(In the name of Allah, most Gracious, the most Merciful)
It’s official, the Saudi government has sighted the moon and it announced that October 6th, 2013 marks the first day of Dhul al-Hijjah! Which means the Eid will be on October 15, 2013. What is Dhul al-Hijjah? It is the sacred month which marks the end of the Islamic calendar. Dhul al-Hijjah is also the month where Hajj(Pilgrimmage to Mekka) takes place. Dhul al-Hijjah means, “Possessor of the Pilgrimage”. During this sacred month, Muslims from all around the world congregate to Mekka to visit the Kaaba. Usually the Hajj is performed on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of this month. Eid al-Adha means “Festival of Sacrifice” or “Greater Eid”, and it begins on the 10th day and ends on the 13th day of the Islamic month. Our hearts and prayers are always with those who are undertaking this pilgrimage during these days. For those who aren’t performing hajj, rejoice! For there is ways to make the best of your time!
The significance of the first 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah.
1. From Surat Al-Fajr:
“By the dawn; And [by] the ten nights.” (89:1-2)
Ibn Kathir, along with the majority of the greatest and most respected scholars, have said that the “10 nights” of this verse refers to the 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah.
2. The Messenger of Allah(SAW), peace be upon him said:
“There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the companions listening) said, “Not even Jihad?” He, peace be upon him, said, “No, not even Jihad except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything.” [Recorded by Imam al-Bukhari]
So technically, these first 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah are the better than all of the days of the year, including the last 10 days of Ramadan! However, the last 10 nights of Ramadan are understood to be greater then the 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah because they include Laylat al-Qadr(The night of power), which is better than a 1000 months.
What is recommended on these 10 days?
It is Sunnah for all Muslims to fast on the 9 days of Dhul al-Hijjah. Fasting is said to be one of the greatest deeds. In hadith qudsi, Allah says: “All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.” [Bukhari, 1805]
And in another hadith, it is recorded that the prophet used to fast the 9th day of the sacred month. Hanbada ibn Khalid reports on the authority of his wife who reports that some of the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The Prophet, upon whom be peace, would fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day of Ashura and three days in every month.” [Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nisa’i and others]
Included in the first 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah is Yawm al-`Arafah (the Day of `Arafah), on which Allah perfected His Religion. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting the day of `Arafah expiates the sins of two years: the past one and the coming one. And fasting the day of Ashura expiates the sins of the past year.” [Muslim]
So fasting the 9th day is extremely recommended!
Another part of the Sunnah is to constantly remind ourselves of Allah(SWT) through remembrances known as takbeer, tasbeeh, tahleel, and tahmeed during the first 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah. We can say these words anywhere may be permissible:
- Takbeer: Allahu Akbar(God is great)
- Tahmeed: Al-Hamdulilah(All praises to God)
- Tahleel: Laa ilaaha illalah(There is no god but Allah)
- Tasbeeh: Subhan-Allah(Glory be to God)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.” [Ahmad, 7/224]
So, make the best of these 10 days, insh’Allah! May Allah Reward us all for our good deeds.