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Eid al Adha Prayer Guidelines in light of covid-19


Eid Al Adha once again with its numerous blessings is upon us. Muslims across the globe are preparing for the celebration of Eid. Although, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have partially eased off in many parts of the world, many of the health safety protocols remain in effect. This has concerned many Muslims especially the vulnerable regarding the performance of Eid prayer once again around this time of the year.

The following religious guidelines are for such concerned individuals’ i.e. the elderly,sick who are unable to join the congregation and the ones who miss Eid prayer at any of the local mosques due to it reaching its limited capacity.

Before discussing the ruling, it is important to note that Eid prayer is regarded as one of the Sha’a'ir of Islam (ritualistic symbols). Hence the general ruling and the practice among the Muslims from the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been to observe it publicly and in congregation as a way of showcasing the unity of Muslims and the beauty of Islam to others. ( Al Mau'su'a Al Fiqhiyyah: 26/98)

We, the residents of British Columbia by the grace of Allah have relatively succeeded in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our province which enabled us to open our religious centers. However, they still operate on a limited capacity due to the pandemic.

In light of this, it is the religious duty of every Muslim who intends to pray Eid Salah first to do his best to perform it at any of his local mosques. Multiple Eid prayers therefore are being organized by all mosques to accommodate the congregants.

As for the elderly, those who due to sickness or health safety reasons are unable to attend prayer at the mosque or the individuals that miss the Eid congregation at the masjid due to limited capacity, they are advised the following:

1. They should perform Eid prayer at home in the similar manner as they did the previous Eid Al Fitr prayer, fulfilling all its prerequisites.

Among the important conditions in Hanafi Fiqh for the validity of Eid prayer is the congregation and public access to the place of worship .(Badai'us Sanai: 2/ 210 )

To accommodate both these conditions to validate Eid prayer at home in this situation, a reputable Islamic seminary of Indian subcontinent Darul Uloom Deoband have permitted it with the following two conditions:
(a) It must be in the congregation of a minimum of three adult males besides the Imam;
(b) The congregants who wish to join the prayer are given access to the place of worship by informing them. (Online Fatwa by Darul Uloom Deoband, India).

2. If the conditions are not met , then according to Hanafi Fiqh, they should pray four Rakaat Nafl regular prayer instead without any extra Takbirs( Ila'us Sunan: 8/147) and those who follow other schools of Fiqh such as Maliki ,Shafi, Hanbali) can even perform Eid prayer at home individually with extra Takbirs. ( Al Mughni: 3/284)

3. Eid sermon is a recommendation in all four Sunni schools of Fiqh for the Eid congregational prayer and is to be delivered after the Salah. ( Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adillatuhu: 2/1403)

This Sunnah can be fulfilled by using any short online Eid sermon.
4.Those due to the circumstances perform Eid prayer at home are advised to fulfil all the Sunnah of Eid such as taking bath, wearing one’s best cloth, applying perfume and reciting Takbirat of Eid etc. before Eid prayer.

5. Residents of the cities intending to sacrifice animal locally, should note that the time for sacrifice begins after one's Eid prayer is performed. However If multiple Eid prayers on different timings are organized in the city ( as is the case specially this time), then it would suffice in Hanafi Fiqh for the validity of one's sacrifice to perform it after the first prayer in the city is prayed, even if he hasn't prayed his own Eid prayer yet. ( Raddul Muhtar: 9/ 385)

Method of Performing Eid Prayer:
According to Hanbali and Maliki, there are seven takbeerat in the first unit inclusive of the opening Takbir and six takbeerat in the second rakaat including takbiratul Qiyam. In Fiqh Shafi, there are seven takbirat in the first unit exclusive of the opening tabkeer and the same six takbeerat in the second Rakaat like Hanbali and Maliki ( Al Mausu'a Fiqhiya: chapter on Eid prayers)

In Hanafi Fiqh, there are total six extra takbeerat exclusive of takbiratul Ihram, Qiyam, and R'uko. ( Tirmidhi: chapter on Eid prayers)

Eid prayer method as per Hanafi Fiqh:
The following intention should be made: I intend offering two rakaats necessary (wajib) of Eid Al-Adha prayer with six necessary takbeerat. The one leading the prayer should intend to lead the congregation as part of his niyyah. After making this intention, he should commence his prayer. He must recite the thanaa’ and then say Allahu Akbar three times. Each time that he says Allahu Akbar, he should raise his hands to his ears just as he does for the takbeer-e-tahreemah. After making the takbeer, he should let his hands rest at his sides. In-between each takbeer, he should pause to such an extent that he can read Sub’haanallah three times. After the third takbeer, he should not rest his hands but tie them. He should then read the ta’awwudh and bismillah, Surah Faatihah, and another Surah. Thereafter, he should make his ruku and sajdah and stand up as he normally does. In the second rakaat, he should first recite Surah Faatihah and another Surah. Thereafter, he should make three takbeers but after the third takbeer, he should not tie his hands but leave them at his sides. He should then make one more takbeer, go into ruku, and complete the rest of the prayer as usual. ( Raddul Muhtar: chapter of Eid prayer)

In Conclusion, every attempt is to be made to perform Eid prayer at any of the local Mosques, in the absence of that, these guidelines should be used to pray Eid Salah at home.

May Allah shower His choicest blessings upon the Muslims across the globe and May He relieve us fully from this distressful state. Ameen

Mohammad Shujaath Ali Nadwi
Board of religious affairs      
BC Muslim Association