USIC blog post by Huraira Maneer

 

The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah (ذو الحجة) are tremendous – they are best and most virtuous days of the Islamic calendar. These days are even better than the last 10 days of Ramadhaan[1] (but not its nights)yet most of us are heedless with regards to their exact merits and virtues – thus we inevitably fall short in doing the righteous actions we should be doing during them.
Most of us will strive during the last ten of Ramadan in fasting and Qiyaam, yet when it comes to the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, they are, unfortunately, just like our normal days!

Below are the dates according to the Gregorian calendar:

1st Dhul Hijjah – Friday the 2nd of August

9th (The Day of Arafah) – Saturday the 10th of August.

10th (Eid ul Adha) – Sunday the 11th of August

Through collating its virtues mentioned in the Ahaadeeth, I hope to educate myself and others of its merits, thus allowing us to take full advantage of such blessed days based upon sure authentic knowledge.

 

The points I will mention can be summarised as follows[2]:

1. Dhul Hijjah is 1 of the 4 sacred months in Islam
2. Deeds in these days are rewarded more
3. Allah took an oath by these days signifying their importance
4. It’s 9th day (the day of Arafah) is of great importance
5. We should increase in takbeer in these days
6. The Hajj rites originate frombraaheem عليه السلام
7. A person intending to sacrifice shouldn’t clip their hair/nails in these 10 days
8. Eid signifies the end of these 10 days

 

  1. Firstly, Dhul Hijjah is one of the four sacred months in Islaam[3], they are:  Rajab (7th), and the 3 consecutive months of Dhū al-Qa’dah (11th), Dhu al-Ḥijjah (12th) and Muḥarram (1st). In the sacred months the reward for good deeds are multiplied and sinning within these months is worse and graver than sinning in months other than them.
    Thus, in them, we should be more zealous in doing good deeds and warier of committing sins.
  2. Deeds in these 10 days are better than deeds performed anytime outside them, as the Prophet said:
    “There are no days wherein righteous actions are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” They said: Not even jihad in the way of Allaah? He said: “Not even jihad in the way of Allaah, except for a man who leaves out (for jihad) with his wealth and self and doesn’t return back with any of them.”[4].
    Therefore, in these days our zeal and passion in striving to increase in righteous actions should be multiplied. Such actions may include recitation of the Quraan and reflecting upon it, remembrance of Allah, charity, fasting and seeking forgiveness during the days and nights.
  3. Further, Allah takes an oath by these days in Surah Fajr {By the Dawn and by the Ten Nights.} {Fajr 89:1-2}. In these days Satan/Shaytaan is never more disgraced and humiliated – especially the day of Arafah. This is due to the descending of Angels, Allahs mercy and freeing people from the hellfire, the great actions of obedience such as Hajj and Umrah which occur in them; as well as the increase in general acts of obedience by the Ummah as highlighted above. As such acts are greatly honoured, they are deserving Allah should swear an oath by them[5].
  4. The Day of Arafah (Saturday the 10th of August – 9th of Dhul Hijjah) is a monumental day in the Islamic calendar. It is the main day of Hajj on which pilgrims gather on mount Arafah – the same mount on which the Prophet ﷺ delivered his last and final sermon[6].
    –The day of Arafah also holds much significance as it was the day that the religion of Islam was completed and the Aayah[7] “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” was revealed.
    It is strongly recommended (for those not at Arafah) to fast this day as it expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year[8]. Further, there is not a day on which Allah frees more of his slaves than on this day[9] and the best dua is the dua on the day of Arafah[10].
  5. Glorifying Allah with the Takbeer should be increased during these 10 days[11] – this begins on the day of Arafah (10/8) from Fajr and ends on the 13th day of Dhul Hijjah (14/8). It is recited after each prayer[12] as well as throughout the day in general.  There are many wordings reported for the takbir which include:
    ” الله أكبر .. الله أكبر .. لا إله إلا الله ، الله أكبر .. الله أكبر .. ولله الحمد “
    Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, wa lillaahi’l-hamd
  6. The Hajj rites which occur in these days originate from the story of Ibraaheem عليه السلام. Allah entrusted him to build the Ka’bah along with his son Ismaaeel. After this, he returned to Makkah every year to perform pilgrimage – this was then practiced by his son after his death. However, with the passage of time, Hajj rites were distorted, and idolatry spread throughout Arabia. This was until the coming of the Prophet ﷺ who then revived and established the true monotheistic call to worship Allah alone without any partners or rivals such as idols, close angels, or the pious.
  7. The person who intends to sacrifice isn’t to remove anything from his body such as hair or nails once the 10 days have begun – thereby imitating those performing pilgrimage[13].
  8. Eid ul Adha (the festivity of sacrifice) (عيد الاضحى) corresponds to the 10th of Dhul Hijjah. This marks the end of the major rites of Hajj. The slaughter on this day commemorates the blessing and mercy of Allah in replacing Ismaa’eel (Son of Ibraheem), whom Ibraheem was commanded to sacrifice, with a ram – this was a test from Allah[14] of Ibrahim’s firm and true faith. As Allah mentions in the Quran[15], Ibrahim saw he was slaughtering his son Ismaa’eel in a dream. Upon narrating this to his son Ismaa’eel, Ismaa’eel told Ibraheem to do what he has been commanded by Allah in the dream and that he, Ismaeel, would be patient! Once Ibraaheem had laid Ismaa’eel in preparation for slaughter, Allah called out to Ibraaheem informing him he had fulfilled the dream – and thus Ismaeel was replaced with a ram. It is for this reason we carry out sacrifices on this day in commemoration and celebration of this event.

