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July 19, 2021

Ramadan 2.0 - Wait, What?

Ramadan came and passed by. Some of us could make the most of it while some us wished Ramadan would have been our guest for a bit longer. Allah being our creator knows us the best. To help us and keep us motivated throughout the year and not just for a month, Allah has designated special importance to different times of the year. And now we have entered one of those months – The Month of Dhul Hijjah

Ramadan came and passed by. Some of us could make the most of it while some us wished Ramadan would have been our guest for a bit longer. Allah being our creator knows us the best. To help us and keep us motivated throughout the year and not just for a month, Allah has designated special importance to different times of the year. And now we have entered one of those months – The Month of Dhul Hijjah

Allah says in the Quran:

وَالْفَجْرِ
وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ

“By the Dawn;

By the ten nights” [Surah al-Fajr, 1-2]

Ibn Abbas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Generally whenever someone swears per something that thing is deemed very important. Here we have Allah himself, the greatest and mightiest swearing by the ten nights. The importance and the rewards with it have to be so great that one can only imagine.

Allah says:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ذَٰلِ

“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve (lunar) months in the register of Allah (from) the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred,” [Surah at-Taubah, 36].
Dhul-Hijjah is one of the four sacred months of the Islamic calendar, during which fighting is forbidden, the others being the months of Dhul-Qa’dah, Muharram and Rajab.

Our Prophet ﷺ  also said regarding these blessed days:

“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]

Jihad is one of the greatest acts of worship, yet our Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم told us that righteous deeds are even better unless a man loses everything.

But aren’t the last 10 days of Ramadan the best of the year? As I mentioned at the start Allah keeps giving us boosts throughout the year. Ramadan houses the Night of Divine Decree or Laylatul Qadr, a night better than a thousand months and so the last ten nights are the best of the year. Dhul Hijjah houses the Day of Arafat, one of the greatest days of the year where the sins of the previous year and the coming year can be forgiven by the will of Allah, the day hujjaj are pleading to their lord for mercy. Here the last ten days are the best in the year. Just like we went beast mode in the last ten days of Ramadan trying to please Allah as much as we could, we should not pass out on such a great opportunity either.

It was in these days that Allah spoke to Prophet Musa عليه السلام directly. Allah says,

وَلَمَّا جَاءَ مُوسَىٰ لِمِيقَاتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَانِي وَلَٰكِنِ انظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّىٰ رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ مُوسَىٰ صَعِقًا فَلَمَّا أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنِين

And when Musa arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, "My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You." (Allah) said, "You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me." But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Musa fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, "Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers." [Surah al-A'raf, 143]

Our scholars mentioned that the 30 days of Prophet Musa عليه السلام fasting were the days of Dhul Qi’dah; and then Allah gave him an extra 10 which coincided with the tenth of Dhul Hijjah. Allah gave Prophet Musa and Bani Israel guidance when they were wandering lost and hunted. We are much in need of such guidance and help. But what’s needed is action. It was Musa عليه السلام who went towards the light after rectifying his affairs. The light didn’t come to him. We need to do harakah to get some barakah.

It may so be that many of our family and friends don’t know about the importance of this month. Allah likes to make things easy for us and loves us more than our own mothers. He has given us a cheat code in life. Want to know what that is? Pass on beneficial knowledge to others and if they act upon it then you also get the reward of the deed as if you did it yourself. Though this is of course no excuse to leave what you are supposed to do. The first ten days of the Dhul Hijjah are amongst these immensely virtuous seasons because they've combined the crux of the major acts of Worship; Salah, Fasting, Hajj, sacrifice, charity and Allah's ﷻ remembrance.

So how exactly can we maximize and utilize these 10 days? Here are a few things that are highly recommended to do:

FASTING & SALAH

You know when you visit some big person and ask for help and they say don’t worry, I’m gonna sort you out mate. You know without a doubt that even though the person did not specify how its going to be something great. Keeping that in mind we see how Allah, the All Mighty, the All-Powerful, the Most Giving and the Most Merciful speaks about fasting.

Allah says in hadith Qudsi, “All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.”’ [Bukhari]

Narrated Abu Saeed, I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, "Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day in the way of Allah (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

This is one of those deeds that Allah will personally reward his slave for. Why? Because even though the person could eat and drink all that he wanted, he abstained from it just to please his Master. This is for the general days. How much more can we get if we combine it with the best ten days of the year. Just imagine…

This is another time that Allah has given us to revive our companionship with the Quran and feel the mercy through the words of Allah. Even if we cannot read as much as we could in Ramadan, try because to Allah, its never the quantity that counts, but the quality.

