What is fitrana and why is it offered?
Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
مَثَلُ الَّذِيْنَ يُنْفِقُوْنَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنْبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِيْ كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ ۗ وَاللّٰهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“The similitude of those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah is like the similitude of a grain of corn which grows seven ears, in each ear a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies it further for whomsoever He pleases; Allah is Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.262)
Hazrat Anasra narrated that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “The best charity is the one that is offered during the month of Ramadan.” (Tirmidhi, Kitab az-Zakat)
Hazrat Ibn Abbasra relates, “The Holy Prophetsa was the most generous of all people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel would meet him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Quran with him. Allah’s Messengersa then used to be more generous than a fast, fierce wind.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib)
In Arabic, fitrana is called Sadaqat-ul-Fitr, as it is stated in a Hadith:
Hazrat Ibn Abbasra relates, “The Holy Prophetsa deemed Sadaqat-ul-Fitr obligatory upon Muslims. It is a means of purifying the fasting person from idle talk and foul language and also to feed the poor.” (Sunan Abu Dawood, Kitab az-Zakat)
Fitrana has to be offered before Eid. At times it is observed that it is offered right before or after the Eid prayer, however it is better to offer fitrana well before Eid, so that the poor and needy can be provided with the means to celebrate Eid in time.
The amount or rate of fitrana is one saa‘ of grains, which is equivalent to 2.5 kilograms. However, if someone is unable to offer the exact amount, they can offer half of the amount. Fitrana is obligatory upon every Muslim man, woman and child, so much so that it has to be paid on behalf of a new-born as well.
Keeping in view the amount of fitrana, it is fixed annually at a national level and then collected accordingly.
What is Eid fund and why is it offered?
The practice of offering Eid fund exists since the time of Promised Messiahas. The purpose of offering this fund is so that as a person spends money on clothes, food, gatherings and gifts etc., on all happy occasions like Eid, one should bear in mind the requirements of faith and religion.
The amount of Eid fund in the time of the Promised Messiahas was such that each Ahmadi who had a source of income would offer one rupee as Eid Fund. However, in the present age, the value of the rupee has not remained the same, so instead of restricting it to one rupee Ahmadis should pay a sum on both Eids keeping in view the spirit of this fund according to their financial position.
The Promised Messiahas said:
“What a blessed time this is! No one is asked to lay down their life. This is not the time for offering the ultimate sacrifice, but rather it is the time to spend out of one’s possessions, according to one’s means.” (Al Hakam, 10 July 1903)
Why is Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated?
As the name suggests, Eid-ul-Fitr means “the feast of breaking the fast.” It is a festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and it is celebrated on 1 Shawwal. This joyous day serves as a reward for those who observe fasts and occupy themselves in the worship of Allah during the blessed month of Ramadan.
How should a person begin the day of Eid-ul-Fitr?
As Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the very next day at the end of Ramadan, therefore a person should begin their day by carrying on the practise of offering Tahajud prayer, the obligatory prayer of Fajr and the recitation of the Holy Quran. However, one should not fast on this day. One should take a shower, wear good clothes, perfume and offer Eid prayer in congregation which is offered in an open area or the mosque before the sun begins to set. Hazrat Anasra narrates, “The Messengersa of Allah never proceeded [for the prayer] on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates.” He also relates that, “The Holy Prophetsa used to eat an odd number of dates.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
Hazrat Jabirra bin Abdullah relates, “On the day of Eid, the Holy Prophetsa used to return [after offering the Eid prayer] using a different route from that which he went by.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
How is Eid prayer offered?
In the first rakat [unit of prayer] of Eid-ul-Fitr, after reciting thanaa, the imam says 7 takbirat [Allahu Akbar] in a loud voice before commencing with the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah. The imam and followers should raise their hands to their ears and drop them at each time. After the takbirat, ta‘awuz and bismillah, the imam recites Surah al-Fatihah and a portion of the Holy Quran aloud and completes the rakat as is the sunnah.
On the second rakat, instead of 7, the imam says 5 takbirat and then completes the second rakat as mentioned above. The imam delivers a sermon after the Eid prayer as is delivered before the Jumuah prayer.
Hazrat Abdullahra bin Umar narrates, “The Holy Prophetsa used to offer the prayer of Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr and used to deliver the khutba after the prayer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates , “The Holy Prophetsa offered a two-rakat prayer on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and did not pray before or after it. Then he went towards women along with Bilalra and asked them to pay alms and so they started offering their earrings and necklaces [in charity].” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Eidain)
Is it obligatory to offer Eid prayer?
The Eid prayer is Sunnat-e-Mu‘akidah (a practice that the Prophetsa told us to follow). Everyone should come for Eid prayer. Even women having their period should also come to the mosque, but they should not take part in the prayer and instead, occupy themselves in the remembrance of Allah.
How can we celebrate Eid in the best possible way?
A person should celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by keeping in view the lessons learned during the month of Ramadan. All those goals and aims that are achieved during the blessed days of fasting should be made part of one’s life. One should remember everyone in their happiness, especially those who are poor and needy. One should not only maintain their previous good deeds but in fact progress in spiritual development and attain the pleasure of Allah.
Highlighting the importance and spirit of Eid, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa states:
“Today, young and old, men and women have gathered together because this day holds great significance. Islam has decreed the day of Eid as a day of happiness in which Muslims should join together with their loved ones…
“Today, if Ahmadi Muslims wish to celebrate Eid in the true sense, then where they seek to attain the blessings of true Eid by bringing about a moral reformation, they should also make every effort to free the world from injustices and should engage fervently in prayer to free the Muslim world from the disorder and troubles it is engulfed in.” (Eid-ul-Fitr Sermon, Baitul Futuh Mosque, London, 19 July 2015)