The life of a Muslim is very special as it is full of opportunities to get closer to Allah ﷻ by performing the various forms of worship that Allah ﷻ loves. These forms of worship turn the life of a Muslim into a life of righteous action, speech and continuous activity for the benefit and goodness of everyone. This means that the life of Mu’mins should be devoted to worship, obedience, righteous deeds and absolute connection with Allah ﷻ in every part of their life, and in all their affairs. They do not need to go to the mosque, in particular, to approach Allah ﷻ, as He is with them all the time, as He said in the Qur’an (Surah Qaf: 16): “…and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.”
From this we know that our life cannot be cut off from the Mercy of Allah ﷻ. So, from having this connection, during the five prayers that are spread over twenty-four hours, the special day of jummah once a week, fasting during the month Ramadan once a year, fasting the six days of Shawwal, fasting on Monday and Thursday every week, fasting the three bright days every month, and then, add to this, the ten days of Dhul Hijjah; those days in which every good deed we do, not only are we rewarded, but Allah ﷻ loves good deeds in these days more than any other time of the year.
What is Special About the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah?
First of all, the month itself is one of four months that have been blessed with superabundant favors, benefits, reverence and sanctity.
These Sacred Months are Dhul-Qa`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab.
Just as some places are considered more sacred and divine than others, for instance, Makkah, Madina and Baytul Maqdis, so too do some months carry more value and significance than others.
Indeed, even before the advent of Islam, such was the reverence the arabs had for these months that they would not wage war within these months. Allah, glory be to Him, had already sanctified these months prior to Islam so that bloodshed may not be committed in His Sacred months. This sanctity was from the days of Sayyidina Ibrahim alayhis salam.
The special worship, hajj is particular to these ten days, and Rasulullah ﷺ said if Allah ﷻ accepted the hajj of someone, they go back from their Hajj as a new born baby. Umrah is also performed in these days. For those who do not go for hajj, they can fast for the first nine days, give charity, and they can do a lot of forms of worship. Ibn Hajr (radiallah anhu) said that “during these ten days you can do all the major forms of worship, but this is not possible to gather in any other set of days.”
So our life and our striving does not stop anywhere, and neither does are ability to get closer to Allah ﷻ. There is no limit to qurb!
Speaking of having no limit to closeness with Allah ﷻ, Surah Alam Nashrah alludes to the station of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ:
Did We not expand your breast?
– the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is absolutely Rahma (mercy)!
And raised high for you your repute.
– Whenever Allah ﷻ is mentioned the name of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is mentioned
And to your Lord direct [your] longing! Keep striving in your connection with Allah ﷻ as there is no limit to closeness.
The Virtues of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah
In Surah Fajr (1-2), Allah says, والفجر وليال عشر
Allah ﷻ swears by the time of fajr and by the ten days, and for Allah ﷻ to swear by something is to make it great. Ibn Abbas, ibn Zubayr, Mujahid and others all agree that the mention of the ten days is those first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
In Surah Al-Hajj (28), Allah ﷻ says: “…remember the name of Allah ﷻ in the known days…” ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه mentions that the days referred to in this ayah are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
In a Hadith narrated by ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that “The best days that Allah ﷻ loves good deeds the most in are these days, meaning the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.” (Abu Dawud 2438)
And in a Hadith narrated by Syedina Jabir رضي الله عنه, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “[of] the ten best days, the tenth is the day of sacrifice (Adha), and the uneven numbered day is the day of Arafah, and these are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.” (Imam Ahmad)
And in another Hadith, Jabir رضي الله عنه narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that there are “No days better than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.” (ibn Hibban 3853)
Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “the best of deeds to Allah ﷻ, that which He loves and rewards greatly and generously, are those actions performed in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. (Sunan al Darimi 1774)
In a Hadith, the Sahaba asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ if the mujahid could compare to the one who worships in these ten days, to which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ responded that no one can compare to the person who worships in these ten days except for the mujahid who gives away everything he owns and takes what remains with him and leaves it all on the battlefield, including his life. Only this person can compare to the one who worships in these ten days!
Ten Deeds for the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah
1) Reciting the Qur’an abundantly
“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi]
So if one letter of the Qur’an is equivalent to ten good deeds then imagine how much reward there is for reading each letter during these blessed 10 days which are said to be the best days of the year! Subhanallah! Abu Darda’ reported Allah’s Apostle ﷺ as saying: Is any one of you incapable of reciting a third of the Qur’an in a night? They (the Companions) asked: How could one recite a third of the Qur’an (in a night)? Upon this he ﷺ said:” He is Allah, One” is equivalent to a third of the Qur’an. [Sahih Muslim]
“Indeed the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” (Muslim)
Therefore let us recite as much of the Qur’an as we can during these 10 days and nights and aim to recite it from cover to cover if we can. After that we should continue reciting the Qur’an throughout the rest of the year, for it is one of the excellent forms of worship! Tip: Increase your recitation by adding a few minutes or pages to your usual recitation routine. If you don’t have a routine yet, maybe this is the time for you start forming the habit. Begin by committing to recite at least one or two pages (or for 10 minutes, if you are a slow reciter) and then work to increase on this. Carry a small pocket mus’haf with you or install a reliable Qur’an app on a mobile device so that Shaytan cannot discourage you when you are out and about! Note: It is also very relevant to read the story of Prophet Ibrahim ‘عليه السلام which will give one a deeper understanding of the rituals of Hajj and the qurbani.