The Prophet ﷺ said,  “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” [Tirmidhi]

So technically if one letter of the Quran is equivalent to ten good deeds then imagine how much reward we can get  for reading each letter during these blessed 10 days which are said to be the best days of the year! Again having a friend to help you out would make it both fun and easier at the same time.

It is highly recommended to fast on the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, especially on the 9th which is the blessed day of Arafat. The blessing of Arafat is attaining forgiveness for 2 years of sins.

Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of Arafat. He ﷺ replied, “Fasting on the day of Arafat is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” [Muslim]. These days were so popular amongst the sahaba for fasting that the later scholar fell into doubt whether fasting these days is waajib. They classified fasting in these days as Sunnah Mu’kadah (Highly Recommended Sunnah)

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali stated, "It is recommended to stand the nights in prayer (qiyam al-layl) during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Imam Shafi’i, as well as other scholars, have said that it is recommended to do so. Saeed ibn Jubayr narrated a hadith in which he said that whenever the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah began, Ibn ‘Abbas would exert himself to the limits of his ability. It has also been narrated upon (Ibn ‘Abbas) that he said, ‘Do not turn out your lamps during the nights of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah...’ This is because he was especially fond of worship (during those days). [Lataa-if Wal Ma’aarif]

Since the importance is stressed on the daytime, its better we try sleeping early and utilize the day as much as possible. Fasting during classes or work could be tough at times. What’s best and helps you to be motivated is have your friends also join you in keeping these fasts. It becomes like a flashback to the recent Ramadan times. What we can do while going about our work as well as fasting is up next.

TAKBEER

Sheikh Saleh Al Munajjad rightly says about Takbeer when asked about it, “Takbeer at this time is an aspect of the Sunnah that has been forgotten, especially during the early part of this period, so much so that one hardly ever hears Takbeer, except from a few people. This Takbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evidence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. 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.

Ibn Umar said that the Prophet ﷺ said: No days are more glorified and more loved to Allah in deeds than these ten days, so increase in them Tahleel (saying: la ilaha illalaah), Takbeer (saying: Allāhu Akbar) and Tahmeed (saying: Alhamdulilah) [Ahmad]

Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.”

الله أكبر، الله أكبر، الله أكبر، لا إله إلا الله . والله أكبر ، الله أكبر ، ولله الحمد

Translation: “Allah is the greatest, 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.”

Takbeer is of 2 types:

1. Takbeer Mutlaq (unconstrained) – which is done all the times, starting from the 1st night of the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah until sunset of the 10th day.

2. Takbeer Mukayyad (constrained) – which is said only after the prayers. It starts from the fajr of Arafah (9th of Dhul Hijjah) until Asr prayer of the last day of 13th Dhul Hijjah.

So, the non-pilgrim performs the restricted Takbeers after 23 prayers in total and the pilgrim does for a total of 17 prayers. The restricted Takbeer are only done after the congregational prayers and not if one offers them on their own, nor after optional prayers. Ibn Mas'ud said, "The Takbeer is only for those who has prayed in congregation." After the Salam one should begin right away with the Takbeer even before saying “Astaghirullah” three times and “Allahumma anta-s Salam…”; he does the Takbeers before all these Adkhar. As for the one who joined the prayer late (e.g. – after the Imam had already completed one Rakah) then he also performs the Takbeer after he makes up whatever is left of his prayer.

The best part about this is that the rewards are abundant and yet it requires hardly any work. We can do this while driving/walking to work, school etc. We can do this while working around here and there, housework, chores, homework anywhere and anytime.  Its only when you do this that you feel something inside you click, as if you have found what you had been looking for all this time, like why you are here for and you are actually doing it. Enlightening experience I tell you. If you are going to be proclaiming takbeer often throughout the day, personal advice would be to try and be as hydrated as possible. Drink loads and loads of water the night before, it's going to be of great help.

