The Three Legislated ‘Eids for the Believers: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his discussion of the virtue of the Day of ‘Arafah and the Day of Sacrifice (the 9th and 10th days of the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, respectively), Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following:

في الصحيحين عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه أن رجلا من اليهود له: يا أمير المؤمنين آية في كتابكم لو علينا معشر اليهود نزلت لا تخذنا اليهود نزلت لا تخذنا ذلك اليوم عيدا فقال: أي آية: قال: {الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْأِسْلامَ دِيناً} [المائدة: 3] فقال عمر: إني لأعلم اليوم الذي نزلت فيه والمكان الذي نزلت فيه: نزلت ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قائم بعرفة يوم الجمعة وخرج الترمذي عن ابن عباس نحوه وقال فيه: نزلت في يوم عيد من يوم جمعة ويوم عرفة. ـ

It comes in the Saheehayn on the authority of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab that a man from the Jews said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an ayah in your book that if it were to have been revealed to we Jewish people, then the Jews would have taken that day as an ‘Eid.” So he said, “Which ayah is that?” He replied:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَ‌ضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion [5:3]

So ‘Umar said, “Indeed, I know the day on which it was revealed and the place in which it was revealed: it was revealed while the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was standing at ‘Arafah on the day of Jumu’ah.”

The likes of this was narrated by al-Tirmidhi on the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas and he said about it, “It was revealed during a day of ‘Eid – the day of Jumu’ah and the day of ‘Arafah.”

والعيد هو موسم الفرح والسرور وأفراح المؤمنين وسرورهم في الدنيا إنما هو بمولاهم إذا فازوا بإكمال طاعته وحازوا ثواب أعمالهم بوثوقهم بوعده لهم عليها بفضله ومغفرته كما قال تعالى: {قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ} [يونس: 58] قال بعض العارفين: ما فرح أحد بغير الله إلا بغفلته عن الله فالغافل يفرح بلهوه وهواه والعاقل يفرح بمولاه وأنشد سمنون في هذا المعنى: ـ

And the ‘Eid is a time of joy and happiness, and the joys and happinesses of the believers in this worldly life are only in their Lord when they achieve the completion of obedience to Him and attain the rewards of their deeds with their being certain of His promise of those rewards to them due to His bounty and forgiveness. This is as He has said:

قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” [10:58]

And one of the cognizant ones said, “What joy does one have in other than Allah except out of his own heedlessness of Allah?” For the heedless one rejoices in his idle amusements and desires while the intelligent one rejoices in his Lord.

وكان فؤادي خاليا قبل حبكم … وكان بذكر الخلق يلهو ويمرح
فلما دعا قلبي هواك أجابه … فلست أراه عن فنائك يبرح
رميت ببعد منك إن كنت كاذبا … وإن كنت في الدنيا بغيرك أفراح
وإن كان شيء في البلاد بأسرها … إذا غبت عن عيني لعيني يملح
فإن شئت واصلني وإن شئت لا تصل … فلست أرى قلبي لغيرك يصلح

لما قدم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة كان لهم يومان يلعبون فيهما فقال: “إن الله قد أبدلكم يومين خيرا منهما يوم الفطر والأضحى” فأبدل الله هذه الأمة بيومي اللعب واللهو يومي الذكر والشكر والمغفرة والعفو . ـ

When the Prophet (ﷺ) came to al-Madinah, the people there had two days which they would (annually) take for recreation, so He said, “Indeed, Allah has substituted two days better than these for you: the Day of the Fast-Breaking (al-Fitr) and the Day of the Sacrifice (al-Nahr)”. So Allah exchanged two days of play and idle amusement with two days of gratitude, forgiveness and pardoning for this ummah.

ففي الدنيا للمؤمنين ثلاثة أعياد عيد يتكرر فهو يوم الجمعة وهو عيد الأسبوع وهو مترتب على إكمال الصلوات المكتوبات فإن الله عز وجل فرض على المؤمنين في كل يوم وليلة خمس صلوات وأيام الدنيا تدور على سبعة أيام فكلما دور أسبوع من أيام الدنيا واستكمل المسلمون صلواتهم فيه شرع لهم في يوم استكمالهم

So in this worldly life there are three ‘eids; one is an ‘eid which is repeated frequently – the Day of Jumu’ah which is the ‘eid of the week and it is stemming from the completion of the obligatory prayers. For indeed Allah has obligated five prayers upon the believers during every day and night, and the days of this worldly life revolve around a seven day schedule, so every time a week of the days of this worldly life passes by and the Muslims complete their prayers therein, then their completion of them is legislated for them during that day.

وهو اليوم الذي كمل فيه الخلق وفيه خلق آدم وأدخل الجنة وأخرج منها وفيه ينتهي أمد الدنيا فتزول وتقوم الساعة ، وفيه الإجتماع على سماع الذكر والموعظة وصلاة الجمعة وجعل ذلك لهم عيدا ؛ ولهذا نهي عن إفراده بالصيام . ـ

It is also the day during which the creation was completed, and during which Adam was created and in which he was entered into al-Jannah and taken out from it, and during which the term of this entire worldly life will come to an end for the Hour will be sent and established on that day. And in it there is a gathering for the purpose of listening to the reminders and admonishments and the salaat al-Jumu’ah, and it has been made an ‘eid for them. And so for that reason, it is forbidden to single it out for fasting.

وفي شهود الجمعة شبه من الحج وروي: أنها حج المساكين وقال سعيد بن المسيب: شهود الجمعة أحب إلي من حجة نافلة والتبكير إليها يقوم مقام الهدي على قدر السبق فأولهم كالمهدي بدنة ثم بقرة ثم كبشا ثم دجاجة ثم بيضة

And in being present for the Jumu’ah there is a resemblance to the Hajj, and it is narrated that it is the hajj of the poor ones. Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib said, “Being present at the Jumu’ah is more beloved to me than an optional Hajj.” And arriving early for it assumes the likeness of the station of the sacrificial animal according to their earliness – so the first of those who arrive are like those who sacrifice a mountain goat, then like those who sacrifice a cow, then like a lamb, then a chicken, then an egg.

وشهود الجمعة يوجب تكفير الذنوب إلى الجمعة الأخرى إذا سلم ما بين الجمعتين من الكبائر كما أن الحج المبرور يكفر ذنوب تلك السنة إلى الحجة الأخرى وقد روي إذا سلمت الجمعة سلمت الأيام وروي أن الله تعالى يغفر يوم الجمعة لكل مسلم وفي الحديث الصحيح عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: “ما طلعت الشمس ولا غربت على يوم أفضل من يوم الجمعة” وفي المسند عنه صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال في يوم الجمعة: “هو أفضل عند الله من يوم الفطر ويوم الأضحى” فهذا عيد الأسبوع وهو متعلق بإكمال الصلوات المكتوبة وهي أعظم أركان الإسلام ومبانيه بعد الشهادتين . ـ

And being present at the Jumu’ah necessitates the expiation of sins since the last jumu’ah so long as one is free from major sins between the two gatherings. This is just as the Hajj al-Mabroor (accepted Hajj) expiates the sins of that year until the next Hajj. And it has been narrated, “If the Jumu’ah is free of sins then the days are free of sins.” And it was narrated that Allah forgives every Muslim on the day of Jumu’ah. And in an authentic hadeeth on the authority of the Prophet (ﷺ) he said, “The sun neither rises nor sets on any day more virtuous than the day of Jumu’ah“, and in the Musnad that he (ﷺ) said in regards to the day of Jumu’ah, “It is a more virtuous day in the sight of Allah than the Day of the Fast-Breaking and the Day of the Sacrifice.” So that is the ‘Eid of the week, and it is related to the completion of the obligatory prayers which is the greatest pillar and building block of Islam after the shahaadatayn.