Try to do as many supererogatory prayers as you can, as it is a mentioned in a Hadith that a person’s station is raised and that bad deeds are erased with each prostration.
Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet ﷺ said:”Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise. ” The Prophet ﷺ said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet ﷺ said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).” [Abu Dawud]
Tahajjud prayer: The most virtuous nawafil (voluntary) prayer is the Tahajjud prayer as it enables one to get closer to Allah ﷻ. The best recitation of the Qur’an is done during Tahajjud prayer. You should recite as much of the Qur’an as you have memorised. In the long prostrations, beg Allah ﷻ for forgiveness and mercy and surely He will never turn away his slaves who beg of him during this prayer.
Note: During the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah we should aim to pray Tahajjud every night. If not then we should pray it in as many nights as we possibly can. When fasting during the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah one should awaken a little earlier for Suhur, make wudhu and pray Tahajjud. The last third portion of the night is the most blessed part of the night in which duas are more readily accepted during this time. So by praying Tahajjud it gives us the best opportunity to get closer to Allah and to make sincere dua, repenting for our sins past and present and to beg, cry and ask of Allah for whatever we want.
Fast as much as you can. It is mentioned in a hadith, when a companion asked what the best of deeds was, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to fast.
4) Making Much Duah
Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an,
“When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [Suratul Baqarah:186]
We should busy ourselves in Dua during these 10 blessed days and nights particularly on the night and day of Arafat which is the 9th of Dhul Hijjah. Duas are also readily accepted during fasting, especially just before Suhur ends and just before breaking the fast.
5) Qiyam ul Layl
Night prayers should be encouraged in these ten days. Abdullah ibn Salam (radiallah anhu) mentioned that when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to Madinah with all his radiance he mentioned three things to the community: spread peace, feed people, and pray while others are asleep. Normally, after such a migration, people would be sceptical and cautions of others, but instead the Messenger of Allah ﷺ summarized the deen upon his arrival in Madinah al Munawarrah. The great tab’ee Said ibn Jubayr (radiallah anhu) said in the first ten nights of Dhul Hijjah, do not turn off your lights!
6) Tahlil, Tahmeed, Takbeer
To repeat La ilaha illallah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar – La ilaha illallah – wAllahu Akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd. Abdullah ibn Omar and Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhum) were known for reciting takbeer in the market place. Abdullah ibn Omar (radiallah anhu) would keep reciting his dhikr, and would only return salam in these ten days.
7) Day of Arafah
The day of Arafah should be occupied with dua and tawbah. The life of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was dua, to remember Allah ﷻ with every action in every moment.
Forgiveness for 2 years of sins (minor sins) for fasting on the day of Arafah:
Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah (the 9th of the month of Dhul Hijjah). He replied, “Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” He was also asked about fasting on the day of Ashura (the 10th of the month of Muharram). He replied, “Fasting on the day of Ashura is an expiation for the preceding year.” The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was also asked about fasting on Monday, and he replied, “This is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was sent (with the Message of Islam) and the day on which I received revelation.” [Muslim]
Dua on Day of Arafah of Sayyidina Ali رضي الله عنه
In making dua on the day of Arafah, Sayyidina Ali رضي الله عنه used to repeat the following dua:
Oh Allah! Free me from the hellfire.
Ya Allah! Grant me abundant halal rizq.
Ya Allah! Keep away from me the disobedient ones, whether they be jinn or human.
Practically, on the day of Arafah, you should try to take off from work if possible, that way you can spend your day in dua. In addition, sleep directly after isha the night before, and wake up a hour before fajr in order to be present at the time Allah ﷻ loves to accept dua. Make the intention to make this a different day of Arafah; make it a day that is different from all the rest.
8) Showing exemplary character
The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the Scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [At- Tirmidhi] So we must aim to be the best in character during these blessed days and nights and continue to do so for the rest of the year. We must not argue, swear, backbite, slander or gossip.
Tip: Make an extra effort to be good to your friends, family, and neighbours, and especially those of other faiths.
9) Giving Much in Charity
As the rewards of doing good deeds during these days are increased significantly then we should also give as much as we can in charity. Allah promised forgiveness of our sins if we give in charity and give to the poor and needy. He honoured our charity and described it as a “ beautiful loan to Allah “ to emphasise that we are doing something good that He loves, and that He himself will pay our loan back to us doubled:
“If ye loan to Allah a beautiful loan, He will double it to your (credit), and He will grant you Forgiveness: for Allah is Most Ready to appreciate (service), Most Forbearing.” [Surah At-Taghabun:17]
Tip: Have some change with you at all times to hand out when the opportunity arises. If you don’t have the opportunity to give out money in public, go online and resolve to donate a fixed amount every morning! If you don’t have money, remember that even a smile is considered charity – so go on and spread some good cheer!
10) Making Life Changes
We should make the necessary changes to improve ourselves as Muslims and what better time to make such changes than during these blessed 10 days where we can change our lives forever? We must internalise these changes and make a firm commitment to Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), and maybe that he will wipe off our sins until we become newborn babies, In sha Allah.Therefore let us make the best of these blessed days and make the necessary changes so that we may live a life devoted to Allah. We should aim to rectify our condition and live for the Hereafter rather than living for this world which can end at any second for any one of us. Allah tells us In the Qur’an to enter fully into our deen (way of life) and not partly:
“O believers enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan, surely he is your clear-cut enemy….” [Surah Al-Baqarah:208-210]
So then will we not make Islam a FULL part of our lives? This is our best opportunity and if we don’t grab it now and death comes to us then surely we will regret it for ETERNITY! