This year, 2020, Ramadan has been unlike any other and Eid-ul-Fitr follows suit.
The global coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns, their social and economic implications, the impact on our psychological and physical well-being, have all been at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
With public gatherings banned and mosques closed, families restricted from seeing each other and social distancing imposed on societies, many of the joyful scenes of Eids past will not be seen this year.
But that makes this year’s festival even more significant. The primary objective of Eid-ul-Fitr is not to celebrate worldly possessions and materials but the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and how the sacrifices made during the month of Ramadan can help us be better human beings.
It is a time to thank Allah for having given us the patience and endurance to fast during Ramadan; for the opportunity to attain taqwa (consciousness of Allah) during the blessed month, and to continue seeking His blessings and forgiveness during the rest of the year.
This year, we can also ask our Creator to bestow even more of His mercy and forgiveness, especially on those who have left this life during Ramadan, whether due to COVID-19 or other illnesses.
They may not be with us to share our Eid joy and happiness but we can pray that they enjoy an even greater reward in the Hereafter.
The unprecedented situation means that we may not be able to follow the traditions of previous years or even the Sunnah in some cases, for instance joining in the congregational Eid prayers in a mosque, but we can still reap the blessings and rewards of the Almighty.
We can still share our joy of Eid with not only our loved ones but those who are not as privileged or fortunate. Giving charity is a significant act of worship and part of Eid is the giving of Zakat-ul-Fitr – also known as Fitrana – which everyone who has enough food for themselves, is obliged to do.
Giving Fitrana ensures our brothers and sisters in Islam who are in need can share in the celebration of Eid – but it must be done before the Eid prayers. Any donation intended as Fitrana but given after the Eid prayers is regarded as Sadaqah.
Ibn Umar (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him) instructed us to pay the Zakat ul Fitr before people move out for [Eid] prayer.” Ibn Umar used to pay those who collect it, and they used to pay it a day or two before the end of Ramadan.” (Hadith Bukhari)
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Etiquette of Eid-ul-Fitr
Other acts on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr include ghusl (major ablution); wearing new clothes; performing Eid prayers (salat) in congregation; giving Eid greetings to fellow Muslims, and asking for forgiveness from our Creator.
Despite the restrictions that face us in our daily lives, we can still perform many of these acts and gain the pleasure of the Almighty on this auspicious day.
Here’s a brief guide on how to make the most of this Eid:
- Ghusl and new clothing: ‘Cleanliness is half the faith.’ (Hadith). No matter what our personal situation and restrictions, we should still make sure that we abide by this fundamental aspect of our faith
- Eat before the Eid prayer: A Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) was to eat dates before he set off for the Eid prayer
- Eid prayers: Scholars and shaykhs have agreed that in these unusual times and with mosques closed, individuals can read the Eid salat at home
- They should follow the same format, i.e. 2 rakat with Surah Fatiha and another surah in each, with the first rakat having 7 takbeer and the second 5 takbeer, and ensure they are read at the correct time – starting 15 minutes after sunrise to the mid-day sun (zawal)
- For individuals, it is permissible to read the Eid prayer on their own, while if there are several people in a household they can read it in congregation
- Giving Eid greetings (Eid Mubarak which translates to ‘Have a Blessed Eid’) to others: with travel restrictions and social distancing, it may not be possible to see family and friends in person but greetings can still be sent via a variety of means – telephone calls, texts, social media and messaging
- With physical restrictions, the exchanging of gifts and money could be problematic but can be overcome by posting physical items and sending bank transfers.
By sticking to whatever rules and guidelines are in place, and by using common sense, we can all enjoy the pleasures and bounties of Eid.
Most of all, we can pray that Allah accepts our prayers and duas and grants us His mercy and blessing even more in these most unusual of times.
From everyone at Islamic Help, may you and your family have a blessed Eid-ul-Fitr.
- Eid-ul-Fitr is one of two core annual festivals in Islam, the other being Eid-ul-Adha at the time of Hajj and Qurbani
- Eid-ul-Fitr is on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. The sighting of the new moon marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal
- As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle and is subject to the sighting the moon, the timing of Eid-ul-Fitr can vary by a day or so in different countries.
- Eid-ul-Fitr lasts for three days and means ‘Festival (or celebration feast) of breaking the fast’.