Praise be to Allah.
Sunnah acts and etiquettes of ‘Eid
The Sunnahs that the Muslim should observe on the day of ‘Eid are as follows:
1. Doing ghusl before going out to the prayer .
It was narrated in a sahih hadith in al-Muwatta and elsewhere that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar used to do ghusl on the day of al-Fitr before going out to the prayer-place in the morning. (Al-Muwatta 428)
Al- Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said that the Muslims were unanimously agreed that it is recommended to do ghusl for ‘Eid prayer .
The reason why it is recommended is the same reason as that for doing ghusl before Jumu’ah and other public gatherings. Rather on ‘Eid the reason is even stronger.
2. Eating before going out to pray on ‘Eid al-Fitr and after the prayer on ‘Eid al-Adha:
Part of the etiquette is not to go out to pray on ‘Eid al-Fitr until one has eaten some dates, because of the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari from Anas ibn Malik, who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used not to go out on the morning of ‘Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… of which he would eat an odd number. Al-Bukhari, 953.
It is recommended to eat before going out to emphasize the fact that it is forbidden to fast on that day and to demonstrate that the fast has ended.
Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) suggested that the reason for that was so as to ward off the possibility of adding to the fast, and to hasten to obey the command of Allah. (Al-Fath, 2/446)
Whoever does not have any dates may break his fast with anything that is permissible.
But on ‘Eid al-Adha it is recommended not to eat anything until one comes back from the prayer, so he should eat from the udhiyah if he has offered a sacrifice. If he is not going to offer a sacrifice there is nothing wrong with eating before the prayer.
3. Takbir on the day of ‘Eid
This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of ‘Eid because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [al-Baqarah 2:185]
Al-Walid ibn Muslim said: “I asked al-Awza’i and Malik ibn Anas about saying Takbir out loud on the two ‘Eids. They said, Yes, ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar used to say it out loud on the day of al-Fitr until the imam came out (to lead the prayers).”
‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami said, “They emphasized it more on the day of al-Fitr than the day of al-Adha.”. Waki’ said, this refers to the takbir. (See Irwa al-Ghalil, 3/122)
Al-Daraqutni and others narrated that on the morning of ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adha, Ibn ‘Umar would strive hard in reciting takbir until he came to the prayer place, then he would recite takbir until the imam came out.
Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated with a sahih isnad that al-Zuhri said: “The people used to recite Takbir on ‘Eid when they came out of their houses until they came to the prayer place, and until the imam came out. When the imam came out they fell silent, and when he said takbir they said takbir.” (See Irwa al-Ghalil, 1/121)
Saying takbir when coming out of one's house to the prayer place and until the imam came out was something that was well known among the salaf (early generations). This has been narrated by a number of scholars such as Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd a l-Razzaq and al-Firyabi in Ahkam al-’Eidayn from a group of the salaf. For example, Nafi’ ibn Jubayr used to recite takbir and was astonished that the people did not do so, and he said, “Why do you not recite takbir?”
Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say, “The people used to recite takbir from the time they came out of their houses until the imam came in.”
Time for takbir on ‘Eid al-Fitr
The time for takbir on ‘Eid al-Fitr starts from the night before ‘Eid until the imam enters to lead the ‘Eid prayer .
Time for takbir on ‘Eid al-Adha
In the case of ‘Eid al-Adha, the takbir begins on the first day of Dhu’l-Hijjah and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of tashriq.
Description of the takbir
It was narrated in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah with a sahih isnad from Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to recite takbir during the days of tashriq:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa Lillah il-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most great, Allah is most great, and to Allah be praise).
It was also narrated elsewhere by Ibn Abi Shaybah with the same isnad, but with the phrase “Allahu akbar” repeated three times.
Al-Mahamili narrated with a sahih isnad also from Ibn Mas’ud: “Allahu akbaru kabira, Allahu akbaru kabira, Allahu akbar wa ajallu, Allahu akbar wa Lillah il-hamd (Allah is Most Great indeed, Allah is Most Great indeed, Allah is most Great and Glorified, Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise).” (See al-Irwa, 3/126)
4. Offering congratulations
The etiquette of ‘Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people , no matter what the wording, such as saying to one another Taqabbala Allah minna wa minkum (May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “‘Eid mubaarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.
Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: “When the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) met one another on the day of ‘Eid, they would say to one another, “May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you.” Ibn Hajar said, its isnad is hasan. (Al-Fath, 2/446)
Offering congratulations was something that was well known among the Companions, and scholars such as Imam Ahmad and others allowed it. There is evidence which suggests that it is prescribed to offer congratulations and good wishes on special occasions, and that the Sahabah congratulated one another when good things happened, such as when Allah accepted the repentance of a man, they went and congratulated him for that, and so on.
Undoubtedly these congratulations are among the noble characteristics among the Muslims.
The least that may be said concerning the subject of congratulations is that you should return the greetings of those who congratulate you on ‘Eid, and keep quiet if others keep quiet, as Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If anyone congratulates you, then respond, otherwise do not initiate it.
5. Adorning oneself on the occasion of ‘Eid .
‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that ‘Umar took a brocade cloak that was for sale in the market and brought it to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and said, “O Messenger of Allah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for ‘Eid and for receiving the delegations.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to him, “Rather this is the dress of one who has no share (of piety or of reward in the Hereafter)…” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 948)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) agreed with ‘Umar on the idea of adorning oneself for ‘Eid, but he denounced him for choosing this cloak because it was made of silk.
Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had a cloak which he would wear on the two ‘Eids and on Fridays.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, 1756)
Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a sahih isnad that Ibn ‘Umar used to wear his best clothes on ‘Eid.
So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for ‘Eid.
Can women adorn themselves when they go out for ‘Eid?
With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for ‘Eid , because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-mahram men. It is also haram for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship.
6. Going to the prayer by one route and returning by another.
Jabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “On the day of ‘Eid, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to vary his route.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 986)
It was said that the reason for that was so that the two routes would testify for him on the Day of Resurrection, for the earth will speak on the Day of Resurrection and say what was done on it, both good and bad.
And it was said that it was in order to manifest the symbols of Islam on both routes, or to manifest the remembrance of Allah (dhikr), or to annoy the hypocrites and Jews, and to scare them with the large number of people who were with him. And it was said that it was in order to attend to the people’s needs, to answer their questions, teach them, set an example and give charity to the needy, or to visit his relatives and uphold the ties of kinship.
And Allah knows best.