Question # 466: Is it permissible to offer Eid prayer at home due to COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic? Can you also explain how to offer it?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Eid prayer, the highly stressed sunnah, is permissible to be offered at home either individually or in (one’s household) congregation for whoever misses it in the congregation, due to some constraint. While the khutbah is a condition of validity for Jumu’ah, it is a recommendation (not mandatory) for Eid. The following is the manner of offering Salatul Eid:

  • The imam attends and leads the people in praying two rak’ahs with no adhan or iqamah;
  • He starts the first rak’ah with seven takbeers after saying the Takbeerat al-ihram (the Takbeer for initiating the prayer) and then recites Soorah al-Faatihah, and recite Soorah Qaaf in the first rak’ah;
  • In the second rak’ah he stands up saying takbeer (aka transitional Takbeer), and after standing up completely says five takbeers and recites Soorah al-Faatihah then Soorah al-Qamr;
  • After the prayer, the imam gives khutbah.

(Note: the imam can recite Soorah al-A’la and Soorah al- Ghaashiyah in the first and second rak’ah respectively in place of Soorah Qaaf and Soorah al-Qamr)

Long Answer: Eid prayer is one of the obvious symbols of Islam. The scholars’ rulings on it vary, deeming it a communal obligation, an individual obligation, or at least a highly stressed sunnah.

Because that which is easy is not voided due to difficulty, so long as it is possible, even in the most stringent of circumstances, it should not be neglected.

Similar to the Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer, which is performed within its permitted framework, even if only by the masjid administration, so too should the Eid prayer be performed.

The issue of performing the Eid prayer at home for those who missed it in the congregation is rather lenient.

While the khutbah is a condition of validity for Jumu’ah, it is a recommendation (not mandatory) for both Eids. This is supported by the narration of ʿAbdullah b. al-Sa’ib who said, “I attended the Eid with Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and he said, ‘We are going to deliver a sermon, so whoever wants to sit for the sermon should sit, and whoever wants to leave should leave’.” [(Abu Daawood and Ibn Majah)] Therefore, neither the khutbah nor listening to it is a requirement of the Eid prayer.

Though the Friday prayer should be primarily performed in the masjid, the Eid prayer is primarily performed outdoors, in an open space outside of the masjid.

Because of that, the majority of the jurists, with the exception of the Hanafis, have declared it permissible to perform it at home for whoever missed it in the congregation. It has been narrated on the authority of Anas (رضي الله عنه) that if he missed the Eid prayer with the imam, he would gather his family and servants, and ʿAbdullah b. Abi Utbah would lead them in two rak’at, making takbir.

Al-Muzani related from al-Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) in Mukhtasar al-Umm, that “the individual should pray both Eids in their home, and so should the traveler, the bondservant, and the woman.”

According to the Malikis, al-Khurashy, a Maliki jurist, said, “It is recommended for whoever misses the Eid prayer with the imam to pray it. Should that be done in a congregation or alone? There are two opinions” (summarized from Sharh al-Khurashi)

Al-Mardawi, a Hanbali jurist, said in al-Insaf, “If they miss the prayer (meaning Eid) it is recommended to make it up in the manner it is normally prayed (just as the imam prays it).”

The fatwa of the Permanent Committee in Saudi Arabia is based on this.

Accordingly, there is no harm in performing the Eid prayer at home, individually or in (one’s household) congregation, for those who miss the Eid prayer in the congregation or are unable to perform it in congregation due to some constraint.

There is also nothing wrong with listening to a sermon on TV, online, and so on, after performing the Eid prayer at home, either alone or in a private congregation, as a general reminder; because general reminders are permitted regardless of the time or setting.

[As for the description of the Eid Prayer,] …the imam attends and leads the people in praying two rak’ahs. ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: “The prayer of al-Fitr is two rak’ahs and the prayer of al-Adha is two rak’ahs, complete and not shortened, on the tongue of your Prophet, and the one who fabricates lies is doomed.” (Narrated by al-Nasa’i and Ibn Khuzaymah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasa’i)

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to come out on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha to the prayer place, and the first thing he would do was to offer the prayer. (Narrated by al-Bukhari)

In the first rak’ah he should say Takbeerat al-ihram (say “Allahu akbar” to start the prayer), after which he should say six or seven more takbeers, because of the hadith of ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنهما), “The takbeer of al-Fitr and al-Adha is seven takbeers in the first rak’ah and five takbeers in the second, apart from the takbeer of ruku’.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel)

Then he should recite al-Faatihah, and recite Soorah Qaaf in the first rak’ah. In the second rak’ah he should stand up saying takbeer, and when he has stood up completely, he should say takbeer five times, and recite Soorah al-Faatihah then Soorah al-Qamr. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to recite these two soorahs during the two Eids. Or if he wishes he can recite Soorah al-A’la in the first rak’ah and Soorah al-Ghaashiyah in the second, because it was narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to recite al-A’la and al-Ghaashiyah in the Eid prayer.

The imam should revive the Sunnah be reciting these soorahs so that the Muslims will become familiar with the Sunnah.

After the prayer, the imam should address the people. Part of the khutbah should be addressed specifically to the women, telling them of the things that they should do and warning them against the things that they should avoid, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to do. (Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him); Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)

One of the rulings of Eid is that the prayer comes before the khutbah, because of the hadith of Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah said: I attended the prayer on the day of Eid with the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم). He started with the prayer before the khutbah, with no adhan or iqamah. (Narrated by Muslim)

Some scholars sought the wisdom behind the khutbah of the Eid prayer occurring after the prayer in contrast to the Friday Khutbah. Shaykh ʻAbd Ar-Rahmaan ibn Muhammad ibn Qaasim Al-ʻAasimi Al-Qahtaani Al-Hanbali An-Najdi wrote, “The wisdom is that the Friday Khutbah is one of the conditions for the validity of the prayer unlike the Khutbah of the Eid prayer. Also, the Eid prayer is Fard (obligatory) and its Khutbah is Sunnah (voluntary); the Fard is more important.” (Al-Ihkaam fi Sharh Usool Al-Ahkaam)

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • Various answers provided by Islam Q&A on similar topics
  • Amjaonline fatawa
  • Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam