A detailed look at meaning of Eid

It is a day in which there is a gathering. The word being derived from 'aada-ya 'oodu he returned, he is returning, as if they are returning to it i.e. 'Eid. It is also said that the word is derived from 'aadah custom/habit, because they have become accustomed to it. The plural of it being 'Ayaad. It is also said: "'Ayaadal Muslimoon" the Muslims celebrate 'Eid, meaning they witnessed their 'Eid.

Ibn-ul- 'Arabee said: "'Eid was named 'Eid because it returns every year with renewed happiness."8

The renowned scholar Ibn 'Aabideen said: "'Eid was titled by this name because in it is the customary beneficence of Allaah, the Most High, i.e. various forms of kindness that return, everyday upon His servants. From these are: "Fitr" (eating) after food had been prohibited, Sadaqatul-Fitr, completion of the Hajj by the Tawaf of visiting, the meat from the sacrifices and many other acts. Also because the custom in 'Eid is joy, happiness, cheer fulness and gladness."9

The Mercy of Allaah for the Prophetic Ummah by the two Eeds

Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "The Prophet (SAW) came to Madeenah and the people of Madeenah had, in Jaahileeyah two days for play and amusment10. So the Prophet (SAW) said: 'I came to you and you had, in Jaahileeyah two days for play and amusement. Indeed Allaah has replaced them for you by that which is better than them: The dav of Nahr (Slaughteung) and the day of Fitr (Breaking fast).'"11

Shaikh Ahmad 'Abdur-Rahmaan al-Banaa said: "That is because the two days, the day of al-Fitr and of an-Nahr are from the legislation of Allaah, the Most High, His choice for His creation and because they succeed the performance of two great pillars of Islaam - which are, the Hajj and Fasting. In them Allaah forgives the pilgrims and those who fast and spreads His Mercy over all of His obedient creation. As for the days Niarooz and Mahrajaan, then they were chosen by the wise men of that era, either because of the mildness of climate and season or because of other transitory virtues. Thus the difference between them is clear for one who contemplates."12

Adornment / Beautification for 'Eid

Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "'Umar (may' Allaah be pleased with him) bought a silk outer-garment that was being sold in the market. He came to the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) and said, 'Take this garment, to adorn (yourself) with on 'Eid and for meeting delegations with. Allah's Messenger saas replied, 'lndeed this is the garment of one who has no share of the Hereafter. 'Umar ra remained as long as Allah willed him to remain and then left. Then the Messenger of Allaah saas sent to him a silk garment. So 'Umar came with it to the Messenger of Allaah saas and said, 'O Messenger of Allaah! you said indeed this is the garment of one who has no share of the Hereafter but you sent this garment to me!' So the Messenger of Allaah saas said. 'Sell it and fulfill your needs with its profit '"17

Imaam as-Sindee said: "From the hadeeth it is known that beautification for the day of 'Eid was an established custom amongst them (the Companions) and the Prophet (SAW) did not disapprove of it. Consequently it is known that the custom remained."18

Haafidh Ibn Hajr said: "Ibn Abee Dunyah and al-Baihaqee reported, with an authentic chain of narration to Ibn 'Umar that he used to wear his best clothes for the 'Eids."19

He also said: "The inference of proof is from the Prophet's saas approving 'Umar on the basic principle of beautifying for the day of juma 'ah and his restricting his censure to wearing such a garment because it was made of silk." 20

Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughnee (2/228): "This shows that beautifying, in this circumstance was a well known fact to them. Maalik said: 'I heard the people of knowledge deeming the preferability of wearing perfume and of beautifying in the 'Eids."'

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad-ul-Ma'aad (1/441): "He (SAW) would wear his best clothes when proceeding to the two 'Eids and the day of jum 'ah. On one occasion he wore a green burdah and on another a red Burdah;21,22 but not one that was solely red as some people may think. For if that was the case it would no longer be called a Burdah. Rather it had red thread like the thread of Yemanee Burdah."

