'Eed - Islamic Celebration

Muhammad al-Jibaly

A `iid is any day of gathering. It is derived from `aada (meaning returned), because people return to it periodically. Some scholars say that it derives from `aadah (custom or practice) because people are accustomed to celebrating it. Its plural is a`yaad.

Ibn ul `Arabee said:

"It is called `Iid because it returns every year with renewed happiness." [Lisaan ul-`Arab]

Ibn `Aabidayn said:

"The `Iid days are thus named because Allaah (swt) renews His bounties in them; and He distributes His blessings to His worshippers. Thus on `Iid ul-Fitr, He permits them to eat after having been restrained from food; and He requires paying sadaqat ul-fitr (the charity of breaking the fast) to the needy. And on `Iid ul-Adha, He permits the completion of Hajj (pilgrimage) with the final Tawaaf (circulating around al-Ka`bah); and He requires offering sacrifices and distributing their meat, etc. Also, it is customary for people to be joyful, happy, and rejoicing during the `Iid days." [Haasheeyatu ibn `Aabidayn]


Anas (radhiallaahu `anhu) reported that upon arriving in al-Madeenah, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) found its people celebrating two days whose significance was held over the Jaahiliyyah. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from the Jaahiliyyah; indeed Allaah has substituted them for you with what is better: the day of Sacrifice and the day of Fitr (breaking the fast). [Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others; authentic]

Shaykh Ahmad `Abdurrahmaan al-Banna said: "(They are better because,) they day of Sacrifice and that of Fitr are legislated by Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta`aalaa), and are His choice for His creatures. They follow the completion of two of the greatest pillars of Islaam, Hajj and fasting. On these days, Allaah (swt) forgives those who performed Hajj and who fasted, and He sheds mercy on all of His obedient creatures. On the other hand, the days of Nayrooz and Mihrajaan were devised by the people of those times, because of good weather or other passing qualities. The difference between the two cases is apparent for whomever ponders upon this." [Al-Fath ur-Rabbani]


Islaam teaches Muslims how to celebrate the `Iids. On these days, the Muslims take a bath and wear their best clothes. Even though fasting is not permitted on the day of `Iids, yet, the major part of the celebration is not eating or drinking - rather, it is a prayer that brings Muslims together to remember Allaah's bounties and celebrate His glory and greatness. The `Iids and their celebration in Islaam carry a distinctive meaning and spirit. They are totally different from the celebrations in other nations and cultures. For other nations, a holiday is a chance to immerse in worldly pleasures, or to involve oneself in prohibited acts to the utmost. Not so for Muslims! For Muslims, the `Iid is an occasion to increase in good deeds. Each `Iid marks the conclusion of an important worship, and the determination to continue in obedience and submission to Allaah (swt). In moments of extreme pleasure or sadness, a Muslim never forgets his Lord's greatness, might, glory, and watchfulness. A Muslim's actions are always controlled by this continued remembrance and awareness. Thus the `Iid is not an occasion to take a vacation from Islamic responsibilities and commitments, nor to waste time and money in extravagance. It is not "fun for the sake of fun". Rather, it is controlled and directed rejoicing that is of ultimate and definite benefit for the Muslim. The `Iid is a chance to multiply good deeds by bringing happiness and pleasure to the hearts of other Muslims, by helping and supporting the poor and needy, and by getting involved in pastimes that emphasize the strong and serious Islamic character.

Singing on `Eid

Singing accompanied by the beating of duff is an approved type of lahw (vanity) for women during the `Eid. `Aa'isha (R) said: "Allah's Messenger, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, entered (my house) when I had two little girls singing the songs of Bu`aath (pre-Islamic war lore) and beating on a duff; so he lay down on the bed and turned his face away. Then Abu Bakr came in and scolded me saying, 'The flutes of Shaytaan played in the presence of Allah's Messenger?' So Allah's Messenger (saws), turned toward him and said, 'Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr! Every people have a `Eid, and this is our `Eid.' [Saheeh al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad and ibn Maajah]

Al-Baghawi commented on this hadith by saying:

"Bu`aath is a famous battle of the Arabs, in which there was a great victory for the Aws over the Khazraj. The war between the two tribes went on for one hundred and twenty years - until Islam came. The two girls were singing poetry that described fighting and courage, the mention of which is supportive to the Deen. But as for songs that involve mentioning sins, announcing prohibited matters, and displaying evil deeds - it is all prohibited. And it is impossible that anything like that would ever take place in the Prophet's (saws) presence without him objecting adamantly to it. And as for his saying 'this is our `Eid', it provides the reason for displaying joh in the two `Eids as being a symbol of the Deen, because they are different from other days." [Sharh us Sunnah 4:322]

From this hadith, and other subsequent evidence, it is important to note the following:

A) The Prophet (saws) did not object to Abu Bakr's statement that the duff, being a musical instrument, is a flute of Shaytan. This is taken as an approval from him (saws) of this general rule, which conforms with other authentic evidence prohibiting the use of musical instruments.

B) He (saws) modified Abu Bakr's understanding by indicating that there is an exception to this general rule on specific occasions.

C) The occasions in which Islam permits women to beat on the duff are the following:
1. The two `Eids
2. weddings, and
3. to celebrate the arrival from travel of a respected individual.

D) On these occasions, hearing the beating of duff is permissible for men, for Allah's Messenger (saws) did so and approved of it as is seen in the above hadith. However, it is not permissible for men to listen to women's singing, because this is a unjustifiable source of great fitnah. The Prophet's (saws) listening to two little girls does not constitute an evidence in this regard.

