Eid-ul-Fitr is not a standalone event and requires stipulated fasting of 29-30 days during the Islamic (lunar-calendar) month of Ramadan. An important point, which sometimes a few people do not appreciate, is that the month of Ramadan is also the introduction anniversary of the Divine revelation of the Holy Qur’an. The revelations of the Holy Qur’an happened as staggered deliveries over a period of 23 years. Fasting is also a period of self-assessment in spiritual gap-analysis. This gap-analysis is an annual event and a continuation from previous Israelite prophets, who fasted for 40 days.
Eid-ul-Fitr has been celebrated over the last 1500 years, since the days when Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was in active service as the Seal and the Final Prophet of Allah. It is a commonly universal knowledge, that Muslims fast for 29-30 days in the Islamic month of Ramadan; and the first day of the following month, Shawwal, is Eid-ul-Fitr. Muslims are prohibited to fast on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, in as much as Muslims are also prohibited to fast on the day of Eid-ul-Azha.
Eid-ul-Fitr, commenced by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the second of the two important festivals in Islam, prefixed as Eid. (The greater of the two is Eid-ul-Adha). Prior to intervention by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the communities of Madinah held two annual festivals, which were joyous carnivals only, with lots of merrymaking, but without any religious attachments. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the 1st day of the Arabic (lunar) month of Shawwal; and Shawwal is the 10th month of the Islamic lunar-based calendaring system. The month before that is Ramadan, the month of 29-30 days of prescribed fasting.
Of the six Sahih Hadith, one of the six Hadith (Hadith No 772, Hadith Jami-al-Trimidhi, Chapter on Fasting Vol 2) clearly states: Abu Sa’eed al-Khundri narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prohibited two fasts: Fasting on the day of Eid-ul-Adzha and on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.”
There is further Hadith on prohibition on fasting on the days of both Eids. It is reported in the Hadith (Hadith No 953, Hadith Sahih Bukhari, Book of Eid Festivals, Vol 2): Anas bin Malik narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never proceeded for Salat on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates.”
Anas bin Malik further narrated: “The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to eat odd number of dates.”
However, Muslims are definitely not prohibited from eating their regular breakfast; neither is it imposed upon them to eat only dates on Eid; but the most important point is noting the prohibition, which is not to fast on the exact day of the two Eids.
A unique feature about the Eid prayers is that there is neither an adhan nor an iqamah. This is reported in the Hadith (Hadith No 2049, Hadith Sahih Muslim, Book of the Two Eid Prayers Vol 2), which states: Ibn Jurayj narrated “Ata’ informed me from Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) and Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari (radhiyallahu anhu) who said: “There was no adhan called on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.” I asked him about that later on and he said: “Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari (radhiyallahu anhu) informed me that there was no adhan for the prayer on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, neither before the Imam came nor afterwards, and there was no iqamah or call or anything; no call that day nor iqamah.”
There is to be no other Salat either immediately before, or immediately after, the Salat Eid-ul-Fitr and this is clarified in the Hadith (Hadith No 964, Book of the Two Eid Festivals, Hadith Sahih Bukhari Vol 2), which states: Ibn Abbas narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallan) offered a two-raka’t Salat on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and he (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not offer any Salat before or after it. Then he (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) went towards with Bilal (radhiyallahu anhu) and ordered them to give alms, and so they started giving their earrings and necklaces (in charity).”