Welcoming the Blessed Guest: Dhul-Hijjah
Sunday (6th October 2013, 1st Dhul-Hijjah 1434) is the first day of the month known as Dhul-Hijjah. Our hearts and prayers are with those undertaking the difficult pilgrimage during these days. For those of us who are not performing the Hajj in 2013, there are still many ways to make the most of this blessed time!
Virtues of the first 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah
How many times have we heard Surat Al-Fajr recited, be it in our homes, while memorizing, or in the mosque? As a shorter surah, it may be a frequent part of our prayers, but taking the time to reflect on even a part of the first verse reveals a treasure of meaning. In the first two ayahs (verses) of Surat Al-Fajr, Allah says:
“By the dawn; And [by] the ten nights.” (89:1-2)
According to scholars of the Qur’an, the days mentioned as significant enough for Allah to swear by them are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
Describing how these ten days are among the best, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” They said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” [Bukhari, 2/457]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha.” He was asked: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” [Al-Daarimi, 1/357]
Thus, the ten days are better than all other days of the year, with no exception, even the last ten days of Ramadan. (The last ten nights of Ramadan, however, are understood to be better than the nights of Dhul-Hijjah, because they include Laylat al-Qadr (the night of power), which is better than a thousand months. (Qur’an 97:3)
Therefore, whoever is not able to go to Hajj should use this blessed time to complete even more righteous deeds than usual. These can include anything such as giving charity, honouring one’s parents, upholding the ties of kinship, and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. Fasting and remembrance are particularly recommended:
1. Fasting Nine days, especially on the Day of ‘Arafah
It is Sunnah for the Muslim to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, because fasting is one of the best of deeds. In a 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]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Prophet used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and the day of Ashura, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays.” [Abu Dawood, 2/462]
The ten days of Dhul-Hijjah include 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]
It is Sunnah to recite remembrances known as the takbeer, tahmeed, tahleel, and tasbeeh during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, saying these words out loud in the mosques, homes, streets and every place in which it is permissible to remember Allah:
● Takbeer: Allahu akbar (God is most great)
● Tahmeed: Al-hamdu Lillah (All praises be to God)
● Tahleel: Laa ilaha ill-Allah (There is no god but Allah)
● Tasbeeh: Subhaan-Allah (Glory be to God)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained how, “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]
While there are different versions, the takbeer can also be recited as follows:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd.
Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise.