The ruling for reciting the takbirs during the ‘Eid prayer
What is the ruling of reciting the takbirs during the ‘Eid prayer? What if one says the longer versions as opposed to the ones narrated in the hadith that include the prayers on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) at its end?
It is permissible to recite the takbirs during the ‘Eid prayers. To this effect God has said, “You should magnify God for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.” This verse mentions the command for reciting the takbirs generally in all circumstances. There is no text from the sunnah that restricts this general command with a certain necessary litany which is incumbent on Muslims to recite, making 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 Akrama 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’ until he says it three times. If he increases in number, it is good, and if he says ‘God is [absolutely] great, and many thanks to God, praise be to God [night and day], God is great, we do not worship other than God, we have worshiped Him sincerely even if the disbelievers hate it, there is no deity but God alone, His promise is true, He gave victory to His servant, and He destroyed the armies alone, there is no deity but God and God is great’ then this is also good. And I incline towards whatever is added from invoking God.” The same opinion was mentioned by Jalal al-Din al-Mahali in his commentary on Imam al-Nawawi’s Minhaj.
As for the litany used by Egyptians over the centuries that is concluded with prayers on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), all of this is good and religiously sanctioned as it comprises invoking God as mentioned above by Imam al-Shafi’i. The best invocation is that which mentions God and His messenger. It is also known that sending prayers and salutations on the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) opens the door for actions to be accepted by God as these actions are always accepted even if from a hypocrite as is mentioned in the books of the scholars because it is related to the exalted Prophet.
Based on this, whoever says that these different litanies are reprehensible is himself closer to reprehensible innovations. This is because this is considered restricting what God and the Prophet have made expansive, and they have restricted a general command without any proof text. It is enough for us what sufficed our pious ancestors who saw much good in these litanies and accepted them. Criticizing these litanies is absolutely incorrect and we should not pay attention to such criticism.
And God Almighty knows best.