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Alternative Eid Celebrations In The Midst Of A Pandemic

“Eid-al-Quarantine” is what my sister has so fondly dubbed our upcoming Eid al Fitr this year. I find myself asking, “How are we going to make Eid a fun and special celebration this year in the midst of a dangerous pandemic?” With a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, this Eid can be fun–no matter the current circumstances. This post will provide you with some inspiration to get your alternative Eid preparations underway! 

Special note: Shelter-in-place restrictions are lessening in many places in the United States, but this does not give us the green light to go back to life as normal and celebrate Eid in the ways we usually would have in the past. I am no health expert, but my sincerest wish for all Muslims throughout the world is that we all err on the side of caution and maintain rigorous precautions.

In-person gatherings are going to be much riskier in light of public health safety concerns. I do not recommend that people get together this Eid. Keep in mind, as well, that this is a big weekend for all Americans, as it is Memorial Day Weekend and crowds may be expected in places like parks and beaches. 

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Eid Day Must’s

Just because you are staying in, doesn’t mean that all of the Eid traditions have to go. Some may be exactly the same, some may be slightly adjusted this year. 

  • Get dressed up, even if it’s just for an hour or two. This might be a good chance to do hair and make up for sisters who normally don’t on Eid because of hijab or other modesty concerns. 
  • Take your family pictures, as usual. 
  • Decorate your house, even if it’s just with some fresh flowers in a vase or hanging up some string lights. (This time, I think sharing pictures of your setup may  have some more wiggle room.)
  • Find a way to pray Eid salah at home, if your local imam mentions a way to adapt for the current situation or check out this MM article
  • Eat some good food, and make sure to feast. 
  • Take that infamous Eid nap. 
  • Greet loved ones (phone calls, video calls, text messages, voice/video messages, make and send Eid cards).
  • Give and receive gifts. (Electronic ways to transfer money/checks in the mail, dropping off gifts to homes/sending gifts in the mail/having an online order pick-up in-store. You may also choose to do a gift exchange, if not this weekend, next). 

Virtual Parties

Virtual celebrations are a great, safe, option. The best thing about virtual hangouts is that people from all over the world can “come together” to celebrate Eid. This can be as simple as talking and catching up, or can be as orchestrated as a full-out party including games. Keep in mind, the games and virtual parties aren’t only for the kids–everyone should have fun this Eid! We recently threw a virtual birthday party for our one-year-old and it was quite the experience. 

  • Split guests into different calls (kids’ call, adults’ call; men’s call, women’s call)
  • Party agenda for a rigorously planned party so everyone knows what to expect
  • Party games, either with certain items that everyone has (or can easily and quickly purchase) or games that do not require much else besides an internet connection 
    • Games requiring physical items (think of items that everyone is likely to have and think of carnival-type games):
      • Soccer ball juggling or basketball shooting competition
      • Water balloon toss
      • Timed races (three-legged, holding an egg in a spoon, etc.)
    • Games with little to no special equipment
      • Online Pictionary https://skribbl.io/
      • Online Scrabble
      • Video games
      • Charades
      • Taboo (we do this for our cousin game nights with pictures of cards that one person sends to people from the opposite team)
      • Scattergories
      • Bingo
      • Mad libs
      • Speaking games that take turns going around a circle (going through the alphabet saying names of animals or colors or foods, rhyming words [we played the last two lines of “Down by the Bay” for our son’s birthday party])
      • Movement game (Simon says, dancing if you’re into that [“Cha Cha Slide,” dance-off, passing along dance moves as was a TikTok trend I heard of, simply dancing…])
      • Games like in Whose Line is it Anyway? or like the “Olympics” (specifically the “middle games”) that I wrote about way back
  • Performances
    • Skits prepared by one family or even across households
    • Reciting a poem or surah or singing
    • Other showcases of talent, by individuals or not
  • Gift Exchanges (I’ve been doing this virtually since 2013 with friends/distant family members.)

Alternative Virtual/Group Celebrations

Being “together” isn’t always gathering for a party, and that’s what I think most people miss during the forced isolation caused by the pandemic. There are many things you can do to get ready for or celebrate Eid with loved ones even if you’re not together. 

  • Share special recipes with each other or plan to serve the same meals.
  • Coordinate Eid outfits or attempt to do matching henna designs.
  • Send Eid pictures to family and friends.
  • Prepare and cook meals or clean or decorate while on a video call (you don’t have to be talking the entire time).
  • Watch the same movie or show (whether that’s something everyone does as separate households or you do concurrently/even with a video or phone call running. This might be a good time to watch Hasan Minhaj’s “Homecoming King” and do the 10 things it invites us to do.)
  • Go through family pictures or old videos together. Maybe even create a short slideshow/video of your favorites. 
  • Story time full of family legends and epic moments (the best Eid, a difficult time of sickness, immigration or moving story, new baby in the family, etc.). Someone build the fire and get the s’mores going.

