“Eid-ul-fitr”, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamicholy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day (a Muslim is not permitted to fast that day), but it is usually celebrated for 3 days. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “over the come”. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month Shawwal. This is a day where Muslims around the world try to show a common goal of unity.
Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadhan. This joyous day is celebrated to give thanks for the blessings of Ramadhan. Muslims attend the congregational Eid prayer service which is held in the morning. They wear new clothing, cook delicious food and invite friends and neighbors to celebrate with them. Fasting during Ramadhan inspires sympathy for the hungry and needy, and encourages Muslims to donate generously to the poor.
Eid al-Fitr has a particular salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two raka’ah (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may only be performed in congregation (Jama’at) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying “Allahu Akbar” [God is Great]), three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah and three of them just before ruku’ in the second raka’ah in the Hanafi school. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard (obligatory),Mustahabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob (preferable).
Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Qur’an, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat and fitra before doing the Eid prayer.
Different Names of Eid-ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr goes by various names around the world, including:
Idul Fitri, Hari Lebaran (Indonesia); Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Lebaran, Aidilfitri (Malaysia,Singapore, Brunei); Wakas ng Ramadan, Hari Raya Puasa (Philippines); Nonbu Perunaal (Tamil) Riyoyo, Riyayan, Rozar Eid (Bengali), Ngaidul Fitri (Javanese); Boboran Siyam (Sundanese); Uroë Raya Puasa (Acehnese); Rojar Eid (Bangladesh); Ramazan Bayramı, Şeker Bayramı, Küçük Bayram (Turkish); Ramazan Bayramı, Orucluq Bayramı (Azerbaijan); Ураза байрам, Uraza bayram (Tatar); Orozo Mayram (Kyrgyz); Rozi Heyt (Uyghur); Eid Nimaz (Sindhi); Korite (Senegal); Id (Uganda); Sallah (Hausa); Kochnay hi supAkhtar (کوچنی اختر) (Pashto); Eid-e Sa’eed-e Fitr (The Mirthful Festival of Fitr, Persian); Choti Eid, Meethi Eid (Urdu); Cheriya Perunnal (Malayalam); Ramazanski bajram (Bosnian); Bajram (Albanian); Cejna Remezanê (Kurdish); Ramazanski bajram (Croatian); Рамазански бајрам (Serbian); Рамазан Бајрам (Macedonian); Рамазан Байрам (Bulgarian); Ciid Yare (Somali); Id al-Fater (Ethiopia); Oraza baýramy (Turkmen); Suikerfeest (Dutch); עיד אל-פיטר (Hebrew).
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Eid Mubārak (“Blessed Eid”) or ‘Eid Sa‘īd (“Happy Eid”). In addition, many countries have their own greetings in the local language – in Turkey, for example, a typical saying might be Bayramınız kutlu olsun or “May your Bayram – Eid – be blessed.” Muslims are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year.
Typically, Muslims wake up early in the morning—always before sunrise— offer Salatul Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer), and in keeping with thetraditions of the Prophet Muhammad clean their teeth with a toothbrush, take a shower before prayers, put on new clothes (or the best available), and apply perfume.
It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. It is customary to acknowledge this with a small sweet breakfast, preferably of the date fruit, before attending a special Eid prayer (known as salaat).
As an obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy (Arabic: Sadaqat-ul-fitr) before performing the ‘Eid prayer:
- To show happiness
- To give as much charity as is possible
- To pray Fajr in the local Masjid
- To go early for Eid salaat
- To read the takbirat in an open field.
- Go to the Eid prayer on foot
- Muslims recite the following incantation in a low voice while going to the Eid prayer: Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar. Lā ilāha illà l-Lāh wal-Lāhu akbar, Allahu akbar walil-Lāhi l-ḥamd. Recitation ceases when they get to the place of Eid or once the Imam commences activities.
- Muslims are recommended to use separate routes to and from the prayer grounds.
The Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas like fields, community centers, etc. or at mosques. No call to prayer is given for this Eid prayer, and it consists of only two units of prayer with an additional six incantations. The Eid prayer is followed by the sermon and then asupplication asking for God’s forgiveness, mercy, peace and blessings for all living beings across the world. The sermon also instructs Muslims as to the performance of rituals of Eid, such as the zakat. Listening to the sermon at Eid is a requirement i.e. while the sermon is being delivered; it is prohibited to talk, walk about or offer prayer. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends and acquaintances or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centers or rented halls.
Eid gifts, known as Eidi, are frequently given at eid to children and immediate relatives.
Spirit of Eid-ul-Fitr.
This religious celebration is observed on the day following the last day of fasting which is observed daily by all able-bodied Muslims from dawn till sunset throughout the Islamic month of Ramazan. It is a day of much rejoicing and happiness especially by those fortunate persons who observed the fasts and reaped the spiritual fruits of this holy exercise in accordance with the directions of God in the Holy Quran.
Fasting has been prescribed in one form or another by all the revealed religions of the world. The Bible tells us that Prophet David declared ‘I humbled my soul with fasting’ (Psalms 35:13) and we read in the New Testament that ‘the disciples of Jesus and the Pharisees used to fast’ (Mark 2:18). We are also told that ‘Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights’ (Matthew 4:2).
One does not only feel happy on Eid-ul-Fitr because through exercising self-discipline one has successfully complied with the commandment of God to observe the fasts, but also on account of a feeling of spiritual exhilaration which glows within the heart and soul.
No doubt on Eid-ul-Fitr much pleasure is derived from wearing new clothes, meeting friends and relatives and eating specially prepared food. These are all ways of celebrating the occasion. The main event, of course, is the religious service when one offers prayers and listens to the inspirational address of the Imam on relevant matters concerning the significance of the occasion. As the main purpose of fasting is to develop righteousness and self-purification (Quran 2:186) the most attractive garment one should be wearing is the one mentioned by God in the Holy Quran:
The raiment of righteousness – that is the best. (7:27)
The real food one should be enjoying is the spiritual nourishment acquired during the month of fasting.
Eid-ul-Fitr should remind one of many lessons learned from fasting and which, during the holy month of Ramazan, one should have endeavoured to keep in mind and to have practised. One of them is the offering of one’s morning (Fajr) prayer before sunrise and also of the offering the efficacious pre-dawn prayer (Tahajjud) which is highly recommended. One realizes that it is not too difficult to arise early and offer these prayers at the proper time. If one can discipline oneself to do so during the month of fasting then it is not impossible to do so during the other months of the year also.
The purpose of taking medicine is to combat and cure an ailing condition and when it takes good effect one wants to maintain one’s improved condition. Likewise when one reduces weight after a course of dieting one wants to maintain one’s lower weight and similarly one wants to maintain one’s improved physical condition after completing a course of exercise. After completion of the holy month of fasting one is able to gauge one’s improved spiritual condition as a result of one’s devotion, conduct, prayers and divine favours received during that period. On Eid-ul-Fitr one should reflect one’s condition of spiritual improvement and resolve not to lose what one has gained but rather, not only to maintain it, but press forward to even higher spiritual development through righteous conduct, prayers and seeking the Grace of God.
This is the spirit of Eid-ul-Fitr.