Eid Celebrations in the Age of Bliss

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In the Age of Bliss, people started celebrating the Eid of Ramadan and the Eid al-Adha1 during the second year of  hijra.2 The first eid, which was celebrated by Muslims, was Eid al-Fitr.3 In the month of Shaban, fasting was made obligatory and the believers who had spent the month of Ramadan by fasting celebrated the first three days of the next month, Shawwal, as eid. They also celebrated Eid al-Adha for four days, starting the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah. 

Determination of the Eids

Anas (may God be pleased with him) who was one of the kids who experienced the enthusiasm and excitement of eid, tells us how the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) determined it: 

“When the Prophet of God came to Medina, the public had been celebrating and having fun during two days of the year.4 He asked them, ‘What are these two days?’ They said ‘We used to celebrate on those days during the Jahiliyyah (the Period of Ignorance, the period of time and state of affairs in Arabia before the advent of Islam).’ He then said ‘You also have two days for enjoyment. Allah has granted you  better days than the days in Jahiliyyah.These are the days of  the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha .5

These two eids were designated in connection to two important worships; one to the month of Ramadan during which believers fasted, the other to the days of Haj when people performed pilgrimage. Thus, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) described Eid al-Fitr as the days when Muslims fast together, and Eid al-Adha as the day when they sacrifice together.6

The Muslims who have fasted and prayed during the month of Ramadan, who became integrated with Qur’an, were eliminating the troubles of the poor by giving the Zakah and charity (if they were able financially), who in short, spent all their time with worship and hoping the forgiveness and mercy of God would reach the eid. We can only imagine such a day as overflowing with happiness and joy. Then they experienced a second happiness in the Pilgrimage season, namely, Eid al-Adha, during which they revive the obedience of Abraham’s son to his father and their loyalty to God.

A Day of Eid in the Age of Bliss

Eid Prayer in Musalla and Exchanging Eid Greetings

The days of eid would start with the Eid Prayer performed by Muslims with the participation of men, women, kids in the Musalla[10].7 The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said during Eid,  “Today, the first thing we are going to do is pray.”8 He would perform ghusl (full ablution) on the first day of  Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha and he advised his companions to do the same. [14]9

The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) would observe the Morning Prayer in Masjid al-Nabawi. He would come out of his house when the sun came to a certain distance and go to Musalla reciting takbirs.10 He would eat a few dates as dessert before leaving home during Eid al-Fitr. On the other hand, he would not eat anything until he returned from prayer during Eid al-Adha.11

A staff or spear (anaza) gifted by Najashi would be taken and erected as a cover in front of the place where the Eid Prayer would be performed. The Messenger of God would recite the supplementary takbirs in addition to normal prayers during the Eid Prayer: 12 recite the A’la and Ghashiya surahs out loud during the Prayer13, deliver the Eid sermon14, and then pray for all Muslims.15

The first eid wishes would take place after the Prayer. In addition to being a place of worship, Musalla was a place where eid was celebrated in joy, unity, and solidarity with the participation of everybody; women, men, young, and old.  Muslims would greet each other and wish each other happy eid by saying, “May God accept from us as well as you [our good deeds and prayers” (تَقَبَّلَ اللَّهُ مِنَّا وَمِنْكَ)

The Messenger of God used different paths while going  and coming to Musalla.16  For this reason, it is the Sunnah to walk to the Eid Prayer and take a different way to return and to recite takbirs along the way.

The Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings be upon him) would sacrifice his sacrificial animal near Musalla after the Eid Prayer in the morning of the Eid al-Adha.17

He would not perform any other prayers before the Eid Prayer and would perform two-rakah Prayers after returning home from the Eid Prayer.18

The Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings be upon him) gave importance to everyone attending the Eid Prayer; he did not want any individual of the society to be deprived of the blessings of such an important day.  He would ask women who did not have any festive dresses to come to Musalla by borrowing a dress from a friend.19

Umm Atiyya (may God be pleased with her), one of the women of the Ansar (local inhabitant of Medina), describes those days: “The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him), would want all of the women young and old, married and single, to come to Musalla where the Eid Prayer is observed on the first day of the eid. He would like, even those women who were on their period , to come here and stand aside without praying, listen to the sermon, and pray for goodness and blessings and prayers from there.”20

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) Exchanging Eid Greetings with Lady Companions

After the Prayer, with one of his male Companions, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would come to the place where the lady Companions were and greet them. After an Eid Prayer, he took Bilal with him and came to the place where the ladies were, and said to them, “O the ladies community!  Give charity, and know that charity is better for you!”, asking for them to help the poor. The women responded to the call of the Messenger of God by donating their rings and various jewelry.21

Gathering Charity

The Messenger of God, with the advice “give charity”, encouraged not only the female companions but also all Muslims. Abu Said al-Khudri, who was famous for his generosity, conveys that, after performing two rakahs of Prayer on eid days, the Messenger of God stood up, turned to the community that had been sitting down and said “give charity.” He also reports that the people who had given the most charity were the women.

