The virtues of Dhul-Hijjah

The virtues of Dhul-HijjahBibi Zainab Dowlut: Each season of worship in Islam, brings ample opportunities and benefits with it. There are specified acts of worship, ibadaat, by which the slave of Allah can come closer to His Lord, earn His reward and His good pleasure. In these special moments of the year, one is able to correct his mistakes, make up for his misdeeds, and get back on track. The first ten days of Haj are not short of these benefits.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace 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 jihaad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihaad 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.” (Sahih Bukhari, 2/457).
This hadith makes it clear that these precious days are better than all other days, with no exception. They are even better than the days of Ramadan. Hence to engage in good during these days should be of utmost importance to us, for they are beloved to Allah. The Prophet himself stated that these were the best days.
What makes these days so great, is the fact that Allah took an oath by them in the Holy Qur’an when He said, {By the dawn. By the ten nights.} (Chapter 89, verse 1-2)
According to Ibn Abbas and others, this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Kathir commented on this saying “this is the correct opinion.” (Ibn Kathir 8/413)
Not only are these days themselves great, but so is the place of Haj, in which the pilgrims visit the sacred House of Allah. Moreover these days include the Day of Arafah on which Allah perfected His religion, and completed His favour upon us. In addition, Allah gives us an opportunity to have our sins forgiven for the year that has passed, and the one to come, and for those who are performing Haj, they have an even greater opportunity, which is to have all the previous sins forgiven.
What should one do during these days to secure these bountiful rewards? We can follow the Prophet’s Sunnah of fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah.
It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khalid, from his wife, that one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashura’, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. (An-Nasa’i: 4/205, Sahih Abu Dawood: 2/462)
Fasting is a great deed in and of itself, as in the Hadith Qudsi we learn, that 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.” (Sahih Bukhari: 1805).
The companions asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the virtues of fasting on the day of Arafah and he said, “It expiates for the past and coming years.” (Sahih Muslim: 1162). What greater incentive do we need to take up this Sunnah? I encourage all my brothers and sisters to do their utmost best and fast these blessed days.
The opportunities for rewards do not end there. Allah is Merciful, He wants to forgive us, He wants to shower upon us His blessings and He wants to admit us to Paradise.
Abdullah ibn Umar reported that the Prophet (peace 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 illa-Allah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed. (Alhamdulillah)” (Ahmad: 7/224)
During the first ten days of the month, it is good practice to continually recite, “Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah. Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise.”
Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to go out to the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting the takbeer our loud, and the people would recite takbeer when they heard them. However they would not recite in unison. Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah would recite the Takbeer so as to remind the people to do likewise.
Amongst the greatest of deeds to do in this blessed month is of course, the Haj.
Our Prophet (peace be upon him) told us, “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than paradise.”
Another great deed is to offer an animal sacrifice. One who intends to offer a sacrifice should follow the instructions of the Prophet, “When you see the new moon of Dhul-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.”
One should also engage in general good deeds and repentance. Righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah in these days than in any other days. Repenting and turning to Allah is something which He loves.
I leave you with a final thought, and another method by which to earn rewards, and that is to revive the Sunan mentioned in this article, and remind others around you.
Our beloved Prophet (peace 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 from their reward.” (Al-Tirmidhi: 7/443)
My dear brothers and sisters, let’s earn the pleasure of Allah and His reward in these few days and fitting in as many good deeds as possible, and reminding others to do the same. I ask Allah to accept our good deeds, and to grant those who are performing the pilgrimage, a safe journey and a Haj mabroor.

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