Yesterday, we went to the mosque to perform Eid ul-Fitr salat prayer, which occurred between fajr (dawn prayer) and zuhr (noon prayer). For some reason, we performed takbir three times at various points during salat. I've never encountered this before, not even at other nearby mosques.

Question: Why did we do takbir three times during Eid ul-Fitr prayer?

In case it matters, it was at the Xining Road Mosque in Tianjin, China (西宁道清真寺) which would mostly be Hui Muslims, which I find generally follow the Sunni Hanafi Madhhab (see Gedimu).

  • It was done in the standing position before starting a rakat (or perhaps to indicate the start of a rakat). Usually we just perform takbir, put our hands on our chests, and recite al-Fatihah. But on this occasion, we did it three times before putting our hands on our chests, and I don't know why. – Rebecca J. Stones Jun 27 '17 at 6:26
up vote 9 down vote accepted

According your description you seem to have prayed the first time a Eid prayer.

The major difference between Eid prayers and Jumu'ah is that the sermon of the Eid prayer is performed after the prayer, while in Jum'ah it is done prior to the prayer this is the sunnah. Some sunni reports say that Marwan tried to change it because people were leaving the prayer place after he lead the prayer, but the sahaba refused to change the sunnah (see in sahih al-Bukhari and sahih Muslim)!

The other difference to any other prayer is that following the recommendation of the Prophet () to perform takbir during the day of Eid and the days of tashreeq (11th, 12th, 13th dhil Hijja) and that also being a sunnah we add some additional takbirs in the standing positions right before reciting al-Fatiha.

The madhhabs have different amounts which they consider sunnah based on different tradtions.

Here just a quote from your linked Wikipedia article:

Performing Eid-ul-fitr prayer

Eid al-Fitr prayer (Salat al-Eid) or Eid al-Fitr Namaz is performed on the occasion of Eid. The Prayer of Eid al-Fitr is performed in two different ways by Sunni and Shia Islam.

Sunni procedure

There are two Rak'ah (Rakaat) performed in the Eid al-Fitr prayer. The prayer of Eid al-Fitr starts by doing "Niyyat" for the prayer and then Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) is said by the Imam and all the followers. The next is to recite "Takbeer-e-Tehreema" in first Rakaat. Then the congregation says Allahu Akbar seven times, every time raising hands to the ears and dropping them except the last time when hands are folded. Then the Imam reads the Surah-e-Fatiha and other Surah. Then the congregation performs Ruku and Sujud as in other prayers. This completes the first Rak’ah. Then the congregation rises up from the first Rak'ah and folds hands for the second Rak’ah. In the next step the Imam says five takbirat, followed by the congregation, every time raising the hands to the ears and dropping them except the last time when the hands are folded. Again the Imam reads the Surah-e-Fatiha and another Surah followed by the Ruku and Sujud. This completes the Eid prayer. After the prayer there is a khutbah.

This shows only the majority madhhab view or follows the description of Sayyid Sabiq's fiqh as-Sunnah, where he also quotes that hanafis perform three additional takbirat at the first rak'a (p.150 Volume on supererogatory prayers)!

The details on takbeer during the Eid prayer from the sunni perspective:

Hanafi:

After takbirat al-Ihram (takbir at the start of the prayer) three takbiraat!
After the takbir to start the second rak'a again three takbiraat!
This is also one of two statements of Imam Ahmad!
This is based on narrations on the authority of ibn Masu'd and ibn 'Abbas which are also held by ibn Hazm in his Mohalla! I'll try to translate:

أنه كبر أربعاً ثم قرأ ثم كبر فركع ، ثم يقوم في الثانية ثم يُكبر أربعاً .

That he made four takbiraat than started the recitation, then he say Allahu Akbar and move to ruk'u and then when he stands up for the second rak'a he performs four takbiraat (Mosnaf abd-ar-Razaaq)

I also found in sunan abi Dawod this statement of abu Musa al-Ash'ary:

Sa'id b. al-'As asked Abu Musa al-Ash'ari and Hudhaifah b. al-Yaman: How would the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) utter the takbir (Allah is most great) in the prayer of the day of sacrifice and of the breaking of the fast. Abu Musa said: He uttered takbir four times as he did at funerals. Hudhaifah said: He is correct. Then Abu Musa said: I used to utter the takbir in a similar way when I was the governor of Basrah. Abu 'Aishah said: I was present there when Sa'id b. al-'As asked.

