Author: Ms. Seen Noon
Most of us usually don’t realize the sacredness of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, engrossed in our worldly duties, allowing the blessedness of the good deeds done in this month to go to waste. Days pass and nights fly, but our bucket never gets full, rather, drains and exhausts us inside out, pushing us even further to a life of no reward and contentment. Being a believer, it is our responsibility to seek knowledge and understand the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah, in order to improve our thought process, ultimately motivating us to walk on the path of piety and righteousness, if Allah wills.
I got my hands on some very important guidelines for this special and holy month, forcing me to pen it down in the best way possible, so to revive interest of my beloved brothers and sisters, in turn charging up their hibernating iman.
Allah SWT says in His Holy Book, in Surah Al-Fajr, Verse 1 and 2
‘By the dawn. And [by] ten nights.’ (89:1-2)
Subhan Allah, just imagine, our Lord, the Almighty, is taking an oath, making the ten days of Dhul Hijjah as a witness, highlighting to us, the weak-minded ones to take heed and open our brains, realizing the sacredness of these blessed days and nights. Although we all are pretty familiar with the five pillars of Islam, Hajj being one of them, and we consider it a great honor to get a chance to perform the pilgrimage of Hajj. BUT we, at times, disregard the substantial amount of Allah’s blessings attached to the Pre-Hajj Dhul Hijjah period, missing out on performing good deeds on a grand scale.
Our Prophet’s ﷺ Blessings
Even our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ narrated the importance of these blessed ten days and nights, motivating the believers to increase their good deeds and religious supplications and offerings multiple times, entitling us to score an esteemed position in the eyes of our merciful Allah.
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
The vast number of Ahadeeth easily available to us are indeed a grand learning tool for us, making us revisit our Islamic conceptual understandings, nurturing our religious roots. The aforementioned hadith highlights the weightage of:
- Deeds performed in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah compared to,
- The reward for a person who goes for jihad, sacrificing himself and his possessions for Allah’s sake, returning barehanded, not even the victory loot.
Woah, can we forego our worldly luxuries and comforts, going for jihad, risking our lives, with intentions of winning not even a single penny or reward, except the reward offered by Allah alone, if He wills?
I can talk about myself, and can only apologetically announce, that it’s a very difficult task for me to take, next to almost impossible. And my Supreme Allah knows the weaknesses of His creations, thus allowing us shortcuts to gain His blessings. I most certainly am going to take this special chance, in an effort to accomplish infinite good deeds in these ten holy days and nights, in sha Allah.
Planning The 10 Days
My dear reader, we know very well of how much passion and devotion is put in at the time of performing our basic five salahs, or during our supplications, right?! So, why not dive in with full force during Dhul Hijjah, in the sea of dhikr, salah, charity, fasting the first 9 days, and performing good deeds; being kind to others, and helping others selflessly.
Fasting the 9 Days of Dhul Hijjah
Allah, the most Gracious, has highlighted the importance of fasting in Ramadan or otherwise, saying that:
“All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
We believers, fast for the sake of Allah, in the hopes of gaining the blessings of Almighty, increasing the supply we can take with us for the immortal life ahead of us. Now, imagine the rewards of the fasts kept in the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah, particularly on the 9th day I.e. on the Day of Arafah.
In a Hadith on fasting in these blessed days:
Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah (the 9th of the month of Dhul Hijjah). He replied, “Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” He was also asked about fasting on the Day of Ashura (the 10th of the month of Muharram). He replied, “Fasting on the Day of Ashura is an expiation for the preceding year.” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was also asked about fasting on Monday, and he replied, “This is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was sent (with the Message of Islam) and the day on which I received revelation.” [Muslim]
These tips and revelations transferred to us through our beloved Prophet’s ﷺ Ahaadith allow us to enhance our religious offerings manifold. It is our responsibility to act upon these golden words of advice, paving our way to Paradise, securing a favorable spot in the eyes of the Almighty SWT.
We need to fast as many days as we can, fasting on all 9 days, if not, then on the Day of Arafah (9th) for sure. Who knows how long one will live, utilizing this chance seems like a great deal to me.
Allah’s Dhikr as Much as You Can
All of us are confined to our homes, working from home, giving us an easy opportunity to find the time to recite the following very frequently during the first 10 days of this holy month:
Takbeer (Allahu Akbar),
Tahleel (Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), and
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahil Hamd.
(“Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest and all praises are for Allah only.”)
Men can recite the above after every fardh salah from Fajr of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah until Asr of the 13th of Dhul Hijjah audibly. Women should recite it silently.
The sunnah of our dear Prophet Ibrahim ﷺ, who was willing to sacrifice his dear son for the sake of Allah, and right when he was about to sacrifice him, Allah replaced him with the body of a dead ram.
Allah says in Surah Al-Haj, Verse 37
‘Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.’ (22:37]
So, sacrificing for the sake of Allah, on the days of sacrifice; 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah, is every believer’s responsibility if he’s able to afford it. Technological advancements have made it as simple as the click of a button to book a sacrificial animal and get the meat delivered to your doorstep. Also, delaying the sacrifice for whatsoever reason is not favorable in the eyes of Allah, as the reward will not be the same in the other days.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days (Dhul Hijjah).” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
A golden opportunity for all of us lazy people to buckle up and increase our good deeds in these special days with intention of pleasing our Lord with every step we lift and every breath we take. We should:
- Spend quality time in Allah’s remembrance
- Recite the Holy Quran frequently, with an effort to enhance its’ understanding
- Pray at the earliest hour
- Offer supererogatory (Naf’l) prayers abundantly
- Increase charity
- Take care of your parents
- Spread the message of Islam in your community
- Put in your sincere efforts to teach your kids about Islam
- Forgive and embrace near & dear ones
- Be kind and gentle to everyone
- Be the best version of ourselves
- Plan beforehand to get maximum time for ibadah in these ten days
Well, just don’t let a minute of Dhul-Hijjah pass you by without actively participating in good deeds and great exemplary behavior for the sake of Allah’s pleasure.
This year has been tough for all of us, being affected by COVID-19, taking financial, health and emotional tolls at all levels. We need to grab this golden opportunity to wash away our sins of the past, present and future, with the aid of dhikr, salah, zakat, saum and hajj. May our sweet Lord accept our prayers and supplications, and may we improve our religious understandings of the Quran and the Sunnah to realign our lives with a moral compass based on piety, compassion and humility, if Allah wills.