Monday, November 20, 2017 - 2 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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The ruling on reciting the takbirs during the Eid prayer

What is the ruling on reciting the takbirs during the Eid prayer? What if one says the longer versions as opposed to the ones mentioned in the hadith which include sending prayers upon the Prophet at the end?

Answer

Reciting the takbirs (repeating ‘Allahu Akbar’) during the Eid prayer is permissible. To this effect God says, “You should magnify God for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.” This verse contains a divine command to recite takbirs unrestrictedly in all circumstances. There is no text from the sunna that restricts this general command with a particular litany which renders the recitation of anything else a reprehensible innovation. The version of, “God is great, God is great, there is no god but God, God is great, God is great, and to God belongs all praise” was mentioned by many of the Companions and their followers. Al-Bayhaqi narrated this litany on the authority of Ibn Abbas as well as on the authority of Ekrema which has the addition, “God is great, God is great, God is great, to Him belongs all praise, God is great, God is great and exalted, and God is greater for that which He has bestowed upon us.”

It is for this reason that Imam al-Shafi’i said, “The Imam should begin by saying ‘God is great, God is great, God is great’ thrice, and it is commendable if he increases the number of takbirs. It is also good if he says ‘God is ever greatest, much praise be to God morning and evening. God is great, Him alone we worship, making our religion sincerely His though the unbelievers be averse. There is no god but Him alone. He fulfilled His promise, gave victory to His servant, strengthened His army and vanquished the Confederates alone. There is no god but God and God is ever greatest’. I incline towards whatever is added to invoke God.” The same was mentioned in Jalal al-Din al-Mahali’s commentary on Imam al-Nawawi’s Minhaj.

As for the litany that has been used by the Egyptians over the centuries and is concluded with prayers upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it is commendable and religiously sanctioned as it comprises invoking God. The best of invocations is that which invokes God and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). It is also known that sending prayers and salutations upon the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) opens the door for actions to be accepted by God. Scholars have mentioned that this is so because these actions are always accepted even from a hypocrite as they are related to the exalted Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Based on this, whoever says that these different litanies are reprehensible innovations is himself closer to reprehensible innovations. This is because they have restricted what God and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have made expansive, and restricted a general command without any proof text. What was enough for our pious ancestors who saw much good in these litanies and accepted them, is likewise enough for us. It is absolutely invalid to criticize these litanies and we should not pay attention to such criticism. God is most high and all knowledgeable.
 

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