicate for one another.
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported:
كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ عِيدٍ خَالَفَ الطَّرِيقَ
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would return on the day of Eid by using a different route from which he came.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 986, Grade: Sahih
Ibn al-Qayyim commented on this tradition, writing:
فَقِيلَ لِيُسَلِّمَ عَلَى أَهْلِ الطَّرِيقَيْنِ وَقِيلَ لِيَنَالَ بَرَكَتَهُ الْفَرِيقَانِ وَقِيلَ لِيَقْضِيَ حَاجَةَ مَنْ لَهُ حَاجَةٌ مِنْهُمَا وَقِيلَ لِيُظْهِرَ شَعَائِرَ الْإِسْلَامِ فِي سَائِرِ الْفِجَاجِ وَالطُّرُقِ وَقِيلَ لِيَغِيظَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ بِرُؤْيَتِهِمْ عِزَّةَ الْإِسْلَامِ وَأَهْلَهُ وَقِيَامَ شَعَائِرِهِ وَقِيلَ لِتَكْثُرَ شَهَادَةُ الْبِقَاعِ فَإِنَّ الذَّاهِبَ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ وَالْمُصَلَّى إِحْدَى خُطْوَتَيْهِ تَرْفَعُ دَرَجَةً وَالْأُخْرَى تَحُطُّ خَطِيئَةً حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهِ وَقِيلَ وَهُوَ الْأَصَحُّ إِنَّهُ لِذَلِكَ كُلِّهِ وَلِغَيْرِهِ مِنَ الْحِكَمِ الَّتِي لَا يَخْلُو فِعْلُهُ عَنْهَا
It is said that the reason he did this was to greet the people with peace who lived on both fairways, or so that the blessings of his passing would reach both areas, or to fulfill the needs of those among them. It is said that he did so to establish the symbols of Islam in the various roads and paths.
Another reason given is that he did so to frustrate the hypocrites when they witnessed the might of Islam and its people. It is said that he did so in order for the various areas to testify to his obedience to Allah.
Surely, he who walks to the mosque and the place of prayer will earn this virtue: one step raises him a degree and another erases a sin until he returns home. It is also said, and this is the correct opinion, that all the reasons mentioned here are possible as well as other unknown wisdom that always accompanied his actions.
Source: Zād al-Ma’ād 1/432
Finally, it is permissible to play games, sing, and enjoy amusement on the days of Eid in moderation and within the limits of Islam.
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came to my house when two girls were beside me singing songs of Bu’ath. The Prophet laid down and turned his face to the other side. Then, Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly, saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet?” The Prophet turned his face toward him and he said:
Leave them alone.
When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to the girls and they left. It was the day of Eid and the Abyssinians were playing with shields and spears. Either I asked the Prophet or he asked me whether I would like to watch. I said yes. Then the Prophet made me stand behind him while my cheek was touching his cheek and the Prophet was saying:
دُونَكُمْ يَا بَنِي أَرْفِدَةَ
Carry on, O tribe of Arfidah.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 949, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi
In another narration, the Prophet said:
دَعْهُمَا يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ إِنَّ لِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ عِيدًا وَإِنَّ عِيدَنَا هَذَا الْيَوْمُ
Leave them Abu Bakr. Verily, for every people there is a celebration and this day is our celebration.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3931, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi
Al-Ghazali derived from these narrations the following points, writing:
فهذه الأحاديث كلها في الصحيحين وهو نص صريح في أن الغناء واللعب ليس بحرام وفيها دلالة على أنواع من الرخص الأول اللعب ولا يخفى عادة الحبشة في الرقص واللعب والثاني فعل ذلك في المسجد والثالث قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم دونكم يا بني أرفدة وهذا أمر باللعب والتماس له فكيف يقدر كونه حراما والرابع منعه لأبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما عن الإنكار والتغيير وتعليله بأنه يوم عيد أي هو وقت سرور وهذا من أسباب السرور والخامس وقوفه طويلا في مشاهدة ذلك وسماعه لموافقة عائشة رضي الله عنها وفيه دليل على أن حسن الخلق في تطييب قلوب النساء والصبيان بمشاهدة اللعب أحسن من خشونة الزهد والتقشف في الامتناع والمنع منه والسادس قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ابتداء لعائشة أتشتهين أن تنظري ولم يكن ذلك عن اضطرار إلى مساعدة الأهل خوفا من غضب أو وحشة فإن الإلتماس إذا سبق ربما كان الرد سبب وحشة وهو محذور فيقدم محذور على محذور فأما ابتداء السؤال فلا حاجة فيه والسابع الرخصة في الغناء والضرب بالدف
All of these traditions are reported in the two authentic books, Al-Bukhari and Muslim, and they demonstrate that singing and playing is not unlawful. From them we may deduce the following lessons.
First, it is permissible to play as the Abyssinians were in the habit of dancing and playing.
Second, it is permissible to do this in the mosque.
Third, the Prophet’s saying to Arfidah was a command and a request that they should play, so how then can playing be considered unlawful?
Fourth, the Prophet prevented Abu Bakr and Umar from interrupting and scolding the players and singers, and he told Abu Bakr that this festival was a joyous occasion and that singing was a means on enjoyment.
Fifth, on both occasions he stayed for a long time with Aisha, letting her watch the show of the Abyssinians and listening with her to the girls singing.
This proves that it is better to be good-humored in pleasing women and children with games than to disapprove of such amusements out of a sense of harsh piety and asceticism. Sixth, the Prophet encouraged Aisha by asking her if she would like to watch. Seventh, singing and playing with the drum is permissible.
Source: Iḥyā’ Ulūm al-Dīn 2/278
Permission to play, sing, and enjoy amusement on the days of Eid is due to the flexible, lenient, and moderate nature of Islam. In fact, the Prophet specifically wanted the Jews to witness the Muslims enjoying the days of Eid so that they could see the virtues of Islamic legislation, as many of them endured harsher prohibitions in their own religion.
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, placed my chin on his shoulder so I could look at the Abyssinians until I felt tired and turned away from them. The Prophet said:
لَتَعْلَمُ يَهُودُ أَنَّ فِي دِينِنَا فُسْحَةً إِنِّي أُرْسِلْتُ بِحَنِيفِيَّةٍ سَمْحَةٍ
That the Jews may know that there is flexibility in our religion. Verily, I have been sent with an upright, lenient religion.
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 24584, Grade: Sahih
Therefore, we should do our best to follow the traditions of the days of Eid. We should wear our best clothes, perform a ritual bath, exalt Allah on the way to prayer, attend the Eid sermon, give in charity, congratulate and supplicate for each other, and enjoy our celebration within the limits of Islam.
We ask Allah to accept our good deeds and bless our days of Eid.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.