By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng
Indeed it is a great favour and blessing from Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala that He has awarded the Ummat of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam exceptionally extraordinary and special periods of time within which all virtuous deeds are magnified many times over and Allah manifests His grand mercy, pardon and clemency. One of these opportunistic periods is the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar, in which the Hajj is performed). It is upon the followers of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam to grab at this occasion with both hands in appreciation to the divine bounties which are showered in this period. We, whose lives are riddled with sin and transgression, whose souls are perforated with evil and filth, are in dire need of such blessed days.
There are many virtues and blessings found in Dhul Hijjah, and the most in the first 10 days. We do not know which of us will be alive to see this month next year. As such, we must fervently and eagerly devote ourselves to the obedience and attainment of the pleasure of Allah Ta’aala.
Allah Ta’aala swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah says “By the dawn; by the 10 nights” [Surah al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413]
Ibn’ Abbas Radiallahu Anhu says about the Aayah, “Remember Allah during the well known days,” (Surah Hajj) that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. [This is related by al-Bukhari]
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 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 to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing” (Bukhari).
Narrated Ibn’ Umar Radiallahu Anhu: On the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijjah), Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam stood in between the Jamrat during his Hajj which he performed (as in the previous Hadith) and said, “This is the greatest Day (i.e. 10th of Dhul-Hijjah).” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam started saying repeatedly, “O Allaah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message).” He then bade the people farewell. The people said, “(This is Hajjat-al-Wada).” [Bukhari 2.798]
Allah Glorified and Exalted be He blessed the nation of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam with opportunities to reap rewards and blessings every day of the year. The last ten nights of Ramadan (the month of fasting) are among the most blessed nights of the year; in particular Laylatul-Qadr (the night of power) is extremely sacred. Similarly, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijja (the 12th Islamic calendar month) carry special status during the blessed month of “Pilgrimage.” The above Hadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam spells out the importance of these ten days in the sight of Allah Glorified and Exalted be He and the amplified reward for all good deeds during this blessed season.
Just like the last ten nights of Ramadan are the best ten nights out of the year, these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best days of the year and the most beloved to Allah as they combine acts of worship in a way unlike any other time.
With regards to the noble companion Sa’id bin Jubayr, when the days of Dhu’l-Hijjah began he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity until he was unable to increase anymore. [Reported by Ad-Darimi]
So, the questions we should be asking ourselves are, “How do we make the most of this season of blessings?”, “What deeds can I perform to attain His pleasure?”.
Ibn Hajar (Alayhi Rahmah) says in Fath al-Bari: “The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine.”
The following article will in shaa Allah outline some examples of the acts of worship that will help us gain His pleasure and eternal salvation in shaa Allah.
HAJJ AND SAUM
1. Perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Hajj – one of the five pillars of Islam, which begins on 8th Dhul Hijjah is one of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days. Muslims from all over the globe assemble in Makkah Mukarramah during this five special days for the unique ibaadat of Hajj. Hajj is obligatory on every adult Muslim who has the means to go to Makkah Mukarramah during the Hajj season, whether on foot or by any other means. Females require a suitable willing Mahram to accompany them for the Hajj to become obligatory upon them.
Abu Hurayrah (Radiallahu Anhu) reported that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “The performance of Umrah is expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ones. And the reward for Hajj Mabrur (pilgrimage accepted by Allah) is nothing but Paradise.” (Bukhari)
However, if you can’t make it this year, make the intention during these blessed 10 days to go next year.
For those of us who were not invited to His House this year, there are still many more ways to earn the pleasure of Allah.
2. Fast all nine days and especially on the ‘Day of Arafah’
Muslims are urged to fast any or all of the first 10 days Dhul Hijjah. Each day in these 10 days, Allah rewards the Muslim who fasts as if they had fasted a whole year. But those who fast on the ninth day (the Day of Arafah) will have their reward doubled: fasting that day will bring a reward as if the Muslim fasted two years.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the Lailatul-Qadr” (Tirmidhi).
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said regarding fasting on the day of ‘Arafah: “Be content with the fact that Allah will expiate for you your sins for the year before (the day of ‘Arafah) and the year after (the day of ‘Arafah).” (Muslim)
The Fast of The Day of ‘Arafah
Those not performing Hajj should fast on this day according to their own calendar. It sometimes occurs that the date of 9thZul Hijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. Muslims of each country should observe “Youmul ‘Arafah” according to the lunar dates of their own country.
However, whoever is at ‘Arafah as a pilgrim then fasting is not expected of him, as Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, stopped at ‘Arafah to eat.
DHIKR AND TAKBEER
Allah Ta’aala says: “That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)…” [al-Hajj 22:28]
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “There are no days on which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allah than on these ten days, so recite much Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (saying Alhamdu Lillaah).” (Ahmad)
It is Sunnah to say Takbeer (“Allahu akbar”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allah”) and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allah”) during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. The idea behind reminding the people to recite Takbeer is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Sharee’ah for doing this.
Imam Bukhari Rahmatullahi Alayhi said: “Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah, Radiallahu Anhum, used to go out to the markets in the ten days saying the takbeer causing the people to follow them in this action.”
He also said: “‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab Radiallahu Anhu used to say the takbeer in his mimbar in Mina, whereupon the people of the Masjid hearing ‘Umar Radiallahu Anhu, would start to say the takbeer as would the people in the markets until the whole of Mina was locked in glorifying Allah.”
Ibn ‘Umar Radiallahu Anhu used to say the takbeer in Mina during these ten days and after prayers, whilst on his bed, in his tent, in his gathering and whilst walking. What is recommended is to say the takbeer aloud due to the fact that ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, his son and Abu Hurayrah Radiallahu Anhum used to do likewise.
The Takbeer may include the words “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu akbar wa Lillaahil- hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise),” as well as other phrases.
There are a number of ways of making takbeer that have been narrated by the companions and their followers and from these ways is the following:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar kabirun.
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha illallahu, wallahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahil hamd.
Allahu akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha illallahu, wallahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd.
Takbeer-ut-Tashreeq after every Fard Salaah
As from the Fajr of the 9th Zul Hijjah upto Asr prayer of the 13th, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the Takbeer of Tashreeq in the following words:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha illallahu, wallahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahil hamd.
Allah is great. Allah is great. There is no god but Allah and Allah is great. Allah is great and to Allah belongs all praise.
According to authentic Islamic sources, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite this Takbeer after every obligatory (Fard) salaah. For women also it is commendable, not obligatory. Whether you are performing salaah with Jama’ah (collectively) or on your own (individually) makes no difference, it must be recited. Male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice, while females should recite it in a low voice.
4. Stand the Night in Salaah (Qiyaamul Layl)
Seeking Allah’s forgiveness and humbling ourselves in front of Him in supplication and prayers during the latter part of the night is an act of worship that is very beloved to Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He.
Allah Almighty calls out to His servants in the latter part of the night: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
We should seize this opportunity and beg Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, for His Divine Generosity and Mercy. We should ask Him as Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam taught us “Our Lord, bless us with the best of this world and the best of hereafter and save us from the fire of Hell.”
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has mentioned that Paradise becomes waajib for that person who worships Allah Ta’ala on five nights. i.e. The night of Tarwiya ( 8th of Thul Hijja), the night of Arafah (9th of Thul Hijja), the night of nahr (10th of Thul Hijja), the night of Eid ul Fitr and the night of the 15th of Sha’baan.
Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu relates that the Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr].” [This is related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi]
5. Make Sincere Repentance
Allah Ta’aala loves those who repent to Him in complete submission. The act of sincere repentance to Allah with intention to never return to His disobedience and sin is very dear to Him. Return to Allah by giving up all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes. Be regretful of your sins and disobedience and resolve to never return to sin and to firmly adhere to the path which Allah loves. Remember that the repentful sinner is better than the proudful worshipper.
Allah Ta’aala says, “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” [Al-Qasas 28:67]
6. Return to the Book of Allah (The Quran)
It is time to dust off your copy of the Quran. Establish a beautiful new relationship with the book of Allah starting in these ten days of Dhul-Hijja. Recite its verses and you will reap its blessings. Understand its message. Implement the commandments of this book in your life. This relationship with the Quran will open for you the doors of wisdom and happiness in your life. This will ultimately lead to guidance and success in this life and the Hereafter.
7. Increase in doing ALL good deeds
If you are not able to perform Hajj this year, occupy yourself during these blessed days by any and every possible good deed. Every act that is done with sincerity for the pleasure of Allah Ta’aala will bring you closer to Him.
“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it; and whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.“ [Al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the Scale of the believer than good manners…” (Tirmidhi)
8. Make lots of Du’a
Make as much du’a as you can during these blessed days, especially on the day of Arafah. The best du’a is that which is made on the day of Arafah:
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (Radiallahu Anhu) that the Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “The best of du’a is du’a on the day of ‘Arafah, and the best that I and the Ambiyaa before me said is ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahul-mulk wa lahul-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate; His is the dominion, to Him be praise, and He has power over all things).” (Tirmidhi)
9. One must perform Qurbaani if Qurbaani is waajib on him.
Aaisha (Radhiallahu Anha) reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “There is nothing dearer to Allah Ta’ala during the days of Qurbaani than the spilling of blood (i.e. the sacrificing of animals). The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Qiyaamah with its horns, hair and hooves (to be weighed) .The sacrifice is accepted by Allah Ta’ala before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, carry out the Qurbaani in a condition that your heart is pleased and happy to fulfil the command of Allah Ta’ala.”
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.