 وأما العيدان اللذان لا يتكرران في كل عام وإنما يأتي كل واحد منهما في العام مرة واحدة فأحدهما: عيد الفطر من صوم رمضان وهو مترتب على إكمال صيام رمضان وهو الركن الثالث من أركان الإسلام ومبانيه

 As for the two ‘eids which are not repeated throughout the year but each only occur one time during the entire year, then the first of them is the ‘Eid al-Fitr – or Fast-Breaking – from the fast of Ramadan, and it flows from the completion of the fasting of Ramadan which is the third pillar of the pillars and building blocks of Islam (i.e. the third after the shahaadatayn).

فإذا استكمل المسلمون صيام شهرهم المفروض عليهم واستوجبوا من الله والمغفر والعتق من النار فإن صيامه يوجب مغفرة ما تقدم من الذنوب وآخره عتق من النار يعتق فيه من النار من استحقها بذنوبه

So when the Muslims complete the fasting of the month which is obligatory upon them and required by Allah, then there is forgiveness and freeing from the Hell-Fire. For indeed, one’s fasting necessitates forgiveness of what has preceded on sins, and its end is being freed from the Hell-Fire. Whoever is deserving of the Hell-Fire due to his sins is freed from it during the ‘Eid.

فشرع الله تعالى لهم عقب إكمالهم لصيامهم عيدا يجتمعون فيه على شكر الله وذكره وتكبيره على ما هداهم له وشرع لهم في ذلك العيد الصلاة والصدقة وهو يوم الجوائز يستوفي الصائمون فيه أجر صيامهم ويرجعون من عيدهم بالمغفرة. ـ

So Allah has legislated for them to immediately follow up the completion of the their fasting with an ‘Eid in which they combine gratitude towards Allah, remembrance of Him, and exalting Him for His guiding them. And for that ‘Eid He legislated prayer and charity for them, and it is a day of recompense in which the fasting ones will be paid the reward of their fasting and they hope during their ‘Eid for forgiveness.

والعيد الثاني: عيد النحر وهو أكبر العيدين وأفضلهما وهو مترتب على إكمال الحج وهو الركن الرابع من أركان الإسلام ومبانيه

And the second ‘Eid is the ‘Eid of Sacrifice, which is the greater of the two ‘eids and the more virtuous of the two of them, and it flows out of the completion of the Hajj which is the fourth pillar and building block of Islam (i.e. the fourth after the shahaadatayn).

فإذا أكمل المسلمون حجهم غفر لهم وإنما يكمل الحج بيوم عرفة والوقوف بعرفة فإنه ركن الحج الأعظم كما قال صلى الله عليه وسلم: “الحج عرفة” ـ

So when the Muslims complete their Hajj, they are forgiven. And the Hajj is only completed by means of the Day of ‘Arafah and stopping at ‘Arafah, for this is the greatest pillar of the Hajj just as the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The Hajj is ‘Arafah“.

ويوم عرفة هو يوم العتق من النار فيعتق الله من النار من وقف بعرفة ومن لم يقف بها من أهل الأمصار من المسلمين فلذلك صار اليوم الذي يليه عيدا لجميع المسلمين في جميع أمصارهم من شهد الموسم منهم ومن لم يشهده لا شتراكهم في العتق والمغفرة يوم عرفة

And the Day of ‘Arafah is a day of being freed from the Hell-Fire for Allah frees whoever stands at ‘Arafah from the Hell-Fire and whoever of the Muslims who did not perform Hajj and did not stand there, then the day which follows it becomes an ‘Eid for all of the Muslims in all of the lands – both those who were present for the Hajj season and those who were not there in order that they would share in that freeing from the Hell-Fire and forgiveness of the Day of ‘Arafah.

