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Id al-Fitr Prayer

By: Hojjat al-Islam Muhsin Qara’ati
Islamic occasions are a means of reminding Muslims to remember God, the Exalted. For most of these occasions, special supplications and prayers have been mentioned.
Salat al-‘id is the prayer consisting of two rak‘ahs which is offered on ‘Id al-Fitr and ‘Id al-Qurban.
Contrary to other celebrations and festivities which are associated with heedlessness, self-indulgence and sensual desires, Islamic festivity is accompanied by prayer, supplication, alms-giving and charity, washing {ghusl} and purification, etc. Now, we shall briefly explain the prayer of these two festivals:

‘Id al-Fitr Prayer
On the first day of the lunar month of Shawwal, which is ‘Id al-Fitr, one must offer prayer in gratitude for a whole month of worship and fasting. During the time of the presence of the infallible Imam, this prayer is obligatory and must be performed in congregation, but in our time it is mustahabb.
It can be offered from sunrise of the day of ‘Id up to midday, but performing it earlier in the day is recommended.
In the first rak‘ah, after the recital of Surah al-Hamd and another surah, one must recite takbir {“Allahu akbar”} five times and perform qunut after takbir. In the qunut any supplication may be recited, but it is better to recite the supplication, “Allahumma ahl al-kibriya’i wa’l-‘azamah…”
There are four takbirs in the second rak‘ah, and after each takbir, qunut is required.
Because of the peculiar spirituality it possesses, the ‘Id al-Fitr prayer makes hearts aware of God and creates a state of repentance, followed by asking for forgiveness. It is recommended {mustahabb} for a person to take a bath, recite a particular supplication and pray in an open space.
Imam ar-Rida (‘a) says: “God has made this day as a day of festivity so that the Muslims can gather together and glorify Him for His blessings and favors. Thus, this day is a day of festivity, of fraternal gathering, alms-giving, spiritual delight, and benediction.”[1][604]
In this noble hadith, the philosophy of the prayer and festivity {‘id} has been stated under the following headings:
(1) fraternal gathering;
(2) alms-giving and attending to the poor;
(3) dutifully inclining toward God; and
(4) humbly entreating the Lord.
All of these refer to the spiritual and mystical dimension of the said prayer and religious rites, as well as the social effects and benefits which the people obtain. By giving their zakat al-fitr,[1][605] the people provide sustenance to the poor and needy. In another dimension, attention is diverted toward the deprived ones, ‘Id al-Fitr is regarded as the “feast of the poor”.
In addition to sociopolitical effects of this glorious annual gathering, it is a symbol of the power and glory of the Muslim ummah.[1][606]

Divine gift
The main thing which can be requested from God in this prayer is forgiveness and mercy as well as the acceptance of worship. This is the best gift that God grants to the worshippers who have fasted.
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) says: “The Messenger of Allah (S) said that whenever the first day of Shawwal (i.e., ‘Id al-Fitr) arrives, a caller from God cries out, “O believers! Hurry to get your gifts”.” Then, the Imam (‘a) turns toward Jabir and says: “O Jabir! The gifts of God are not like the gifts of kings… Today is the day of (divine) gifts!”[1][607]

‘Id al-Fitr as a scene of the Day of Resurrection {qiyamah}
One of the educational and constructive effects of ‘Id al-Fitr prayer is that in the said gathering for supplication and entreating in open space, man is reminded of God, the Day of Resurrection and his need of divine mercy, while the scene of the Day of Resurrection comes into view. Remembering the Day of Resurrection on that day is enjoined by the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).
It is recorded in the hadith that on a certain ‘Id al-Fitr, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said to the people in a sermon: “O people! This day of yours is the day when the good ones shall receive reward. On this day, the evil-doers shall be in loss.
This day is the day most similar to your resurrection. Your coming out from your houses and going to the prayer ground calls to mind your coming out of your graves. Your waiting for the prayer reminds us of the gathering in the Presence of God on the Day of Resurrection. Your returning home after the prayer is reminiscent of your return to your dwelling, either in paradise or hell.”[1][608]
On a certain ‘Id al-Fitr, Imam al-Mujtaba (‘a) came across some people who were busy laughing and playing. The Imam (‘a) said to his companions: “God has made Ramadhan as a ground to compete in obtaining His mercy and pleasure. Some are ahead while others are left behind. What is sorrowful is that on this day of reward, the latter are busy laughing and playing.”

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