Alternative “Outings”

In the same breath, it’s so refreshing to go out and do something fun, not just stay cooped up in your house, right? Seriously. 

  • Check out a virtual museum tour
  • Go on a nice drive to some place you love or miss going to, like drive by the masjid or school or a beautiful area (but stay in your car if there are other people around)
  • Watch an Eid Khutbah (or a regular one) on Eid day (make it special by listening outside in your yard or as a family where you pray).
  • Create a movie theater experience inside the home (that might just mean some popcorn and homemade slushies).
  • Get carry out from a favorite restaurant (if it’s open), and finally have the motivation to take a longer drive if needed
  • Make fruit or gift baskets for friends and family and drop them off at their homes
  • A “paint night,” or some other craft, that everyone in the family participates in
  • Decorate your car and drive around to show it off to friends (I’ve heard there’s an actual Eid car parade at various masaajid in Chicago

Interesting Alternative Community Celebrations I’ve Heard About

Some communities are getting super creative. As I mentioned above, a handful of masaajid in Chicago (Orland Park Prayer Center, Mosque Foundation, and Islamic Center of Wheaton as well as Dar Al Taqwa in Maryland) are putting together Eid drive-thru car parades. I’ve heard of different communities, whether officially sponsored by the masjid or just put together by groups of individuals, having a drive-in Eid salah, in which families pray in their cars in a rented drive-in theater or parking lot (Champaign, Illinois and a community in Maryland). I’m  definitely impressed with that last option, and I’m waiting to hear about more creative ways to get together and worship and celebrate.

So, what am I doing for Eid (weekend) this year? All the must’s, inshaAllah, including getting extra dolled up and making donuts from biscuit dough. A “game night” (virtual party) with alumni from my MSA. A gift exchange party with my cousins as well as another gift exchange party with classmates from my Arabic program (we’ll send unboxing videos out instead of meeting at the same time.) Check out a local college campus we’ve been dying to drive around. Binge a few episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender newly released on Netflix and do some online Memorial Day sale shopping. Le’s put a tentative on all of those, haha.

At the end of the day, Eid al Fitr is about acknowledging the month of worship we engaged in during Ramadan and spending quality time with loved ones. It doesn’t really matter what that quality time looks like–as long as it is intentional, this Eid will be special no matter what, inshaAllah. Who knows, this might be one of the best, most memorable holidays ever!

Eid Mubarak!

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Meena is a high school English teacher, DIY enthusiast, wife, and new mom. She loves working with Muslim youth and is interested in literature, arts, and culture. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine, briefly dabbled in Classical Arabic studies in the US, and has a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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#Life

9 Steps To Re-opening Your Masjid Safely

When COVID-19 hit, Muslim communities across the world were faced with some of the most painful decisions that we’ve had to make – to close our mosques down. Worldwide, from Malaysia to Montreal, mosques closed their doors and the Muslim community felt bereft at the time when we needed spiritual solace more than ever. 
 
Having got through this difficult period and then following that with Ramadan at home and Eid under lockdown, the Muslim community across the world has a lot to be proud of.
 
However, we now face one of the most difficult tasks ahead of us. How do you reopen the masajid while the pandemic is still out there? How do you do so in a way that protects the public, prioritises safety, shields the committee from liability and is sustainable?
 
There are dozens of guides produced by many organisations and countries available for reference. Many are excellent, mashaAllah. 
 
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has been looking at all the guides and collated the best bits of them along with their partners in the Muslim Council of Wales (MCW), Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) and the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) to develop this simple 9 step guide on how to do so in a systematic way. Although made for the UK community, it is adaptable to most other countries.
 
It is important to note that each community, each masjid and each phase of this pandemic is different, therefore each step needs to be implemented according to the local context and after consultation with local scholars and specialists.

STEP 1: Plan When and How

1.1 Appoint a COVID safety officer & team – This is absolutely crucial as clear leadership and responsibility is key to ensuring the other steps work.

1.2 Get legal advice Identify a local lawyer who will give good legal advice if and when needed.

1.3 Get medical advice Most mosques will have at least one Muslim healthcare professional as a member of the congregation who they can refer to for medical advice.

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1.4 Get insurance advice – Speaking to your insurance company beforehand is best practice and can identify steps that they want you to take to keep your insurance valid. 

1.5 Have Mosque Covid-19 policies It is best practice to draw up policies. You can use the downloadable guides.

1.6 Undertake Risk AssessmentThis is a walk through the mosque and identifying + categorising all potential risks and then identifying ways to mitigate that risk. Download an editable version here.

