The Eid prayer
The Eid prayer is one where the imam attends and leads the people in praying two rak’ahs. ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The prayer of al-Fitr is two rak’ahs and the prayer of al-Adha is two rak’ahs, complete and not shortened, on the tongue of your Prophet, and the one who fabricates lies is doomed.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 1420 and Ibn Khuzaymah. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.
It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to come out on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha to the prayer place, and the first thing he would do was to offer the prayer. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 956
In the first rak’ah he should say Takbeerat al-ihraam (say “Allahu akbar” to start the prayer), after which he should say six or seven more takbeers, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), “The takbeer of al-Fitr and al-Adha is seven takbeers in the first rak’ah and five takbeers in the second, apart from the takbeer of rukoo’.” Narrated by Abu Dawood and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 639.
Then he should recite al-Faatihah, and recite Soorat Qaf in the first rak’ah. In the second rak’ah he should stand up saying takbeer, and when he has stood up completely he should say takbeer five times, and recite Soorat al-Faatihah then Soorat al-Qamr. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to recite these two soorahs during the two Eids. Or if he wishes he can recite Soorat al-A’la in the first rak’ah and Soorat al-Ghaashiyah in the second, because it was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to recite al-A’la and al-Ghaashiyah in the Eid prayer.
The imam should revive the Sunnah be reciting these soorahs so that the Muslims will become familiar with the Sunnah.
After the prayer, the imam should address the people. Part of the khutbah should be addressed specifically to the women, telling them of the things that they should do and warning them against the things that they should avoid, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to do.
See Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him), p. 398; Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 8/300-316).
The prayer comes before the khutbah
One of the rulings of Eid is that the prayer comes before the khutbah, because of the hadeeth of Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah who said, The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came out on the day of al-Fitr and started with the prayer before the khutbah. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 958; Muslim, 885.
Another indication that the khutbah comes after the prayer is the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to come out to the prayer place on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha, and the first thing he would start with was the prayer, then he would go and stand facing the people, while the people were sitting in their rows, and he would preach to them and advise them and command them. If he wanted to send out a military expedition he would do so and if he wanted to tell the people to do something he would do so, then he would leave.
Abu Sa’eed said: The people continued to do that until I went out with Marwaan – who was the governor of Madeenah – on Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr, and when we came to the prayer-place, there was a minbar that had been built by Katheer ibn al-Salt. When Marwaan wanted to ascend it before he prayed, I grabbed his garment and he pushed me away and climbed up and delivered the khutbah before the prayer. I said, “You have changed it by Allah.”
He said, “O Abu Sa’eed, what you knew has gone.”
I said, “What I know, by Allah, is better than what I do not know.”
He said, “The people will not sit and listen to us after the prayer, so we did it before the prayer.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 956.