The Eid Prayer is wajib (obligatory) according to the majority of scholars.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed it consistently and commanded all
the people to go out for it.
He (peace be upon him) even specifically commanded all of the women to attend;
Umm `Atiyyah (may Allah be please with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace
be upon him) commanded:
Let the free women, the virgins, and the menstruating women go out to attend
the Eid prayer, and witness the good and the supplications of the believers.
As for the menstruating women, they should stay away from the musalla. (i.e.,
should not participate in the prayer itself).
Sheikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:
"... Thus we lean towards the opinion that Salatul-Eid is fard `Ayn (individual
obligation) on each individual. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah and others,
and is one of the two reported opinions of ash-Shafi`i and of the school of
The opinion held by some people, that it is not wajib, it is extremely unlikely,
because it is one of the greatest rites of Islam; more people gather for it
than for Friday; and the Takbir has been legislated for its sake. The opinion
of those who say that it is fard kifayah (communal obligation) is unjustified..."
"Note that the Prophet (peace be upon him) consistently performed this prayer
on every Eid, never neglecting it. He commanded the people to go out for it;
he even commanded the free women, the virgins, and the menstruating women
to go out, instructing the latter to refrain from praying, in order for all
of them to witness this good and the Muslims' supplications. He (peace be
upon him) further commanded the woman who did not own a jilbab (outer overall
garment for women) to borrow her friend's.
All of this proves that this prayer is wajib on every individual, not only
a kifayah obligation. Commanding the people to go out for it entails the command
to perform the prayer (for those who have no excuse). This is the content
of his (peace be upon him) address, because going out is a means for performing
the prayer (an end); if the means is obligatory, then the end is. And this
obligation applies to men even more so that women.
Further evidence is that it overrides the Friday prayer when both occur
on the same day. That which is not wajib cannot override that which is.
Furthermore, it is confirmed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed
it consistently in Jama`ah (congregation) from the time that it was legislated
until he died. To this is added his command to people to go out for it."
Commenting on the Hadith of Umm `Atiyyah, our sheikh al-Albani states:
"The Prophet's (peace be upon him) command mentioned here indicates obligation;
when it is wajib to go out for it, it is wajib to pray it, because of its
higher priority. Thus the truth is that it is an obligation - not a mere recommendation."
No sunnah prayer may precede or follow the Eid prayer - except if it is performed
in a masjid instead of the musalla, in which case one must pray two Rak`at
before sitting down. Ibn `Abbas narrated:
"The Prophet (peace be upon him) went out (of his house) on the day of Fitr,
prayed two Rak`at, and did not pray before or after it."
"Neither he (peace be upon him) nor his companions prayed when they arrived
at the musalla - before the prayer or after it."
And Ibn Hajar said:
"... In short, there is no confirmed sunnah prayer before or after the Eid
prayer - contrary to those who compare it to the Jumu`ah prayer."
But it is confirmed from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri that:
"The Prophet (peace be upon him) would not pray at all before the Eid prayer;
but when he returned to his house, he prayed."
Al-Albani commented on this:
"So the negation of praying before and after the Eid prayer refers only to
praying at the musalla."
`Abdullah Bin Busr (may Allah be please with him) went out with some people
to pray on a Fitr or Adha morning. He expressed his disapproval of the imam's
delay of the prayer beyond the time of tasbih, and said:
"We (at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him)) used to be finished with
the prayer by now."
This is the most authentic report regarding this issue. There are other reports,
but are not confirmed in terms of their chains of narrators. Ibnul-Qayyim
"The Prophet (peace be upon him) delayed the prayer of Eidul-Fitr, and was
prompt with that of al-Adha. And Ibn `Umar, despite his extreme adherence
to the Sunnah, would not go out until the sun had risen."
Siddiq Hasan Khan said:
"The time of the two Eid prayers is after the sun has reached the height of
a spear, and until noon. The consensus of the scholars about this is in agreement
with the (related) Hadiths - despite their weakness."
Abu Bakr al-Jaza'iri said:
"The time of the two Eid's prayers is after the sun has reached the height
of a spear, and until noon. However, it is best to pray al-Adha at the earliest
time, to enable the people to slaughter their sacrifices; and is recommended
to delay al-Fitr prayer, to enable the people to give out their Sadaqah (zakatul-Fitr)."