وإنما لم يشترك المسلمون كلهم في الحج كل عام رحمة من الله وتخفيفا على عباده فإنه جعل الحج فريضة العمر لا فريضة كل عام وإنما هو في كل عام فرض كفاية بخلاف الصيام فإنه فريضة كل عام على كل مسلم

And the fact that the Muslims do not all jointly share in performing the Hajj each year is only a mercy of Allah and an act of making things light upon His slaves. So He made the Hajj an obligation during one’s entire lifespan, not an obligation every year, and it is only a collective obligation (Fard kifaayah) every year in contrast to the fasting for fasting is obligatory every year upon every Muslim.

فإذا كمل يوم عرفة وأعتق الله عباده المؤمنين من النار اشترك المسلمون كلهم في العيد عقب ذلك وشرع للجميع التقرب إليه بالنسك وهو إراقة دماء القرابين. ـ

So when the the Day of ‘Arafah is completed and Allah frees His believing slaves from the Hell-Fire, then the Muslims all jointly share in the ‘Eid immediately following that. And for all of them He legislated for them to draw near to Him by the ritual act, which is spilling the blood of the sacrificial animals.

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 478-482]

Ibn Rajab went on to describe some of the activities of the Hajj before proceeding to say:

والصلاة والنحر الذي يجتمع في عيد النحر أفضل من الصلاة والصدقة الذي في عيد الفطر لهذا أمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يجعل شكره لربه على إعطائه الكوثر أن يصلي لربه وينحر وقيل له {قل إِنَّ صَلاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ} [الأنعام: 162] ولهذا ورد الأمر بتلاوة هذه الآية عند ذبح الأضاحي . ـ

And the prayer and the sacrifice which are combined during the ‘Eid of the Sacrifice is more virtuous than the prayer and charity which are combined during the ‘Eid of the Fast-Breaking. So for this reason the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was commanded to make His expression of gratitude to his Lord for granting him al-Kawthar that he would pray to his Lord and sacrifice [c.f. 108:2]. And it was also said to him:

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّـهِ رَ‌بِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. [6:162]

And for this reason a command is narrated to recite this ayah during the sacrificing of the sacrificial animals.

والأضاحي سنة إبراهيم عليه السلام ومحمد صلى الله عليه وسلم فإن الله شرعها لإبراهيم حين فدى ولده الذي أمره بذبحه بذبح عظيم وفي حديث زيد بن أرقم قيل: يا رسول الله ما هذه الأضاحي قال: “سنة إبراهيم” قيل له: فما لنا بها؟ قال: “بكل شعرة حسنة” قيل: فالصوف؟ قال: “بكل شعرة من الصوف حسنة” خرجه ابن ماجه وغيره

And the sacrificing is the sunnah of Ibrahim and of Muhammad, for Allah legislated it for Ibrahim when He ransomed the son of his which He commanded him to sacrifice with a ransom of a great sacrifice. And in the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam it was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is this sacrifice?” He replied, “It is the sunnah of Ibrahim.” It was said to him, “So what is in it for us?” He replied, “For every hair there is one good deed.” It was said, “What about the wool?” He replied, “For every strand of wool there is one good deed.” It was reported by ibn Maajah and others.

فهذه أعياد المسلمين في الدنيا وكلها عند إكمال طاعة مولاهم الملك الوهاب وحيازتهم لما وعدهم من الأجر والثواب. ـ

So these are the ‘Eids for the Muslims in this worldly life and all of them are at the times of the completion of an act of obedience to their Lord, the King, the Bestower, and their attainment which they are promised is repayment and rewards.

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 482-483]

See also: “The entire dunya is a month of fasting for the muttaqeen”

See also: “Be more concerned about the acceptance of deeds than the deeds themselves”

See also: Khutbah regarding Hajj: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Khutbah related to ‘Eid al-Adhaa: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Eemaan, jihaad and Hajj mabroor: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

For more excerpts from the same work of Ibn Rajab discussing the events of the hijri calendar, click here.

For more content regarding the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah specifically, click here.

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3 thoughts on “The Three Legislated ‘Eids for the Believers: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

  1. Pingback: “The entire dunya is a month of fasting for the muttaqeen” | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Khutbah related to ‘Eid al-Adhaa: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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