Festival Prayers and How to Perform Them (Shafii)


What are the festival prayers of muslim?

The Ramadan and Sacrificial Festival prayers are Sunnah muakkadah on everyone who is obliged to attend the Friday prayer. It is recommended for Muslim women to come to festival prayers and if they are in a state that they cannot perform prayer, to wait outside the mosque and join the holiday joy.

It is a Sunnah for men to perform the festival prayers in congregation. Those who perform the pilgrimage perform the festival prayer individually. The time of the festival prayer begins with sunrise and continues until the time of the noon prayer. It is more virtuous to postpone about 30 minutes after the sunrise.

I. The Performance of the Festival Prayers and the Additional takbirs

There is no call for prayer (adhan) and no call for commencement of the prayer (iqama) in the festival prayers. When the prayer is about to start, it is announced to the congregation by saying “al-salatu jami’a”.

The Festival prayer is a two-cycle prayer. Uttering seven additional takbirs after the opening takbir is recommended (mandub). These takbirs are called zawa’id (extra) takbirs. When uttering each one of these takbirs, hands are raised up to the level of shoulders. Between two consecutive takbirs, it is a Sunnah to say, “Subhanallahi wa’l-hamdu lillahi wa la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar (Glory be to Allah, All Praise is for Allah, There is No God but Allah, Allah is the Greatest)”. After every takbir, hands are held together below the left side of the chest by placing the right hand over the left. After finishing the extra takbirs, the recitation from the Qur’an begins followed by ta’awwudh (saying a’udhu billahi …).

There are five extra takbir at the beginning of second cycle. Each takbir is separated from the next one by a short break and the hands are held together. After finishing the extra takbirs, the recitation from the Qur’an begins followed by ta’awwudh. Extra takbirs should be said before the recitation of the Qur’an. If one forgets and begins the recitation before the takbirs, he/she should continue the prayer without takbirs because their time has passed. Even though forgetting extra takbirs does not require performing a prostration of forgetfulness at the end, it is considered reprehensible. These rules are applicable to both imam and those who follow him. If the imam neglects the extra takbirs, those who follow him also omit them. However, if the imam says more than the necessary numbers of extra takbirs, the congregation does not follow him.

The recitation during the festival prayer is carried aloud. However, those who follow the imam do the recitation inaudibly. It is a Sunnah for the entire congregation to say the takbirs aloud.

It is Sunnah to recite either chapter Qaf (50) or chapter al-A’la (87) in the first cycle and either chapter al-Qamar (54) or al-Ghashiya (88) in the second cycle.[1]

If the festival prayer is not performed in its designated time, it is made up later. Those who do not perform it in a congregation may perform it later whenever they wish in a way it needs to be performed. If it is performed on the first day of festival after the time of the Noon prayer, it becomes a makeup prayer.

II. Festival Sermon and its Integral Parts

It is a requirement to deliver the festival sermons after the Festival prayer. It would not be valid if it is delivered before the prayer and it becomes necessary to deliver it again after the prayer.

It is a Sunnah to begin the festival sermons with a takbir. It is also a Sunnah for the congregation to recite takbirs together with the imam who recites takbirs while delivering a sermon khutba.

Takbirs are said as follows:

“Allah is (the) Greatest. Allah is (the) Greatest. Allah is (the) Greatest. There is no god but Allah. Allah is (the) Greatest. Allah is (the) Greatest. All praise is due to Allah alone”.

The congregation harmoniously joins the imam in his recitation of talbirs in a loud voice.

There are five integral parts of the festival sermons:

  1. To deliver two sermons.
  2. The speaker must recite a verse from the Qur’an in one of the two sermons, preferably the first. The verse recited must be complete if it is short, whereas if it is long, it will suffice to recite only part of it. Moreover, the verse must contain a promise, a threat, a ruling, a story, a parable, or a report.
  3. The speaker must pray for peace and blessings upon the Prophet in each of the two sermons. When fulfilling this integral part, it is required to mention the word “salat”.
  4. The speaker must urge his listeners to be conscious of God in both sermons, even if he does so without using this specific phrasing; hence, it is sufficient to say something like, “And obey God (ati’ullah).”
  5. The speaker must pray for the believers, both male and female, in the second sermon; the prayer should be for something non-temporal, such as forgiveness, although if he has not memorized any prayers of this nature, it will suffice to pray for them pertaining to some worldly concern.

According to the Shafiis, both of the Festival sermons and the sermon for the Friday congregational prayer will be valid only if forty people attend to hear them.

III. Takbirs of Tashriq and Their Ruling

It is a Sunnah to say takbirs of tashriq after a total of twenty-three daily prayer times, beginning from the Dawn prayer on the eve of the sacrificial festival until the Late Afternoon prayer on the fourth day of the festival.

It is also Sunnah to say takbirs aloud on the roads, in market places or in the mosques in both festivals.

Takbirs of tashriq is required for all those who must perform prayer. If one performs a makeup prayer during the days of tashriq, he should say the takbir of tashriq following such prayers as well. Takbirs of tashriq are also said after the supererogatory prayers and the funeral prayers.

Because it is expressed in a verse,

Celebrate the praises of Allah during the Appointed Days.[2]

IV. Acts that are recommended during the Festival Days

  • Reviving the festival nights by keeping oneself busy with acts of worship, remembrance of Allah, recitation of the Qur’an, and doing similar good deeds.
  • Performing major ablution, clipping the nails, shaving the unnecessary hair, getting clean for the festival prayer and putting on clean and nice clothing, and wearing nice fragrance.
  • Eating something sweet (such as a date etc.) before going to the ‘eid-ul fitr prayer, and delay eating something during the ‘eid-ul adha’ until after offering the sacrifice, the prayer and then eating from the meat of the sacrifice.
  • Walking to the place where the festival prayer is going to be performed and hastening when going to the mosque.
  • If it is possible, walking to the mosque from one route and returning from a different one.
  • Chanting takbirs aloud on the way to the mosque.
  • To give charity as much as possible on the days of the festivals. If one is required to pay zakat al-fitr, paying it before the Ramadan festival prayer.
  • In the sermon of Ramadan festival, it is recommended for the speaker to give information about zakat al-fitr (zakat al-fitr can be paid until the sunset on the first day of festival). In the sermon of the sacrificial festival, it is recommended for the speaker to give information about sacrifice and takbirs of tashriq.
  • To meet the Muslim brothers and sisters with a friendly and happy face during the festival days.

[1] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/587-589

[2] Al-Baqara, 2: 203.

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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