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Fasting New Muslims

Shawwal & the First Festive Moments of `Eid

Shawwal is the first of the three months named as ‘Ashhur Al-Hajj’ (i.e. the months of Hajj). Although the major acts of Hajj are normally performed in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, yet the whole period starting from the first of Shawwal up to the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah is held to be the period of Hajj because some acts of Hajj can be performed any time during this period.

`Eid Prayer

After paying the Sadaqat Al-Fitr, Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the `Eid Prayer collectively.

For example, the Tawaf Al-Qudum ((Tawaf of arrival, for Hajj), followed by the Sa`i of Hajj (walking between Safa and Marwah) cannot be performed before Shawwal, while it can be performed any day after the beginning of Shawwal.

Similarly, an `Umrah performed before Shawwal cannot be treated as the `Umrah of Tamattu`, while the `Umrah performed in Shawwal can be affiliated to the Hajj, making it a Hajj of Tamattu`. Moreover, ihram of Hajj should not be started before Shawwal, because it makruh (disliked). For these reasons these three months have been named as the ‘months of Hajj’ and the month of Shawwal has the distinction of being the first of these.

`Eid Al-Fitr

The second meritorious aspect of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of `Eid Al-Fitr, one of the only two annual festivals recognized by the Shari`ah. This happy day is designed by the Shari`ah as a sign of gratefulness by the Muslims on the accomplishment of Ramadan, and as an immediate reward by Allah for those who spent the month of Ramadan in fasting and performing other forms of `ibadah (worship).

Instead of commemorating an event from the past, the Shari`ah has prescribed the first of Shawwal as an annual festival for the Muslims at an occasion when they themselves accomplish a great `ibadah. This approach reminds the Muslims that they should not rely only on the accomplishments of their ancestors, rather, they should themselves perform meritorious acts to please their Creator.

In prescribing the ways to celebrate the happy day, Islam has adopted another unique approach. The festivals of other religions or nations normally comprise of some acts of rejoicing and enjoyment. The whole happy day is normally spent in dancing, singing and playing.

In contrast, Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe the happy day. First of all, it is mandatory on all the well-off Muslims to start their day by paying Sadaqat Al-Fitr (obligatory charity at the conclusion of Ramadan) to the poor of their society, so that they, too, may enjoy the day along with others, and may not be worried for earning their livelihood at least on that day of happiness.

After paying the Sadaqat Al-Fitr, the Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the `Eid Prayer collectively. In this way, they are supposed to present themselves before their Creator and offer two rak`ahs of this special type of Salah, which makes them receive blessings from Allah and start their celebration by these divine blessings.

After the Salah also, they are supposed to rejoice the day in a responsible manner, without violating the limits prescribed for them and never indulging in the acts prohibited by Allah.

Keeping this point in view, we will now discuss specific rules prescribed for observing the day of `Eid Al-Fitr.

The Night Preceding `Eid Al-Fitr

It had been the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he would not sleep in the night preceding the day of `Eid Al-Fitr. This night has been named in a hadith as the Night of Reward (lailat al-Ja’izah).

Almighty bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari`ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers in this night. The Prophet 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.” (Ibn Majah)

To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.

Before Going to `Eid Prayer

The following acts are prescribed as Sunnah at the beginning of the day of ‘Eid Al-Fitr before proceeding to the `Eid Prayer:

1- To wake up early in the morning.

2- To clean one’s teeth with a miswak or a brush.

3- To take a bath.

4- To put on one’s best available clothes.

5- To wear perfume.

6- To eat a sweet food, preferably dates, before the `Eid Prayer.

7- To recite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the `Eid Prayer:

Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd” (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no god but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and all praise is due to Allah)

Sadaqat Al-Fitr

Sadaqat Al-Fitr is an obligation for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, or in the form of some goods or commodities beyond one’s normal needs. Every person who owns such an amount has to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr, not only on behalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children.

The prescribed amount of Sadaqat Al-Fitr is 1.75 Kilograms of wheat or its value in money. This amount is prescribed for paying Sadaqat Al-Fitr for one person only. If a person has some minor children, the same amount has to be paid on behalf of each one of them separately. The following points must be remembered concerning the payment of Sadaqat Al-Fitr.

1-Sadaqat Al-Fitr is obligated on each adult male or female separately, and the relevant adult person himself is responsible to pay it. The husband is not required to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of his wife nor is the wife supposed to pay it on behalf of her husband. Similarly, a father is not bound to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of his adult children or vice-versa.

However, if the head of the family, by his own free will, wishes to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr for each one of the members of his family, he should seek their authorization for that purpose. In this case the Sadaqat Al-Fitr paid by him will be valid on their behalf. If he did not pay the Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of any of the members of his family, he will not be responsible for it. Rather, it is the duty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or to request the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.