Maliki:

Performing seven takbiraat including the takbirat al-Ihram.
In the second rak'a performing six takbiraat including the takbir to stand up to start the rak'a!
References for this view are in al-Muwatta' on the authority of ibn 'Omar () and sunan abi Dawod on the authority of Abdullah ibn 'Amr () and also in sunan abi Dawod on the authority of 'Aisha ()

Shafi'i:

After the takbirat al-Ihram one performs seven takbiraat.
After the takbir of standing up starting the second rak'a one performs five takbiraat.
This is based on the hadith of ibn 'Omar from above with the notation, that the narrator didn't mention the takbirat al-Ihram, so the amount of takbir is referring to those takbirat after it!
This opinion is also held by ibn Abd-al-Barr and ibn Hazm.

Hanbali:

Basically the main view of the madhhab is the same as the maliki view, which is also the opinion of ibn Taymiyyah and ibn al-Qayyim.

Shia procedure

Shia also perform two Rak’ah in the Eid al-Fitr prayer. Prayer starts with the Niyyat followed by the five "Takbeers". During every "Takbeer" of the first Rak’ah, a special Dua is recited. Then the Imam recites Sūrat al-Fātiḥah and Surat Al-'A'lá and the congregation performs Ruku and Sujud as in other prayers. In the second Rak’ah again the same above steps (five Takbeers, Sūrat al-Fātiḥah and Surat Al-'A`lá, Ruku and Sujud) are repeated. After the prayer, Khutbah starts.

I'm not qualified to comment on this!

  • Great answer for mentioning all sects including Shias. – Noor Jul 11 '17 at 13:15

Eid salat is different in this regard, there are extra Takbirs.

The Hanafis add 6 additional takbirs, 3 in the first rakah before the fatiah and 3 in the second rakah before the rukuh.h

The Malikis add 11 extra takbirs. 6 in the first rakah before fatiah, and 5 in the second rakah after standing up from prostration.m

The Hanbalis add 11 additional takbirs, 6 in the first rakah before fatiah, and 5 in the second rakah right after standing up from prostration.

The Shafis add 12 extra takbirs, 7 in the first rakah before fatiah and 5 in the second rakah after standing up from prostration.s

The hadith include:

أن ابن مسعود كان يكبر في العيدين ، تسعا تسعا : أربع قبل القراءة ، ثم يكبر ، فيركع . وفي الثانية يقرأ ، فإذا فرغ ، كبر أربعا ، ثم ركع

Ibn Masud: the takbirs in eid prayers are nine and nine. Four before the recitation, then the takbir to go into rukuh ... then in the second (rakah) recitation, then after that four and then the rukuh

فقال ابن مسعود : يكبر أربعا ، ثم يقرأ ، ثم يكبر ، فيركع ، فيقوم في الثانية ، فيقرأ ، ثم يكبر أربعا بعد القراءة

Ibn Masud said. Four Takbirs. Then the recitation. Then a takbir. Then the rukuh. Then when standing up for the second rakah, the recitation, then four takbirs after the recitation

— Takhrij Hadith Al Hidayah تخريج أحاديث الهداية

كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يكبر في الاضحى والفطر فقال ابو موسى كان يكبر اربعا تكبيره على الجنايز

How would the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) utter the takbir (Allah is most great) in the prayer of the day of sacrifice and of the breaking of the fast? Abu Musa said: He uttered takbir four times as he did at funerals.

Abu Daud

أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كبر في العيدين ، في الأولى سبعا قبل القراءة ، وفي الثانية خمسا قبل القراءة

The Prophet said the Takbir in the first (Rak'ah) seven (times) before the recitation, and in the last, five (times) before the recitation."

Tirmizi

أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يكبر في الفطر والأضحى في الأولى سبع تكبيرات وفي الثانية خمسا

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would say the takbir (Allah is most great) seven times in the first rak'ah and five times in the second rak'ah on the day of the breaking of the fast and on the day of sacrifice (on the occasion of both the 'Id prayers, the two festivals).

Abu Daud

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