Ramadan came and passed by so fast. Some of us couldn't 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 like checkpoints that will continue to help boost us. Now, we have entered one of those months – The Month of Dhul Hijjah.
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. As per Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه, "There is no month which is more sanctified than Dhul Hijjah."
The first part of Dhul Hijjah which is the first 10 days are the most beneficial and blessed. Allah says,
“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 [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]. Generally whenever someone swears per something that thing is deemed very important. Here we have Allah Himself, the greatest and mightiest King of Kings swearing by the ten nights. The importance and the rewards with it have to be so great that one can only imagine.
Abu Uthman an-Nahdi رحمه الله said, “The Salaf used to venerate three sets of tens: The first ten (days) of Muharram, the first ten (days) of Dhul-Hijjah, and the last ten (nights) of Ramadan. [Ad-Durar al-Manthur]
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.” [Bukhari]
Jihad is one of the greatest acts of worship, yet our Prophet ﷺ told us that righteous deeds are even better unless a man loses everything. Imam Ibn Rajab رحمه الله said, “Whomsoever is unable to perform hajj for the upcoming year, should magnify (and venerate) the (first) ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) and perform good deeds at home. This is more virtuous than jihad, which itself is more virtuous than performing hajj.” He further said, "This Hadith proves that actions carried out during its days are more beloved to Allaah than the carrying out of actions during the other days of the world without there being any exception from them. Therefore if they are the most beloved to Allah; then they are also the best with Him." [Lataif al-Ma’arif]
Allah made it compulsory for those who meet the conditions, to do Hajj once in a lifetime. For those who are not going for Hajj, Allah blessed these first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah to be the same for all. These people also imitate the hujjaj in Makkah in many things like increasing in dhikr of Allah, preparing the sacrificial animal, abstaining from cutting the hair and clipping nails just like the hujjaj in ihram.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said during his farewell sermon, “Which month do you know has the greatest sanctity?” They said, “No doubt, this month of ours, Dhul Hijjah.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Which city do you know has the greatest sanctity?” They said, “No doubt, this city of ours, Makkah.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Which day do you know has the greatest sanctity?” They said, “No doubt, this day of ours, Arafat.” [Bukhari]
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 or life hacks 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. Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله said, "The (first) ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are more virtuous than the [last] ten days of (the blessed month of) Ramadan. The (last) ten nights of (the blessed month of) Ramadan are more virtuous than the [first] ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah.”
Just like we went "beast mode" in the last ten days of Ramadan, striving to please Allah as much as we could, we should not pass out on such a great opportunity either.
The multiple ahadith and ayat with regards to these days shows that every good deed performed during these days is more beloved to Allaah than when performed in other than them. Just as good deeds are multiplied during blessed times, bad deeds are also judged seriously as the deed was done in a sacred time. Qatadah رضي الله عنه said: "Know that sinning in the sacred months (Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) is worse than sinning in other than them even though sinning in all circumstances is something not to be taken lightly (grave), except Allah magnifies from the affairs that which is pleasing to him." [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]
The benefits are multiplied even further on a Friday that falls in these 10 days. Imam Ibn Ḥajr al-Asqalani رحمه الله said, "A Friday that occurs in the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah is more distinguished to any other Friday of the year." [Fath al-Bari]
It also needs to be kept in mind that whoever wishes to slaughter in these days it is not allowed to cut or shave any hair from his body, remove any part of his skin or cut his nails. This does not apply to his family, only the head of the family who is doing the slaughtering. The Prophet ﷺ said, "When you see the new moon of Dhul Ḥijjah, and one of you desires to offer a sacrifice, then let him refrain from (cutting) his hair and his nails until he offers his sacrifice." In another narration, “Then let him not touch anything from his hair or his skin.” [Muslim]. Whoever sacrifices for other than himself, by bequest or by being entrusted, it is permissible for him to take from his hair, nails and skin because the sacrifice is not his. The ruling is connected to the one offering the sacrifice.
