Takbeer (saying 'Allaahu Akbar' - Allaah is the Greatest) is a clearly distinctive feature of Muslims' `Eed celebrations.
Evidence For Takbeer On `Eed Days
Allaah (SWT) says:
... And that you must exclaim Allaah's greatness, for having guided you, so that you may be grateful.1
Time Of Takbeer
The Takbeer for `Eed starts from the time that one leaves his house heading toward the musallaa. It is confirmed that the Prophet :
"... Would leave (his house), on the day of Fitr, saying Takbeer until he reached the musallaa, and until he performed the prayer. Once he had performed the prayer, he would stop saying the Takbeer."2
The great hadeeth scholar al-Albaanee said:
"This hadeeth provides evidence for the Muslims' common practice of saying the Takbeer aloud on route to the musallaa, even though many people are now neglecting this sunnah - so that it is almost totally forgotten!
Ibn Taymiyyah (r) was asked about the time for Takbeer on the two `Eeds. He replied:
"Praise be to Allaah. The most correct opinion, which agrees with the majority of the Salaf and scholars among the sahaabah and Imaams, is that Takbeer extends from fajr (dawn) on the day of `Arafah to the last day of Tashreeq; it is done following each prayer; and it is recommended for everyone to raise his voice with the Takbeer when heading to the Eed. This is agreed upon among the Four Imaams."4
It should be noted that his specification "following each prayer" has no evidence. The correct opinion is to say it at all times, without specification. This is supported by what Imaam al-Bukhaaree said:
"... And `Umar () used to say the Takbeer in his tent at Minaa, so the people in the masjid heard him, and they also said the Takbeer; and then the people of the market places also said the Takbeer, until Minaa echoed with everyone's Takbeer.
Also, it is reported that:
"When Ibn `Umar, went out (of his house) on the morning of the day of Fitr and the day of Adha, he would say the Takbeer aloud until he reached the musallaa, then he would say it until the imaam arrived (for the prayer)."7
The Wording Of The Takbeer
There are no authentic hadeeths describing how the Prophet said this Takbeer; however, the following have been reported from his companions ():
a) Ibn Mas`ood ():
"Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha illa 'llaah; Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa lillaah il-hamd."8
b) Ibn `Abbaas ():
"Allaahu akbar Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa li 'llaah il-hamd, Allaahu akbaru wa ajall, Allaahu akbaru `alaa maa hadaana."9
c) Salmaan (t):
"Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbaru kabeera."10
Many people differed from the salaf in this thikr, adding and innovating things that have no basis. This led Ibn Hajar to say:
"Some additions to the Takbeer have been innovated in these times - for which there is no basis."11
Wisdom In Takbeer
Takbeer is a statement that the Muslims are instructed to proclaim frequently, especially in certain situations that may insinuate feelings of arrogance in the heart.
When a person slaughters an animal, he may feel arrogant because he has the power to kill. But when he says, "Bismillaah, Allaahu Akbar - in the Name of Allaah; Allaah is the Greatest", he remembers his true position, and that, no matter how great and mighty he thinks himself, Allaah (SWT) is greater and mightier, and He is the one who provided him with the animal and gave him the ability to slaughter it.
Throwing the stones in Minaa is an action of power and aggression. But when the pilgrim says, "Allaahu Akbar", he remembers Allaah's power and might.
In their travels, the Prophet and his companions () used to say "Allaahu Akbar" when they ascended a hill. Rising to a high place is another act that may cause arrogance in the heart. By applying this sunnah, one controls himself and remembers that Allaah is greater and higher.
Likewise, celebrations are occasions of rejoice and happiness. People tend then to be arrogant. But when they remember Allaah's greatness so very frequently, they retain their position of submission and servitude before Him (SWT).
Furthermore, saying the Takbeer loudly and frequently makes people remember that the `Eed is a gift granted by Allaah (SWT), that He is greater than worries and fears which could mar the `Eed spirit, that He is the One who guided them, and who is capable of protecting them, removing their worries, and accepting their acts of worship that preceded the `Eeds.