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'Id Prayers (Salatul 'Idain)

The Muslim Students' Association of the United States and Canada

Reprinted with permission


'Id prayer is a strongly recommended and important tradition in Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) never neglected it. He is reported to have ordered the men, women and children to proceed to the 'Id prayer ground.

Even menstruating women are encouraged to go to the 'Id ground but they should keep away from the actual place of prayer.

Self Preparation for 'Id Prayer

It is highly recommended to have major ablution (Islamically correct bath or ghusl) and to use the most beautiful dresses and the best perfumes one can obtain. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do so. There is also a tradition that one should eat something, preferably dates, before going to the 'Id ul Fitr prayer and to eat nothing before 'Id ul Adha prayer.


The time for 'Id ul Adha is when the sun has risen two meters (7 ft.) above the horizon and the time for 'Id ul Fitr is while the sun has risen to three meters (10 ft.) above the horizon. 'Id prayers cannot be said after midday.


It is better to hold 'Id prayers in an open place or ground if there is no obstacle like rain or bad weather. The Prophet never performed 'Id prayers in the mosque except once due to rain.

No Adhan, No Iqamah:

There is neither Adhan nor Iqamah for 'Id prayers.

Performance of 'Id Prayers:

'Id prayer consists of two Rak'a with twelve takbeeras, (Allahu Akbar), seven in the first Rak'a and five in the second. In the first Rak'a just after takbeeratul Ihram, say seven Takbeeras lifting your hands with each Takbeera and after finishing seven Takbeeras go on with prayer in the usual way (reading al Fatiha and surah aloud.) In the beginning of the second Rak'a say five Takbeeras in the usual way. There is no special Dhikr between Takbeeras - you can say Subhanalla Walhamdu Lillahi Wa Laa Ilaha Illallahu Wallahu Akbar.


After performing the Salat, the Imam must deliver a khutba just like jum'a khutba. But Imam Nawawi and some other scholars say that the khutba of 'Id is not broken up into two parts with a period of sitting in between.


On returning home from the salat, it is recommended to take a different route than that which was taken to the prayer.


It is strongly recommended to repeat in a loud voice (a) Allahu Akbar, on the way to the salat and while waiting for the imam; (b) to repeat Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illa Allahu, wa Allahu Akbar, wa lillahi-l-hamd after every congregational prayer starting from the fajr, (dawn prayer) on the day of Arafat (ninth day of Dhul Hijja), to the 'asr (afternoon prayer) on the last of the Days of Tashriq (the thirteenth day of Dhul Hijja). For the Pilgrims, the starting time is the dhur, (noon prayer) of the Day of Nahr (tenth of Dhul Hijja).

It is clear that this takbir applies only to 'Id ul Adha while the first applies to both.

Zakatul Fitr:

Zakatul Fitr is obligatory for every Muslim man and woman, adult and child. It should be distributed before the prayer of 'Id. Every person, having savings beyond his own and his family's feeding for one day and night should give two dollars for himself and for everyone he looks after. Zakatul Fitr is meant to purify the fasting (saum) and to keep everybody in society happy and pleasant - rich and poor equally - so that nobody should go hungry on that day. Thus, it presents a magnificent example of comprehensive social justice in Islam.

Sacrificial Slaughter (udhhiya):

Udhhiya or sacrificial slaughter on 'Id ul Adha is a strongly recommended tradition. It reflects the fact that the Muslim being a committed, obedient servant of Allah is always ready to sacrifice anything, even his life, in Allah's way. Udhhiya is an imitation and remembrance of the great sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim submitted to God by attempting to sacrifice his own son, Isma'il, to fulfil the command of Allah Almighty.

The following are the essentials of sacrifice:

i) Allah's name (Bismillahi Allahu Akbar) must be said while slaughtering.

ii) Udhhiya cannot be slaughtered before 'Id prayer. It should be done immediately after prayers or in the three days after 'Id: Dhul Hajj 11, 12, 13.

iii) Udhhiya can be a goat, sheep, cow, bull, buffalo or camel of either sex. Pregnant female animals should not be slaughtered. Seven persons can share in the last named four animals.

iv) The meat of the slaughtered animal should be divided into three parts. It is essential to give one third as gift to the poor and the needy. One third should be given to friends and relatives and one third kept to oneself.

v) For one who intends to make the sacrificial slaughter it is sunnah not to shave his hair or clip his nails after Dhul Hajj moon is sighted, until the time of slaughter. (Sahih Muslim)

Enjoyment in 'Id Days:

Islam urges us to enjoy life with every lawful means of enjoyment. Especially on 'Id days the Islamic spirit of enjoyment and brotherhood becomes manifest. Thus Islam nourishes the spiritual aspirations of mankind along with its physical abilities.

On these days everyone should be happy with his wife, his children, his Muslim brothers and sisters. Show mutual concern by exchanging gifts, smiling on the face of each other and expressing sincere love and affection to show the bondage of real brotherhood which stems from the belief in Allah. All Muslims should cherish brotherly feeling in their hearts toward each other, avoid talking behind each other's backs, avoid blaming one another and avoid causing disruption in the Muslim community. These are days when we should glorify the symbols of Allah and observe His signs to have piety in our hearts.