Imam Ibn Qudamah رحمه الله stated, “If it established (the moon sighting) then he must withhold from cutting the hair and clipping the nails. But if he does cut or clip, then he should seek Allāh’s forgiveness, and there is no penalty to pay by consensus, whether it is done deliberately or unintentionally.” [al-Mughni (9/346)]
Allah Spoke to Prophet Musa عليه السلام
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 Prophet 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.
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.
Imam Ibn Hajar رحمه الله said, "That which is apparent is that the reason for the distinguished nature of the ten days of Dhil-Hijjah is due to the fact that it is the place where the main forms of worship come together; and they are: the prayer and the fasting and the giving of charity and the Hajj – and that does not appear in other than them." [Fath al-Bari]
So how exactly can we maximize and utilize these 10 days? Here are a few things that are highly recommended to do:
Fasting and Prayers
You know when you visit some big person and ask for help and they say don’t worry, I’m gonna sort you out or take care of your need. You know without a doubt that even though the person did not specify how, but it's 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 a 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]
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.
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 رضي الله عنه 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 wajib. They classified fasting in these days as Sunnah Mu’kadah (Highly Recommended Sunnah)
Narrated Abu Saeed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه, 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]
It is desirable to make up for the missed fasts of Ramadan in the (first) ten days of Dhul Ḥijjah, and it is hoped that the fasting person attains the reward of making up along with fasting the ten days. Umar رضي الله عنه said, “There are no days dearer to me for making up (missed fasts of) Ramadan than these ten days.” This was taught by Abu Hurairah, Ibn al-Musayyib, Ibrahim an-Nakhai, and Hammad Ibn Abi Sulayman among many others.
It needs to be kept in mind that the first ten days are actually nine days with the addition of the day of Eid. It is called the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, but only nine of it is for fasting as the tenth day is the beginning of Eid. It is impermissible to fast on the day of Eid, this is a consensus amongst the scholars. Remember that the main part that is blessed in this time is the days and not the nights. Our Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله said that if a person has to choose one good alone to do in these 10 days, then he should hold onto fasting. Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله 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.
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]
Arafah is the name of a mountain range, along with the surrounding plains, just east of Makkah. How did it get the name, 'Day of Arafah'? Imam ibn al-Jawzi رحمه الله said, “One of the two reasons is: It was given this name because (Angel) Jibreel عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم showed (Prophet] Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم the rites (of Hajj) and then would say ‘do you now know (i.e. understand).’” The second reason (why it is given this name is) “Adam and Hawa عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَم reacquainted after being expelled from Heaven there (i.e. at Mount ‘Arafah.” [Kashf ul-Mushkil]
Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله 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 رضي الله عنه 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.” [Bukhari]
Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari رضي الله عنه 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 رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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."
He further said, "Know that it is recommended to be plentiful in making adhkar during these ten (days) – in excess of other than them. It is likewise recommended to do that on the day of ‘Arafah more-so than the rest of the ten (days)." [al-Adhkar]
Imam al-Nawawi رحمه الله 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 رحمه الله 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]
Making Quran Your Companion
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, it's 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.
In the turbulent times that we are living in, Allah's Word comes as a source of refuge and mercy for us. Allah says,
وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۙ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارًا
“And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.” [Surah Al-Isra, 82]
Allah further says,
وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَكٌ
“This is a blessed Scripture that We have sent down” [Surah al-An'am, 92]. One of the Salaf said, “Every time I increased upon my (daily) portion of Qur’an, my time would increase in barakah (blessing). I kept on increasing up until my daily portion reached ten ajzaa (a third of the Qur’an)!”
Every ayah in the Quran is important as it is the word of Allah but then there are some ayat which touch us particularly depending on our state of mind and situation. It sometimes happens that we are going through a certain scenario and we randomly hear an ayah being recited or read an ayah that somehow gives an answer to our worry or if not soothes the heart and mind regarding that worry.
