The ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the delight of the hearts of the pious and a consolation for those who missed or were negligent in Ramadaan.

It is a great favor from Allaah that He (Ta’ala) has prolonged one’s life to reach these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, in which Allaah (Ta’ala) commanded us to remember Him.

He (Ta’ala) said in Surat al-Baqarah (2:203):

And remember Allaah during the appointed (numbered) days.”

The first thing one should do is thank Allaah, Al-Mannan [the Bestower], for prolonging one’s life until he reached these days in order to draw nearer to Him by performing good deeds, while there are others who are sick and cannot move from their beds, and still others who died before reaching these blessed days. The dead people wish to come back to this life and do good, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Mu’minun (23:99-100):

Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back.’”

So that I may do good in that which I have left behind.”

However, the heart of the slave is either alive or dead. The sign of his heart being alive is his feeling of Allaah’s abundant favors and graces, and the impacts of His Lord’s Mercy upon him.

Allaah (Ta’ala) swore by these days in Surat al-Fajr (89:1-2):

By the dawn”

And by ten nights (usually interpreted as the first ten nights /days of Dhul-Hijjah)”

We should feel the greatness of these days because Allaah Al-‘Adheem (the Most Great) has sworn by them. Many people have no feeling towards these ten days and their virtues because of their worldly occupations.

The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah is a season in which Allaah loves the performance of good deeds:

* Jaabir (Radia-Allaahu ’anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The best days of the worldly life are the ten days –meaning the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” It was said: “Not even fighting for the sake of Allaah?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Not evening fighting for the sake of Allaah, except for a man whose face was covered with dust striving for the cause of Allaah.” [Reported by al-Bazzar, Abu Ya’laa and authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb no. 1150]

* Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are no days wherein righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” They said: “Not even Jihad in the cause of Allaah?“ He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Not even Jihad in the cause of Allaah, except for a man who goes out (for Jihad) with his wealth and self and does not return back with any of them (i.e. he was martyred).” [Reported by al-Bukhaari]

* In another narration reported by al-Baihaqi, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are no days wherein a deed is purer and greater in reward with Allaah than a good deed that one performs in the ten days of Al-Adhaa.” They said: “Not even the Jihad in the cause of Allaah?“ He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Not even the Jihad in the cause of Allaah, except for a man who went out (for Jihad) with his wealth and self and did not return with any of them.”

Sa’eid ibn Jubair used to exert his utmost and strive hard when the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah started, such that no one could excel him.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb no. 1148]

Based on the aforementioned Ahadeeth, the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah is a season in which Allaah loves the performance of good deeds, and the slave should love what his Master loves.

The five pillars of Islam are all combined in these ten days; Salaat (prayer), Siyam (fasting), Zakaat (for the one who had specified these days to pay the obligatory charity), Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah, in addition to the Shahaadah.

Therein is the day of ‘Arafah, the day in which Allaah delivers many of His slaves from the Hell-Fire.

Also, therein is the day of an-Nahr (the day of slaughtering) i.e. the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah (the day of ‘Eid):

The greatest days with Allaah are the Day of an-Nahr (i.e. the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah), and then the Day of al-Qarr (i.e. the 11th of Dhul-Hijjah). [Reported by Ahmad and authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jamie’ no. 1064]

The righteous deeds that one can perform and the gates of goodness that one can enter during these days:

Before mentioning the good deeds that one can perform in these blessed days, we should first check our hearts:

Is our heart clean and pure such that we can enjoy (relish) the worship of Allaah in these days? Or are our hearts sick and full of diseases and defects which cause the prevention of the deeds being raised to Allaah?

Inspect your heart and purify it from all the sicknesses that prevent relishing (enjoying) the acts of obedience, such as malice, pride, envy, self-conceit, etc.

Before we advise each other to do good deeds:

1- We should advise each other to clear and purify our hearts, wash it with the water of faith, of forgiveness and of pardon.

2- Renew your intention and motive towards Allaah. Renew your sincerity. Are you performing the deeds for the sake of pleasing people or are all your deeds for the sake of Allaah, the Lord of the worlds?

Verily, Allaah (Ta’ala) loves the slave who is pious, free of all wants (rich – self-richness) and self-concealing.” [Muslim]

Avoid performing deeds for the sake of fame or seeking the praise of people. Allaah is free of a need of association (who commit Shirk). Allaah ruins the good deeds and destroys the reward of the deed of the person who commits Shirk or shows off.

3- Bear in mind that Allaah loves the transitive deeds whose benefits reach others, more than those deeds which benefit the person alone. For example, reconciling people is more beloved to Allaah than performing voluntary prayer and giving voluntary charity. Therefore, be keen and strive hard to perform the good deeds that benefit others in addition to (your) fasting, reciting the Qur’an, etc.

