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Ten days of Dhul Hijjah - make them count By Shaikh Imran Mogra

Ten Days : Make Them Count
By Shaikh Imran Mogra

Introduction

The forthcoming pages have been collected to help us understand the role that the ten dates of Dhul Hijjah have in our lives.

Days, Months and Years

In the life of a Muslim, Allah, in His infinite wisdom, has attached significance to places.  The importance of Makkah is found through some ayaah [3:96; 90:1; 95:3].  In addition, Allah, through His infinite kindness, has also set some periods to be better than others.  Some months, like Ramadhan [2:185], and some days like Jumu’ah [62:9], and some nights like laylat ul-Qadr [97:3], are more beneficial than other ordinary days.  In these periods, the rewards of the actions performed by believers are multiplied many times.  The consequence of this is that a Muslim will get motivated to perform additional good deeds and abstain from wrongdoings.  The prudent Muslim is the one who makes the most of these special occasions, times and places and utilises them to the best of his or her abilities to draw nearer to Allah through the appropriate acts of worship.

The Month - Dhul-Hijjah

By the decree of Allah, the month of Dhul-Hijjah (the month of Hajj or Pilgrimage) has dawned upon us.  In this month, Allah has chosen, some extremely blessed days, for both the non-pilgrims and the pilgrims.  Therefore, relevant information and instructions shall be mentioned consisting of the virtues of the days and the rewards for the actions, which are attached to them.

The Qur’an and the Ten Days

Let us begin by reading an ayah from the Qur’an.  In Surah al-Fajr [89:1-2], Allah has taken an oath saying: “By the Dawn and by the Ten Nights.”  According to Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (RA), Qatadah, Mujaahid, and others this refers to the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah [Tafsir Mazhari, 12:396].  Relevance is attached to these ten days because Allah has taken an oath about them and the taking an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit.  Hence, these ten dates are important to Allah. These are termed ayaam ul-a‘shr (ten days).

The Hadith and the Ten Days

Similarly, regarding the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, the Messenger (SAW) said: “The best days in the world are the ten days.”  - (al-Bazzaar, 1/234).

Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) reported that the Messenger (SAW) said: “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 to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with neither.” - [Bukhari, Riyadh Saleheen, 1249].

The Messenger (SAW) said: “There are no days that are greater with Allah, and in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days. So increase in making tasbeeh (saying SubhaanAllah), tamheed, tahleel and takbeer, during them.”  - (at-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer (3/110/1); Targheebwat-Tarheeb (2/24).

What to do in ten days – Non Pilgrim and Pilgrim.

1. Fasting

It is Sunnah to fast on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (Day of ‘Arafah), because the Messenger (SAW) urged us to do so.

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (RA), relates that the Messenger (SAW) said, “There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.  Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer Salatul Tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power (i.e., Lailatul Qadr).”  - (al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Bayhaqi).

2. Tasbih

It is also recommended to increase in making takbeer (saying Allahu akbar), tahleel (saying Laailaaha illAllah) and tamheed (saying Alhamdulillaah) during these ten days.

Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (RA) reported that the Messenger (SAW) 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 Tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allah”), Takbeer and Tahmeed.” - (Ahmad; Zadul-Ma‘ad, 1/56).
 
SPECIFIC DAYS

The Qur’an and the day of ‘Arafah

However, in these significant ten days, there is one specific day, which has been highlighted for its excellence. It is the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah which is the day of ‘Arafah. It is on this day that the pilgrims gather at the plain of 'Arafah, worshipping, supplicating and glorifying to Allah. Furthermore, it is a day on which Allah perfected His Religion [5:3].

The hadith and the day of ‘Arafah

Similarly, the Messenger (SAW) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of ‘Arafah. He comes close to those (people standing on ‘Arafah), and then He revels before His Angels saying: What are these people seeking.”  - (Muslim, 1348).

What to do on Arafat day – Non Pilgrim

1. Fasting

It is highly recommended (mustahabb) for those who are not pilgrims to fast on this day. The Messenger (SAW) was once asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah. He said: “It expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year.(Muslim, 1:162), from Abu Qaatadh (RA). In other words, the sins of two years will be forgiven.