Imam al-Suyuti رحمه الله says, “It is recommended that the Quran is read with contemplation and understanding, for that is the ultimate goal and its most important aim. With that, the heart fills with light and finds rest and tranquillity.”
When there is no one there for us, it is as if the Quran comes to speak and console us in our time of need. If you think you were alone in experiencing this then you’ve never been more wrong. Problem is we think of Quran as a book because that’s how we have always seen it. But the Quran didn’t come down as a book. Rather it come down in bits and pieces over 23 years depending on the situation faced by our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. What we stumble upon in the Quran that helps us subconsciously used to happen to him in actuality and consciously. The Quran used to be revealed as an answer, support, reassurance, upliftment, confidence and a booster throughout our Prophet’s ﷺ mission.
Imam Al-Layth رحمه الله says: Allah's Mercy is received fastest by the one who listens to the Qur’an, as Allah says:
وَإِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ وَأَنْصِتُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“So when the Qur'an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.” [Surah al-A'raf, 204]
He says, “I asked myself: If the listener receives all that Mercy;
- What then about the one who is reading the Quran?
- What then about the one who memorises the Quran?
- What then about the one who contemplates the meanings of the Quran?
- What then about the one who acts upon the Quran?”
Takbeer and Dhikr
Sheikh Saleh Al Munajjad حفظه الله 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 Hurairah 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 Shariah for doing this.
Imam Ibn Rajab رحمه الله said, "As for the recommendation in being plentiful in the remembrance (of Allah) within them; then it is proved by the saying of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic:
وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ
'And they mention the name of Allaah on known days' [Surah Al-Hajj, 28] For indeed the known days are the ten days with the majority of the Scholars." He further said about the 'known days" - "The majority of the scholars hold that these ‘known days’ are the ten of Dhul Hijjah, from them are: Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas and Al-Hasan (al-Basri) and ‘Ataa and Mujahid and ‘Ikrimah and Qatadah and An-Nakha’i. It is also the saying of Abi Hanifah and Ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad (bin Hanbal) in that which is well known from them." '[Lataif Al-Ma’arif]
Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه 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 (لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ), Takbeer (ٱللَّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ) and Tahmeed (ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّٰهِ) [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 ﷺ, “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.”
This has been reported from Imams Saeed ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Layla, Ishaq ibn Rahwayh and others.
Takbeer is of 2 types:
1. Takbeer Mutlaq (unconstrained) – which is done all the times. It starts as soon as Dhul Hijjah enters (when the sun sets on the last day of Dhil-Qa’dah) throughout the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah and until the end of the last day (when the sun sets on the thirteenth day of Dhul Hijjah). Some scholars opine that the takbeer is to be done till the conclusion of the khutbah of Eid al-Adha on the 10th day.
2. Takbeer Mukayyad (constrained) – which is said only after the obligatory 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.
Even on the day of Eid itself we see that we increase in our takbeerat right after Fajr, on the way to the Eid salah, in the Eid salah itself, and even in the khutbah after it (7 or 9 continuous takbeers). The sahaba used to begin their EId khutbahs with takbeerat. The nights of Eid are to be increased in the glorification and praise of Allah. Allah says,
يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِكُمُ ٱلْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ ٱلْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا۟ ٱلْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَىٰكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. [Surah al-Baqarah, 185]
Sheikh Abdul Salam al-Shuway'ir حفظه الله said, "The takbeer in the night of Eid is the best and more in number as it is combining multiple types of takbeerat. What are they?
- The unrestricted takbeer of the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.
- The takbeer of the night of the 2 Eids.
- The restricted takbeer after the congregational prayers.
