By Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan
All Praises are for Allah Lord of all that exists, and peace and blessings of Allah be on His final Messenger and his household.
Once again, we are blessed to witness another Mausim al-Ibaadah or season of worship in these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Rewards are multiplied many times, as Allah SWT shows mercy towards His servants. This is the time to make full use of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. May Allah SWT grant us success in our striving during these blessed days. The extra blessings derived from these blessed days surely will come in handy as we stand before Allah SWT on the Day of Judgement. So, let us not waste time. Many children are off from school these days so please take heed!
This brings us to our next point. This year, we should be exceptionally thankful to Allah to be alive to witness these virtuous days as we are aware that over four million people died of the Covid-19 virus and only Allah knows the exact amount. Those among them who died with Imaan would never be able to witness any other of such great moments so let’s begin by thanking Allah SWT Alhamdulillah!
Feel the presence of these days
While Hajj is the ultimate act of worship during these ten days of Dhul Hijjah, there are lots of good deeds to be done by those who are not going for the pilgrimage. This year, like previous year only few Muslims can perform the Hajj due to the pandemic. So, it is time to focus on the many acts of worship and good deeds that can be performed during these ten days to maximize its benefits and truly feel the presence of these great days. This is a season of worship. It is an opportunity to correct our faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that we might have missed and at the same time is bring us closer to Allah.
Among the good things to do is focus on intensifying in good deeds. Like Ramadhan we not only fasted and performed our five daily Salaah, but we also spent our time in engaging in so many other good deeds. In a similar manner, we can intensify in performing good deeds in these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
Abdullah bin Abbaas (RA) narrated that Rasoolullah ﷺ said:
“There are no days in which righteous deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah than these ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah).” Thereupon, some companions of the Prophet ﷺ said, “Not even striving in the way of Allah?” He replied, “Not even striving in the way of Allah, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of these things.” (Al Bukhari and others)
The good deeds or Amalus- Saalih are those deeds that are recommended in our Deen and as demonstrated by Rasoolullah ﷺ such as charity, helping others, connecting to kith and kin, a smile, Du’a, Da’wah, reading The Quran.
So, doing good deeds will be more meritorious in reward during these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah.
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will receive one good deed as ten good deeds like it. I do not say that Alif Lam Mim is one letter, but rather Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter, and Mim is a letter.” (At-Tirmidhī- Sahih)
Another great act of worship is Fasting during the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah. Hunaydah ibn Khalid (RA) reported: Some of the wives of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said that he would fast the first nine days of the month of Dhul Hijjah, the Day of Ashura, and three days of every month, which would be the first Monday and Thursday of the month. (Abu Dawood- Sahih).
It should be noted that in a Sahih Hadith reported by Muslim Aisha (RA) reported: I never saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, fasting during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
Al-Nawawi commented on this Hadith saying: That Aisha (RA) did not see him fasting these days does not necessitate that he never fasted them at all.
However, one can conclude that it is not obligatory but highly recommended.
Zhikr (Remembrance of Allah SWT)
Ibn Umar (RA) reported that Rasoolullah ﷺ said: “There are no days that are greater before Allaah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.” ( Ahmad- Sahih)
- Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (There is no god but Allaah))
- Takbeer (saying Allaahu akbar (Allaah is most great)),
- Tahmeed (saying al-hamdu Lillah (praise be to Allaah)),
The following Zhikr contains all three
الله أكبر الله أكبر لا اله الا الله والله أكبر الله أكبر ولله الحمد
Allaah akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd
Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god but Allaah; Allaah is Most Great and to Allaah be praise.
Abu Hamzah Albaghdady (a scholar of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jmaa’ah of the third century Hijri) said “It is impossible for you to claim you love Allah and not praise him continuously, and it’s impossible that you praise Allah continuously and not see the sweetness of that in this life; and its impossible you see the sweetness of praising Allah and then be preoccupied with other than him.”
Du’a and seeking Allah SWT’s forgiveness
One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allaah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. In these ten days of Dhul Hijjah, like in Month of Ramadhan, we ought to intensify in Du’a and seeking forgiveness for our sins. No doubt repentance is always obligatory , but when a Believer combines sincere repentance with good deeds during these blessed days, this is a sign of success. So, let us hasten to seek repentance from Allah SWT.
Imam Ash-Shawkani (1173 AH) said “To know your Du’a is accepted is to have your heart ready, cry and shed tears to Allah, being persistent, and after that feeling, a burden taken off your shoulders.”
The Day of Arafah
The Day of Arafah is one of the highlights of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. It is a day by which Allah SWT takes oath on its scaredness as He SWT says.
By the heaven, holding the big stars. (1) And by the Promised Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection); (2) And by the witnessing day (i.e. Friday), and by the witnessed day [i.e. the day of ‘Arafat (Hajj) the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah]; (85:1-3)
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of Arafah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” (Tirmidhi)
For the pilgrims, this would be the climax of Hajj as it is a day and place where all pilgrims gather at the plains of Arafah engaging in lots of Du’as and remembrance of Allah SWT. The constant incantation known as the Talbiyah fills the air of Arafah. It so emphasizes the message of Tawheed (The Oneness of Allah SWT).