Once more, on the Eid al-Adha, many poor people came to pray. The Messenger of God, who knew their being in need, said: “Save the meat of the sacrificed animal enough for three days and hand out the remainder as charity.” Since the number of the poor were high, he had  requested the meat to be distributed.

Joyful Eid Days

In the Age of Bliss,  eid days were the days of charity, blessings, joy and happiness that all believers celebrated together. The most beautiful and cleanest dresses were worn. Horse and camel races were held. Children played games and all Muslims had fun.

It was Eid al-Adha in Medina. Two little girls from the Ansar with the respected Aisha were playing tambourine and singing the songs that included poems about the day of Buath before Medina’s being honored with Islam. These two girls were not singers. The Messenger of God had been sleeping under his cover; just then the respected Abu Bakr entered inside and probably with the thought that they had been bothering the messenger of God,  got angry with his daughter, the respected Aisha, and said “What a Satan’s job in the home of Messenger of God, huh!22 Upon the respected Abu Bakr’s reaction, the Messenger of God opened his face and said” O Abu Bakr! do not tease them! Because these days are the days of eid”23 and added “Every society has a festive and these days are our festive”24 By saying those sentences he underlined that Eids are special and exceptional days.

Muslims used to spend the holidays in joy and happiness. Another time of the eid day when the little girls sang songs, the Messenger of Allah watched the spear shield games of the Abyssinians in the masjid together with his wife, the respected Aisha.25 He prevented the respected Umar,26who wanted to intervene the performances and made the performers relaxed.27

During the eids, the tradition of organizing entertainment was continued later, even when Iyaz ibn Amr al-Ash’ari from the Companions witnessed a joyless festive day in Anbar (one of the cities on the left bank of the Euphrates) he needed to ask in the face of such an unusual situation” Why I can not see that you are not playing games just like girls and boys accompanied by instruments in the presence of the Messenger of God?28 Because, according to him, entertaining in eid days was a habit of theh Messenger of God29

Spirit of Unity, Solidarity and Brotherhood in the Eid

Eids are when the idea of unity and solidarity stands out; they are when the Muslims, who are resembled as a human body in loving and  having mercy with each other:30 opening their hearts each other, and they are when Muslim’s brotherhood  is emphasized and felt strongly.

As a matter of fact, the Messenger of God described the Eid al-Fitr as the day when the Muslims completed the fast all together and the Eid al-Adha as the day when the Muslims sacrificed the sacrificial animals all together31

These days, there should be no room for any behavior that is contrary to the spirit of brotherhood, that will evoke distrust, and contrary to the spirit of the eid.  For example, it is forbidden to carry weapons due to the possibility of causing any accident during the day of eid32

For the sake of the eid,  the sulks are reconciled, the hearts of the offenders are mended, the elders are visited, the kinship and friendship ties are renewed.

Eating, Drinking and Treating Days

The eids are for eating, drinking and treating all together.33 For eids, the Messenger of God stated: “These are the days of eating and drinking”, forbade fasting on the days of eids.34 People used to exchange smiling, help the poor and treat kith and kin.

In the Age of Bliss, after the Eid Prayers, the congregation was served dessert or food.  On a Eid al-Adha, the Eid Prayer was observed and a tirit meal (boiled minced meat sauce poured on diced stale bread) was served. People immediately gathered around the meal. However, when the number of residents increased and got stuck, the Messenger of God, who did not hesitate to sit at the meal with everyone, had to kneel. A Bedouin, who found strange such a sitting, asked “what is this sitting,” reflecting his shock. As an answer, the Messenger of God said, “Surely God created me as a humble servant, not a bully and stubborn person!”35

The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) Modesty on the Eid

The Messenger of God never lost his modesty; he always lived as an ordinary person among his honorable Companions. He did not want to look different from other people, neither in his clothes, nor the way he acted. He refused to be treated differently. He did not want to show himself as someone different from them and he expressed at every opportunity that he was a servant.  One day, as he was sitting on the ground while eating, he said, “I eat like a servant eats and sit like a servant.”36 While he was with his friends, he could not be differentiated by his clothes or attitudes; he would rather look like one of them.

While the Messenger of God accepted advice from his companions about different subjects, he rejected the proposal of Umar (may God be pleased with him) on “wearing silk clothes” during the eid while they visited delegates. 