Abu Qatadah (RA), reported that the Messenger (SAW) said, “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah (i.e, 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of ‘Aashuraa (10th of Muharram) is an expiation for the year preceding it.”  - (Muslim, Kitaab 'Siyaam', #2739).

Imaam at-Tirmidhee (d.275H) (RA) - said: “The People of Knowledge consider it recommended to fast on the day of ‘Arafah, except for those at ‘Arafah.”  - (al-Tirmidhi, 3/377).

What to do ‘Arafat day – Pilgrim

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (RA) stated, “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) forbade fasting on the day of ‘Arafah for one who is actually at ‘Arafah.” - (Abu Dawud, #2440).  At-Tirmidhi (RA) comments: “The scholars prefer that the day of ‘Arafah be fasted unless one is actually at ‘Arafah.

SPECIFIC DAYS

The Qur’an and the Day of Nahr – Pilgrim

The tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah is known as the day of al-Nahr (slaughtering), since it marks the ending of the major rites of Hajj (Pilgrimage). It is also a commemoration of the gift of Allah to his intimate friend, the Messenger Ibrahim (AS). In place of his son, Ismail (AS) Allah sent a ram for sacrifice.

In addition, out of the ten best days of the year, it is the day of al-Nahr, which is the most excellent day of the year with Allah. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) (RA) said: It is related in the Sunan collections that the Messenger (SAW) said: “The most excellent days with Allah is the day of an-Nahr, then the day of al-Qarr (the day that the Muslims reside in Minaa).”  - (Abu Dawood, 1765), from ‘Abdullaah ibn Qart (RA).

The Messenger (SAW) said: “The greatest day of the Hajj (Pilgrimage) is the Day of an-Nahr (Slaughtering).”  - (Abu Dawood, 1945).

The Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice, 10th Dhul Hijjah), is a great day for the Pilgrim and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day (on this day the Pilgrim would may do many acts like rami, qurbani, halqa etc).

SPECIFIC DAYS

The Qur’an and Eid Ul-Adha  – non pilgrim

‘Eid ul-Adha (the Festivity of Sacrifice) is also known as the day of al-Nahr.  It is one of the two major festivals that Allah has granted to this Ummah.

Sayyidina Anas (RA) said: "The Messenger (SAW) came to Madinah and the people of Madinah had - since the times of jahiliyyah (Pre-lslamic era) - two days which they marked out for play and amusement."
 
What to do on ‘Eid ul-adha – non pilgrim

1. Perform Salat ul-'Eid.

2. Sacrifice and feast

One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice.

The Messenger (SAW) said: “I came to you, and you had two days of play and amusement in the times of jaahiliyyah. But Allah has replaced them with something better for you: The day of al-Adha (sacrificing) and the day of al-Fitr (ending the Fast).”  - (Ahmad, 3/103).

The Messenger (SAW) also said:  “The day of al-Fitr, and the day of an-Nahr, and the days of at-Tashreeq (the three days after an-Nahr) are our days of 'Eid (festivity); and they are days of eating and drinking.” - (Ahmad, 1945).  ‘Eid ul-Adha, is a day in which the Muslims slaughter a camel, cow, sheep or goat, in commemoration of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS).

Additional actions for the non-pilgrim

As regards those who intend to sacrifice - normally the head of the household - they are prohibited from cutting their hair or nails, starting from the first day of Dhul-Hijjah up until after the sacrifice.

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “When the ten days start, and one of you intends to sacrifice, then let him not cut his hair or his nails.”  - (Muslim, 1977).
 
General Takbeer

It is Sunnah to increase saying Takbeer (“Allahu akbar”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allah”) and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allah”) during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted.

Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly: Allah says: “That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and celebrate the name of Allah through the days appointed, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)...”  - (Surah al-Hajj 22:28).

The majority of scholars agree that the “appointed days” are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because of the words of Ibn ‘Abbas (RA): “The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah).”