Labbayka -llaahumma labbayk,
labbayka laa sharīka laka labbayk,
ʾinna -l-ḥamda wa-n-niʿmata laka wa-l-mulk
laa sharīka lak
“Here I am O Lord, here I am, Oh Allah, here I am.
Here I am. You have no partner. Here I am.
Surely all praise, grace and dominion is yours, and you have no partner.”
The Day when Islam is perfected
On the Day of Arafah, Islam has been perfected by The One who sent His final Messenger Muhammad ﷺ with the final message Al-Quran. Allah SWT says: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (5:3)
Such perfection of the Deen itself is a day to celebrate. Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: Once a Jew said to me, “O the chief of believers! There is a verse in your Holy Book Which is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed as a day of celebration.” ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab asked, “Which is that verse?” The Jew replied, “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5:3) ‘Umar replied, “No doubt, we know when and where this verse was revealed to the Prophet. It was Friday and the Prophet was standing at ‘Arafat (i.e. the Day of Hajj)” (Al Bukhari)
The Day of Arafah Allah SWT descends to the lowest heaven
On this exceptionally great day Allah SWT descends to the lowest heaven to honor The Pilgrims. Jabir (RA) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said:
No day is better to Allah than the day of Arafat. Allah descends to the lowest heaven and He boasts to the inhabitants of the heavens about the inhabitants of the earth, saying: Look at My servants, appearing disheveled and dusty. They came from every mountain pass hoping for My mercy. They do not see My punishment, yet they do not see that on no day are more saved from Hellfire than the day of Arafat.” ( Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān)
The Day sins are forgiven
Aishah (RA) reports that Rasoolullah ﷺ said:
“There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of Arafah. And on that day Allah draws near to the earth and by way of exhibiting His Pride remarks to the angels, ‘What is the desire of these (servants of mine)?” (Muslim)
Such a day when the servants are forgiven by Allah’s mercy, Shaitaan is humiliated more than any day of the year. Talhah ibn Ubaidullah (RA) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“There is no day on which the Shaitaan is seen to be more humiliated, more rejected, more depressed and more infuriated, than on the day of Arafah, and indeed all this is only because of beholding the abundance of descending mercy (on the day) and Allah’s forgiveness of the great sins of the servants.” (Al- Baihaqi-Sahih)
For Non- Pilgrims:
For those who are not performing the pilgrimage can still benefit from this great day. First, by fasting as reported by Abu Qataadah (RA) that Rasoolullah ﷺ said: I seek from Allah that fasting on the day of Arafah may atone for the sins of the preceding and the coming years. (Muslim and others)
Secondly, doing lots of Zhikr especially the following.
‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb (RA) reported: The Prophet ﷺ said: “The best supplication is that which is made on the day of Arafat. The best of it is what was said by myself and the prophets before me:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
There is no God but Allah alone, without any partners, unto Him belong the dominion and all praise and He has power over all things.” (At- Tirmidhi -Sahih)
Sacrifice on the Day of Eid
Finally, these blessed ten days is culminated with the day of Eid and sacrifice recalling the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim. Abdullah ibn Qart (RA) reported that The Prophet ﷺ said: “The greatest of days before Allaah is the Day of Sacrifice.” (Abu Dawood -Sahih).
Sacrifice is done around the globe for all to participate; rich or poor. The beauty of Islam is that all must be recognized and respected in society. Aisha (RA) narrated that Rasoolullah ﷺ said:
“There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of sacrifice than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair, and hooves (to be weighed). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, sacrifice with an open and happy heart.” (At- Tirmidhi and Ibne Maajah- Sahih)
He ﷺ partook in this act of Ibaadah on the day of Eid. Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ ordered for a ram to be brought as a sacrifice. The Prophet took the ram and laid it on its side to prepare for slaughtering, then he said, “In the name of Allah, O Allah, accept it from Muhammad, the house of Muhammad, and the nation of Muhammad.” Then, he sacrificed it. (Muslim)
It was also by Anas ibn Maalik (RA) said: “The Prophet (ﷺ) sacrificed two white rams speckled with black. He slaughtered them with his own hand, said ‘Allaahu akbar’ and put his foot on their necks.” (Al Bukhari & Muslim)
The inclusion of poor in our festivity must be done without which we cannot complete our service to Allah SWT. How many societies the poor is left out of the pie and the rich eats the entire pie. A few weeks ago, we celebrated Eid-ul Fitr. And on that Eid, we enjoy its virtues by giving the Zakaat-ul Fitr to the poor before we begin the Eid prayer. This Eid we have to complete its celebration by giving 1/3 of the meat to the poor and needy. As Allah SWT says: Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time. (22:28) EID MUBAARAK!