If the day of Eid is not determined until late in the day (past the time of
the Eid prayer), then the Eid prayer is held the next day. Abu `Umayr Bin
Anas reported that some of his uncles, who were from the Ansar, and who were
companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), told him:
"The crescent of Shawwal was obscure to us. So we continued to fast that morning;
later in the day, a group of travelers arrived and testified before Allah's
Messenger (peace be upon him) that they had seen the hilal (crescent) the
previous day; so he (peace be upon him) commanded the people to break their
fast on that day, and to go out to the musalla the following morning."
The Eid prayer is not preceded with Athan or Iqamah. Jabir Bin Samurah reported:
"I prayed the Eid prayer with Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), on more
than one occasion, without Athan or Iqamah."
Ibn `Abbas and Jabir (may Allah be please with him) said:
"Athan was never given (for the Eid prayer) on the day of Fitr, nor the day
"He (peace be upon him) would arrive at the musalla and start the prayer without
Athan, Iqamah, or announcing, 'Congregate for prayer'. The Sunnah is not to
do any of that."
Al-San`ani commented on the above reports:
"This provides evidence that it is not permissible to do that (announcing)
for the Eid prayer. So, doing it is a bid`ah (innovation)."
Number of Rak`at
The Eid prayer consists of two Rak`at (full prayer units). `Umar (may Allah
be please with him) reported:
"The travelers' prayer is two Rak`at; the Adha prayer is two Rak`at; the Fitr
prayer is two Rak`at; and the Jumu`ah prayer is two Rak`at; this is their
full length as came upon the tongue of Muhammad (peace be upon him)."
Like any other deed in Islam, the prayer must be preceded with the true intention.
The intention should be present in the heart before starting the prayer.
Like any other prayer, the first rak`ah (one prayer unit) must be started
with Takbirul-ihram; this is followed by the opening supplication.
The opening supplication is followed by seven Takbirs in the first rak`ah.
Likewise, the Takbir when rising to the second rak`ah is followed by five
more Takbirs. `A'ishah (may Allah be please with her) said:
"Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) would say Takbir in both Fitr and Adha:
seven in the first, and five in the second - other than the two Takbirs of
Imam al-Baghawi commented:
"This is the opinion of most of the people of knowledge among the Companions
and those after them: to say, before reciting Quran, in the first rak`ah of
the Eid prayer, seven Takbirs other than the opening Takbir, and in the second,
five Takbirs other than the Takbir of rising. This has been reported from
Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Alee, and others."
The Sunnah is to say the Takbirs before the recitation, as in the Hadith of
`Amr Bin Shu`ayb, from his father, from his grandfather (Ibn `Umar may Allah
be please with him), who said:
"In the Eid prayer, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said seven Takbirs
in the first rak`ah, recited (Quran), said the Takbir and bowed, prostrated
himself; then he stood, said five Takbirs, recited, said Takbir, bowed, and
Ibnul-Qayyim commented that anything contrary to this is not true.
There are no authentic reports describing whether or not the Prophet (peace
be upon him) raised his hands with these additional Takbirs. For this reason,
"The reports from `Umar and his son do not make this a sunnah. Especially
when we know that these reports are not authentic. As for the one from `Umar,
it is recorded by al-Bayhaqi with a weak chain. As for his son's, I have not
been able to locate it now."
However, based on various general Hadiths that report the raising of the hands
with Takbir in the regular prayers, some scholars allow raising the hands
with these additional Takbirs. In this regard, Ibnul-Qayyim said:
"Ibn `Umar, who is known to adhere closely to the Sunnah, used to raise his
hands with every one of the Takbirs."
And al-Albani commented on a similar issue:
"One may raise his hands if he believes that Ibn `Umar would not do this without
an approval from the Prophet (peace be upon him)."
There are no authentic reports indicating that the people would raise their
voice with Takbir when praying behind the imam. The Sunnah is to say all dhikr
secretly, except in specific cases where the contrary was confirmed. This
is enforced further in situations where raising the voice would disturb other
people's prayer. Therefore, it is not permissible for anyone other than the
imam to raise the voice with Takbir in the prayer.
There is no dhikr (mention of Allah) confirmed from the Prophet (peace be
upon him) between the Eid Takbirs. But it is reported that Ibn Mas`ood (may
Allah be please with him) said:
"Between every two Takbirs is a praise of Allah and a salah upon the Prophet
(peace be upon him)."
"The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to remain silent between every two Takbirs,
and nothing is reported from him regarding dhikr between them."
The Takbir is a sunnah (recommended act). Leaving it, whether intentionally
or forgetfully, does not invalidate the prayer. There is no difference of
opinion on this among the scholars. However, there is no doubt that anyone
who neglects it intentionally would be violating the sunnah of the Prophet
(peace be upon him).
After the Takbirs, one should utter ta`awwuth and basmalah.