DAY OF ARAFAH

These blessed days have one of the best days of the year. Allah says:

وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُودِ وَشَاهِدٍ وَمَشْهُود

And by the Promised Day (Day of Resurrection); And by the witnessing day (Friday), and by the witnessed day (Day of Arafah) [Surah al-Burooj, 2-3]

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said: "Upon this basis; if the day of Arafah falls on a Friday – then there is incorporated into that day the witness and the witnessed." [Lataa-if Wal Ma’aarif]

The Day of Arafah is the 9th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah. It is legislated for the one performing Hajj to stand at the mountain of Arafah on this tremendous day. Standing at Arafah is considered the biggest pillar of Hajj as the Prophet ﷺ said, “Hajj is Arafah.”

It is the day that Allah completed the religion and perfected His favour and was pleased with Islam for us as a religion. A man from the Jews came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and said: O Leader of the Believers! We read an Ayah in your Book, if it had descended down on us Jews we would have adopted that day as an Eid. Umar said, “Which Ayah?” The Jew said: ﴾Today I have completed your religion for you, perfected My favour upon you and am pleased with al-Islam as a religion for you.﴿ [Surah Al-Ma’idah, 3] Umar said, “Indeed, we know that day and the place where it descended down on the Prophet ﷺ. He was standing on Arafah on the day of Jumuah.”

Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of Arafat. He ﷺ replied, “Fasting on the day of Arafat is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” [Muslim].

Imam al-Nawawi said: “Its meaning is that it expiates the sins of the one who fasts it for that of two years, and the intent by that is of the minor sins, and this is similar to the expiation of the errors through performance of wudhu. Thus, if there are no more minor sins, then it is hoped for a lessening from the major sins, and if there are not to be; then through the raising of the ranks.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said, “There is two viewpoints: The first is that the Day of Arafah is in a sacred month, (the month) before it is a sacred month; and (the month) after it is a sacred month, in contrast to Ashurah. The second is that fasting the Day of Arafah is from the exclusive characteristics of our legislation, in contrast to Ashurah.” [Bada’i’ al-Fawaid]

Imam al-Mannawi said: Allah will safeguard His slave from sinning in the coming year if he fasts on the Day of Arafah. Allah gives reward equal to the sins committed in the following year and this is how fasting on the Day of Arafah nullifies sins. Allah forgives all upcoming (minor) sins in reality and the expiator precedes the expiated. [Fayd al Qadeer]

Allah emancipates more of His worshippers from the Fire on that day than others. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “There is no day in which Allah emancipates more worshippers from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. [Muslim]

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali stated: "The Day of Arafah is the Day of Emancipation from the Fire. Allah sets free those who are upon (Mount) Arafah and those (from amongst the) Muslims who are not present (but elsewhere). Thus the following Day is a Day of celebration and festivity for all Muslims; those who participated in Hajj and those who did not; they are all included and will be participants together; freed from the Fire and bestowed Allah’s forgiveness. [Lataif al-Ma’arif]

Imam Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak said: “I came to Sufyan ath-Thawri on the eve of Arafah while he was sitting on his knees and weeping excessively. He turned towards me and I asked him: ‘Who is the worst in condition among this gathering?’ He replied: ‘The one who thinks Allāh will not forgive him’” [Lataif al-Ma’arif]

Allah descends and comes close to them, and then He boasts about the people to the Angels and he says, ‘What are these people seeking.’" Allah boasts about the people of Arafah to the Angels. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah who said: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Indeed, Allah boasts to the Angels about the people of Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My worshippers with disheveled hair and covered in dust.’” Imam Ibn Abdul-Barr said: "This shows that they are forgiven because the people of mistakes and sins are not boasted about except after repentance and forgiveness." And the descending of Allah to the sky of the dunya is true in a manner that befits His Majesty and Greatness.

Imam Ibn Abdul-Barr said: This shows that they are forgiven because the people of mistakes and sins are not boasted about except after repentance and forgiveness.