This story also gives the Muslim an opportunity to ponder, reflect and account him/herself. SubhaanAllah! Look at how Ibraaheem was tested with such a manifest trial. Ibrahim waited patiently many years until old age to be blessed with a child – he was then commanded by Allah to sacrifice his child he had been blessed with in old age. Yet, when Allah commanded this, despite his love for his child, he was in full submission and surrender to the command of Allah. This is because in the believers’ heart, the love of Allah surpasses the love of anything and everything else.

We can also ponder over the patience of Ismaaeel in surrendering to Allah’s commands – even though it would seem to lead to his death! It is from such great stories that we are reminded of the essence of Islam – absolute and total surrender and submission to Allah and yielding to Allahs’ commands and prohibitions – whilst being patient upon that, eagerly hoping for Allah’s reward and fearing his retribution.

These are the main points I have gathered concerning Dhul Hijjah[16]. I ask Allah to make it beneficial knowledge for us which translates into action and leads us to call others to it. I also ask Allah to forgive me for that which I omitted and that which may be deficient – and perfection indeed belongs to Allah.

 

Further listening: Sheikh Saleh as Saleh

The Islamic months in order are:

Numerical order – Arabic text – transliteration – (translation)

1- مُحَرَّم – Muḥarram – (Forbidden)

2- صَفَر – Ṣafar – (Void)

3- رَبيع الأوّل – Rabī‘ al-awwal – (The first spring)

4- رَبيع الثاني – Rabī‘ ath-thānī – (The second spring)

5- جُمادى الأولى – Jumādá al-ūlá – (The first of parched land)

6- جُمادى الآخرة – Jumādá al-ākhirah – (The last of parched land)

7- رَجَب – Rajab – (Respect, honour)

8- شَعْبان – Sha’bān – (Scattered)

9- رَمَضان – Ramaḍān -(Burning heat)

10 – شَوّال – Shawwāl – (Raised)

11- ذو القعدة – Dhū al-Qa‘dah – (The one of truce/sitting)

12 – ذو الحجة – Dhū al-Ḥijjah – (The one of pilgrimage)

Spellings and Translations taken from Wikipedia here

 

[1] The 10 days of Dhul Hijjah better than last 10 DAYS of Ramadhaan – Ibn al Qayyim in Zad-al-Ma’ad 1/57 – here
[2] It is from the Prophetic methods of teaching to mention a topic in general form and then to proceed to explain it in more detail, since that is more effective for the one learning see hadith
[3] Dhul Hijjah is one of the 4 sacred months in the Islamic calendar – Tafsir Ibn Kathir – here
[4] Ibn ‘Abbaas – Saheeh Bukhaaree
[5] Allah takes an oath by the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah – Tafsir of Sheikh As-Sa’dee (Surah Fajr) – here
[6] The religion was completed on the Day of Arafah – Tafsir ibn Kathir via Umar May Allah be pleased with him here
[7] Surah Maa’idah [5:3]
[8] Fasting day of Arafah expiates previous year of sins – Sahih Muslim – here
[9] Freeing of people from the fire on Arafah – Sunan an-Nasa’i here
[10] Muwwatta Malik – here
[11] Consensus of Scholars and as narrated from the Prophet’s companions – Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ – here
[12] Ibn Taymiyyah Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (24/220)
[13] Removing hair/nails for person offering sacrifice – Nasa’i – here
[14] Surah As Saffat [37:106]
[15] Surah As Saffat [37:102]
[16] A lot of general wordings have been summarised from the answer to a question posed to Sheikh Uthaymeen – “…So what is your advice for the people regarding taking advantage of them?(days of Dhul Hijjah)…”  here

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