2- It is a Sunnah that the Sadaqat Al-Fitr is paid before performing the `Eid Prayer. It can also be paid before the `Eid day, but it is not advisable to delay it up to the performance of `Eid Prayer. However, if a person has failed to pay on its proper time, he should pay it as soon as possible, whereby the obligation will stand discharged.

3- Sadaqat Al-Fitr is not necessary on behalf of a child who was born after the break of dawn in the `Eid day, nor is it necessary to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the `Eid day.

4- Sadaqat Al-Fitr should be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive Zakah.

The ‘Eid Prayer

The second obligation on ‘Eid day is to perform the ‘Eid prayer. Some rules in this respect are mentioned hereunder:

1- The `Eid Prayer is wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.

2- The `Eid Prayer can be performed any time between the ishraq and zawal (after sunrise and before zenith of the sun).

3- It is preferable that the `Eid Prayer is performed at an open field and not in a mosque. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in an open field, it can also be performed in a big mosque.

4- It is not advisable to hold the `Eid Prayer in every mosque, rather it is preferable that the people from several small mosques get together to either perform it in an open field or, in its absence, in a big mosque which can accommodate a large number of people.

5- No nafl (supererogatory) Salah can be performed before the `Eid Prayer, neither in one’s home, nor at the place of `Eid Prayer. Similarly, nafl prayer cannot be performed after the `Eid Prayer at the same place. However, it can be performed after one comes back to his home.

6- The `Eid Prayer has neither Adhan (call to Prayer) nor Iqamah  (second call to Prayer).

How to Perform `Eid Prayer

The `Eid Prayer has two rak`ahs to perform in the normal way, with the only addition of six takbirs, three of them in the beginning of the first rak`ah, and three of them just before ruku` in the second rak`ah. The detailed way of performing the `Eid Prayer is as follows:

The Imam will begin the prayer without Adhan or Iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting Takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands up to the ears, and reciting the Takbir, you give a little pause during which you should recite thana’ (praising God: Subhanak Allahumma…….)· After the completion of thana’ the Imam will recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times, and after reciting each Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, you should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But, after the third Takbir, you should set them at the level of your navel as you do in the normal prayer.

After these three Takbirs the Imam will recite the Holy Qur’an, which you should listen quietly. The rest of the rak`ah will be performed in the normal way.

After rising for the second rak`ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Qur’an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three Takbirs once again, but this time it will be before bowing down for ruku’. At each Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after saying Allahu Akbar bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three Takbirs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another Takbir for bowing down into the ruku` position. At this Takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku` saying, Allahu Akbar. The rest of the Salah will be performed in its usual way.

Khutbah: The Address of `Eid Al-Fitr

In this Salah, khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the Salah, unlike the Salah of Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) where it is fard (obligatory) and is delivered before the Salah. However, listening to the khutbah of `Eid Salah is wajib or necessary and must be heard in perfect peace and silence.

It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutbah by reciting Takbirs (Allahu Akbar) nine times and the second Khutbah with reciting it seven times.

Note: The way of `Eid Prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslim jurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Ash-Shafi`i, have some other ways to perform it. They recite Takbir twelve times before beginning the recitations from the Holy Qur’an in both rak`ah. This way is also permissible. If the Imam, being of the Shafi`i school, follows this way, you can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Prophet.

Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal

It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet has said:

“Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab (reward) of fasting for the whole year.” (Muslim)

This hadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month. Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also be fulfilled.

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Source: albalagh.net-By Mufti Taqi Usmani

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

Eid Al-Fitr: A Day of Joy

The end of Ramadan ushers in one of two major celebrations in the Islamic calendar. A day of festivities called Eid al-Fitr. In Arabic Eid means something which returns and is repeated every certain period of time. The word Eid, however, has evolved to mean a festivity.

The word Fitr is the root of the word iftar (breaking the fast) and denotes the end of the fasting month. It would be wrong to assume that Muslims celebrate the fact that they no longer have to fast, as Muslims indeed are saddened by the passing of the month of Ramadan. The reality is that Muslims celebrate because God has allowed them to participate in and complete the month of fasting and spiritual reflection. Muslims celebrate the fact that God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, may accept their deeds and reward them.

…that you should complete the number (of fasting days) and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks. (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

The Eid (or celebration) is not carried out in the way you might expect. After the previous night’s moon sighting, indicating that the blessed month of Ramadan is over, Muslims wake for the dawn prayer and the beginning of a very special day. In the early morning Muslims bathe and put on their best clothes in preparation for the special Eid prayer. It has become customary to wear new clothes in celebration of Eid. “God is beautiful, and He loves that which is beautiful,” (Muslim) and Eid is a time to display the favors of God. It is an act of worship to eat a few dates before setting out for the prayer in emphasis of the fact that the fasting month has indeed ended, and thus, fasting on the Day of Eid is forbidden, as it is a day of celebration and remembrance of God.