Home Visits and Trade Advice

The messenger of God used to visit different homes with some of his companions during the eid. On one eid, he had started his visits along with his Companions. When they arrived at Abu Kathir’s house, he saw that they were gathered in the courtyard with butchers and were reminiscing the days of the Jahiliyya. The Messenger of Allah asked them “How do you do your trading?”  They said, “We buy it in such a way , we sell it in such a way…” explaining their commercial procedures: “The Messenger of God said to them, “Buy as you wish, but do not mix the meat of a dead animal with the meat of the slaughtered animal!”  He said and continued his words as follows: “O people!  Remember what I am about to say well: Do not get involved in black markets. Do not increase your prices to incite customers. Do not buy the goods of the foreign trader, who brings goods to the market for sale, without entering the market and learning the prices yourself. The person who lives downtown (who knows the market) should not sell on behalf of the peasant (who does not know the market). No one should offer a new price to the customer before his brother’s bargain ends!”37

Worships On Eids

The Messenger of God desired that we increase our takbirs (Allahu akbar), tahlils (la ilaha illallah), and tahmids (alhamdulillah) on eid days.38 As a matter of fact, during Eid al-Adha, starting from the Morning Prayer of Arafa day to the Afternoon Prayer on the fourth day of this holiday, it is obligatory to recite the takbirs after every fard Prayers. He encouraged the Muslims to revive the eid nights with Prayer, worship, dhikr, saying, “Whoever revives the nights of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha with prayer and dhikr, asking only for Allah’s response, their heart will not die on the day the hearts die.” 39

Footnotes

  1. It is called, “eid al-fitr” ve “eid al-adha” in Arabic.
  2. Bozkurt, Nebi, “Eid” DIA, 5/259
  3. The Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings be upon him) set the Eids of Ramadan and Adha towards the end of the first year of the Hijra, but both eids were celebrated for the first time in the second year of the Hijra.  Because after the eids were set, the months of Ramadan and Dhu al-Hijjah were passed that year.
  4. Also see about these days: Suyuti, Sharh Sunan Ibn Majah, 123
  5.  Nasai, Salatu’l-Eidayn 1;Abu Dawud, Salat 239
  6. Abu Dawud, Sıyam 5
  7. Musalla means “place for Prayer.”  It is used for open, wide places outside the settlement centers, where Eid, Rain (istisqa) and Funeral Prayers are performed.  According to the narration of Abu Hurayra, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who performed the Eid Prayers almost always at the time, was not able to go to the mosque due to the heavy rain falling on Eid, and he made the prayer in the masjid. (Abu Dawud, Salat 248, 251)
  8. Bukhari, ideyn 3; Muslim, Adahi 7
  9. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad 4/79 (16840), Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salawat 169
  10. Musalla of the eid was in Buthan, one of the three valleys of Medina, and it is approximately 500 m away from the Prophet’s Mosque.
  11. Ibn Majah, Siyam 49
  12. Darimi, Salat 220; Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salawat 156
  13. Abu Dawud, Salat, 234, 236; Nasai, Salatu’l-Eidayn 13
  14. Bukhari, Eidayn 8, Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 8
  15.  Bukhari, Eidayn 12
  16. Bukhari, Eidayn, 24, Tirmidhi, Jumu’ah 30; Tirmidhi, Jumu’ah 37; Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salawat 161,162
  17. Bukhari, Eidayn 24
  18. Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salawat 160
  19. Abu Dawud, Salat 238, 241
  20. Bukhari, Salat 2, Eidayn 15; Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 12
  21. Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 2
  22. Bukhari, Eidayn 2; Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 16
  23. Bukhari, Eidayn 25; Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 17
  24. Bukhari, Eidayn 3;Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 16
  25. He (pbuh) took the respected Aisha on his shoulder, and let her watch the Abyssians who were performing.Muslim, Salatu’l-Eidayn 19; Bukhari, Eidayn 2
  26. Bukhari, Manaqib 15
  27. Bukhari, Eidayn 25
  28. Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salawat 163
  29. Bayhaqi, As-Sunanu’l-Kubra 10/366
  30. Muslim, Bir and Sila 66
  31. Abu Dawud, Siyam 5
  32. İbn Mace, İkametü’s-salavat 168
  33. Muslim, Sıyam 138
  34. Bukhari, Sawm 66, 67; Muslim, Sıyam 138, 142
  35. Abu Dawud, Et’ıme 17
  36. Abdurrazzaq, Musannaf 10/ 415 (19543)
  37. Tabarani, Al-Mu’jamu’l-Kabir, 22/382 (19472)
  38. Shawqani, 3/354, Daraqutni 2/49
  39. Ibn Majah, Zakah 68
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