This is followed by reciting al-Fatihah, which is a required pillar in every
rak`ah of every prayer.
This is followed by reciting Surat Qaaf (50) in the first rak`ah, and Sooratul-Qamar
(54) in the second.
Alternatively, one may recite: Suratul-A`laa (87) in the first, and Sooratul-Ghashiyah
(88) in the second.
"Both of these have been authentically reported from the action of the Prophet
(peace be upon him). Nothing else is authentic."
There is surely wisdom in reciting these particular surahs in Eid. Some of
this has been discussed by scholars like an-Nawawi and ash-Shawkani.
The Remainder Of The Prayer
The remainder of the Eid prayer is performed in the same manner as any other
prayer, without any difference.
Missing The Eid Prayer
If one misses the Eid prayer in Jama`ah, he must pray two Rak`at. Imam al-Bukhari
headed a section as, "Section: One Who Misses the Eid Prayer Should Pray Two
Rak`at." And he added that `Ata' said:
"When one misses the Eid prayer, he prays two Rak`at."
Al-Hafiz Bin Hajar commented on this:
"In this title are two important points:
The permission to make up the Eid prayer for the one who misses praying it
with the Jama`ah - whether that happened by compulsion or choice.
That it is made-up as two Rak`at."
Waliyyullah ad-Dahlawi said:
"This is the opinion of ash-Shafi`i - that if one misses the prayer with the
imam, he should pray two Rak`at in order to at least attain the virtue of
performing the Eid prayer, despite the fact that he missed the virtue of praying
it in Jama`ah with the imam.
As for the Hanafis, there is no make-up for the Eid prayer. If one misses
it with the imam, he has totally missed it."
Imam Malik said:
"In my opinion, anyone who prays the Eid prayer individually, whether man
or woman, should say seven Takbirs in the first rak`ah, before recitation,
and five in the second, before recitation."
And Ibn Qudamah said:
"The one who comes late to the Eid prayer should perform what he missed according
to the way that he missed it. This is true for any prayer."
The sunnah for the khutbah (speech) is to follow the Eid prayer. Ibn `Abbas
(may Allah be please with him) said:
"I attended the Eid with Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), Abu Bakr,
`Umar, and `Uthman (may Allah be please with him); all of them would pray
before the khutbah."
Ibn `Umar (may Allah be please with him) said:
"The Prophet (peace be upon him), Abu Bakr, and `Umar prayed the Eid (prayers)
before the khutbah."
Al-Bukhari headed these Hadiths with the title, "The Chapter on Holding the
khutbah after the Eid Prayer." Waliyyullah ad-Dahlawi commented on this by
"He means that this (performing the prayer before the khutbah) was the sunnah
of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), and the practice of the Righteous
Khulafa' (Successors, may Allah be please with him) after him. The change
that came later (switching the khutbah and the prayer) is an innovation done
This is stated clearly by Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (may Allah be please with him)
"On the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to
go out (from his house) to the musalla, and the first thing that he did was
perform the prayer. Then he turned around and stood facing the people, while
they were sitting in their rows. He admonished, advised, and commanded them.
After that, if he wished to send an expedition, or give some orders, he would
do so; then he would depart.
The people followed this tradition until I went out with Marwan, when he was
the amir (ruler) of al-Madinah, for the prayer of Eidul-Adha or Eidul-Fitr.
When he reached the musalla, I found a minbar (raised steps to address people
from), which was built by Kathir Bin as-Salt. Marwan started to mount the
minbar before the prayer. I grabbed his shirt, but he yanked it back, ascended
the minbar, and delivered the khutbah before the prayer. I said to him, 'By
Allah, you have changed (the sunnah).' He replied, 'O Abu Sa'eed, that which
you know is gone!' I said, 'By Allah, that which I know is better than that
which I do not.' So he explained, 'People would not sit to listen when it
was after the prayer, so I made it before it.' "
Imam at-Tirmithi commented:
"This is the acceptable practice among the people of knowledge among the Prophet's
(peace be upon him) companions and others: that the Eid prayer should precede
the khutbah. It is reported that the first one to offer the khutbah before
the prayer was Marwan Bin al-Hakam."
Takbir At The Beginning Of The Khutbah?
Some imams start this khutbah with Takbir. This does not have any basis in
the Sunnah. There is a weak Hadith that some people use as their evidence.
