Some days are greater than others
Allah has blessed the ummah like no other before. One of the blessings that Allah has given us is certain the times of year in which even small acts of worship are rewarded in abundance- such as Laylatul qadar, or the six days of Shawaal. These periods of the year are in reality gifts from Allah that He has given to us. And from those blessed times in which worship is abundantly and hugely rewarded are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. This is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar during which the Muslims perform Hajj. There are no other days which are rewarded like these ten days. Sadly many Muslims do not realise the greatness and superiority and virtues of these ten days, and treat these days like any other day. Yet there is much in the Quran and Sunnah about the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. So the true believer rushes todo good in these days and is extra cautious to stay away from sins. “And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden – its width (is like that of) the heavens and the earth prepared for the pious”. (3:133) Allah doesn’t just mention to ask for forgiveness, He tells us to rush to do it. Also any sin done in these days is more severe and more hated by Allah, than sins done at other times. Allaah said: So do not oppress yourselves within these days. [09:36]
Big rewards for small actions
One of the virtues of these ten days is that any action done in these ten days is greater and more beloved to Allah than all of the other days. Two rakaat prayed in these 10 days is more rewarding than any other day of the year. Giving charity, fasting or any action is more beloved in these 10 days. Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, 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 nothing.” (al-Bukhaari).
Better than the last ten days of Raamadan?
Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked: which are the most virtuous: the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah or the last ten nights of Ramadhaan. He replied by saying:
“The first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah are the best days throughout the year, even better than the last ten days of Ramadhaan. However, the last ten nights of Ramadhaan are the best nights in the year including the first ten nights in Dhu al-Hijjah”.
So if we take advantage of these ten days, just as if we take advantage of laytul qadr, the scholars say it as if you have lived many lives in worship.
Four great virtues of these ten days
1. Allaah swears an oath by these ten days
Swearing an oath by something is an indication of its importance in the sight of Allah. Allaah says: “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn ‘Abbaas said that this refers to the first ten days and ten nights of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
2.In these ten days Allah completed His religion.
This was done on the Day of Arafah which is the 9th Dhul Hijjah. Narrated Tariq bin Shibab: Some Jews said, “Had this verse been revealed to us, we would have taken that day as Eid.” `Umar said, “What verse?” They said:– “This day I have Perfected your religion for you, Completed My Favour upon you And have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (5.3) `Umar said, “I certainly know the place where it was revealed; It was revealed while Allah’s Apostle was staying at `Arafat on a Friday” (Bukhari). Al-T̩abarī mentions that “When the aayah, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you…” was revealed, during the great day of Hajj (the Day of `Arafah) `Umar cried. The Prophet said, `What makes you cry’ He said, `What made me cry is that our religion is being perfected for us. Now it is perfect, nothing is perfect, but it is bound to deteriorate.’ The Prophet said, “You have said the truth.”
3)The Day Of Arafah is the day on Which Allah Took The Covenant From The Progeny Of Adam.
Allah says: And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we have been unaware of this.” [al-A`raaf (7):172]
Allah took a covenant with all of mankind with the fact that He is their Lord and that they have no other lord or deity but Him. This covenant took place in Arafah: They said, “Yes, we have testified.” Therefore, it is no longer acceptable to say on the Day of Judgment that they forgot and were unaware of the covenant, or to claim that their fathers made shirk and they, being their descendants, thus followed them. The shirk of one’s father is not an excuse for someone to deviate from the covenant of the fitrah. This covenant is between them and Allah, and their fathers have nothing to do with it. However, it is out of the Mercy of Allah that He does not bring people to account by virtue of the covenant of the fitrah alone but after sending messengers to invite them to Allah. Allah Almighty says: “[We Sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warmers so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.” [4:165]
4) These ten days also include the Eid al Adha which is known as Yawm al-Nahar (Day of Sacrifice).
This day of Eid is the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines many acts of worship in a way unlike any other day. The Messenger of Allah (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The most excellent days with Allah is the day of an-Nahr (i.e Eid ul Adha)” (Abu Dawud authenticated by al-Albani)
What to do in these ten days
Allah says: “and mention the name of Allaah on appointed days.” [al-Hajj 22:28] Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of Dhu’l-Hijjah)” The Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allaah 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-Allaah”), Takbeer (Allahu Akhbār) and Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah).” (Ahmad). This should be at all times; in your car, at home, and when walking. Bukhaaree mentioned about Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah that: “the two of them used to go out to the market place during the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah saying ‘Allaahu-Akbar’, causing the people to also say it.”
The Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) said “The best supplication offered is on day of ‘Arafah. And the best that I and the Prophets before me uttered is Laa Ilaaha Ilal-llaah, Wahdahu Laa Shareeka Lahu, Lahul-Mulk Wa Lahul-Hamd Wa Huwa ‘Alaa Kulli Shay’in Qadeer”. (Tirmidhee. Authenticated by al-Albaanee).
Also from thikr is reading Quran. Whatever your daily portion of Quran is, increase it. And if you are not accustomed to read the Quran daily, then use this as an opportunity to start.
The Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. One of the wives of the Prophet said: The Prophet used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashoora’, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. (Saheeh Abi Dawood). It is also Sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (the day before Eid, known as the day of Arafah). The Messenger of Allaah (salalahu alaihi wa sallam) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he said: “I ask Allaah that it may expiate for (the sins of) the year that comes before it and the year that comes after it.”
3. Performing Hajj and ‘Umrah. One of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the Sacred House of Allaah. The one whom Allaah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of the (salalahu alaihi wa sallam): “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”.
4. Sadaqa. We should spend freely of what Allah gives us to help the poor and needy.
5. Qurbani. Also known as udhiyah. A camel, cow, sheep or goat is slaughtered after the Eid prayer, as an act of worship, intending to draw closer to Allaah. This is legislated for the Day of Eid (10th) and the Days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th) For further details, see the FAQ on Qurbani.
6. Sincere repentance. One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allaah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allaah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the truth by doing what Allaah loves. 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. Ḥasan al-Baṣrī said: “If the slave of Allāh sinned and then he repented, he only gets closer to Allāh.”
Repentance is obligatory at all times, but when the Muslim combines sincere repentance with good deeds during these days of great virtue, this is a sign of success, in sha Allaah. Keenness to do good deeds causes a person to regret his sins. “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” [al-Qasas 28:67]
7. Eid Prayer: It is incumbent for the Muslim (who is not making Hajj) to make every effort to perform the `Eed Prayer wherever it is performed, and to be present for the Khutbah and benefit.
We should make sure that we do not miss this important occasion, because time is passing quickly. Occupy yourself at this blessed time by worshipping Allaah, praying, reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, making du’a, giving charity, honouring your parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship. Hasten to do good works before death strikes, before you regret your negligence and failure to act, before you are trapped with your deeds in the grave.