Monday, 15 October 2012
Blessings of the Ten Days of Dzu al-Hijjah
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The first ten days of Dzu al-Hijjah are one of the most praised and blessed holy days of the Muslim calendar. Special attention should be paid to these days like fasting the first nine days unless in Makkah and Madina for hajj. Those fasting the first nine days of Dzu al-Hijjah are blessed here and in the Hereafter by the Mercy, Peace, and Compassion of the Lord of the Heavens, Allah (s.w.t.).
The first ten days of Dzu al-Hijjah are amongst the most magnificent days in the Muslim calendar. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the Laylat al-Qadr.” Every Muslim should avail of this wonderful opportunity by performing during this period as much ‘ibadah as he can.
The virtue of these ten days is confirmed in the Qur’an. Allah (s.w.t.) Swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is suggestive of its importance and great benefit. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
By the Break of Day. By the Nights twice five; (Surah al-Fajr:1-2)
ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) says that it refers to the first ten days of Dzu al-Hijjah. Dzu al-Hijjah, the month of hajj, is the 12th month of the Islamic lunar year. It is during this month that the annual pilgrimage to Makkah, the hajj, takes place. The actual pilgrimage rites take place on the 8th to 12th days of the month.
Included amongst the Ten Days are: the 8th of Dzu al-Hijjah, the Day of Tarwiyyah; the 9th of Dzu al-Hijjah, the Day of ‘Arafah which is the day on which Allah (s.w.t.) Perfected His Religion and the 10th of Dzu al-Hijjah, the Day of Sacrifice. The 10th of Dzu al-Hijjah is the day of qurban, Yawm an-Nahr. It is the day of ‘Iyd al-Adhha. the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of hajj. It combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.
According to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), the first ten days of this month are a special time for devotion. During these days, preparations are underway for those who are undertaking the pilgrimage, and most of the actual pilgrimage rites occur. In particular, the 9th day of the month marks the Day of Arafah, and the 10th day of the month marks ‘Iyd al-Adhha, the Festival of Sacrifice. Even for those who are not travelling for the pilgrimage, this is a special time to remember Allah (s.w.t.) and spend extra time in devotion and good deeds.
There is no day on which Allah (s.w.t.) Frees more people from the hellfire than on the day of ‘Arafah. On this day, sins are forgiven. Allah (s.w.t.) becomes Closer to his slaves, His angels boast of the people on the plain of ‘Arafah, as they stand humbly, sacrificing, remembering Allah (s.w.t.) and seeking His Forgiveness. This is the day of the Great Pilgrimage; a day of praise for Allah (s.w.t.), a day of remembrance and repentance.
It was during the Ten Days of Dzu al-Hijjah that Allah (s.w.t.) Accepted the repentance of Adam (a.s.), when He Relented toward him and Restored him to His grace at ‘Arafah. It was during those Ten Days that Ibrahim (a.s.) the Bosom Friend, Ibrahim al-Khalil (a.s.) obtained the bosom friendship Bestowed upon him by Allah (s.w.t.), having sacrificed his wealth for the sake of the guests, himself for the sake of the fires, his son for the sake of the Criterion, al-Furqan, and his heart for the sake of the All-Merciful. It was during those Ten Days that Ibrahim (a.s.) constructed the noble Ka'bah. It was during those Ten Days that Allah (s.w.t.) Honoured Musa (a.s.) with Intimate Conversation. It was during those Ten Days that Forgiveness Descended upon Dawud (a.s.).
In a narration recorded by Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), it is reported that one should in these ten days, recite the following excessively: tasbih (subhanallah), tahlil (laa ilaha illa Allah), tahmid (al-hamdulillah) and takbir (Allahu akbar). This, we find in the hadits of ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) where the Prophet (s.a.w.) said; “Make tahlil, takbir and tahmid much on these days.” Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) said that ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) and Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) would go into the market in the first ten days of Dzu al Hijjah and make takbir and the people would follow them. He also said that ‘Umar (r.a.) would be in his tent in Mina and make takbir until the people in the mosque heard him and would follow him making takbir. The people in the markets of Mina also followed them until the whole of Mina would shake with takbir. They would also make takbir after their prayers, whilst riding, whilst walking and whilst in their gatherings and it is appropriate that we also revive this practice.
