By Gulab Mostofa
Most of us go through life thinking we have achieved the balance between Dunya and Deen, but have we really?
Do I really do as much to learn loving and practising Islam as much as I have been doing for my cycling?
The society we are brought up in, is such that we spend most of the hours in our day occupied with work and family, maybe sports if you’re committed and we may have an hour or so of Islamic Studies and Qur’an. The truth is most of us can do more, we could’ve learnt more about the deen, and how it can benefit is in our every day life.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, many of us long to take advantage of special times like Ramaḍān: from the communal spirit of worship to the intimate conversations with our Lord; from the joy of opening the fast to the serenity of the prostrations at night.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Do good all the time, and seek to be recipients of the ‘outpouring’ of Allah’s mercy. Indeed, Allah showers down these (special) ‘outpourings’ of His mercy to whomsoever He wills from His slaves.” (Ṭabarānī)
This ḥadīth means that although Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) constantly showers His mercy, love and blessings upon us throughout the year, there are certain times of the year wherein He is even more Generous to us. These are the special seasons, days and moments in which it is even easier to acquire His pleasure, earn His forgiveness and be saved from the Hell-fire. The blessed month of Ramaḍān is one such season when we witness the fruits of Allah’s love and kindness.
Another season, though much less known, is the first ten days of Dhul Ḥijjah, which is subject to moonsighting.
What’s so special about these ten days?
- Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) honoured these days by taking an oath by them.
Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) says: “By the Daybreak, and by Ten Nights.” (89:1) According to the majority of the exegetes, these ten nights refer to the 10 days of Dhul Ḥijjah. When Allah swears an oath by something, this is an indication of its importance and benefit.
- These are the best days of the year.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days (the first ten of Dhul Ḥijjah).” The (Ṣaḥābah) asked: “Not even jihād in the path of Allah?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ replied: “Not even jihād in the path of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihād taking his wealth with him and does not return with anything from it.” (Tirmidhī)
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ also said: “There are no better days in the sight of Allah than the 10 days of Dhul Ḥijjah.” (Ibn Ḥibbān)
Scholars opine that days of the first 10 days of Dhul Ḥijjah are superior to the last ten days of Ramaḍān. However, the nights of Ramaḍān are superior to the nights of these 10 days.
Ibn Ḥajar (Raḥimahullāh) said the reason that these 10 days are so special is because all of the major acts of worship occur in them, which doesn’t happen in other days: Ṣalāh, fasting, charity and Ḥajj. i.e. Although it is possible to combine the first three deeds on an ordinary day, the great worship of Ḥajj is restricted to these blessed days.
- They comprise of the day of Naḥr (sacrifice).
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The greatest day in the sight of Allah is the day of Naḥr (10th of Dhul Ḥijjah) and then the day of Qarr (11th of Dhul Ḥijjah).” (Abū Dāwūd)
- One of the main reasons for these days being extremely special is that they comprise of the Day of ‘Arafah.
Here are 10 things you should do to these blessed days
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these 10 days. So recite a great deal of tahlīl, takbīr and taḥmīd.” (Aḥmad)
These words should be said in the masjids, in the homes and in the streets. Men should proclaim them loudly. ‘Abdullāh b. ‘Umar and Abū Hurayrah (raḍiy Allāhu ‘anhum) would go out in the marketplaces and recite takbīr loudly in these 10 days. Upon hearing them, the people would follow in suit and recite takbīr.
N.B. The takbīrāt of tashrīq (اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، لَا إلَه إِلَّا اللهُ واللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، اللهُ أَكْبَرُ وَللهِ الْحَمْدُ) are to be read audibly after each farḍ Ṣalāh, starting from the Fajr of the 9th of Dhul Ḥijjah till the ‘Asr of the 13th Dhul Ḥijjah.
Fast, especially on the day of ‘Arafah
When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about the fast of the day of ‘Arafah, he said: “It wipes away the (sins) of the past and upcoming year.” (Muslim)
One of the wives of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul Ḥijjah; the day of ‘Āshūrā’ and three days of each month…” (Nasā’ī)
Make du‘ā’, especially on the day of ‘Arafah
Pour your heart out to Allah and beg him earnestly.
Perform Uḍḥiyah (Qurbānī)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “There is nothing more beloved to Allah that a slave can do on the day of Naḥr than spill blood (i.e. Qurbānī). On the Day of Judgement, it will be brought forth with its horns, hair, and hooves. Indeed, the blood will be accepted by Allah even before it spills on the ground, so whole-heartedly delight in (performing the sacrifice).” (Tirmidhī)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “I used to forbid you to store the meat of the sacrificed animals for more than three days so that there would be enough for everyone. But now Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has bestowed plenty upon us, so eat some, give some in charity and store some. Indeed, these days are the days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.” (Nasā’ī)
N.B. If you plan on sacrificing an animal, then do not forget to cut your hair and nails before the start of these 10 days. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ instructed the one performing a sacrifice to not cut his nails or remove hair once the moon of Dhul-Ḥijjah has been sighted until he has performed the sacrifice. (Muslim)
Recite and reflect (tadabbur) upon the Qur’ān
Make an intention of finishing at least one khatmah and ask Allah to help you with this. Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) wrote: ‘If people knew what recitation of the Qur’ān with contemplation contains, they would devote themselves to it at the expense of anything else.’
Give in charity and help anyone in need
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever gives in charity something equivalent (even) to a date from his honestly earned pure income – for only the pure ascends to Allah – then Allah accepts it with His Right Hand, and then nurtures it for the person as one of you nurtures his baby horse, until it becomes like a mountain.” (Bukhārī)
Be punctual with the prayers in congregation
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The reward of the prayer offered by a person in congregation is twenty-five times greater than that of the prayer offered in one’s home or in the market (alone). This is because if he performs ablution and does it perfectly, and then leaves for the Masjid with the sole intention of praying, then for every step he takes he is raised a level and his one sin is forgiven. Once he has prayed, the angels continue to ask Allah to have mercy on him as long as he remains in his place of prayer (by saying) ‘O Allah, bestow Your blessings upon him. O Allah, bestow Your mercy upon him.’ You are considered to be in prayer as long as you are waiting for the prayer.” (Bukhārī)
Do abundant istighfār (seeking forgiveness) and tawbah (repentance).
Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) says: “Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” (2:222)
Send Ṣalawāt upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The closest of people to me on the Day of Judgement will be those who send the most salāh upon me.” (Tirmidhī)
Attain the reward of Ḥajj and ‘Umrah without being in the sacred land.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever offers Fajr in congregation and remains seated, engaging in the remembrance of Allah until the sun has risen, and then offers two rak‘ahs, he will have a reward equal to that of performing Hajj and ‘Umrah.” He ﷺ said: “Complete, complete, complete (i.e. complete reward).” (Tirmidhī)
Ibn Rajab (raḥimahullāh) wrote: ‘Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) has placed the love and longing in His slaves’ hearts to visit His Sacred House, and yet not everyone is capable of doing so every year. Therefore, He made the Ḥajj obligatory once in a lifetime for the one who is able, and He made the season (the 10 days of Dhul Ḥijjah) for everybody: those travelling to His House and those remaining behind at home. Thus, whoever is unable to perform Ḥajj can still perform acts of worship in these 10 days, the reward of which is greater than the reward of Jihād; and the reward of Jihād is greater than the reward of Ḥajj.’
Subḥanallāh! Look at the mercy of Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā). Even though we cannot visit His Sacred House and physically be present in the spiritually-charged inimitable atmosphere of ‘Arafah and Ḥajj, we can still hope for similar rewards inshā’Allah.