Maymoon Ibn Mihran رحمه الله said, "I grew up in a time when the people would indeed say Takbeer on the (first) ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) to an extent that I used to liken their Takbeer to waves due to its abundance." [Fath al-Bari]
Muadh ibn Anas narrates that a man asked, "O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)! Which jihad entails the greatest reward?" He (ﷺ) said, "The one in which Allah is remembered the most." The man then asked about salah, zakat, hajj, and charity. And for each one, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "The one in which Allah is remembered the most." (On hearing this), Abu bakr said, "O Abu Hafs! Those who engage in the remembrance of Allah have taken away all good!" The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Indeed!" [Ahmad]
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi رحمه الله was asked, “Is it better for me to make ‘Tasbeeh’ (to glorify Allah) or to make ‘Istighfar’ (seek Allah's forgiveness)?” He replied: “The dirty garment is more in need of soap than perfume.” [Fath al-Bari]
We should strive to keep our tongues moist with dhikr in general. Let's look at some benefits of just saying one of the adhkar - Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi (سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ)
Allah's Messenger ﷺ said, "Whoever says, 'Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi- Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise,' one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea." [Bukhari]
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to me, “Shall I tell you the expression that is most loved by Allah?” It is: "Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi - Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise." [Muslim]
The Prophet ﷺ said, “For him who says: 'Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi - Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise,’ a palm-tree will be planted in Jannah.” [Nata'ij Al-Afkar]
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "He who recites in the morning and in the evening (these words): Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi - Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise’ one hundred times, he would not bring on the Day of Resurrection anything excellent than this except one who utters these words or utters more than these words." [Muslim]
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.
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. Allah says,
مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍۢ مِّا۟ئَةُ حَبَّةٍۢ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَـٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“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.
ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ثُمَّ لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مَنًّۭا وَلَآ أَذًۭى ۙ لَّهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
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 رضي الله عنه 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 Hurairah 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.
It is in this time that we have the Udhiyah. The word Adha is one of the plurals of Udhiyah (sacrifice) which is the sheep slaughtered at ضُحَى (forenoon) time on the Eid day. But nevertheless, a sheep slaughtered at any time of the four Eid days is called udhiyah. Aisha narrated رضي الله عنها that the Prophet ﷺ said, "There is no human deed dearer to Allah on the day of sacrifice than the ritual shedding of the blood of sacrificial animals. The animal will come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair and hooves intact. Its blood reaches Allah the Almighty before it even reaches the ground. Therefore, make [the sacrifice] in good will" [Tirmidhi]. The Udhiyah is a Sunnah and it is disliked that someone who is able to afford it, does not do so. It is a strongly recommended sunnah.
The Prophet ﷺ used to make an extra sacrifice on behalf of the poor who could not offer sacrifice. Imam Ahmad رحمه الله records, “The Prophet ﷺ sacrificed for the one who could not sacrifice from his ummah, one who bore witness to the Oneness of Allah and (his) Prophethood”. [Ahmad] This was a Sunnah his sahabah continued after him and yet, it is forgotten in our times. Anas bin Malik رضي الله عنه said, ‘The Prophet ﷺ used to sacrifice two rams, and I also sacrifice two rams’. [Bukhari] This is a Sunnah that needs to be revived in our times.
How to distribute the meat? It is recommended to split the udhiyah into 3 parts
- To Eat: The first is by saving a third for the person who made the sacrifice.
- To Gift: The second is to give a third of the meat to the donor’s family or friends.
- To Give in Charity: The third is giving a third to the vulnerable, hungry and less fortunate.
This was the opinion of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn Umar. It is recommended to give charity from the best third of the meat, gift the second best portion, and consume the other portion of it.
Dua and Relationships
Family - 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 acts such as these which may seem small, but it's these small stones which start an avalanche of good.
Last but not the least make dua. Cry like a baby does for his mother. Even though a child 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 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. It's a win win deal at the end of the day, showing how much Allah loves us and wants to make it easy for us, the road to him.
Imam an-Nawawi رحمه الله 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.
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.
May Allah enable us to make the best of these blessed days and make accept from us our meagre deeds for his sake and make it a means of our success in this world and in the Hereafter.