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HomeSocial Life in IslamWhat Are The Islamic Holidays?

What Are The Islamic Holidays?

When the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing be upon him) migrated from Mecca to Medina, he noticed that the people of Medina had two holidays. When he sees them playing games and having fun during these holidays; He informed them that Muslims also have holidays that they can celebrate saying “ Almighty Allah has given you (Muslims) something better than those (feasts), Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.” [1]

Both Feasts (Eid) begin with the Eid prayer, which is performed a while after the morning prayer.[2] Although there are some cultural differences according to geographies, the celebration continues in the form of meeting relatives, visiting family elders and neighbors, and helping the poor. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who advised to feed and drink guests on holidays forbade fasting on Eid days in order not to interfere with these treats. [3] However, he also allowed people to have fun during the holidays in a way that would not contradict Islam.[4]

Eid-al-Adha is remembered for the submission of prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and his son prophet Ismail (PBUH) to Allah. Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was ordered by Allah to sacrifice his son and explained the situation to his son. When prophet Ismail (PBUH) knew that this was Allah’s command, he surrendered, and he and his father passed this test. Allah pleased with their devotion to Him, sent a sacrifice to them and ordered it to be slaughtered.[5] Afterwards, it was ordered to sacrifice an animal which is a means of reminding Muslims every year of the surrender of these two prophets.[6] According to the Hijri calendar Eid al-Adha begins on the tenth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijja and continues for four days.

Eid-al-Fitr Fasting [7], which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is given to Muslims as a reward for being purified from sins and completing the fasting month by obeying Allah’s command, after being kept for a month. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in the first three days of Shawwal, after fasting the month of Ramadan, one of the Hijri months.

In both festivals, helping each other and fraternity are essential. Sharing the meat of the slaughtered animal with the poor is commanded by the verse “…you may eat from their meat and feed the needy—those who do not beg, and those who do.” [8] Zakat al-Fitrah [9] is also given during the Eid al-Fitr. Regarding this, Ibn Abbas, one of the companions of Muhammad (PBUH) who participated in his conversation, relates: ” The Messenger of Allah made fitrah obligatory in order the fasting person cleanse from meaningless and ugly behavior and for the needy to have a bite to eat.”[10]

The day before the Eid-al-Adha is called Arafa. Regarding the prayers to be made on the day of Arafa, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The most virtuous prayer is the one made on the day of Arafa; The most virtuous word that I and all the prophets before me have said is ‘La ilaha illallah vahdehu la sharika leh (There is no god but Allah, He is One, He has no partner)’.”[11]

According to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), apart from Ramadan and Eid-al-Adha, Friday is also a weekly holiday for Muslims.[12]

Additionally, it is recommended to prepare for the holidays to wear clean and beautiful clothes, to perform ghusl, to brush the teeth, to apply good smells, and to be smiling. During the Eid al-Fitr before the Eid prayer eating something sweet such as dates, and at Eid-al-Adha eating the meat of the sacrifice first, walking to the prayer if possible and using another route on the way back, giving a lot of almsgiving (Zakat), giving the fitra before the prayer, saying the takbir while going to the prayer are the behaviors that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) found good and practiced.[13]

[1] Sunan Abi Dawud, prayer (Kitab Al-Salat),239; Sunan an-Nasa’I, The Book of the Prayer for the Two ‘Eids,1; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanble, III, 103, 178

[2] “The first thing to be done on this day (first day of `Id ul Adha) is to pray;”, Sahih al-Bukhari, The Two Festivals (Eids),3; Sahih Muslim, The Book of Prayer – Two Eids, 7

[3] Sahih al-Bukhari, Fasting, 66; Ahmad ibn Hanbel III, 34, 35

[4] Sahih al-Bukhari, The Two Festivals (Eids),2; Sahih Muslim, The Book of Prayer – Two Eids,16

[5] As-Saffat, 102-111

[6] Al-Kawthar, 1-3

[7] Sahih al-Bukhari, Belief,1-2

[8] Al-Hajj,36

[9] Zakat al-Fitrah is considered as a gratitude for being created as a human being and fasting in Ramadan and reaching the holiday; It is a Sadaqat that is obligatory for a Muslim who is rich according to Islamic and reached the end of Ramadan to give to certain people.

[10] Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, V, 432

[11] Al Muwatta,” Al-Hajj” ,246

[12] Al-Bayhaqi, III, 243; Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, I, 369. For detailed information on Friday, see “Why is Friday important for Muslims?”

[13] Encyclopedia of Islam Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı (


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