Some righteous deeds:

1- Asking Allaah for help to obey Him, remember and thank Him. Asking Allaah to keep one’s heart firm (steady) in obedience to Him and not to turn one’s heart away from the truth after He has guided him.

Remember that if Allaah helped you, you will find joy and happiness in talking to Him (secret counsel). So the first deed is to show humility to Allaah, ask Him to endear faith in your heart. Invoke Allaah with a heedful heart, asking Him to help you in remembering Him.

2- Renew your repentance.

We are slaves who are overpowered by an enemy (i.e. the Shaytaan), and we are humans who commit sins, and the Shaytaan whispers continuously, but after sinning Allaah loves that His slaves return to Him in repentance.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allaah will replace you with people who will commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allaah; and Allaah will certainly forgive them.” [Muslim]

Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said: “If Allaah (Ta’ala) wills to do good to His servant, He makes him forget the acts of obedience that he performed and erases them from his heart and tongue. And if he (the slave) is afflicted with a sin, Allaah keeps it in front of his eyes and makes him forget his acts of obedience to Him), and makes all his concern the sin that he committed. Thus, he continues to see his sin in front of him in every state, whenever he stands, or sits, or goes or comes; such is a mere mercy to him. As some of the Salaf (Righteous Predecessors) used to say: ‘Indeed, a slave commits a sin by which he will enter Paradise; and he may do a good deed by which he will enter into Hell-Fire.’

They (the Salaf) said: ‘How does that happen?’ He (Rahimahullaah) replied: ‘When the slave commits a sin; it (the sin) remains in front of his eyes. Whenever he remembers it, he weeps and feels remorse. Hence, he will repent to and implore Allaah, and ask His forgiveness. And because of that sin he will do many good deeds so it becomes a cause of mercy for him. While he may do a good deed and it remains in front of him, he remembers it, seeing it a favor (to others) and he shows aggression to his Lord and to the people because of it, and shows arrogance and has self-conceit and he wonders why the people do not honor him, or venerate him because of it. These matters continue to be in front of his eyes till their impact becomes strong and causes him to enter Hell-Fire.” [End quote- Mifatah Darus-Sa’adah]

Repent to Allaah sincerely, in order for Allaah to exchange your evil deeds with good deeds and to deserve to be of those whom the bearers of the Throne of Allaah invoke Allaah for, as Allaah (Ta’ala) mentioned in Surat Ghaafir (40:7-9).

Repent, especially from the hidden sins which render the righteous deeds fruitless; the sins, which if one closes his door upon himself, his fear of Allaah diminishes.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “People from among my nation will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds as much as the mountain of Tahama, and Allaah will make them scattered particles of dust. They are your brothers and your kinsmen and establish the nights with prayers like you, but they are people who secretly violate the prohibitions of Allaah.” [Saheeh al-Jamie’ no. 7174]

Repent from sicknesses of the heart.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Remorse is repentance and the one who turns in repentance is like the one who has no sins.” [Al-Tabaraani and authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jamie’ no. 6803]

After renewing one’s repentance, start with the gates of obedience:

1- Calling people to Allaah

If a person embraces Islam (through you), this is a new life for the person, and you will get the reward as long as he is alive and does good till he dies. Even if a person abandons a sin because of you, you will get the reward for it. Allaah (Ta’ala) considered Da’wah as the best of deeds and statements in Surat Fussilat (41:33):

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allaah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am one of the Muslims.’”

Call people to Allaah using modern technology, by your manners, etc.

2- Reconciling people

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Shall I not tell you about a more virtuous rank than fasting, praying and giving Sadaqah? Reconciling people. For verily causing enmity between people is considered al-Haaliqah (i.e. it shaves the religion).” [Saheeh al-Jamie’ no. 2595]

One of the greatest deeds that one can do during these blessed days is to be concerned with those who have severed their relations.

3- Joining relations with kith and kin.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah (Ta’ala) said: ‘I will keep good relations with the one who will keep relations with you (i.e. Ar-Rahim, the womb i.e. kith and kin) and sever the relations with him who will sever relations with you (i.e. kith and kin).’” [Al-Bukhaari]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “He who loves that he be granted more provision and his life be prolonged, should join ties with his blood relations.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Allaah loves those who join relations with kith and kin. This can be done by either visiting them, calling them, giving them gifts, following up their needs, especially if they are poor, etc.