1.7 Make a final decision when to open After all the above steps, a formal decision needs to be taken when to open. Do not feel rushed or pushed by those who want to go faster or what other Mosques are doing. Each mosque is different. Go at the pace that the mosque committee/board and community is ready for.

1.8 Decide how and what to open – When you decide to open, decide which aspects are going to restart and which will wait till later. Will you do Jummah only or will you do only certain prayers? It is very much up to your risk assessment and your risk appetite.  

STEP 2: Plan The Space

2.1 Plan outdoors v.s. indoors – Praying outdoors is an ideal way to maximise capacity in an environment that is safer than being indoors. However, finding a suitable space that is easily available is the real challenge.

2.2 Calculate maximum safe capacity – Maintaining 2 metre (6 feet) distance between worshippers reduces risk to less than 3% compared to nearly 15% at 1 metre. What this means is that it is ideal to not just leave the space in front and either side of a worshipper empty, but also the diagonal too. You can download here.

2.3 Mark prayer spaces clearly – If you want to improve compliance with social distancing, put markings down to make it easy for the people.

2.4 Close non-essential spaces – Reduce the chance that people will hang out in meeting rooms or other communal spaces. Put up a closed sign.

2.5 Close toilets/wudhu areas – Toilets and wudhu areas are more likely to transmit infection since they involve bodily fluids in their use. A thorough clean after each use (i.e. each wudhu/ toilet use) is not practical. You can leave one toilet open for emergencies.

2.6 Ensure good ventilation – Open the windows and let the air flow as this is shown to reduce the risk of transmission in many cases.

2.7 Plan entrances & exits – Having set entrances and exits enables the smooth flow of people in and out of the building. If you assign them in advance, this will make life easier.

2.8 Plan the cleaning – There are many different types of cleaning that can be undertaken from a deep clean that may be needed after a confirmed infection in the mosque to a general surface clean between each prayer. Plan who and how this will be done to make sure the masjid is adequately cleaned.

STEP 3: Plan The Equipment 

3.1 Plan equipment for the building – Print signage (click here to download), getting marking tape and consider other equipment like closed-lid pedal trash cans.

3.2 Plan public health information – Print posters giving advice on the new rules of the mosque and public health information. Can be given out as flyers or social media messages.

3.3 Plan for fundraising – A contactless card machine or a sign with the online link on which to donate to the Mosque would be ideal compared to collecting cash and coins. Check out supportourmosques.com

3.4 Plan for PPE – You’ll need to get some PPE for staff, but some Mosques may want to have a store of some available in case an attendee forgets to bring their own. Hand sanitisers would also be useful.

3.5 Plan for cleaning products – Consider what you need to do a basic or surface clean. For a deep clean, you may want to consider hiring professionals.

3.6 Plan for worshippers equipment – Educate worshippers on what they need to bring in order to get into the mosque (mainly their own prayer mat and a covering for their face, but some Mosques may request a reusable bag for their shoes etc…) 

3.7 Consider medium/ long term building improvements – Some mosques may use this as an opportunity to make improvements to their building such as getting sensor taps in the toilets / Wudhu area or setting up automatic doors.

3.8 Plan for online service delivery – Many of the mosques functions will still continue online especially for those who should not be coming to the Mosque. Consider getting the equipment needed to deliver a quality online service e.g. Wi-Fi router, wireless microphone, tripod etc…

STEP 4: Plan the Space for Safety Officers and Volunteers

4.1 Train COVID safety officer & volunteers – The COVID safety officers and their teams need to know how to do their role and deal with any potential emergencies. 

4.2 Set rota for COVID safety officers – It is unreasonable for one person to be on-call all day, every day. Having a rota means that at least one safety officer is on site for each prayer.

4.3 Consider volunteers for crowd control – If possible, some volunteers should deal with the managing the crowds building up outside the mosque before and after each prayer. Even one marshal could make a big difference. 

4.4 Train on COVID screening – Each volunteer needs to know what they need to be looking out for when admitting people into the building. Please see attached document by clicking here.

4.5 Train on educating the community – Explain to volunteers and mosque staff on how to educate the community on the new systems in place. Lack of compliance is often not a result of rebellion, but miscommunication. Therefore ensure your team are on the same page and not making their own versions of justifications for actions.

4.6 Train on PPE – Putting on and taking off PPE requires a set process. Just like washing hands to prevent COVID isn’t a simple 2 second job, neither is removing PPE.

4.7 Train on queue management – Managing a queue is important and requires a combination of being firm and polite that ensures that people follow the rules but don’t feel patronised.  

4.8 Train on cleaning – For the surface and simple cleaning, it would be ideal to explain exactly what needs cleaning and how.

