Eid as Ibadah, Happiness, and Entertainment
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Eid speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N.C. in 1987)
Allah (S.W.T.) says to the believers in surat Al-Maíidah, (Verse 3), what can be translated as, "This day I have perfected your deen for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your Deen."
When some of the Jews heard this verse, they commented that if such a verse revealed to us, we would have made this day an Eid due the greatness of its meaning. When Omar (R.A.) heard their comment he said: "I know the day and the place that this verse was reveled. It was reveled on the day of Arafat on Friday. Friday is already our weekly Eid and Arafat is our annual Eid."
Allah (S.W.T.) has completed and perfected this deen with complete and comprehensive legislation. This legislation covers all aspects of human life. For this reason, in Islam, we can find legislation that covers our aqeedah (belief), our Ibaadat (worship acts), behaviors, and all Muíamalat (Transactions) which include social, political, and economical dealing. Itís no surprise, because the Legislator is our Creator, the One who knows what is best for his creation. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Mulk, (Verse 14), what can be translated as, "Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything)."
Allah (S.W.T.) also legislated two Eids (Holidays) for Muslims, so it can be a seasons of happiness due to Allahís Mercy. It is also to thank Allah (S.W.T) for his blessings and bounties that he bestowed upon us. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Ibrahim, (Verse 34), what can be translated as, "And if you count the Bounties of Allah, never will you be able to count them."
Allah (S.W.T.) made us able to worship Him during the year and in special days and seasons He (S.W.T.) multiplied the rewards of good deeds. Therefore, Eid-ul-Fitr comes after the month of fasting (Ramadan), and Eid-ul-Adha comes after hajj and the day of Arafat. This Day is when Allah forgives many sins for His servants.
Eids (Holidays) in Islam are not man made, but Allah (S.W.T.) is the one who legislated them. He also made special rules and etiquette during these (Eids) holidays. We Muslims should limit ourselves to Allahís commands.
Furthermore, Eids are types of ibadah (worship acts). When we say "ibadah" this means we are not allowed to innovate, which means we do not add more Eids, and our practice during the Eid should be according to the practice of the prophet (S.A.W.). These acts of worship (Eid) are more than just special prayers, but should appear as happiness and permissible entertainment for all members of the community.
In an authentic hadith reported by Imams Abu-Dawud, An-Nisai, and Ibn-Hibban that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), when arrived to Madinah from his migration from Mecca saw that the people of Madinah have two days to celebrate. He asked them, "What are these two days?" They said, "These two days we used to celebrate during Jahilliah (period before Islam)." He (S.A.W.) said, "Allah had replaced them by two days better than them, the day of Fitr and the day of Al-Adha."
We conclude from this that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) did not allow Muslims to celebrate two non-Islamic holidays, moreover he (S.A.W.) wanted them to forget the Jahilliah period and cut all acts and memories associated with it.
Therefore, we should be cautious, because it is not allowed for Muslims to celebrate or participate in any non-Islamic Holidays. Islam wants its followers to distinguish themselves from others in belief, acts, and even holidays.
The second important aspect of Eid is that it is the season of happiness and permissible entertainment. The Muslims in the time of the prophet (S.A.W.) used to spend time to celebrate by playing and watching others play.
Imams Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad reported that Aisha (R.A.) said, "People from abbisina (Ethiopia) used to fence with swords (playing) in the masjid (Mosque) on the day of Eid. I used to watch them while I was standing behind the prophetís shoulders. I kept watching, until I was satisfied and then left."
Imams Bukhari, and Muslim reported that Aisha (R.A.) said, The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) entered my room on the day of Eid, while two young girls were singing the songs of Bouíath day (war before Islam, between two tribes, in which many people were killed). The prophet lied on his bed and turned his face away. Then Abu-Bakr, my father entered and said, "What is this? Voice of Shaitan." He repeated this three times. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "O Abu-Bakr leave them alone, for every people thereís Eid and today is our Eid." In another narration He says, "Let the Jewish of Madinah know we have permissible entertainment in our Eid."
All these evidences prove that all kinds of permissible entertainment are allowed in the day of Eid, rather it is encouraged, because the prophet himself uses to watch. Letís organize and arrange similar enjoyable activities in the seasons of Eid. And Letís show to ourselves and others, the beauty and greatness of this Deen.
It is also highly recommended to say Eid Takberat starting from Dawn of the Day of Arafah until the Asr time of the thirteenth of Thul-Hijah. Imam Bukhari reported that Omar (R.A.) use to raise his voice by saying Takberat in his tent in Minna. When the people in the masjid heard him they started takberat, then the people in the market place starting doing the same, until all of the people in Mina started doing the same. Also Ibn-Omar (R.A.) use to say takberat on the days of Mina, after each prayer, and on his bed, in his meeting, and while he was walking. Many Muslim today restrict takbirat ul Eid to after the prayers only. But as we heard the sahabah use to say it at different times and occasions during the days of Eid.
It is also greatly recommended for Muslims to greet one another in the day of Eid, as the companions of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) use to do and say, "May Allah accept from us our good deeds."
I ask Allah (S.W.T.) to accept from all of us our good deeds and bless this day of Eid.