WE ARE approaching the best days of the year, alhamdulillah!
Ibn ‘Abbas narrates: The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days” (i.e the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah). (Bukhari)
To clarify, the best month is Ramadhan, the best nights are the Last 10 nights of Ramadhan, the best day in the year is Eid ul Adha, and the best days of the year are these days of Dhul Hijjah.
Everyone knows about the greatness of Ramadhan, but do we know enough about the greatness of the first 10 of Dhul Hijjah? It may well be that people haven’t heard about the many blessings of these days, so it’s worthwhile sharing whatever knowledge you have with friends and family, so that everyone can benefit inshaAllah.
Below are the acts that we are advised to perform in these blessed days:
** 1. Fasting the first nine days, or as many as you can **
Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated upon the authority of his wife who said, “Some of the wives of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told me that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to fast the Day of ‘Ashurah, the first nine days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, and three days out of every month”. (Ahmad, Nasa’i)
Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet (saw) said “There are no days more beloved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year…” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Baihaqi)
And if you can’t fast on other days, at least make sure you fast on *Yawm ul Arafah* which is the day before Eid ul Adha. The Day of Arafah is the day when Allah revealed the following verse: “Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My blessing upon you, and chosen Islam as Dīn (religion and a way of life) for you”. (Al Maidah: 3). This is something to honour and celebrate!
But also, Abu Hafsah (ra) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year” (Muslim)
SubhanAllah! Who would want to miss out on this opportunity? A great chance to gain many rewards and attain forgiveness.
** 2. Make Dhikr **
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), takbeer (saying Allaahu akbar) and tahmeed (saying Alhamdu Lillah ) during them.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad
Imam Al Bhukari said “Ibn Umar and Abu Huraira used to go to the market place during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and repeatedly say Takbeer and the people would repeat it along with them”
It is common to hear people on Hajj saying continuously: “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laailaaha ill-Allah wallahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Wa Lillaah il-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)”. We can do the same wherever we are and whatever task we are doing – and we should encourage others too!
Also a good way of increasing our remembrance is to think about all the Hujjaj – all the people who have been invited by Allah to perform Hajj in the holy land. Think about the rituals they will be doing each day, the tests and sacrifices they are going through and their nearness to Allah in this time. Make du’a for them and that we will also be of those who also get to fulfil our Hajj and visit Allah’s House soon.
** 3. Pray Tahajjud in the Night **
Tahajjud is the name given to the late night voluntary prayer, that you can do any time between Isha and Dawn. The best time to do it is in the last third of the night. The Prophet (saw) said: “To offer salatul Tahajjud during one of the nights [of Dhul Hijjah], is like performing the late night prayer on the Night of Power [i.e. Lailatul Qadr].” (Narrated by Abu Hurairah in Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Baihaqi)
** 4. Seek forgiveness **
Benefit from the generosity of Allah (the most Glorified and Exalted) and seek repentance from all sins- minor and major.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said, “The one who repents from sins is like he who has no sin”. (Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi)
These days are also a good time to make extra du’a for everything you need and seek in this life and the next.
** 5. Refrain from committing sins **
Be mindful of our sins and bad habits, and abstain from them so we can gain the reward for our righteous actions. Identify the things that make us slip up, the things that make us forgetful of Allah, the things that make our hearts hard – and try our best to cut them our of our lives.
** 6. Increase extra nawafil (voluntary) acts in general **
Righteous deeds during these days are most beloved in the eyes of Allah (the most Glorified and Exalted) than the normal days in the year. The Prophet (saw) said:
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” (Bukhari)
So it is important we increase our nafl acts of worship by reciting of the Qur’an, maintaining good ties with your family, neighbours and friends, supplicate to Allah (the most glorified and exalted) by expressing gratitude and seeking salvation in the Here-after and giving Charity.
** 7. Offer sacrifice **
Ibn Umar said
“The Prophet (saw) lived in Madinah for 10 years and every year he slaughtered an animal [for Eid -ul Adha].” (Ahmad).
This is a highly rewarded act and incumbent on anyone who is of age and able to afford it – to sacrifice an animal in remembrance of Ibrahim (as)’s sacrifice. At least a third of the animal should be shared amongst neighbours or the poor and needy. Many people around the world never get to eat meat – it is a luxury for them. So donating Qurbani meat is a kind gift to our sisters and brothers around the world, allowing them to experience joy on Eid day and to eat good food on the greatest of days. We should be mindful that the sacrifice of an animal’s life is not something that should be done lightly – for the animal, this sacrifice is an act of worship for them as well as us. The whole process is one that should make us reflect and feel closer to Allah. It is also one that connects us with the Ummah, and softens our hearts to care for others.
This is a great opportunity to replenish our Iman, to go back to those targets we set ourselves during Ramadhan, and to reach our full potential. And if people around you – family, friends, community – don’t know much about the greatness of Dhul Hijjah, be the first to tell them. Share the blessings 🙂 . May Allah forgive us our sins, may Allah draw us near to Him, may Allah accept the Hajj from all those going on Pilgrimage this year, and may we be of those who get to visit Allah’s House soon.