STEP 5: Prepare The Community

5.1 Educate on who should come to the mosque – This is absolutely vital. If the community don’t know this information and accept it, then everything else will be an uphill struggle. Download it, read it and talk about it. Yes, it will be tough for those who should be praying at home, but even if they want to take the risk – it is not their choice to make for others. Please click here to download.

5.2 Educate on bring your own prayer mat No prayer mat, no prayer. Carpets are known to be a fomite which can have a higher rate of transmission than normal surfaces.

5.3 Educate on bring your own Quran – Now that there are hundreds of Quran Apps on mobiles, this should be even easier.

5.4 Educate on bring your own tasbeeh/ misbaha – Again, most people have their own or better yet, use your own fingers.

5.5 Educate on face covering – Some will say this is not necessary, but there is growing evidence that it is protective especially at close quarters and especially in closed buildings. It is simple and easy to do so we would highly recommend it.

5.6 Educate on performing wudhu at home – Avoid using Wudhu facilities at the Mosque and that way prevent the spread of the infection.

5.7 Educate the community – All the above points need to be understood to be accepted and then followed. Have a plan for how you will do this. Click here for a template plan.

STEP 6: Plan The Pre-prayer

6.1 Consider pre-booking system – Having a pre-booking system for each prayer would be ideal. Some have thought about tech solutions to this, but most will struggle with this.

6.2 Plan the queues – Have (temporary) markings outside the mosque to enable socially distanced queues. This is being done outside most stores.

6.3 Plan entrances and exits – Clear separate entrances and exits are ideal. This would reduce the risk of choke points and hence transmission. Also, having entrances and exits kept open with a door stop is ideal to prevent the need for everyone to use the door handle.

6.4 Consider basic screening – It is useful having a basic screening system at the entrance to filter out those who did not know that they should not be coming to the mosque or refuse to comply with the advice. This does not need to be anything formal and should not take more than a few seconds to prevent crowding. You can download a guide to it here.

6.5 Plan a one-way system – A one way system of movement through the mosque is ideal for preventing crowding or chokepoints. 

6.6 Plan on wudhu/ toilet area – Keep these areas closed and identify only one toilet to be used in case of emergency.

STEP 7: Plan For Prayers

7.1 Limit opening times – There is evidence that increased time in a closed space = potentially more exposure to the virus. Keeping opening times short discourages lingering.

7.2 Remind about sunnah at home – After the prayer, people should not attempt to sneak in a sunnah. They should go home and pray in a more safe environment.

7.3 Ensure adequate spacing – Adequate spacing means a gap in all directions and not just next to the person praying. The attached graphic gives some ideas on how to achieve this.

7.4 Leave empty row – Ideally an empty row will allow for adequate social distancing. Yes, this reduces the number of people who can fit in the prayer hall but that risk has to be weighed against the benefit of not spreading the infection in your community.

7.5 Keep khutbas and prayer short – There is a time and place for reading long surahs and delivering even longer khutbas. The mosque during a pandemic is not it.  

7.6 Plan for multiple congregations – Some mosques will attempt to have multiple congregations in order to overcome the capacity challenge. This is understandable, but give yourself time to vacate the previous congregation and undertake a swift surface clean between each.

STEP 8: Plan The Post Prayer

8.1 No handshakes or socialising – The temptation will be real especially as we may not have seen each other in a while. Avoid it and do the Ertugrul hand on heart thing. I believe they call it the EyVallah.

8.2 Keep reminder/lectures online – After prayers is usually a chance to do a short reminder. Try keep these online please to avoid lingering in the prayer hall.

8.3 Ask for donations on supportourmosques.com Many mosques are struggling with the financial hit of COVID-19. The #SupportOurMosques campaign was developed specifically to help Mosques in Britain fundraise effectively and in a united way with others. Having raised more than £400,000 something is going right so if your mosque isn’t part of it – what in the world are you waiting for?

8.4 Lock mosque between prayers – To discourage any rogue behaviour or jamaats. 

8.5 Clear disposed PPE – These need to be collected in a bin near the exit and then disposed of in the proper manner.

8.6 Clean area after each prayer – As discussed previously, cleaning post each prayer should be a systematic and well organised affair.

STEP 9: Plan For Problems

9.1 Plan for if someone tests COVID +ve – Someone in the Mosque could still test COVID positive. Having a plan in place makes the whole thing a little less stressful. Download here.

9.2 Plan for complaints – It is guaranteed that some people will think the mosque is doing too much, too little or just plain angry that they were advised to pray at home just because they are 75 years old and have more co-morbidities than the average medical text book. Having a system for dealing with complaints that is open and transparent will save you a lot of headache.

9.3 Plan for keeping authorities in the loop – Tell the local authorities including the city, police and community associations about your plans. This way they could give advice on how to adjust and they feel in the loop. They are more likely to be helpful if any issues develop.