E) Because of the general texts prohibiting the use of musical instruments in general, the only musical instrument that the women are permitted to use is the duff; deriving any analogy from this to other instruments, and is in clear violation of simple principles of fiqh and reason.

F) This privilege of using the duff is not granted to mn on any occasion - as will be discussed below.

G) The permission given to sing during the `Eids applies only to acceptable poetry that encourages good deeds and behavior. It cannot be extended to the songs calling to sins and disobedience, as is common in many cultures (see the earlier citation from al-Baghawi).

As indicated above, there are no reports that the male companions beat on the duff. Thus, beating the duff is allowed for women because it is typical of them, and Allah's Messenger (saws) permitted them to do it, but he (saws) forbade men's imitation of women and vice-versa. This view is upheld by the majority of the scholars; for instance Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (r) said:

"The Prophet (saws) permitted some types of rejoicing on the occasion of weddings and their like. He permitted the women, as well, to beat the duff during weddings and festivities. As for the men, during his time, not one of them would beat the duff nor clap their hands. Rather it is confirmed in the Two Sahihs that he (saws) said: "Clapping the hands is for women; and raising the voice with tasbeeh is for men." And "Allah curses those men who imitate women, and those women who imitate men." And singing and beating the duff are of the acts typical of women. Because of this, the righteous Salaf labeled the man who did that, effeminate." [Majmoo` ul-Fatawa 11:565]

And Ibn Qudamah (r) said:

"As for beating it (the duff) for men, it is makrooh (despised act) in all situations. It was only done by women; and if men do it, they would be imitating the women; and the Prophet (saws) has cursed those men who imitate the women." [Al-Mughni 9:174]

Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, commenting on Ibn Qudamah's words, said: "It is obvious that his words mean its prohibition (for men)." [Kaff ur-Ru`aa 35]

And al Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, the author of the great commentary of Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, said: "The hadith that says, "Announce (masculine plural command) the weddings and beat (masculine plural command) the duff for it,' is used by some people as evidence that beating the duff is not specific to women. However, this hadith is unauthentic; and the authentic hadiths (in this regard) give that permission to do that for women. Men cannot be included in that because of the general prohibition for men to imitate them." [Fath ul-Bari 9:226]

Al-Mubarakpuri agreed with this statement of Ibn Hajar, and he added: "The fuqaha (scholars) have said that the duff is that which has no bells, as ibn al-Hammaam mentioned... Likewise, the permissible singing during weddings is specific for women; it is not allowed for men." [Tuhfat ul-Ahwathi 4:210]

And the great commentator of the Qur'an, Ibn Kathir (r) said: "...Nothing is excluded from that prohibition of musical instruments, except beating the duff for the young girls - during `Eid days, at the arrival of a respected individual from travel, and during weddings - as has been indicated in the hadiths, and as has been established in various places. And permitting that in some situations does not lead to permitting it in all situations.

Common in our times are the ugly scenes prophesized by Allah's Messenger (saws) in which men and women gather to entertain themselves with musical instruments and other prohibited acts. [al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, al-Bayhaqi and others] May Allah guide the Muslims to what is good for them in both lives.


There are many sins and acts of disobedience practiced by some Muslims more frequently during the `Eid days than at other times of the year. To them, the `Eid is an occasion to give up some of the Islamic principles. They are usually encouraged to do so by the state of joy that they experience during the `Eids.

Mingling of Sexes

One of the frequently practiced acts of disobedience is for men and women who are not mahrams (those prohibited to marry each other) to mingle and do things prohibited in Islam, such as:

- Touching and shaking hands.
- Men and women chatting, laughing, and sometimes flirting with each other.
- Men and women looking intently at each other.

Playing Music and Drinking Alcohol

It is very common for people to play music and listen to it during the `Eid. they often associate this with drinking, or with national or belly dancing, all in the name of Islam! All of this is prohibited by concensus among the early scholars including the Four Imams. The Prophet (saws) said:

"There will be among my Ummah those who would indulge in hir (unlawful sex), wearing silk (for men), Khamr (any alocoholic beverage), and musical instruments. Some of those people would camp beside a mountain. A poor shepher tending their animals would come to them in the evening asking for a need of his. They would say, "Come back tomorrow." So Allah would destroy (most of) them during the night, bringing the mountain down over them, and would transform others to apes and pigs until the day of Resurrection." [al-Bukhari #5590, Abu Dawud. Authenticated by Ibn Hajar through nine chains]

Improper Appearance

Muslims are supposed to dress up for the `Eid. In doing so, however, both men and women commit many violations in Islam, among which are the following:

- Men wearing natural silk or gold.
- Men wearing tight pants
- Men shaving their beards.
- Women exposing their hair and other parts of their bodies that Islamically are obligatory to cover
- Women wearing perfumes, makeup, decorated and alluring clothing, and some national costumes (Sari for example) that contradict Islamic teachings.


People often spend extravagantly during the `Eid. They waste money on things that are useless and of no benefit for the Muslims. Allah ta`aala says: "Do not waste your wealth senselessly. Those who spend wastefully are the brothers of the Shaytans; and the Shaytan is ever ungrateful to his Lord." [Qur'an 17:26-7]

And Allah's Messenger (saws) said: "A son of Adam will not depart from his position (of reckoning) before his Lord on the day of Resurrection until he is questioned about four things:
- His lifetime - how did he pass it,
- his body - how did he utilize it,
- his wealth - where did he earn it, and how did he spend it
- and his knowledge - what did he do with it."
[authentic hadith related by At-Tirmidhi]

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