Eidgah or Idgah, also Eid Gah or Id Gah (Urdu: عید گاہ, Bengali: ঈদগাহ) is a term used in South Asian Islamic culture for the open-air enclosure usually outside the city (or at the outskirts) reserved for Eid Salah, Islamic prayer offered in the morning of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. It is usually a public place that isn't used for prayers at other times of the year. On the day of Eid, the first thing Muslims do in the morning is gather usually at a large open ground and offer special prayers, in accordance with the Sunnah (traditions of Muhammad). Although the term Eidgah is of Hindustani origin, due to lack of any specific Arabic word this term may be used for similar open spaces around the world where Muslims perform Eid prayers.
Prescriptions in the Sharia
The very first "Eidgah" was located at the outskirts of Medina nearly 1,000 footsteps from Masjid al Nabawi., There are several scholarly opinions regarding praying at Eidgahs, prescribing it in the Sharia (Islamic law):
- Complying with the Sunnah, performing of the Eid Salah at the outskirts of the town is better and more virtuous, than performing it in the town (i.e. in a mosque).
- The Eid Salah performed in the mosque is complete, but performing it in the Eidgah is Sunnah. To not perform Eid Salah in the Eidgah without a valid excuse, is contrary to the Sunnah.
- The Eid Salah should be [performed in] a huge Jam'ah (congregation) on the outskirts of the town. In this way the brotherhood in Islam (i.e. among Muslims) is manifested. In the big cities it is difficult to have Eidgahs on the outskirts of the city, therefore a large open plain ground should be chosen for the Eidgah. Or if needed, the prayer can be performed in the mosque, which will be correct. But [people should try praying in an Eidgah] as far as possible, [since] one huge Jam'ah is superior to many small Eid [Jam'ahs].
- Performing of the Eid Salah in the Eidgah is [classified as] Sunnah al-Muakkadah (emphasized or substantiated Sunnah). Without any valid excuse, the one who does not perform his Eid Salah in the Eidgah is worthy of being reprimanded and taken to task and this kind of a person is a sinner. If the Eidgah is a distance away and it is inconvenient for the old and sick, then the Fuqaha (Islamic jurists) have given permission for them to perform Eid Salah in the mosque.
List of Eidgahs
Notable Eidgahs around the world include:
- Purani Idgah
- Id Gah Mosque
- Dhanmondi Shahi Eidgah
- Sylhet Shahi Eidgah
- Kheri Eidgah
- Tumkur Eidgah
- DMK Eidgah, Barpeta-Bongaigaon, Assam (India).
The Tumkur Eidgah, located approximately 70 kilometeres from Bangalore, is unique and combines traditional themes with the modern. Designed and built by Dr. Nazeer Ahmed, a space scientist, it has built into it subtleties that go beyond the ordinary. First, the divine name “Allah” is built into the structure, read right to left as is its reflection, read left to right. The reflection suggests the world is illusory and is only a reflection of the heavens. Secondly, each of the smaller minarets is nineteen feet from the ground. The number nineteen is a mystical number in Islam that appears in the Qur'an. The intermediate sized minarets are nineteen feet from the base. So, altogether there are six minarets that are nineteen feet each. Six times nineteen is 114, which is the total number of surahs in the Qur'an, a Book that completes God's favors upon humankind. Straight lines drawn from the apex of the minarets intersect where the word "Hu" is inscribed in a red circle. The subtended angle of 112.4 degrees is twice the natural flow angle of the earth into which we return. This flow angle is a solution to a Legendre polynomial of the second order which was presented in a paper by Dr. Ahmed at the fourth National Congress of Applied Mechanics at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. USA in 1972. "Hu" is the abstract divine pronoun for God, most exalted. The circle is a reminder of "two bows length or less" wrapped around that shrouded prophet Muhammed when he stood in divine presence during Mi'raj. The entire structure is enclosed in a "golden rectangle" where the ratio of the width of the base to the height of the two large minarets is 1.618. The Eidgah complex accommodates 12,000 worshipers.
Eidgah Sharif is a Sunni Sufi shrine located in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The shrine was founded over a century ago. It welcomes visitors from all over the world and frequently hosts ceremonies known as Milaad Paaks which are mainly series of sermons from scholars and religious materials presented in solo a capella by people called "reciters". At the largest of these gatherings (such as the Urs Paak), more than a million visitors crowd the main grounds and the surrounding streets. About four million followers from all over the country and about 500000 more from the United Kingdom are regular visitors to the shrine.
The custodian of Eidgah Sharif, Shaykh Hafiz Muhammad Naqib-Ur Rehman, known to his followers as "Pir Sa’ab", advances the mission and teachings of Eidgah Shareef with the assistance of his son Sahibzada Muhammad Hassan Haseeb Ur Rehman, known to the devotees as "Sa’ab Ji". Pir Sa’ab's ancestors, the previous custodians of the shrine, were all said to be Sufi masters directly from the lineage of Mughal Emperor Babur. In 1960 the family gifted the government with a large proportion of the land used to build Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, not far from Rawalpindi.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eidgah.|
- Performance of Eid Salah in Eidgah (Open Field)
- "Special prayers in Idgah seeking divine blessings, eternal peace". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- "Traffic curbs on Eid". Times of India. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- "Traffic restrictions imposed for Eid prayers". Siasat Daily. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
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- Biography of Pir Saab