The Eid prayer is to be held outdoors in a large open ground. In inclement weather, or due to a lack of adequate arrangements, Eid prayer is sometimes performed in the mosques. Muslims can be seen walking and driving to the praying area, carrying prayer rugs and glorifying God. His or her words ringing out – “God is great, there is none worthy of worship but God; God is great, Praise be to Him.”

As Muslim families begin to congregate at the prayer place, the praising of God is joined with words of congratulations such as, “Eid Mubarak” (a celebration full of blessings) and Happy Eid, as well as prayers for each other, “May Allah accept our righteous works”.

Children dart about in anticipation of gifts and feasts, older people reflect on the success of Ramadan and the Magnificence of God. A quiet hush then spreads across the crowd as the Eid prayer begins. It differs slightly from the normal prayers, and although it is not obligatory, it is highly recommended that Muslims attend. Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder and give thanks to God not only for the joy of Ramadan, but also for the countless blessings He bestows upon us every day.

Before the prayer begins a special charity is to be offered. It is called Zakat al-Fitr. Each adult Muslim, who is financially able, is expected to offer a small amount, roughly equivalent to $10 U.S, from which foodstuff is bought and distributed to the poor.

Ramadan was a time when Muslims attempt to give generously and the celebration at the conclusion of Ramadan is conducted with the same spirit of generosity, ensuring that all Muslims have the opportunity to enjoy the day with feasting and celebration.

At the end of the prayer, the congregation disperses and travels home or onto celebrations via a different route. Muslims try to emulate the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to travel to and from the Eid praying place using different routes. This and the fact of the prayer being held in open areas are done to show the strength of the Muslims, to induce pride on one’s faith, and to celebrate the praises of Allah openly. The actual Eid al-Fitr is one day, but in many Muslim countries, businesses and offices may close for up to a week.

Due to time constraints and the fact that this Muslim holiday is not always recognized in western countries, some Muslims are unable to participate in more than a few hours of celebration. Muslims in different countries and different families celebrate in different ways.

There are gatherings of family and friends for breakfast, brunch or lunch. It is an occasion for visits, greetings, love and good wishes. It is a time to heal lost bonds, make amends, and revitalize relationships. Special foods are prepared and often dishes are sent to neighbors and friends. Each country or community has its signature dish, and a special benefit to being part of a Muslim community in the West means being able to sample delicious cuisine from around the world. Gifts, money and sweets are usually given to children and some adults exchange gifts too. Celebrations differ from community to community. There are picnics and barbeques, fairs and neighborhood feasts, community events lasting into the night, and fireworks or laser light displays. New friends are made, old acquaintances renewed and families spend quality time together.

The celebration of Eid demands contact with relatives, kindness to parents, empathy for the poor and distraught and compassion for neighbors. It is a day of visiting and well wishing, and some Muslims take the opportunity to visit the graveyards. It is important not to make visiting the graveyards an annual Eid ritual. However, the remembrance of death and the hereafter is important at all times. Even at this time of celebration, one truly submitted to God understands that we are all but a breath away from death. In the midst of life is death and a Muslim realizes that this life is but a transient stop on the way to the final abode – Paradise or Hell.

Ramadan was a time of reflection and Eid is a time of celebration; however, lavish displays of wealth and materialism are to be avoided. Muslims who seized the benefits inherent in Ramadan are grateful for this time to celebrate and understand it is but one of the ways that God bestows His mercy upon us. Life can sometimes be full of tests and trials, but through the trying times as well as the celebrations God, there is with wisdom, mercy and forgiveness. A Muslim is encouraged to celebrate by glorifying God ,but reminded never to forget that the ability to love life and to celebrate, is but one of God’s bounties.

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Source: Islamreligion.com.

 

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

`Eid Al-Fitr: Prayer and Celebrations

For many of us, the ‘Eid Prayer is a simple ritual that we observe twice a year. However, if one recently accepted Islam, or is dealing with the responsibility of his first `Eid khutbah (speech), the ‘Eid Prayer begins to seem truly daunting.

With that in mind, I decided to compile a simple primer on the `Eid Prayer. I hope this facilitates its observance, making it easy for converts, their families, co-workers and first-time preachers.

What is `Eid Al-Fitr?

On the day of `Eid the entire Muslim community congregates in observance of the `Eid Prayer.

What is `Eid Al-Fitr?

The word `Eid in Arabic means holiday and the word fitr means to break. Since this holiday takes place the day after the month of Ramadan ends, this holiday is given the name “the holiday for breaking the fast”.

What Happens on That Day?

On the day of `Eid the entire Muslim community congregates in observance of the `Eid Prayer.

What Time Is the Prayer?

