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The First Ten Days of Dhu’l-Hijjah
Research Eng. Iqbal Ahmed Khan

A History of Hajj

Days of virtue and righteous deeds

Praise be to Allah Who has created Time and has made some times better than others, some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, prepare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the Day of Judgement. 

Among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, for which Allah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning ): “By thedawn; by the ten nights” [Al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers tothte first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah.  Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413). 

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said : “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten 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 2/457) 

The above indicate that these ten days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadaan. But the last ten nights of Ramadaan are better, because they include Laylat Al-Qadr (“the Night of Power”), which is better than a thousand months. Thus the various reports may be reconciled.(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/412) 

These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on which Allah perfected His Religion. Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said : “Whoever fasts on the day of ‘Arafaah Allah will forgive his sins for two year (one year before it and one year after). Ibn Maajah-1721. These days also include Yawm al-Nahar ( the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day. 

The Muslim must understand the value of his life, increase his worship of Allah and persist in doing good deeds until the moment of death. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death)” [Al-Hijr 15:99] 

What must a Muslim avoid during these ten days if he wants to offer a sacrifice? 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” According to another report he said: “He should not remove (literally, touch) anything from his hair or skin.” (Muslim).  

However, if a person does any of these things deliberately, he must seek Allah’s forgiveness. Whoever needs to remove some hair, nails etc. because it is harming him, such as having a broken nail or a wound in a site where there is hair, should do so, and there is nothing wrong with that. One can wash their hair because the Prophet (peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) only forbade cutting the hair, not washing it. 

If a person cut his hair or nails during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah because he was not planning to offer a sacrifice, then he decides later, during the ten days, to offer a sacrifice, then he must refrain from cutting his hair and nails from the moment he makes this decision. 

Some women may delegate their brothers or sons to make the sacrifice on their behalf, then cut their hair during these ten days. This is not correct, because the ruling applies to the one who is offering the sacrifice, whether or not he (or she) delegates someone else to carry out the actual deed. The prohibition does not apply to the person delegated, only to the person who is making the sacrifice, as is indicated in the hadeeth. 

This prohibition appears to apply only to the one who is offering the sacrifice, not to his wife and children, unless any of them is offering a sacrifice in his or her own right, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to sacrifice “on behalf of the family of Muhammad,” but there are no reports that say he forbade them to cut their hair or nails at that time. 

Recommended good deeds during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are: 

1. Fasting : It is sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) urged us to do good deeds during this time, and fasting is one of the best of deeds. Allah has chosen fasting for Himself, as it stated in the hadeeth qudsi: “ Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him,except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.’” (Bukahri)  

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Hunaydah ibn Khaalid reproted from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said : “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month.”(Nisaa’I 4/205, Abu Dawud 2/462). 

2. Takbeer : Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain form trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allah on apointed days , over the beast of cattle that He has provided fro them (for sacrifice)….”[Al-Hajj 22:28]. 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allah”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillah”) and Takbeer (“Allaahu Akbar”) during these ten days. Say it loudly in themosque, the home, the street and every place where ti is permitted  to remember Allah andmention His name out loud,as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greateness of Allah, may He be exalted. 

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased withhim andhis father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said : “ There are no days greater in the sight of Allah 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 illAllah”), Tekbeer and Tahmeed.” (Reported by Ahmad 7/334). 

Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly. There is sound evidence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to go out in the market place during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heart them. It should be recieted individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Sharee’ah for doing this. 

Tasbeeh, Takbeer & Tahmeed at this time is an aspect of Sunnah that has been forgotten. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said : “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least form their reward.” (Tirmidhi 7/443) 

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 Allah. The one whom Allah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properlu is included in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) : “ An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.” 

4. Doing more good deeds in general :  Because good deeds are beloved by Allah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occuopy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, making supplications (Du’aa), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of Kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship. 

5. Sacrifice: One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the sake of Allah. 

6. Sincere repentance: One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allah 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 Allah 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. Repentance at special times is very important because in most cases people’s thoughts turn towards worship at these times, and they are keen to do good, which leads to them recognizing their sins and feeling regret for the past. Repentance is obligatory at all times, but when the Muslim combines sincere repentance with good deeds during the days of most virtue, this is a sign of success, Insha Allah. Allah Says (interpretation of the meaning): “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” [Al-Qasas 28:67] 

The Muslim should make sure that he does not miss any of these important occasion, because time is passing quickly. Let him prepare himself by doing good deeds which will bring him reward when he is most in need of it, for no matter how much reward he earns, he will find it is less than he needs. Allah is ever watchful, and to Him we return and render account. As Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it, And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.” [Al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]
May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his Family and Companions.

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