The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah (12 month of Islamic calendar) are blessed days. The Glorious Qur’an swears by these days: “By the Dawn, and the Ten Nights” [Qur’an 89:1-2]. The majority of Qur’anic commentators agree that these verses refer to the first ten days and nights of Dhul Hijjah.
We find the merits of undertaking actions in these ten days from the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
It is narrated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that, “There are no days in which good works are more beloved to Allah than these ten days” referring to the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The Companions asked, “Not even struggle (Jihad) in the way of Allah, O Messenger of Allah?” He said (peace and blessings be upon him), “Not even jihad in the way of Allah, except for the one who goes forth with his person and wealth and does not return with any of it.” [Bukhari and others]
Even with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and the constant demands upon our time, we should seek to increase our reward from Allah during these 10 days and nights.
The following are 5 simple and productive ways aimed to gain Allah’s pleasure during these days, while maintaining our daily routine:
1) VOLUNTARY PRAYER (Nafl)
It is highly recommended to perform additional voluntary (nafl) prayers to increase oneself in the additional acts, for indeed, this is what brings a person closer to Allah Almighty. The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH) said,
“Upon you is to increase in your prostration to Allah, for indeed you do not prostrate to Allah with even one prostration, except that He raises you in degrees and decreases your sins because of it.” (Muslim)
Fasting is particularly recommended for those who have not gone to perform Hajj.
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Any slave of Allah who observes fast of a day in the cause of Allah, Allah would separate between him and the Fire a distance of seventy years on account of observing that day. (Agreed upon)”.
It is narrated by Sayyida Hafsa (Allah be pleased with her) that, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) did not leave some matters: Fasting [on the day of] `Ashura (10th of Muharram), [during] the ten days [of Dhul Hijja], and three days of each month.” [Ahmad and Nasâi]. Further, it is noted “Fasting the Day of Arafah will be credited with Allah by forgiving one’s sins of the previous year and the following year.” [Muslim]
3) REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH
Imam Ahmad narrated from Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) that he said: “There aren’t any days greater, nor any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah Most High, than these ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah). So, increase in them the saying of Tahleel (Laa-ilaaha-ill-Allah), and Takbeer (Allahu-Akbar) and Tahmeed (al-hamdu-lillaah).” [Ahmed]
Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with them) used to go out to the market place during the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) saying ‘Allahu-Akbar’, causing the people to also say it.” [Bukhari]
The 9th-13th Zul Hijjah have special significance; they are also known as days of days of tashriq.
Allah, the Exalted, says in the Noble Quran, “Celebrate the praises of God during the Appointed Days” [Qur’an 2:203]. The Qurânic exegesis explains that the phrase “appointed days” is referring to the days of tashriq
Accordingly to the Hanafi fiqh, the takbir al-tashriq is an invocation and it wajib (compulsory) to say once and Sunnah to say it 3 times, out loud for men, immediately after performing each obligatory (fard) prayer starting from the Fajr prayer on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah (in one’s resident country) up to the Asr prayer five days later (13th of Dhul Hijjah).
The takbir is as follows:
“Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. La ilaha illa Llah. Wa Llahu Akbar. Allah Akbar. Wa liLlahil-Hamd.”
“Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. There is no God save Him. And Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. And to Allah belongs all praise.”
4) SEEKING FORGIVENESS
Repentance (Tawbah) and abstaining from disobedience and all types of sins is an important trait of a Muslim, since forgiveness and mercy are the results of deeds. Disobedience is the cause of being far away (from Allah, the Most High) and repulsion, while obedience is the cause of being near (to Allah, the Most High) and His love.
Abdullah ibn Busr reported: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Blessed is he who finds many prayers for forgiveness in his record.”[Ibn Majah]
Sayyida Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would say in his supplications, “O Allah, I seek refuge in you from the evil I have done and the evil I have not done.” [Muslim]
The slaughtering of a sacrificial animal (Adhiyyah) is also legislated for the Day of Sacrifice (10th) and the Days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th) for those who qualified to pay zakah. This is the Sunnah of our Prophet Ibraheem (May Allah be pleased with him) – from when Allah, the Most High redeemed his son by the great sacrifice (of an animal in his place).
Ibn Umar said: “The Prophet, peace be up on him, lived in Madinah for ten years and every year he slaughtered an animal.” (Ahmad)
There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of sacrifice (Qurbani) 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. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
Whoever is not able to perform Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time with acts of worship, offering prayers, reading the Qur’an, remembering Allah, making supplications, giving in charity, fulfilling rights of other human beings, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.
These 10 days are therefore full of virtue and provide an enhanced opportunity to gain closeness to Allah and re-direct ourselves towards Allah, the Majestic.