It can be prayed any time after sunrise until noon and must be done so in congregation.

Who’s Invited? Can I bring my non-Muslim friends and family members?

The entire community is encouraged to come, and you are definitely encouraged to bring all of your friends and family to the prayer and the celebrations thereafter!

How Does One Pray This Prayer? Is it different from the Friday Prayer?

The `Eid Prayer is similar to the Friday Prayer in its number of cycles (two), in that it is recited out loud, and that both have sermons. However, unlike the Friday Prayer, the `Eid Prayer’s sermon follows the prayer.

The second difference lies in its number of Takbirs (when the prayer leader says, “God is the Greatest” which starts the prayer). In the `Eid Prayer there are six additional Takbirs added to the original in the prayer’s first cycle, and five added to the second cycle of prayer (after one rises from the sitting position to stand for the second cycle).

How It’s Done

The first cycle: there is the opening takbir, then the prayer leaders says “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) six more times, and then recites the opening chapter from the Qur’an followed by a short reading from another chapter of the Qur’an.

After rising for the second cycle: one says “Allahu Akbar” to arise and stands for the second cycle of prayer then states  “Allahu Akbar” 5 more times before reading the opening chapter from the Qur’an.

Note: if one is following the Imam, it is much easier. Just follow him!

Are there any special chapters of Qur’an that should be recited during this prayer?

It was the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to read, after the first chapter of Qur’an, the 87th chapter in the first cycle of prayer and the 88th in the second cycle.  Others considered it commendable to recite the 50th chapter from the Qur’an in the first cycle and the 54th in the second. However, if one is unable to read those chapters, there is nothing wrong with reading whatever he knows from the Qur’an.

What if one comes late and misses the extra Takbirs?

If one comes after the preacher has already started (for example he has already stated Allahu Akbar three times in addition to the opening Allahu Akbar) then that person should begin the prayer by saying, “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) and join the Imam. However once the preacher begins to recite the Qur’an, the latecomer should keep saying “Allahu akbar” in a soft voice until he arrives to the total of 7 extra Takbirs (or 5 if he comes late for the second cycle of prayer).

Thus, in the above scenario where the preacher had already said three, the person would have said a total of 4 with him. However, once the preacher started to read Qur’an, the person should say an additional 4 Takbirs (saying God is the Greatest) making it a total of 7.

If it were the second cycle, the person, once the preacher starts reading Qur’an, should add 2 more to reach the total of 5.

If one arrived late and started their prayer with the second cycle, missing the first, then they should say 7 when they stand to complete the prayer after the preacher closes the prayer.

If the person comes late and finds the congregation at the end of the prayer, meaning he missed all of the Takbirs, he should arise, after the closure of the prayer, and say 7 Takbirs in the first cycle and 5 in the second.

Note: one may pray behind any preacher who observes the Takbirs in a different fashion recognized by Islamic ritual law. There is no problem to follow them in this; one should not make it a big issue.

What Is the Ruling for ‘Eid Prayer?

`Eid Prayer is a highly encouraged act for those ordered to pray the Friday Prayer and recommended for those who are not obligated to pray the Friday prayer, according to a group of scholars. However, there are other great scholars who hold it to be a religious obligation.

What Should the Preacher Talk about?

In addition to what constitutes the normal recognized procedures related to the sermon, one should insure that his sermon is relevant and provides the community with a feeling of empowerment and purpose. It is also good to channel the community into taking part in the different committees and programs that take place in the local mosque. One should also try and make the speech relevant to the attendees by addressing each in drawing valuable lessons that are practical and measurable.

I have a family member or friend who converted to Islam. Although I’m not Muslim, can I congratulate them and offer gifts?

Sure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that religiously and no Muslim should take offense to it. If they do, please feel free to give their gifts to me!

Recommended Acts

– To keep night vigil the night before the `Eid Prayer.

Many consider this a commendable act, however the narration attributed to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Whoever brings to life the night of `Eid (with worship) his heart will be alive on a day when the hearts will die” is weak as noted in Tadhkirat Al-Mawdu`at, vol. 1, pg. 47.

– To take a ritual bath prior to the prayer.

– To apply perfume (for men only).

– To wear one’s best clothing.

– To return from the prayer using a different route.

– To eat something before the `Eid Prayer. It is best to eat a few dates and if proven difficult, then drinking some water as this is the Sunnah of the Prophet (note for `Eid Al-Adha the opposite holds true).

– To set out for the Masjid early engaging in Takbir. This is truly one of the greatest memories any family can have, so seize this moment and engage in Takbir with your families. If you’re solo, then know that you are engaging in Takbir with the angels!

– To pray in an open space.

– One should not pray before or after the `Eid Prayer.

May Allah bless you and give you the best `Eid ever!

 

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Source: suhaibwebb.com

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