Takbir (saying 'Allahu Akbar' - Allah is the Greatest) is a clearly distinctive feature of Muslims' Eid celebrations.

Evidence For Takbir On Eid Days

Allah says:
And that you must exclaim Allah's greatness, for having guided you, so that you may be grateful.
[Noble Quran 2:185]

Time Of Takbir

The Takbir for Eid starts from the time that one leaves his house heading toward the musalla. It is confirmed that the Prophet (peace be upon him):

"... Would leave (his house), on the day of Fitr, saying Takbir until he reached the musalla, and until he performed the prayer. Once he had performed the prayer, he would stop saying the Takbir."

The great Hadith scholar al-Albani said:

"This Hadith provides evidence for the Muslims' common practice of saying the Takbir aloud on route to the musalla, even though many people are now neglecting this sunnah - so that it is almost totally forgotten!

It would be useful at this point to remind that saying the Takbir in unison, as many people do, is not permissible. This applies as well to any other form of dhikr (mentioning Allah), whether it is supposed to be said loudly or secretly. Let this be a warning for us, and let us keep in our minds that the best guidance is that of Muhammad (peace be upon him)."

Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about the time for Takbir on the two Eids. He replied:

"Praise be to Allah. The most correct opinion, which agrees with the majority of the Salaf and scholars among the sahabah and Imams, is that Takbir extends from fajr (dawn) on the day of `Arafah to the last day of Tashriq; it is done following each prayer; and it is recommended for everyone to raise his voice with the Takbir when heading to the Eid. This is agreed upon among the Four Imams."

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 Imam al-Bukhari said:

"... And `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say the Takbir in his tent at Mina, so the people in the masjid heard him, and they also said the Takbir; and then the people of the market places also said the Takbir, until Mina echoed with everyone's Takbir.

And Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) used to say the Takbir at Mina on these day: after the prayers, on his bed, in his tent, in his sittings, and while walking - throughout these days.

And Maymunah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to say the Takbir on the day of Nahr; also, the women would say the Takbir behind Abban Bin `Uthman and `Umar Bin `Abdul-`Aziz on the night of Tashriq with the men in the masjid."

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 Takbir aloud until he reached the musalla, then he would say it until the Imam arrived (for the prayer)."

The Wording Of The Takbir

There are no authentic Hadiths describing how the Prophet (peace be upon him) said this Takbir; however, the following have been reported from his companions (may Allah be pleased with them):

Ibn Mas`ood (may Allah be pleased with him):

"Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha illal-Lah; Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahil-hamd."

Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him):

"Allahu akbar Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd, Allahu akbaru wa ajall, Allahu akbaru `ala ma hadana."


"Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbaru kabira."

Many people differed from the salaf in this dhikr, adding and innovating things that have no basis. This led Ibn Hajar to say:

"Some additions to the Takbir have been innovated in these times - for which there is no basis."

Wisdom In Takbir

Takbir 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, "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar - in the Name of Allah; Allah is the Greatest", he remembers his true position, and that, no matter how great and mighty he thinks himself, Allah 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 Mina is an action of power and aggression. But when the pilgrim says, "Allahu Akbar", he remembers Allah's power and might.

In their travels, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to say "Allahu 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 Allah is greater and higher.

Likewise, celebrations are occasions of rejoice and happiness. People tend then to be arrogant. But when they remember Allah's greatness so very frequently, they retain their position of submission and servitude before Him.

Furthermore, saying the Takbir loudly and frequently makes people remember that the Eid is a gift granted by Allah , that He is greater than worries and fears which could mar the Eid 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 Eids.