9.4 Plan for contact tracing – If someone who prayed at the mosque was later found to be COVID +ve, then it would be ideal if there was a way to identify who was in the congregation with them so that they could be informed. This is complicated because it involves taking down personal details when people enter the mosque which has privacy, ethical and data protection implications. But at least be transparent and inform people about the information you are privy. This can save lives.

9.5 Plan for supporting those who cannot come to the mosque – For the significant chunk of the population that ideally should not be coming to the mosque, the heartache is real. It is important that we have a good plan in place to make up for the mosque sized hole in their lives through the programmes, online lectures and quizzes that we saw in the past months. Just because the Mosques are partially open, doesn’t mean our online game should be shut down.

9.6 Plan for other services – Mosques are not just places of prayer. They are places for Janazah, for marriages, for teaching Quran, for community gatherings and so much more. Having a plan for what happens with these other services would be prudent.

9.7 Plan for being fair – There are many fiqh reasons about who should be prioritised when space is limited. However, we would urge that mosques should take measures to ensure they do not reopen in a way that disadvantages women, the disabled or other segment of societies. This may create issues that are not just societal, but create divisions within society at a time that we need to avoid it like the plague. Pun intended.

9.8 Re-assess and review – Situations change quickly during a pandemic and a 2nd wave can materialise in a matter of days. Therefore, it is very important that the situation is reassessed and reviewed on a set basis to ensure that it continues to be safe.

This may seem very extensive, but hopefully it makes it easier for all those involved in reopening mosques. As mentioned earlier and throughout the document, this is generic advice and needs to be implemented according to the local context and based on advice from local authorities and medical experts. Please share any thoughts you have in the comments. May Allah help us return to the Mosques in health, happiness and unity and may He lift this pandemic from us.

To get a downloadable copy of the FULL guide, please click here:

bit.ly/MosqueReopening

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#Culture

From Tweet to Virtual Event: Online Organizing In The Time Of Corona | Muslim Virtual Grad

musllim grad

It was mid-April and we were one month into the pandemic. Ramadan  was a couple of weeks away and we had settled into the “New Normal,” but still learning every day of changes. The most recent one was schools, colleges and universities canceling graduation ceremonies. Many choosing to not to postpone but to cancel.

My wife received the email from her graduate program and was lamenting how she wouldn’t be able to wear the cap and gown she had gotten for the commencement.

Her phrasing made me think of the popular slang term “No Cap” that is used heavily these days, and I tweeted out what I thought was a funny joke.

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The tweet quickly got traction and was being shared as people resonated with it with people responding in various ways. One of these interactions seemed benign at first.

 

 

At the time, it didn’t go anywhere. Sara had left me with the thought but I didn’t act on it. Alhamdulillah, she did. Two weeks later, she messaged me. “Let’s do this,” she said. From there 2020 Muslim Virtual Graduation was born. 

We realized there was an opportunity to connect with the amazing organizations in our communities that are focused on Muslim students and the unique challenges they face. Since then, we have partnered with Midwest Muslim United Student Association (MMUSA), MIST Chicago, and A Continuous Charity, all of which are Muslim organizations dedicated to serving high school and college students in different capacities, from on-campus services, to inter-school competitions, to interest-free financial aid.

The 2020 Muslim Virtual Graduation will be free to attend and live streamed May 30th at 5:15 pm CST and live streamed to MMUSA’s Facebook Page. Inshallah, Dr. Omar Suleiman, President of Yaqeen Institute, (and a 2020 graduate himself) will be giving a Commencement Speech. There will be entertainment at the end.

It is open to high school, university, and professional grads, all around the world. 

Graduates who would like to be recognized can submit their slide with their name, degree, school and photo (optional), and a dedication or message to the following URL: bit.ly/vmggrads. The deadline to register is the of the day Friday, May 29th, 2020. 

Sara had previously recognized the merit of online organizing and resources, and compiled a master list of Islamic lectures and seminars that had been recently being streamed online due to the pandemic. “Online events cannot totally replace the spirit of in-person gatherings. But I think organizing during this time requires a shift in perspective: what challenges do we face when organizing in-person, and how can we take advantage of the new opportunity we do have now since those are gone? This is what inspired us to go global with the event,” says Sara.

Alhamdulilah, we already have graduates from the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore registered! 


About Us

Ziyad Dadabhoy is a Civil Engineer living in Chicago, IL and Co-Founder of Midwest Muslim United Student Association (MMUSA). He has also been a part of AlMaghrib Chicago and MIST Chicago.

Sara Alattar is a student of Islamic Sciences, upcoming medical student, and Director of Operations at thinkbites.org, a new multimedia Islamic publication for personal development.