The Sacrifice

The sacrifice is a sheep that is slaughtered after the 'Eid-ul-'Adhaa prayer, seeking nearness to Allaah, the Most High, by offering this sacrifice. Allaah, the Perfect and Free of all defects and the Most High, says: "Say (Oh Muhammad). Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds"Soorah al-An'aam 6:162 110

Here the word "sacrifice" means "slaughtering so as to seek nearness to Allaah, Exalted be He."111

The scholars have differed with respect to its ruling. However, that which seems to be the strongest opinion from the differing evidences is that the sacrifice is obligatory and here - my Muslim brothers - are some of the ahaadeeth which have been used as an evidence by the ones who say it is obligatory:

1. From Aboo Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: "The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said: 'Whosoever has the capability and does not offer a sacrifice, then let him not approach our musallaa."'112 The inference of proof from the hadeeth is that when he (SAW) prohib ited one who has the ability and does not offer a sacrifice from approaching the musallaa , he (SAW) highlighted the fact that the one not offering a sacrifice has left an obligatory act. Therefore it is as if he (SAW) is saying that there is no benefit in seeking nearness to Allaah while at the same time leaving this obligatory act.

2. From Jundub bin 'Abdullaah al-Bajalee (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: "I witnessed the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) say on the day of Nahr (slaughtering). 'Whomsoever slaughtered before praying, then let him replace it with another sacrifice and whomsoever has not slaughtered then let him slaughter "' 113 The "order" is clear in showing that it is obligatory, and nothing has come114 to take the order away from its clear meaning.

3. From Mikhnaf bin Sulaaim who witnessed the Prophet (SAW) say while giving a sermon on the day of 'Arafah: "It is the duty of the people of every household to offer the sacrifice of 'Atariyah every year115 and do you know what 'Atariyah is? It is what the people call ar-Rajabiyah"116

This contains within it an obligatory order. As for 'Atariyah, then it has been abrogated but its abrogation does not necessitate the abro gation of the sacrifice of 'Eid, as that remains upon the original guide line and principal.

Ibn Atheer said: "'Atariyah has been abrogated and this occurred in the beginning of Islaam."117

As for the ones who oppose this stance, then their biggest doubt lead ing them to the conclusion that the sacrifice is Sunnah, is the saying of the Messenger (SAW): "When the (first) ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) come and one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then let him not remove anything from his hair or from his skin (fingernails)"118 so they said:119 "This contains an evidence showing that the sacrifice is not obligatory, because he (SAW) said, 'and if one of you wants to offer a sacrifice' Therefore, if it was obligatory he would not have left it to one's will."

Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah - after deeming that the strongest opinion is that of the sacrifice being obligatory - replied to this doubt by saying:120

Similarly they determined that it meant: When you intend to recite (the Qur'aan), seek refuge in Allaah. Purification for prayer is obligatory and recitation in the prayer is obligatory. Indeed Allaah says: "Verily this (Qur'aan) is no less than a reminder to all the Mankind and Jinn. To whomsoever amongst you wills to walk straight."122 and wanting to be upright in the Deen is an obligation. Then he, (Ibn Taymeeyah) may Allaah have mercy on him, said:123 "...Also, it is not obligatory upon everybody to offer a sacrifice. Rather it is obligatory upon the one who has the ability. As such a per son is the one who wants to offer a sacrifice. Just as he (SAW) said: "Whoever wants to make Hajj then let him hasten for indeed a thing may deviate him from it and a need may prevent him from performing it"124 Indeed Hajj is obligatory upon everyone who has the ability. Therefore, the saying of the Prophet (SAW): "Whoever wants to offer a sacrifice" is like his (SAW) saying: "Whoever wants to make Hajj..." Imaam al-'Aynee125 has replied to the reasoning of those who say it is not obligatory, when explaining the saying of the author of al-Hidaayah:126 "... and the meaning of 'want' from that which has been narrated - and Allaah knows best - is the opposite of inadvertence and not an option."