Have good intentions in each and every movement and action you take in these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. For example, when meeting your family, when buying things for them, when performing Wudu’, when retiring to bed; have the good intention to gain strength for worshipping Allaah, etc. Even smiling to bring delight to those who you meet is one of the most beloved deeds to Allaah. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “One of the best deeds is to bring joy to the heart of a believer, settle a debt for him, fulfill his needs, or remove his distress.” [Al-Baihaqi in Shu’ab al-Imaan and authenticated by al-Albaani who graded Saheeh in Saheeh al-Jamie’]

When buying bread to feed your family, ask Allaah to accept it as a Sadaqah from you. Even have a good intention when having sexual relations with your spouse. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “In a man’s sexual intercourse (with his wife) there is a Sadaqah.” They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allaah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “You see, if he were to satisfy it with something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to satisfy it with something lawful, he should have a reward.” [Muslim]

This indicates that virtue has a vast meaning in Islam and it includes every action which is done with a good intention, provided it does not involve disobedience to Allaah. So much so that it covers even natural activities of man, which fall under the category of Mubaah, (that which is permissible and may be omitted without fear of sin) and one is rewarded for them.

Bring the intention in every action, even in removing harmful things from the path of people, helping one to carry his load (luggage) on his ride; a good word is charity, etc.

4- Giving charity

The believers will be under the shade of their Sadaqah on the Day of Resurrection.

Seek the needy people and fulfill their needs.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If one gives in charity what equals to one date-fruit from honestly earned money – and Allaah accepts only honestly earned money- Allaah takes it in His Right (Hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as any one of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” [Al-Bukhaari]

He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Protect yourselves from Hell-Fire even with half a date, or with a little object of charity.” [Al-Bukhaari]

Remember that your wealth is the wealth of Allaah, and you are His slave. He (Ta’ala) entrusted you with this wealth and made you a trustee, and whoever shows miserliness, then it is only at the expense of his own self. Allaah is Rich (Free of all wants) and you (mankind) are poor. If you turn away (from Islam and obedience to Allaah), He will exchange you for some other people, who will not be like you. This does not apply to wealth only; rather, it includes every blessing Allaah has granted you. If Allaah has granted you knowledge, share it with others; if you enjoy good health, free time, etc. help others, and if you have computer skills use it in Da’wah, etc.

5- Offering the Salaat (prayer) humbly and submissively (Khushu’)

This is accomplished by protecting its pillars, obligatory acts and Sunnah acts.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Offer the Salaat (prayer) of a person who is saying farewell, as if you see Him, and if you cannot reach to this state of devotion, know that He sees you. Despair of what is in the hands of people, then you will live rich, and beware of doing things that you have to apologize for.” [Saheeh al-Jamie’ no. 3776]

Repeat after the Mu’adh-dhin when he calls for the Salaat, leave off everything in your hand and hasten towards answering the call to the prayer; perform Wudu’ for every Salaat in order to have your sins expiated.

Offer the Sunnah before and after the obligatory prayers (the Raatibah stressed Sunnah).

Offer the Witr prayer at the end of the night or its beginning after ‘Isha prayer or before going to bed, even with one Rak’ah.

6- Pronouncing the word of Tawheed and Takbeer aloud in these days. Takbeer (saying Allaahu Akbar) is the motto of the pious.

The greatest ritual that one does during these days is the remembrance of Allaah. To say aloud the word of Tawheed and Takbeer, i.e. to say:

الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر، لا إله إلا إلا الله

الله أكبر الله أكبر ولله الحمد

Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illa Allaah

Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, wa Lillaahil-Hamd.

Allaah is the Most Great, Allaah is the Most Great, Allaah is the Most Great. There is no one who deserves to be worshipped except Allaah.

Allaah is the Most Great, Allaah is the Most Great. All praises are due to Allaah.

There are two ways of saying the Takbeer:

a- Restricted Takbeer (Muqayyad) – which is restricted to the obligatory prayers.

The non-pilgrim starts saying it from Fajr of the day of ‘Arafah till sunset of the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.

The pilgrim says it from Dhuhur of the day of ‘Eid (10th of Dhul-Hijjah) till sunset of the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah (the last day of Tashreeq).

b- Unrestricted Takbeer (Mutlaq) – which is not restricted to anything. It is Sunnah to say the Takbeer during all times, in the morning and evening, before and after the Salaat, at all times starting from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah till the sun sets on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah, i.e. the last day of Tashreeq.

The person who feels shy to raise his voice with this Takbeer, his faith is weak. [Men raise their voices everywhere/ women in their homes and when away from causing Fitnah]

7- Fasting

Allaah (Ta’ala) loves fasting, and it is one of the righteous deeds that one may perform during these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Some of the wives of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) narrated that he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, the day of ‘Ashura and three days every month.” [Saheeh Abu Dawoud and authenticated by al-Albaani]

‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) fasting in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” [Muslim]

Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Two contradicting Ahadeeth are reported as regards the fasting of these days; one of them affirms that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to fast the nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and the other Hadeeth negates his fasting. Imaam Ahmad (Rahimahullaah) said: ‘In case two Ahadeeth contradict each other, then the one which affirms is given precedence over the one which negates.’