The Takbeer may include the words “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (i.e, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise),” as well as other phrases.

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 (RA) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them.  Takbeer can be recited individually, or in unison.  Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward.

Specific Takbeer

From the day of ‘Arafah (the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah), up until the ‘Asr Prayer on the thirteen day, are days in which the takbeers (saying Allahu Akbar) should be said. Imam al-Khattaabee (d.456H) (RA) said: “The wisdom behind saying the takbeers in these days is that in the times of jaahiliyyah (pre-lslamic era), they used to slaughter for their taaghoots (false objects of worship). So the takbeers were prescribed in order to indicate that the act of slaughtering is directed to Allah alone, and by mentioning only His - the Mighty and Majestic's - Name.”  - (Fathul-Bari, 21/586).

Shaykh ul-lslaam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) said: “All praise be to Allah.  The most correct saying concerning the takbeer - that which the majority of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors), and the Scholars from the Companions and Imaams were upon - is to begin making the takbeer from Fajr (dawn) on the day of ‘Arafah, up until the last day of at-Tashreeq (the thirteenth of Dhul-Hijjah), after every Prayer.” (Majmoo‘ Fatawa, 24/220).  However, what seems more correct is not to restrict the takbeers to being just after every Prayer, as al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr pointed out in Fathul-Bari (21/587).

Ibn Abi Shaybah relates: “That ‘Ali (RA) used to make the takbeer beginning after the Fajr Prayer on the day of ‘Arafah, up until after the ‘Asr Prayer on the last day of at-Tashreeq.”  - (Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf, 2/1/2).

As regards the actual wording of the takbeers, then nothing authentic has been related from the Messenger (SAW).  However, certain wordings have been authentically related from a group of Companions.

From them: Ibn Mas’ud (RA) would say: “Allah is great, Allah is great.  None has the right to be worshipped except Him.  And Allah is great, Allah is great. And to Him belongs all praise. (Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Laa ilaahaa illAllah, wAllahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa lillaahil-hamd.)”  - (Ibn Abi Shaybah).

Sayyidina ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said: “Allah is great, Allah is great, Allah is great, and to Allah belongs all praise.  Allah is greater and Sublime.  Allah is greater to what He has guided us to.  [Allahu akbar,Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd. Allahu akbar wa ajalla. Allahu akbar 'alaa maa hadaanaa.]”  - (al-Bayhaqi, 3/315).

Community Cohesion

Good deeds are beloved by Allah and will bring a great reward from Him.  Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, making supplication (du’aa’), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, attending the Eid prayer in Jama'ah which is compulsory, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Umar, RA, narrated that at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “ Do you know what is the day today? The people replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’  He ((SAW)) said, 'It is the forbidden (sacred) day.  And do you know what town is this?’ They replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’  He (SAW) said, 'This is the forbidden (sacred) town (Mecca). And do you know which month is this?' The people replied, ' Allah and His Messenger know best.'  He ((SAW)) said, 'This is the forbidden (sacred) month.' The Messenger ((SAW)) added, 'No doubt, Allah made your blood, your properties, and your honour sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours in this town of yours.” - (Bukhari, 1742)

Global Cohesion

O ye who believe! Bow down, prostate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do good; that ye may prosper. And Strive in His Cause as ye ought to strive,
(with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; It is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this  (Revelation); That the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector: The Best to protect and the Best to help!
" - [Surah al-Hajj 22: 77 – 78].

Repentance.

One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin.  Repentance means coming back to Allah and foregoing all bad deeds, open and secret.

If a Muslim commits a sin, he must hasten to repent at once, without delay, firstly because he does not know when he will die, and secondly because one evil deed leads to another. Repentance at special times is very important because in most cases people’s thoughts turn towards worship at these times, and they are keen to do good, which leads to them recognizing their sins and feeling regret for the past. Allah (Mighty and Glorious is He) says: “ But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.”  - [Surah al-Qasas 28:67].

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Nafhatul 'Arab: Shaykh Maulana Muhammad I'zaz Ali