Al-Albani said in this regard:
"The Hadith reported from Sa`dul-Qarz that, "The Prophet (peace be upon him)
would say Takbir often during his khutbah, and he said it more often during
the Eid khutbahs." - is a weak Hadith. Besides, it does not indicate starting
the khutbah with Takbir, but only that he used to say it frequently during
Thus, this khutbah, like any other one, should be started with praising and
glorifying Allah. Ibnul-Qayyim said:
"Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) used to begin all of his khutbahs with
al-hamdu lillah. Not even one authentic Hadith indicates that he started the
Eid's khutbah with Takbir."
One Or Two Khutbahs?
There is no authentic Hadith indicating that the Eid khutbah is to be divided
into two parts separated with a sitting (as for Jumu`ah). The only report
in this regard is very weak.
Thus, the khutbah should be kept as one unit, which is consistent with the
original understanding and practice.
Standing On A Minbar?
It is not permissible to bring out a minbar to the musalla or to build a fixed
one. This follows from the above mentioned Hadith of Abu Sa'eed (may Allah
be please with him) where he said, "... Then he (peace be upon him) turned
around and stood facing the people, while they were sitting in their rows.
He admonished, advised, and commanded them," which makes it clear that he
did not mount a minbar. Also, he (May Allah be please with him) said to Marwan,
"By Allah, you have changed (the Sunnah)." His objection here refers to two
things: building the minbar, and delivering the khutbah before the prayer.
Also, Jabir Bin `Abdillah (may Allah be please with him) reported:
"I witnessed with Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) the prayer on an Eid
day. He started with the prayer, before the khutbah, without Athan or Iqamah.
Then he stood, leaning on Bilal, and commanded people to fear Allah..."
This clearly indicates that he was not standing on a minbar during the khutbah.
Listening To The Khutbah
Attending the khutbah is not wajib, as is the case for attending the prayer.
`Abdullah Bin as-Sa'ib reported that he attended the Eid with the Prophet
(peace be upon him); and when he (peace be upon him) finished the prayer,
We shall have a khutbah; so let whoever wishes to sit for the khutbah do so,
and whoever wishes to leave.
"He (peace be upon him) gave choice for those who attended the Eid to either
sit for the khutbah or leave."
If the Eid occurs on a Friday, it becomes optional for men to attend the Jumu`ah
prayer. Abu Hurayrah reported that, on such occurrence, Allah's Messenger
(peace be upon him) said:
Two Eids have coincided on this day of yours; thus, whoever wishes is exempted
from attending the Jumu`ah prayer. Yet, we shall hold it.
And Iyas Bin Abi Ramlah ash-Shami said:
"I witnessed Mu`awiyah Bin Abi Sufyan asking Zayd Bin Arqam, 'Were you with
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) when one of the Eids and Friday occurred
on the same day?' He said, 'Yes.' He asked, 'What did he do?' He answered,
'He (peace be upon him) performed the Eid prayer, then gave the option concerning
Jumu`ah, saying, Let whoever wishes to pray it do so."
This is the way of the companions (May Allah be please with him). For example,
it is reported that on such occasion `Alee (May Allah be please with him)
"Let the one who wishes to come for Jumu`ah do so, and the one who wishes
to sit do so."
A similar report is recorded by al-Bukhari in his Sahih regarding `Uthman
(May Allah be please with him). It is also reported that `Abdullah Bin az-Zubayr
(May Allah be please with him) said:
"These are two Eids that have come together on one day. Their coincidence
makes them one (Eid)."
Then he prayed on that Friday two Rak`at in the morning as Eidul-Fitr prayer,
and did not pray anymore until he prayed the `Asr prayer.
Ash-Shawkani commented on this report:
"The apparent understanding from this is that he did not pray zuhr. And that
if the Jumu`ah prayer is cancelled for any acceptable reason, then the one
for whom it was cancelled is not required to pray zuhr. This is the opinion
Referring to the above reports and other similar ones from `Umar and Ibn `Abbas
(may Allah be please with him), Ibn Taymiyyah concluded:
"The scholars have three different opinions (in this regard):
That one is still obliged to pray the Jumu`ah - whether or not he prayed the
Eid. This is the opinion of Malik and others.
That the Jumu`ah becomes optional for the people of the suburbs and villages.
This was practiced by `Uthman (may Allah be please with him), and ash-Shafi`i
took up this opinion.
That the Jumu`ah becomes optional for whomever prayed the Eid. However, the
imam is required to establish the Jumu`ah, so that those who wish to attend
it can do so...
This is what has been authentically reported from Allah's Messenger (peace
be upon him) and his successors and Sahabah (may Allah be please with him),
and is the opinion of the later scholars who learned of these reports, such
as Imam Ahmad. Those who disagreed with him did not learn about these Hadiths