Question # 29: Before the ‘Eid prayer, the people recite takbirat in unison (simultaneously in one voice). Is this a prescribed practice?

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: The takbeer of ‘Eid is one of the Sunnahs that were prescribed by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). However, reciting takbeer in unison is not prescribed and therefore is an innovation (bid’ah) according to the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. The description of the takbeer that is prescribed is that each Muslim should say takbeer by himself on his own, raising his voice enough so that the people can hear him and follow his example and be reminded by it.

Long Answer: The takbeer of ‘Eid is one of the Sunnahs that were prescribed by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and it is an act of worship like all other acts of worship: we should limit ourselves to what is narrated and it is not permissible to introduce any thing new into the way it is done; rather that which is narrated in the Sunnah and reports is sufficient.

Our fuqaha (jurists) have examined the takbeer in unison that is done nowadays, and they did not find any evidence to support it, so they ruled that it is bid’ah (innovation).

Al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  “The takbeer which was done in al-Masjid al-Haram on the day of ‘Eid was where one person or a number of people would sit on the roof of Zamzam and say takbeer, and the people would repeat after them in the mosque. Then al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baz denounced this way and said that it was an innovation [to perform in unison]. What the Shaykh meant was that it was a partial innovation when done in this particular manner. He did not mean that the takbeer itself was an innovation. Some of the common folk of Makkah were upset by this, because they were used to it, and this is the reason why he sent this message. With regard to doing the takbeer in this manner, I do not know of any basis for it. The one who claims that this way is prescribed in shari’ah (Islamic law) has to bring proof and evidence. Moreover, this is a minor issue that should not have reached the level it did.” (Majmoo’ Fatawa al-‘Allamah Muhammad ibn Ibraheem)

Al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “…The description of the takbeer that is prescribed is that each Muslim should say takbeer by himself on his own, raising his voice enough so that the people can hear him and follow his example and be reminded by it. As for the innovated takbeer in unison, that is when a group of people — two or more — raise their voices in saying takbeer together, so they start together and end together in unison and in a certain manner. There is no basis for doing this and there is no evidence to support it, so it is an innovation in the manner of takbeer for which Allah has not sent down any authority. So the one who denounces takbeer done in this manner is in the right… The takbeer in unison is a newly invented matter, so it is an innovation. If what the people do is contrary to shari’ah then it must be stopped and denounced, because the acts of worship are tawqeefi (i.e., limited to what is mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah) and nothing is prescribed therein except what is indicated by the Qur’an and Sunnah. As for people’s views and opinions, they cannot be taken as proof if they go against the shar’i evidence. Similarly, acts of worship cannot be proven on the basis of al-masalih al-mursalah (i.e., that which serves the interests of the Muslim community). Acts of worship can only be proven with a text from the Qur’an or Sunnah, or definitive scholarly consensus.

What is prescribed is for each Muslim to say takbeer in the manner prescribed and proven according to the shari’ah evidence, which is to say takbeer individually. Takbeer in unison was denounced and banned by al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem, the mufti of Saudi Arabia (may Allah have mercy on him), and he issued a fatwa (verdict) concerning that. I have issued more than one fatwa stating that it is not allowed, and a fatwa stating that it is not allowed was also issued by the scholars of the Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas.

Al-Shaykh Hammood ibn ‘Abd-Allah al-Tuwaijri (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote an important essay denouncing and banning it, which has been printed and is in circulation. In this essay he quotes sufficient evidence to show that takbeer in unison is not allowed, praise be to Allah. As for what our brother al-Shaykh Ahmad quoted about the actions of ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) and the people in Mina, this does not prove anything, because what he (رضي الله عنه) and the people did in Mina does not come under the heading of takbeer in unison; rather it comes under the heading of takbeer that is prescribed, because he (رضي الله عنه) raised his voice in takbeer in accordance with the Sunnah and so as to remind the people of it, so they said takbeer, each one on his own. This does not mean that they and ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) agreed to raise their voices in takbeer in unison from beginning to end, as those who say takbeer in unison do nowadays. Thus everything that is narrated from the righteous early generations about the takbeer was all done in the prescribed manner. Anyone who claims something other than that has to produce evidence…” (Majmoo’ Fatawa Ibn Baz) (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

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