Zul Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Literally, it means “hajj.” Obviously, this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of “hajj” is performed in this month, which gives it special significance. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below:
First Ten Days
The first ten days of Zul Hijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. The Holy Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam, has said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the “Lailatul-Qadr”.
Every Muslim should avail of this wonderful opportunity by performing during this period as much Ibadah (acts of worship) to Allah as he or she can.
The 9th day of Zul Hijjah
The 9th day of Zul Hijjah is called ‘Youmul – “Arafah’ (The Day of ‘Arafah). This is the date when the Hujjaj (Haji pilgrims, plural of Haji) assemble on the plain of ‘Arafat, six miles away from Makkah al-Mukkaramah, where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of hajj, namely, the ‘Wuqoof of Arafat (the stay in ‘Arafat).
The Fast of Youmul ‘Arafah
For those not performing hajj, it is Mustahab (desirable) to fast on this day according to their own calendar. It sometimes occurs that 9th Zul Hijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. In such cases, Muslims of each country should observe ‘Youmul ‘Arafah according to the lunar dates of their own country.
For example, if ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ is being observed in Saudi Arabia on Friday, and in Pakistan on Saturday, Pakistani Muslims should treat Saturday as ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ and should fast on that day if they desire to benefit from the fast of ‘Youmul’Arafah’.
The fast of ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ has been emphasized by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as a mustahabb (desirable) act. According to a hadith, the fast of this day becomes a cause, hopefully so, of forgiveness for sins committed in one year.
Beginning from the Fajr of the 9th Zul Hijjah up to the ‘Asr prayer of the 13th, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the Takbir of Tashreeq after every fard prayer in the following words.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd.
(There is no god but Allah and Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)
According to authentic Islamic sources, it is obligatory on each Muslim, to recite this Takbir after every fard salah. For women also, it is commendable though not obligatory. Whether you are performing salah with Jama’ah (collectively) or on your own (individually) makes no difference. You must recite the Takbir. However, male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice, while females should recite it in a low voice.
On Eid day
The following acts are Sunnah on the day of Eidul- Adha:
1. To wake up early in the morning.
2. To clean one’s teeth with a Miswaak or brush
3. To take bath.
4. To put on one’s best available clothes.
5. To use perfume.
6. Not to eat before the Eid prayer.
7. To recite the Takbiraat of Tashreeq in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer.
How to Perform Eid Prayers (Hanafi School)
The Eid prayer has two Rakaats performed in the normal way, with the only addition of six Takbiraat, three of them in the beginning of the first Rakaat, and three of them just before Ruku’ in the second Rakaat. The detailed way of performing the Eid prayer is as follows:
The Imam will begin the prayer without Azaan or Iqaamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting Takbiraat of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands up to the ears, and after reciting the Takbiraat, you should set your hands on your navel. The Imam will give a little pause during which you should recite Thana’ (Subhanakallahumma .:.). After the completion of Thana’, the Imam will recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times. At the first two calls of Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after reciting Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But, after the third Takbir, you should set them on your navel as you do in the normal prayers.
After these three Takbirs, the Imam will recite the Holy Qur’an, which you should listen calmly and quietly. The rest of the raka’ah will be performed in the normal way.
After rising for the second raka’ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Holy Qur’an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three Takbirs once again, but this time it will be just before bowing down for ruku’. At each Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after saying ‘Allahu Akbar’, bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbirs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another takbir for bowing down into the ruku’ position. At this takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku’ saying, ‘Allahu Akbar’. The rest of the salah will be performed in its usual way.
Khutbah: The Address of Eidul-Adha
In this salah of Eid, Khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the salah, unlike the salah of Jumu’ah where it is fard and is delivered before the salah. However, listening to the khutbah of Eid salah is wajib or necessary and must be listened to in perfect peace and silence.
It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutbah by reciting takbir (Allahu Akbar) nine times and the second Khutbah with reciting it seven times.
The way of Eid prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslim jurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Shafi’i, have some other ways to perform it. They recite Takbir twelve times before beginning the recitations of the Holy Qur’an in both the raka’at. This way is also permissible. If the Imam, being of the Shafi’i school, follows this way, you can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.