However, we see that both Ahadeeth can be dropped as we have a general correct Hadeeth in which the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘There is no righteous deed that is more beloved to Allaah than the one performed in these ten days,’ and fasting is one of the good deeds which is more beloved than other good deeds in the last ten nights of Ramadaan.” [Sharh al-Mumtie’]

Imaam an-Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said: “The statement of ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) can be interpreted as her not having seen the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) fasting, which does not negate his fasting, because of the Hadeeth reported by Hunaidah bin Khalid, on the authority of his wife, which narrates that some wives of the Prophet affirmed his fasting. And not seeing him fast could occasionally be due to sickness or travel.” [Sharh Saheeh Muslim]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stressed fasting the day of ‘Arafah. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year.” [Muslim]

Fasting one day drives the person away from Hell-Fire for 70 years.

8- Offering a sacrificial animal (Udhiyah)

Udhiyah means seeking nearness to Allaah by slaughtering an animal from the cattle on the days of ‘Eid al-Adha. It is a ritual that is prescribed in Islam according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Evidences from the Qur’an:

* Surat al-Kawthar (108:2)

* Surat al-An’aam (6:162)

* Surat al-Hajj (22:34)

Evidences from the Sunnah:

* Anas (Radia-Allaahu ’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sacrificed two white rams speckled with black. He slaughtered them with his own hands, said: ’Allaahu Akbar’ and put his foot on their necks. [Al-Bukhaari]

* Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ’anhuma) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stayed in Madinah for ten years and offered a sacrifice (every year on ‘Eid).” [Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi and authenticated by al-Albaani in Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh no. 1475]

*Anas ibn Maalik (Radia-Allaahu ’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to sacrifice two horned rams, mention Allaah’s Name and say: ‘Allaah is Most Great,’ and place his foot on their sides. Another version has: “He slaughtered them with his own hands.” [Agreed upon]

Muslim also reported from the Hadeeth of ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) that he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “In the Name of Allaah, O Allaah, accept it from Muhammad, the family of Muhammad and from the Ummah (followers) of Muhammad.” Then he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sacrificed it.

This action is Sunnah Mu’akkadah (a stressed Sunnah), i.e. a supererogatory act which was practiced and stressed upon by the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This is according to the opinion of the majority of scholars; while others such as Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) said that it is obligatory.

Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Offering Udhiyah is Sunnah Mu’akkadah (a stressed Sunnah) for the one who is able to offer it. So he will offer it on behalf of himself and his household.” [Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaimeen]

Accordingly, if one can afford it, he should not leave this act, which is beloved to Allaah.

9- Performing Hajj

Performing Hajj in these days of Dhul-Hijjah is the crown of all the good righteous deeds. Hajj abolishes all that is before it.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do you not you know that Islam wipes out all the previous sins, and the Hijrah (Migration) wipes out all the previous sins, and Hajj (pilgrimage) wipes out all the previous sins.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “He who comes to this House (the Ka’bah with the intention of performing pilgrimage) without engaging in sexual activities or committing any sin, will return free from sin, the same as the day he was born.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no day on which Allaah delivers more slaves from the Fire than the day of ‘Arafah. He draws near, then He boastfully shows His slaves to the angels, asking: ‘What do these slaves of Mine want?’” [Muslim]

He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Hajj al-Mabrur (the one accepted by Allaah) will be rewarded with nothing except Jannah.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The journey of the pilgrim resembles the journey of death and leaving this life.

The pilgrim comes out of his house

The dead person comes out of this world

The pilgrim takes off his stitched garment

The dead will also be stripped of his clothes

The pilgrim takes a ritual bath before entering Ihraam

The dead also; Ghusl (ritual bath) is given to him

The pilgrim uses perfume before assuming Ihraam

The dead will be perfumed before shrouding

The pilgrim wears two pieces of white clothes, Izaar and Ridaa’

The dead will be shrouded in three pieces of white cloth

The pilgrim will depart to ‘Arafaat

The dead will be resurrected from his grave to the land of gathering

From among the pilgrims are those whose Hajj is accepted and others whose are rejected.

The dead will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection and either he is one of the people of Paradise or of the people of Hell.

Fatawa

Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “If a person neglected or abandoned going for Hajj while he was able and could afford the expenses till he died, no one should perform Hajj on his behalf; because he did not intend for Hajj when he was alive. How then can Hajj be performed on his behalf when he is dead? One should fear Allaah (Azza wa Jall) because if he dies and did not perform Hajj, while having had the ability and the expenses, it will not benefit him, nor is his debt (obligation) cleared even if it is performed one thousand times on his behalf.” [Sharh al-Arba’ien an-Nawawiyah page 72]

Whoever has not gone for Hajj, let him renew his intention and do not be of those who give excuses for not going.

Source:

The Virtues of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah by Shaikh Sa’d bin ‘Ateeq al-‘Ateeq

 

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