A Continuous Charity (acceducate.org) is the first and only national Muslim 501(c)3 that provides interest-free loans and financial mentoring for higher education. 

The Midwest Muslim United Student Association (midwestmsa.com) is dedicated to connecting college Muslim Student Associations (MSA’s) from around the Midwest for collaborative events and projects.

Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (mistchicago.org) is a non-profit that hosts annual educational and creative competitions for high school students across the US, and in 19 regions across the world.

Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research (yaqeeninstitute.org) is a non-profit research institute which aims to instill conviction and inspire contribution based on mainstream Islamic texts.

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#Islam

Eid Prayer During the Pandemic

Introduction

We have observed a Ramadan that was unlike anything we have experienced before. The community and individuals everywhere have shown dedication, commitment, and creativity. We learned to pray tarāwīḥ on our own in our homes. We read the Qur’an everyday consistently. We attended daily lectures and reminders delivered by our imams, teachers, and scholars online. We gathered virtually to hold iftars and check in on each other. We donated to our organizations to gain the blessings of charity in Ramadan. All of this and more is only possible through the guidance of Allah and resilience of our faith.  

We now find ourselves approaching Eid al-Fitr. Eid is an occasion of celebration, joy, gathering, and gratitude to Allah for his countless blessings. We all have cherished memories of past days of Eid. However, we face the prospect of an Eid that is difficult and challenging. Similar to our mindset in Ramadan, we can and should find a way to have a joyous and meaningful Eid. Shāh Walīullah al-Dihlawi writes in his Hujjatullah al-Bālighah, “Allah provided us with two days of celebration that commemorate the markers of the Islamic tradition. He associated celebration with the remembrance of Allah and acts of devotion on the day of Eid, ensuring that the congregation of believers would not be for mere vanity. Rather, the gathering of Muslims would revolve around exalting the Word of Allah.”

The Obligation of Eid

The scholars of the four major schools of thought have differed regarding the obligation of the Eid prayer. Their differences stem from their methodologies in interpreting the verses of the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition ﷺ. The Shāfiʿī and Mālikī schools agree that the Eid prayer is an established Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ, and the prayer is highly recommended for every individual to attend.[1] However, the Ḥanafī school has deemed the prayer as wājib, necessary, for every believing man of age.[2] The Ḥanbalī school has ruled the Eid prayer as farḍ al-kifāyah[3].[4] 

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The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ prayed the Eid prayer in congregation with the Companions from the time it was prescribed until he passed. The Ḥanafī school has considered this consistency demonstrated by the Prophet ﷺ as an indication that the Eid prayer cannot be merely a recommendation. Additionally, the Prophet ﷺ did not go out of his way to inform his Companions of the lack of obligation as he did with ṣalāh al-tarāwīḥ.[5] The scholars of the Ḥanbalī school referenced the command in the Qur’an, “Pray to your Lord and sacrifice,”[6] and concluded the Eid prayer is farḍ al-kifāyah.

The Shāfiʿī and Mālikī schools quote a well-known Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ in which he informs an inquisitive Bedouin regarding the Islamic mandates. The Prophet ﷺ tells the man about the five obligatory daily prayers. The man asks the Messenger ﷺ if there are any additional prayers that are required and he responds, “All other prayers are optional.”[7] Therefore, they regard the Eid prayer as voluntary.[8] 

The Khutbah of Eid

On the day of Eid, it is recommended, according to the majority of scholars, to have a khutbah given by the Imam. The Imam advises the people in the congregation and reminds them of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ. Unlike the Friday khutbah, the Eid khutbah is given immediately after the congregational prayer is completed. The Friday khutbah is considered an essential pillar of the Jumu’ah obligation. However, the scholars of the four major schools have all come to the conclusion that the khutbah on the day of Eid is not required for the validity of the Eid prayer.[9]

Congregations

The following question has emerged in light of our current situation: Are we excused from the obligation to gather together and worship Allah for Friday, Eid, and congregational prayers? Is the concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 a legitimate reason for individuals to not attend religious services in person?

The scholars of the Ḥanafī school list reasons that excuse individuals from attending congregational prayers. The list includes inclement weather, sickness, paralysis, old age, and notably, fear of harm. It is reported in an authentic Hadith that the Prophet ﷺ once excused the Companions from attending congregational prayers by instructing the Mu’adhdhin to call the adhān and announce, “Pray in your homes.”[10] The Ḥanafī scholar al-Ṭahṭāwī uses this Hadith as proof that those exposed to immediate danger should be excused from congregational prayer, including Friday and Eid prayers.[11]

Al-Shurunbulālī[12] reminds us that the reward is still obtained by individuals who are not able to attend due to challenging circumstances. If an individual is prevented from fulfilling an obligation due to an acceptable and valid excuse, that person will still be rewarded (if Allah wills) according to his or her intention.[13] The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught us, “Actions are rewarded based on their intentions. Every person will be rewarded according to his or her intention.”[14]

