The act of giving and receiving gifts is a common practice on Eid occasions.  One of the best gifts that Allah has offered is the Eid Salat.  But why is our Eid gift an act of prayer?

According to the holy Quran, the aim of creation of mankind was to worship Allah1 and to get closer to Him (as much as possible). This will bring eternal salvation. The term Eid is rooted from the word ‘Uod (in Arabic) which means the return to the Creator. Any deed that will cause a servant to become closer to his Lord is in effect the mercy of the Lord to His servant. The existence of Salat as an act of worship in religion is in general one of the best2 ways to become closer to Allah.  Salat is at any time and place a very unique blessing and gift of Allah to His servants.

Salat was bestowed as a gift to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) during his spiritual Me’raj journey.3 In essence, Salat as we know it today was made obligatory from the Me’raj trip4, and not from Medina or Mecca!  When the Prophet (PBUH&HP) was asked what he had brought from the Me’raj journey, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) said, “I have brought Salat.”5 So the blessing from this very grand Me’raj trip and the ascent towards the Lord was Salat, otherwise before Me’raj Salat was not in this form and manner.  It is therefore not without cause that some of the scholars have said “Salat” to be the “Me’raj of the the pious,”5 for it is one of the best tools for gaining proximity and closeness to Allah.

Normally, in response to a pious act, a person is rewarded.  When in the month of Ramadan, one fasts and praises his Host in utmost respect, Allah offers him a gift on the Eid ul Fitr, and that gift is the Salat al Eid.  In other words, the reward bestowed upon the servants at the end of the month of Ramadan, on the Eid ul Fitr, is Salat, marking the time of celebration with the best possible deed for closeness to Allah. 

Likewise when the pilgrims perform their rituals with care and consideration, and deem the Lord as a witness in all their actions, they shave their heads on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, and depart the clothing of pilgrimage (Ihram) in the land of revelations. Here again Allah offers them a Salat for the Eid of Sacrifice as gift.  And when a Salat is offered on that land on the Eid al-adha, it becomes known as the land of celebration and that Salat becomes the best possible deed for closeness to Allah.6  7

Therefore, by performing prayer in the Eid of al-Adha we have additional mercy of the Lord bestowed upon us.  And the act of prayer is the best gift we can receive from the Lord for it is the best we can perform to get closer to Allah.

(Selection from an speech of Ayatullah Jawadi Amoli with minor additions)

Congratulations to all Muslims and especially you dear friend

on the auspicious occasion of the Eid al-Adha

A time of freeing oneself from all chains, and attaching oneself to the Giver of Life

Footnotes:

1.The Holy Quran 51:56

2. Sheikh Kulaini addresses the following tradition from Mu’awiyah Bin Wahab that, he asked Imam Sadiq (PBUH) about the best of deeds which brings closeness towards Allah (SWT). Imam Sadiq (PBUH) replied “After knowing Allah (SWT) I do not know any deed better than Salat (Prayer)…” al-Kaafi, vol. 3, pg. 264

3.Points to the fact that Allah took Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) from Masjid al-Haram to Masijd al-Aqsa in one night and then ascent him to the skies and presented His great signs and verses to the Prophet (PBUH&HP). This incident took place when the Prophet (PBUH&HP) was awake and the travel took place physically.

4. al-Kaafi, vol. 3, pg. 487

5. First Majlesi in Rozatul Mutaqin vol. 2, pg. 17 – Second Majlesi in Mir’aat al-Uqool, vol. 12, pg. 331

6. This prayer is optionally offered out of mercy to those who cannot make it to Mekka for pilgrimage of Hajj

7. Eid al-Adha prayer is performed in two rak’ats; three takbirs after each Hamd & surah of is recited; for more details please refer to Mafatih al-Jinan