The dua on the Day of Arafah is the best supplication. It is narrated on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather that the The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The best supplication is the one made on the Day of Arafah. The best supplication ever said by myself and the previous Prophets is:

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

‘There is no deity worthy of worship (in truth) other than Allah, who is alone, having no partner or associate. His is the dominion, and to Him belongs all praise. He has power over all; everything, All-Capable.’” [Tirmidhi]

Imam al-Nawawi advised, "This is the best day in the year for supplicating, thus it befits a person to fully devote his efforts in making Dhikr, Dua and reciting the Quran; and he should supplicate with the different kinds of Duas and read the different kinds of Dhikr. He should supplicate for himself, his parents, relatives, Mashayikh, companions, friends, loved ones and any one else who was good to him as well as all the Muslims. And let him be fully cautious from falling short in any of these as this day cannot be made up." [al-Adhkar]

Imam al-Nawawi stated, "It has reached us from Salim Ibn Abdillah Ibn Umar, that he saw a petitioner asking from the people on the day of Arafah, so he said: ‘O feeble one! On this day is other than Allah, The Mighty and Majestic to be asked from?’" [Al-Adhkar]

Imam Ibn al-Humam says that Ibn Uyaynah was asked, "This is praise, so why did Allah’s Messenger ﷺ call it supplication (dua)?’ He replied, ‘Praising the generous one is to supplicate, because He knows your need.’

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "Shaytan is not considered more abased or more cast out or more contemptible or more angry on any day than on the Day of Arafah. That is only because he sees the descent of the Mercy and Allah's disregard for great wrong actions (by his great forgiveness on this day). That is except from what he was shown on the Day of Badr " [Muwatta Imam Malik]

CHARITY

The Prophet ﷺ said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days (Dhul Hijjah).” [Ibn Majah]

We should take advantage of this blessed time where good deeds are multiplied significantly. Charity is one thing I personally believe after fasting could be a game changer for our book of deeds on the Day of Judgement. The amount of stress laid upon it by Allah and his Messenger ﷺ is just too much to not take notice.

“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.

Allah says in the Quran: “Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 261-262]

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah  said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever gives charity equal to a date from good (halal) earnings – for Allah does not accept anything but that which is good – Allah will take it in His right hand and tend it for the one who gave it as any one of you tends his foal, until it becomes like a mountain.” [Bukhari]

I think I for one will definitely be needing some mountains of good deeds later on.

In these ten days, the one thing that should motivate our nafs to let go and give out money to our needy brothers is this hadith. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah ﷺsaid: “Allah said: ‘Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” [Bukhari]

Right now I can only imagine and yet fail again and again thinking of just what Allah will provide for those who spend in his sake. Literally anything that comes to your head, it will be better than that.

They might pester us at times, scold us at times, advice us at times and worst of all ask about our results and salaries at times but at the end of the day Allah has made us in families so we can look after and support each other. In these 10 days it is way better to make an extra effort to be good to your family whom you haven’t spoken to in a while, and don’t forget your extended family that is your  neighbours. Smile for even smiling is charity. Just smiling and greeting a fellow brother/sister could brighten up their day. It could be the very thing they needed at that time. A happy family and neighbourhood can boost you iman and productivity levels to make a difference for our Ummah which is much needed. It is such acts such as these which may seem small, but its these small stones which start an avalanche.

Last but not the least make dua. Cry like a baby does for his mother for even though the kid has done mistakes the mother might lock him up in the room for some time but on hearing him cry eventually he will be forgiven and embraced in her love. What if it is the case with Allah when his Messenger ﷺ has told us that Allah loves us 70 times more than our very own mothers. Ask Allah not just for yourself but for others too because when you ask something in dua for someone else without them knowing then the angels make dua that you get the same thing too. Make dua for your parents, teachers, scholars and the Ummah as a whole. Who knows that it maybe your dua that Allah accepts and allows this Nation to rise again from its deep slumber.Its a win win deal showing at the end of the day how much Allah loves us and wants to make it easy for us on the road to him.

Imam an-Nawawi said: “Know that it is highly recommended to increase in supplication during these [virtuous] ten days [of Dhul-Hijjah], more than any other days throughout the year. (Know) it is highly recommended to be more plentiful on the Day of Arafah (in supplication) than the (other) ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah).” [Al-Adhkar]

It's not Allah who needs our charity, money, fasts and duas. He is way above all that. It is us who are always in need of him. Even while giving charity don’t think that WE are helping someone, instead we should just be happy that Allah chose us to be a means to spread his blessings as all good is only from Allah.

May Allah enable us to make the best of these blessed days and make accept from us our meager deeds for his sake and make it a means of our success in this world and in the Hereafter


Ramadan came and passed by. Some of us could make the most of it while some us wished Ramadan would have been our guest for a bit longer. Allah being our creator knows us the best. To help us and keep us motivated throughout the year and not just for a month, Allah has designated special importance to different times of the year. And now we have entered one of those months – The Month of Dhul Hijjah

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