Recommended Eid Rituals

While our ability to congregate for Eid may be limited, this should not prevent us from observing the rituals recommended in our tradition.[15] 

  1. Supplicate to Allah ﷻ the night before Eid and ask Him for forgiveness for any shortcomings.
  2. On the morning of Eid, recite the Takbīrāt of Eid[16], glorifying Allah and rejoicing in the occasion.[17]
  3. Take a shower and celebrate by donning your best garments. It is also customary to apply perfume.
  4. Demonstrate the end of the month of fasting by eating something after Fajr on the morning of Eid. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would not leave his house on the day of Eid without eating some dates.[18]
  5. Be kind and generous.
  6. Congratulate others.
  7. Fulfill your obligation of contributing zakat al-fir before the morning of Eid. The majority of scholars are in agreement that zakat al-fir is mandatory for every believer male or female, young or old.[19] This serves the purpose of uniting Muslims on the day of Eid so they may celebrate regardless of financial circumstances.

Requirements to Conduct Eid Prayer

When performing the Eid prayer, one should, first and foremost, observe the requirements of ritual prayer (ṣalāh) such as being in a state of purification and facing the qiblah. The scholars have agreed that the prescribed time of the Eid prayer begins shortly after sunrise and ends before Ẓuhr time starts.[20] 

For the validity of the Eid prayer, the scholars among the Shāfiʿī, Mālikī, Ḥanbalī,  and Ḥanafī schools have stipulated: the prayer should be conducted during the prescribed time of Eid prayer.[21] The Ḥanafīs and some Ḥanbalīs[22] have additionally stated that the Eid prayer must be conducted in a group.[23] The Ḥanafīs specified that this requirement is fulfilled with 2 or 3 adult males other than the imam.[24] Moreover, the Ḥanafī scholars have stated that an Eid prayer should be accessible by the general public and not be in a restricted or an exclusive space.

Conducting the Eid Prayer

The Eid prayer itself is conducted very similarly to any other congregational prayer. The four major schools agree that the Eid prayer should be performed out loud with 2 rak’āt, units of prayer, just like the Fajr congregation. However, there is a difference of opinion in regards to the number of extra takbīrāt that are said in the Eid prayer. The format of the prayer has been detailed below based on the different opinions.

Mālikīs[25]

  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 6 additional takbīrāt[26], say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, perform 5 additional takbīrāt, say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Complete the prayer as usual

Ḥanbalīs[27]

  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 6 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, perform 5 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Complete the prayer as usual

Shāfiʿīs[28]

  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 7 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, perform 5 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Complete the prayer as usual

Ḥanafīs[29]

  • Make wuḍū’, face the qiblah and begin the prayer with Allāhu akbar
  • Perform 3 additional takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Finish the first rak’ah
  • After standing for the second rak’ah, recite Surah al-Fatihah and an additional surah out loud
  • Perform 3 additional Takbīrāt, raise your hands and say Allāhu akbar for each takbīrah
  • Say Allāhu akbar and bow into rukū’
  • Complete the prayer as usual

Conclusion

Eid is an occasion of glorifying Allah, praying for the acceptance of our deeds, and enjoying the blessings of Allah. It is a day to spend time with family and loved ones. The regulations of social distancing have limited our ability to congregate and spend time together as a community. However, these restrictions do not prevent us from fulfilling the rituals and traditions of Eid.

We recommend that every Muslim observes the Eid rituals as mentioned above. It has been authentically reported that the Companion of the Prophet ﷺ Anas ibn Mālik did not make it to the Eid prayer, so he gathered his family and offered the Eid prayer at home in the same manner the imam would with the congregation.[30] Furthermore, the Mālikī, Shāfiʿī, and Ḥanbalī schools allow people to perform the Eid prayer individually or with family at home. While the Ḥanafī school traditionally does not allow this, many senior Ḥanafī scholars have eased the condition of performing the Jumu’ah prayer in a public place during the current pandemic. Therefore, we recommend that individuals and families who are not able to attend an Eid congregation pray the Eid ṣalāh as detailed above at home.

May Allah accept our deeds. May Allah provide us with a joyous Eid. May Allah alleviate the current crisis. May Allah protect us all.

Allah knows best.

AbdulNasir Jangda

Sohaib Sheikh

26 Ramadan 1441 AH/19 May 2020 CE

Qalam Institute’s  mission is to educate humanity about Allah, His message, and His Messenger ﷺ. This article is written by the instructors at Qalam. Please consider supporting them as they create beneficial content for people to study their religion. 