So al-'Aynee (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "The intended meaning is not a choice between leaving and permit ting. Rather it becomes as if he (SAW) said: 'whoever amongst you intends to offer a sacrifice' and this option does not point to a nega tion of the obligation. Just as in his (SAW) saying: "Whomsoever wants to pray then let him make wudoo"127 and his saying: "whomsoever amongst you wants to pray Jum 'ah then let him make ghusl"128

i.e. whoever intends it, no option is found and likewise this one (i.e. the sacrifice)." As for the deduction of proof from the reasoning that the Prophet (SAW) did not obligate the sacrifice upon his ummah, as in Sunan Aboo Dawood (2810) Sunan at-Tirmidhee (1574), Musnad Ahmad ( 3/356) with an authentic chain of narration from Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah - then it is a reasoning which does not hold, since it can be understood by har monising the evidences together - to mean those of the ummah who do not have the ability.

Therefore he who is unable to offer the sacrifice has the ruling of it being obligatory removed from him from the onset, and Allaah knows best.

Regulations of the Sacrifice

There are regulations connected to the sacrifice, which a Muslim must know about, so that he has knowledge of his acts of worship and is on clear guidance in his affairs (of his life). I shall by the will of Allaah in what follows summarise these regulations.

First: The Prophet (SAW) used to sacrifice two rams,129 after the 'Eid prayer and he (SAW) informed us that: "Whosoever slaughters before the 'Eid prayer, then it is not from the sacrifice: rather it is meat which he gives to his family."130

Second: He (SAW) used to order his Companions to slaughter a sheep which is a jadha 'a and a than iyaa from other than the sheep.131 Mujaashi 'a ibn Mas'ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (SAW) said: "Indeed a sheep which is a jadha 'a is equal, as a sacrifice, to the slaughtering of a goat which is a thaniyaa. "132

Third: It is permissible to delay the slaughtering until the second or the third day after 'Eid. This is taken from what is established upon the Prophet (SAW) who said: "All the days of Tashreeq are days of slaughtering."133

Ibn al-Qayyim said: "This is the opinion of Ahmad, Maalik and Aboo Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on them). Ahmad said: 'It is the opinion of many of the Companions of Muhammad (SAW).' Athram mentioned this (view) upon Ibn 'Umar and Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them)."134

Fourth: From the Prophet's saas guidance is that whosoever desires to offer a sacrifice and the (first) ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have begun then he should not remove anything from his hair or from his finger nails, as there is a prohibition upon doing this.135

Imaam an-Nawawee said in Sharh Muslim (13/138-139): "The meaning of the prohibition of removing any hair or finger nails is a prohibition from cutting the finger nails, or breaking them or other means and a prohibition of removing hair by shaving, shorting, plucking, burning, or by using cream or any other means. This applies to hair of the arms, moustache, private areas, head and other bodily hair."

Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughnee (11/96): "... and if one does this then one seeks forgiveness from Allaah. There is an ijmaa that there is no fidyaah (redemption) regardless of whether it was done intentionally or forgetfully." I say: This is an indication from him, may Allaah have mercy on him, that it is haraam and totally forbidden. This is clear in the original basis of the prophetic prohibition.

Five: He (SAW) used to select a sacrificial animal that was free from defects and he deemed this as being better. He prohibited the sacrific ing of an animal whose ears were cut or had broken horns.136 He ordered looking for the flawlessness of the animal, and prohibited slaughtering a one eyed animal, a muqaabil a mudaabirah, a shar qaa 'a, and a kharqaa 'a. This is because they have been prohibited.137 As for a ram that has been castrated then it is permissible to be used as a sacrifice, due to what is established from the Prophet (SAW). This has been transmitted by Aboo Ya'laa (1792) al-Baihaqee (9/267) with a chain of narration that has been declared hasan by al- Haithamee in Majmoo az-Zawaa 'id (22/4).

