Going out to the Prayer-Place for Eid

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radi Allahu anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to go out to the prayer-place on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha. The first thing that he did was to pray, then he would move away and stand facing the people, when the people were (still) sitting in their rows, and he would exhort them and advise them and issue commands to them. If he wanted to dispatch an army he would do so, and if he wanted to issue some command, he would do so. Then he would leave.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary:

The rest of the above narration is as follows, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radi Allahu anhu) then said, “The people continued to do that until I came out with Marwaan when he was the governor of Madeenah, on (the day of) al-Ahda or al-Fitr. When we came to the prayer place, there was the minbar that had been built by Katheer ibn al-Salt.Marwaan wanted to ascend the minbar; I grabbed his clothes but he pulled away, and he ascended and delivered the khutbah before the prayer. I said to him: “You have changed it, by Allah.” He said: “O Abu Sa’eed, gone is that which you know.” I said: “By Allah, what I know is better than that which I do not know.” He said: “The people will not sit and listen to us after the prayer so I did it before the prayer.”

In his Sharh of Sahih al-Bukhari, the Hanafi scholar Al-‘Ayni (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “This (narration) shows that we should go out to the prayer-place and not offer the Eid prayer in the masjid except in case of necessity. Ibn Ziyaad (may Allah have mercy upon him) narrated that Maalik (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “The Sunnah is to go out to the prayer-place except for the people of Makkah, who should pray in the masjid.”

Imam al-Shaafa’i (may Allah have mercy upon him) said in ‘al-Umm’: “We have heard that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to go out on the two Eids to the prayer-place in Madeenah, as did those who came after him, and most of the people in all countries, except Makkah (concerning which) we have not heard that any of the salaf led them in offering the Eid prayer except in their masjid. I think that this – and Allah knows best – is because al-Masjid al-Haraam is the best spot on earth, so they did not like to pray anywhere else if possible.”

Ibn Qudaamah al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy upon him) said in ‘al-Mughni’: “The Sunnah is to offer the Eid prayer in the prayer-place.” Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy upon him) then quoted evidence to support this view, and said: “Our evidence shows that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to go out to the prayer-place and leave his masjid, as did the caliphs after him. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would not forsake the better thing even though it was closer and take the trouble to go to an imperfect place that was further away, and he did not prescribe for his ummah that they should forsake that which is good and virtuous. We have been commanded to follow the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and take him as our example. It cannot be the case that the thing that is enjoined is imperfect and the thing that is forbidden is perfect. There is no report that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) offered the Eid prayer in his masjid except when there was a reason or excuse. This is also the consensus of the Muslims. The people in all ages and in all places have gone out to the prayer-place and offered the Eid prayer there, regardless of whether the masjid is spacious or otherwise. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to offer the Eid prayer in the prayer-place even though his masjid is such a venerable place. ”

And Allah knows best!

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