In another hadits, as reported by Imam at-Timirdzi (r.a.), it is reported that one fast in these ten days is equivalent to the reward of fasting for one year. The tenth of Dzu al-Hijjah is excluded since it is not permissible to fast on the day of ‘Iyd al-Adhha. Likewise, performing ‘ibadah in any of these nights earns the reward of ‘ibadah in Laylat al-Qadr.
The 9th of Dzu al-Hijjah is the Day of ‘Arafah. Regarding this day Rasulullah (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “I have hope in Allah that the fast of the day of ‘Arafah will be an atonement for the minor sins of the past and forthcoming year.” This was reported by Imam at-Timirdzi (r.a.).
The first ten days and nights of Dzu al-Hijjah are extremely virtuous. One should therefore engage oneself in even more ‘ibadah during this time. One should fast on as many of these days as possible. To ignore these virtues and be indifferent to the significance of these days and nights is indeed a great deprivation. It is also a sign of ingratitude to Allah (s.w.t.) for this great opportunity. He has Given us an opportunity to earn tremendously multiplied rewards for little acts of devotion.
ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) reported that the Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days,” referring to the Ten Days of Dzu al-Hijjah. The Prophet (s.a.w.) also said, “The sayyid of the months is the month of Ramadhan, and the mightiest of them in sanctity is Dzu al-Hijjah”. In another, he affirms; “Of all the days of this world, the most excellent are the Ten Days of Dzu al-Hijjah.”
The companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, not even jihad in the way of Allah?”
He said, “Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger for Allah's Sake and returns with neither of them.”
Imam Ahmad (r.a.) and Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) recorded from ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) heard the Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “There are no days more honourable in Allah’s Sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil, takbir and tahmid a lot on those days.”
Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) relates that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “There are no days more Loved by Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dzu al-Hijjah. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer swalat al-tahajjud during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on Laylat al-Qadr.”
It is also said that for each and every day devoted to fasting, the one who fasts will be credited with the freeing of a hundred slaves, with the provision of a hundred she-camels to guide in caravan and with the provision of a hundred mares to ride in fighting for the Cause of Allah (s.w.t.).
The one who fasts on the Day of Tarwiyyah, the 8th of Dzu al-Hijjah, will be Credited with the freeing of a thousand slaves, with the provision of a thousand she-camels to guide in caravan and with the provision of a thousand mares to ride in fighting for the Cause of Allah (s.w.t.).
The one who fasts on the Day of ‘Arafah, the 9th of Dzu al-Hijjah, will be Credited with the freeing of two thousand slaves, with the provision of two thousand she-camels to guide in caravan and with the provision of two thousand mares to ride in fighting for the cause of Allah (s.w.t.). The one who fasts on this day will be Forgive the sins of two years. Such a one will be Credited with keeping the fast in the year before this one, and in the year after it.
On the 10th of Dzu al-Hijjah, 'Iyd al-Adhha, it is incumbent for the Muslim who is not on hajj to make every effort to perform the `Iyd prayer wherever it is performed and to be present for the khuthbah to benefit from it. He must know the wisdom behind the legislation of this `Iyd.
The ‘ulama, in discussing the virtue and excellence of the Ten Days, say it is because they combine the essential acts of worships in Islam. These include prayer, fasting, supererogatory acts, charity and pilgrimage. These are not present in any other days. For this reason, the first Ten Days of Dzu al-Hijjah are the best days of the year in the same way that the Last ten nights of Ramadhan are the best Ten Nights of the year. However, the Last Ten Nights of Ramadhan are better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months. The key word here is ‘day.’ not ‘night.’
As Allah (s.w.t.) Reminds us in the Qur’an:
…And whatever good ye send forth for your souls, ye shall find it in Allah’s Presence ― yea, better and greater, in Reward... (Surah al-Muzzammil:20)