The Celebrations in Islam
By Dr. Muhammad al-Jibāly
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Eid is any day of gathering. It is derived from `ādah (returned), because people return to it periodically. Some scholars say that it derives from `ādah (custom or practice) because people are accustomed to celebrating it. Its plural is A’yād.
Ibn ul-`Arābī (rahimahullāh) said:
"It is called `Eid because it returns every year with renewed happiness."
[Lisan ul -`Arab]
Ibn `Ābidin (rahimahullāh) said:
`Eid days are thus named because Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala renews His bounties in them; and He distributes His blessings to His worshippers. Thus on `Eid ul-Fitr, He permits them to eat after having been restrained from food; and He requires paying Sadaqatul-Fitr (the charity of breaking the fast) to the needy.
"And on `Eid ul-Adha, He permits the completion of Hajj (pilgrimage) with the final tawaf (circulating around al-Ka`abah); and He requires offering sacrifices and distributing their meat, etc.
"Also, it is customary for people to be joyful, happy, and to rejoicing during the `Eid days."
[Hāshēyatu Ibn `Ābidin]
The Two `Eids are a Mercy from Allah
Anas Ibn Malik (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that upon arriving in al-Madinah, the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) found its people celebrating two days [Some scholars holds that the two days were the day of Nayruz and the day of Mihrajan; two Persian holidays; See `Awn ul-Ma`bud by al-`Azimabāddē] whose significance was held over from the Jahiliyyah [The state of ignorance and disbelief prevalent in Arabia before Islam].
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from the Jahiliyyah; indeed Allah has substituted them for you with what is better: the Day Of Sacrifice and the Day Of Fitr (breaking the fast).”
[This is recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and others; it is authentic]
Shaykh Ahmad `Abdur Rahman al-Banna (rahimahullāh) said:
"(They are better because,) the day of Sacrifice and that of Fitr are legislated by Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala, and are His choice for His creatures. They follow the completion of two of the greatest pillars of Islam, Hajj (pilgrimage) and fasting. On these days, Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala forgives those who performed Hajj and who fasted, and He sheds mercy on all of His obedient creatures.
On the other hand, the days of Nayruz and Mihrajan were devised by the people of those times, because of good weather or other passing qualities.
The difference between the two cases is apparent for whoever ponders upon this."
Holidays Are Part of the Complete Deen
Evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah clearly demonstrates that the `Eids are distinctive features for every nation.
Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala said:"To every people we have appointed rites (of sacrifice) that they must observe." [Al-Hajj, 22:67]
From authentic hadiths that are cited above and subsequently, it is concluded that the Muslims have only three `Eid days, a weekly `Eid every Friday, and two annual `Eids: al-Fitr and al-Adha.
Thus, the `Eids are purely religious occasions for the Muslims. They are the only holidays in Islam, and were granted to the Muslims by Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala. This indicates His great love and mercy toward those who adhere to His blessed religion: Islam.
And when Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala, the most Generous, grants something, he grants it complete and perfect. Thus, He granted us the `Eids, as well as instructions for celebrating them. It becomes clear then that:
• Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala alone has the right to prescribe `Eids and to set their dates.
• Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala alone has the right to prescribe the manner of celebrating them.
The Islamic Concept of Celebrating
Islam teaches the ummah how to celebrate the `Eids. On these days, the Muslims take a bath and wear their best clothes.
Even though fasting is not permitted on the `Eid days, yet, the major part of the celebration is not eating or drinking - rather, it is a prayer that brings Muslims together to remember Allah’s bounties and celebrate His glory and greatness.
The `Eids and their celebration in Islam carry a distinctive meaning and spirit. They are totally different from the celebrations in other nations and cultures.
For other nations, a holiday is a chance to immerse in worldly pleasures, or to involve oneself in prohibited acts to the utmost. Not so for Muslims!
For Muslims, the `Eid is an occasion to increase in good deeds. Each `Eid marks the conclusion of an important worship, and the determination to continue in obedience and submission to Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala.
In moments of extreme pleasure or sadness, a Muslim never forgets his Lord's greatness, might, glory, and watchfulness (Allāh Subhānahu wa ta‘ala). A Muslim's actions are always controlled by this continued remembrance and awareness.
Thus the `Eid is not an occasion to take a vacation from Islamic responsibilities and commitments, nor to waste time and money in extravagance. It is not "fun for the sake of fun". Rather, it is controlled and directed rejoicing that is of ultimate and definite benefit for the Muslim.
The `Eid is a chance to multiply good deeds by bringing happiness and pleasure to the hearts of other Muslims, by helping and supporting the poor and needy, and by getting involved in pastimes that emphasize the strong and serious Islamic character.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Excerpted from Islamic Network]