Six: He (SAW) used to slaughter at the musallaa.138

Seven: From the guidance of the Prophet (SAW) is that a sheep is sufficient for a man and his family, even if the number of the family be many, as 'Ataa bin Yassar139 said: "I asked Aboo Ayyoob al-Ansaaree how was the slaughtering done at the time of Allaah's Messenger (SAW)? So he replied: 'Indeed A man used to slaughter a sheep for himself and his family, and they would eat of it and feed others with it."'140

Eight: It is preferable to make takbeer and tasmiyah when slaughtering. This is due to what is confirmed from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: "The Prophet saas sacrificed two horned rams, which were white with black markings. He slaughtered them himself, while saying: "Bismillaah, Allaahu Akbar" (In the name of Allaah, Allaah is the Greatest) and he had his foot placed on their sides."141

Nine: The best sacrificial animal is that which is a large horned ram, being white mixed with black around its eyes and its legs; as this is the description that the Prophet (SAW) preferred and sacrificed.142

Ten: It is preferred that a Muslim carries out his own sacrifice, but if he deputises someone else to do the slaughter for him, then that is per missible and there is no problem in doing so.143

Eleven: It is preferred that the family who offered the sacrifice eat from the sacrifice, give gifts from its meat and give sadaqa from it. It is permissible for them to store some of the meat. This is taken from the saying of the Prophet (SAW): "Eat, store and give sadaqa."144

Twelve: A camel suffices as a sacrifice for seven, and similarly a cow. Muslim reports in his Saheeh ( 350) from Jaaber ibn Adullaah who said: "We slaughtered at Hudaibiyah with the Prophet (SAW) a camel which sufficed for seven and a cow sufficed for seven."

Thirteen: The butcher is not given payment for his work from the sac rifice because of what is established upon 'Alee (May Allaah be pleased with him), who said: "The Prophet (SAW) ordered me to watch over his slaughtered meat, to give sadaqa from its meat, skin and jalaalee("it is that which is worn on the animal for protection.") 145; and not to give the butcher anything from the sacrifice." He ('Alee) said: "...we pay the butcher from ourselves."146

Fourteen: Whosoever, from amongst the Muslims is unable to offer a sacrifice then he still takes the reward of those who offer a sacrifice from the Prophet's ummah. This because the Prophet (SAW) said when he was slaughtering one of the two rams: "O Allaah! this is on my behalf and on behalf of those of my ummah who do not offer a sacrifice."147

Fifteen: Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughnee (11/95): "Indeed The Prophet (SAW) performed the sacrifice as did the rightly guided Khulafa, after the Prophet (SAW). And if they knew that giving sadaqa is better they would have turned to it and enacted it. However giving the sadaqa instead of the Sacrifice leads to abandoning a sun nah which the Prophet (SAW) established."


115. Aboo 'Ubaid said in Ghareeb-ul-Hadeeth (1/195): "It is a sacrifice made in the month of Rajab, by which the people in Jahiliyaah used to get closer to their deities. Then Islaam came along and the sacrifice remained until it was abrogated."

131. Haafidh Ibn Hajr said in Fath-ul-Baare (10/5): "...Jadha'a is a term used for the specific age of farm animals. Thus, a sheep which is a jadha'a is a sheep which is one year old. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars. However it is said that ajadha'a is a sheep "less than one year old" but they then differed as to its actual age. Some said '8 months' and others '10 months.'". A camel which is a thaniyaa, is a camel which is five years old. A cow or goat which is a thaniyaa, is a cow or goat which is two years old. Refer to Zaad-ul-Ma 'aad (2/317) and thefootnotes on it.


Back To Islam Awareness Homepage

Latest News about Islam and Muslims

Contact IslamAwareness@gmail.com for further information