Maximising the benefits of the first 10 days of Zul-Hijjah

The month of Zul-Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. It is the month when one of the five pillars of Islam called Hajj is performed. In Islam, there is a consensus among scholars that the first 10 days of Zul-Hijjah are the best days” As for nights, the last 10 nights of Ramadan are the best nights. As for days in a week, Friday is the best a week. 

The first 10 days of the month of Zul -Hijjah are among the most significant in Islam. Every Muslim should take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity by offering as much more Ibaadah to Allah as he or she can in these days of this great month. Any good deed done for the sake of Allah according to the way He approves it will be rewarded immensely during the first 10 days of Zul- Hijjah. The month of Zul-Hijjah is a blessed month, but its first 10 days are particularly special, a time filled with rewards, blessings and significance. These days are considered sacred for both those individuals going to Hajj and those who are not.

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, 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”. (Bukhari).

Generally, all good deeds are rewarded highly at this blessed time. These actions include praying, reading the Holy Qur’an, making Dua (supplication), giving in charity and being good to our families, and seeking Allah’s forgiveness at this time is also encouraged. Let us increase our Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) during these 10 days, asking for forgiveness, prayers, and Dua (supplication). Spiritual reflection are strongly encouraged during this time. Let us give extra Sadaqa (voluntary charity). 

Similarly, verbal remembrance of Allah is another meritorious act during these first 10 days of Zul-Hijjah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged Muslims to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (Subhan-Allaah), Tahmeed (Al-hamdu Lillaah) and Takbeer (Allahu akbar) during this time.

However, as for fasting, it is particularly encouraged to fast on the ninth day of Zul-Hijjah, known in Arabic as the Yawm Arafa. The fast of Yaumal Arafah for those who are not performing Hajj is a Mustahabb (desirable act).The Prophet used to fast on this day (al Nisa’i and Abu Dawud). It was reported from Abu Qataadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah. He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” narrated by Muslim.

Abu Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘Ashura, (the 10th day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.” — Reported by all except Al-Bukhari and At-Tirmidhi. In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her , said: “Four things the Messenger of Allah never neglected: Observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura, ‘Arafat , three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning.” — Muslim. These statements are proof that fasting on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah , the day before ‘Eid ul-Adha was a lifelong practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as his wife reported.

The ninth day of the month of Zul- Hijjah is called ‘Yaumal Arafah’ (The day of Arafah). This is the date when the Hujjaj (Hajj pilgrims) assemble with the plain of Arafat, six miles away from Makkah Mukkaramah, where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of Hajj; namely, the ‘Wuqoof of Arafat’ (the stay in Arafat).  On this day, muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting, in preparation for the three days festivity following ‘Eid ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness of sacrifice. 

On the 10th day of Zul- Hijjah there is a sacrifice for those who can afford it. Slaughtering of animals for Eid-al-adha is emphatic practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The performer would be rewarded greatly by Allah, but he who does not, has not committed a sin. It represents a show of gratitude for Allah’s favour and blessings including the demonstration of the concern of the rich towards the poor as well as the commemoration of the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

May the Almighty Allah accept our good deeds!

Nurudeen Dauda,

Kaduna, Kaduna state