Dhul-Hajjah: From One to Ten … All Merits!
On the importance of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, Sheikh Saleh al-Munajjid has written:
“Praise be to Allah Who has created time and has made some times better than others, some months and days and nights better than others. This is in a sense that rewards are multiplied many times than the case in other periods of time.
This reflects Allah’s overflowing mercy towards His servants, and it encourages them to do more righteous deeds. It makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, prepare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the Day of Judgment.
This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct one’s faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that one might have missed. Every one of these special occasions involves some kind of worship, through which the servants may draw closer to Allah. They also involve some kind of blessing, through which Allah bestows His favor and mercy upon whomsoever He wills.
Happiness and success are for the one who makes the most of these special months, days and hours, and draws nearer to his/her God during these times, through acts of worship and righteousness. The Muslim need to understand the value of his/her life, increase his/her worship of Allah and persist in doing good deeds until the moment of death.
Almighty Allah says in Surah 15, verse 99:
And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty.
Scholars explain: “‘The certainty’ means death.”
Then, among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which Allah has preferred over all the other days of the year…”
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said:
“There are no days during which good deeds are more beloved by Allah than these [ten] days.” (Reported by Bukhari, Tirmidhi and others.)
For this reason, all the good deeds we can do should be done during these days with more vigor and piety. In particular, fasting and dhikr (repetitive remembrance of Allah by both heart and tongue) need to be given special importance.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has exhorted his followers to do more righteous deeds, during this period, because of the virtue of these days. He has commanded us to recite more tasbih (saying subhaanAllah: ‘glory and praise to Allah’). This is as well as to tahmeed (saying al-hamdu li-Allah: ‘praise of gratitude and thankfulness be to Allah’) and takbeer (saying Allahu akbar: ‘Allah is the Greatest’).
Abdullah ibn-`Umar reported that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days. So, during this time, recite a great deal of tahlil (saying Laa ilaaha illa-Allah: ‘there is no god but Allah’), takbeer and tahmeed.” (Reported by Ahmad.)
The Day of `Arafat
The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah include the days of Hajj. Of particular importance is the Day of `Arafat, on which Allah perfected His religion. Fasting on this day is one of the most important sunnah fasts, which can expiate the sins of two years. Fasting on all these days, however, is not obligatory, nor was it a constant practice of the messenger, (pbuh).
One of the wives of the prophet (pbuh) said:
“Allah’s messenger used to fast the [first] nine days of Dhul Hijjah, the day of `Ashura’, and three days of each month. (Reported in Sunan Abee Dawood.)
The day of `Arafat is the day when the pilgrims stand in worship on the Mountain of `Arafat. This has been called the best day of the year.
The prophet (pbuh) has been quoted as saying:
“Fasting the day of `Arafat expiates the sins of two years: a past one and a coming one. And, fasting the day of `Aashura’ (the tenth of the lunar month of Muharram) expiates the sins of the past year.” (Reported by Muslim.)
The Day of `Eid al-Adha
The tenth of Dhul-Hijjah is `Eid al-Adha or the day of an-Nahr (sacrifice). It marks the conclusion of the major rites of Hajj. It also commemorates Allah’s bounty on His messenger Ibraheem (pbuh), when He gave him a ram to sacrifice, as ransom for his son Isma`eel, (pbuh).
`Eid al-Adha is a day of festival for Muslims who do not perform Hajj. While the pilgrims complete their rites, other Muslims continue with their `Eid celebrations. Here, they are prohibited from fasting. These are days of fun, happiness, eating, drinking and glorifying of Allah (swt).
Allah Almighty has mentioned the duty of the sacrifice together with the first and foremost worship in Islam, namely prayer. This obviously signifies its great importance. In Surah 108, verse 2, Allah has commanded thus:
Therefore pray to your Lord and sacrifice.
Sacrificing an animal, as part of `Eid observance, is an important sunnah, and a worship enjoined by the law of Allah. Many scholars stand to the view that the sacrifice is obligatory only on those who can afford it and not obligatory on those who cannot.
The sacrifice is not only to be enjoyed by the one who sacrifices and his family. A main reason behind this ritual is to provide for the poor and let them share this moment of happiness. It is to give charity to the poor and give them portion of what you eat in your own house. Thus, becoming one big family, sharing the same belief, as well as the same joy.