Spreading Happiness and Enjoyment on the Days of Eid are a Way to Worship Allah

(Eid-ul-Adhaa speech delivered by Mohamed Baianonie, Imam at the Islamic Center of Raleigh NC on November 27, 2009)

Alhamdulilaah , today we are here to celebrate along with the whole Muslim Ummah, Eid-ul-Adhaa . We are blessed to be gathered together to pray the Eid prayer and listen to the Eid speech. Allaah, the Glorious, has guided us to this deen (of Islaam) and without His guidance we would be lost.

Alhamdulilaah , Allaah ﷻ has completed His Favor upon us by choosing Islaam for us as our deen . Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "This day I have perfected your deen for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your deen ." [Surat Al-Maa'idah Verse 3]

When some of the Jews heard this verse, they commented that if such a verse were revealed to them, they would have made this day an Eid due to the greatness of its meaning. When Omar ﷸ ﷷ heard their comment he said: "I know the day and the place that this verse was revealed. It was revealed on the day of Arafat on Friday. Friday is already our weekly Eid and Arafat is our annual Eid ."

Allaah ﷻ has completed and perfected this deen with complete and comprehensive legislation. His legislation covers all aspects of human life. For this reason, in Islaam, we can find legislation that covers our aqeedah (belief), our Ibaadaat (acts of worship), behavior, and all Mu'amalaat (our dealings with each other). Allaah guides us in our social, political, and economical matters. This should be no surprise, since our Legislator is our Creator, the One who knows what is best for His creation. Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything)." [Surah Al-Mulk Verse 14]

Allaah ﷻ is so merciful that He designated two Eids (holidays) for Muslims, so it can be a season of joy and happiness. Eid is a special occasion for giving thanks to Allaah, for all His blessings and bounties that He bestowed upon us. Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "And if you count the Bounties of Allaah, never will you be able to count them." [Surah Ibraahim Verse 34]

Allaah ﷻ gives us the chance to worship Him on a daily basis, as well as on special days and seasons, when He ﷻ multiplies the rewards of good deeds. Therefore, Eid-ul-Fitr comes after the month of fasting (Ramadaan) , and Eid-ul-Adhaa comes after Hajj and the day of Arafat. The day of Arafat is the day when Allaah forgives many sins for His servants.

Eids (holidays) in Islaam are not manmade, because Allaah ﷻ is the one who legislated them. He also made special rules and etiquettes during these (Eids) holidays. We Muslims should limit ourselves to Allaah's commands.

Since celebrating the two Eids are a form of "ibaadah," (act of worship) then we are not allowed to innovate and add different Eids other than what Allaah has commanded. Also we should limit our practices on the day of Eid to what the Prophet ﷺ practiced. These acts of worship (Eid) are more than just special prayers; they should be times of happiness and permissible entertainment for all members of the community.

When the prophet Muhammad ﷺ arrived to Madinah from his migration from Mecca, he saw that the people of Madinah had two days of celebration. He asked them, "What are these two days?" They said, "These two days we used to celebrate during Jaahilyyah (the period before Islaam)." He ﷺ replied, "Allaah has replaced them by two days better than them, the day of Al-Adhaa and the day of Al-Fitr." [An authentic hadeeth reported by Imaams Abuu-Dawud, An-Nisai, Ahmad and Ibn-Hibbaan]

We can conclude from this that the prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not allow Muslims to celebrate two non-Islamic holidays, moreover, he ﷺ wanted them to forget the Jaahilyyah period and cut all acts and memories associated with it.

Therefore, we should be cautious, because it is not allowed for Muslims to celebrate or participate in any non-Islamic holidays. Islaam wants its followers to distinguish themselves from others in their beliefs, acts, and even their holidays.

The second important aspect of Eid is that it is the season of happiness and permissible entertainment. The Muslims in the time of the prophet ﷺ used to celebrate by playing and watching others play.

Aisha ﷸ ﷷ said, "People from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) used to fence with swords (playing) in the masjid (Mosque) on the day of Eid . I used to watch them while I was standing behind the prophet's shoulders. I kept watching, until I was satisfied and then left."[Reported by Imaams Bukhaari, Muslim and Ahmad]

Aisha ﷸ ﷷ also said, "The prophet Muhammad ﷺ entered my room on the day of Eid , while two young girls were singing the songs about the day of Bou'aath (a war that occurred before Islaam, between two tribes, in which many people were killed). The prophet lied on his bed and turned his face away. Then Abu-Bakr, my father entered and said, "What is this? The voice of Satan!" He repeated this three times. The prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, "O Abu-Bakr leave them alone, for every people there's Eid and today is our Eid." In another narration, he says, "Let the Jews of Madeenah know we have permissible entertainment on our Eid." [Reported Imaams Bukhaari and Muslim]

This evidence proves that all kinds of lawful entertainment are allowed on the day of Eid ; in fact, it is encouraged, because the prophet himself used to watch. Let's organize and arrange similar enjoyable activities during the seasons of Eid . Let's show ourselves and others, the beauty and greatness of this Deen . It is even more important for us as Muslims living in a non-Muslim society, where we are constantly exposed to other holidays, to express and celebrate our own holidays as festively as possible. We must give our children a better alternative to enjoying the festivities both at home and with community celebrations. For example, visiting friends and relatives, exchanging gifts, participating in games, sports, singing, carnival rides, decorating the home, and enjoying brunch, dinner gatherings and share the Udheyah with others are only a few of the lawful ways that we can make the days of Eid special for everyone's enjoyment. In fact, this will promote vital social growth for both adults and children.

Alhemdulilaah , several committees of the Islamic Association of Raleigh have jointly planned celebrations for you this afternoon. This includes games, festivities and food right here at the Dorton Arena starting at 3:00 PM for the enjoyment of all--children and families; please join us to make this Day of Eid a special one.

It is also highly recommended to recite Eid Takbeeraat starting from dawn of the Day of Arafaah until Asr time on the thirteenth of Dhul-Hijjah . "Omar ﷸ used to raise his voice by saying takbeeraat in his tent in Minna. When the people in the masjid heard him, they also started reciting takbeeraat , then the people in the market place starting doing the same, until all of the people in Minna followed along. Also Ibn-Omar ﷸ used to recite takbeeraat on the days of Minna, after each prayer, in his bed, in his meetings, and while he was walking." [Reported Imaams Bukhaari] Many Muslim today restrict takbeeraat-ul-Eid to after the prayers only. As we now know the companions of the prophet used to recite them at different times and occasions during the days of Eid .

It is also greatly recommended for Muslims to greet one another on the day of Eid . The companions of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to say, "May Allaah accept from us our good deeds."

Today is a day when our happiness and entertainment becomes a form of worship to Allaah. Enjoy this time, and make the most of it with family, friends, and your community. I ask Allaah ﷻ to accept from all of us our good deeds and bless this day of Eid. Aameen.