[1] al-Majmu’ 5:2, al-Jumal ala sharh al-Manhaj 2:92

[2] Bada’I al-Sana’I 1:274

[3] farḍ al-kifāyah: An obligation that is mandated at a communal level. If a community fulfills the obligation, any other people that did not participate are excused from the obligation.

[4] al-Mughni 2:304

[5] Bada’I al-Sana’I 1:274, al-Hidayah 1:60, Tuhfah al-Fuqaha 1:283

[6] Qur’an 108:2

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari 2678

[8] Jawahir al-Iklil 1:101, al-Majmoo’ 5:3

[9] al-Lubab 1:118-119, Maraqi al-Falah 91, Tabyin al-Haqaiq 1:226, Fatawa al-Hindiyyah 1:141, Fath al-Qadir 1:428, al-Durr al-Mukhtar 1:782-784, al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:530, al-Sharh al-Kabir 1:400, al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah 86, Mughni al-Muhtaj 1:311, al-Muhadhab 1:120, al-Majmoo’ 5:36, al-Mughni 2:384-387, Kashaf al-Qina’ 2:61-62

[10] Sahih al-Bukhari 10:29, Sahih Muslim 6:32-33, Sunan Abi Dawud 2:672-673, Sunan Ibn Majah 5:989-991, Sunan al-Nasa’I 7:660, Sunan al-Nasa’I 10:78

[11] Hashiyah al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah 297

[12] Hanafi scholar who authored the famous work Nur al-Idah

[13] Nur al-Idah 65, Hashiyah al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah 299

[14] Sahih al-Bukhari 1:1, Sahih Muslim 33:222

[15] al-Fiqh al-Islami Wa Adillatuhu 1412-1416

[16] Takbirat of Eid: Saying Allahu Akbar and La Ilaha Illa Allah

[17] al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah 13:213-214

[18] Sahih al-Bukhari 13:5

[19] al-Zayla’I 1:307, Ibn Abidin 2:110, Fath al-Qadir 2:30, Bulghat al-Salik 1:200, Sharh al-Minhaj 1:628, Kashaf al-Qina’ 1:471

[20] Fath al-Qadir 1:424, al-Lubab 1:117, Maraqi al-Falah 90, al-Dur al-Mukhtar 1:779, al-Bada’I 1:276, al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:524, al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah 85, Mughni al-Muhtaj 1:310, al-Muhadhab 1:118, Kashaf al-Qina’ 2:56

[21] al-Dasuqi 1:396, Asna al-Matalib 1:279

[22] Imam Ibn al-Qudama stated both opinions in the Hanbali school regarding the requirement of a congregation to conduct Eid prayer. Some Hanbali scholars require a group of people for the validity of the Eid prayer while others said that an individual can pray Eid by him or herself. al-Mughni 2:291

[23] Kashaf al-Qina’ 1:455, 2:50, Bada’I al-Sana’I 1:275

[24] Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Muhammad stated that 2 congregants other than the Imam are the minimum required to be considered a congregation. Imam Abu Yusuf was of the opinion that 3 congregants other than the Imam are required.

[25] al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:525, al-Sharh al-Kabir 1:397, al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah 86, Bidayah al-Mujtahid 1:209

[26] Takbirat of Eid: These are extra Takbirs unique to the Eid ṣalāh. According to the majority of scholars, these Takbirs are conducted by the Imam raising his hands as he does when he starts the prayer and saying Allahu Akbar. The stronger opinion according to the Malikis is that when performing the extra Takbirs, the Imam does not raise his hands but says Allahu Akbar.

al-Sharh al-Saghir 1:525, al-Sharh al-Kabir 1:398

[27] Bidayah al-Mujtahid 1:209, al-Mughni 2:376-384, Kashaf al-Qina’ 2:59-65

[28] Mughni al-Muhtaj 1:310, al-Muhadhab 1:120, al-Majmoo’ 5:18

[29] The famous Companion, Ibn Masood, said in regard to the ritual of Eid prayer, “The Imam of the prayer should say Takbir to initiate the prayer. Afterwards, he should perform 3 additional Takbirat followed by the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah and another Surah following it. Then the Imam should continue his prayer, go into Ruku’, Sujood until he stands up (for his second Rak’ah). He should read Surah al-Fatihah and another Surah and proceed to perform 3 Takbirat followed by the Takbir to go into Ruku’” – Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar 4:347

al-Lubab 1:117, Maraqi al-Falah 90, Fath al-Qadir 1:425-427, Tabyin al-Haqaiq 1:225, al-Dur al-Mukhtar 1:779-782, al-Bada’I 1:277, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah 1:141

[30] al-Sunan al-Kabir 3:503, al-Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:183, Sahih al-Bukhari includes this Hadith in his Tarjamtul Baab 2:23

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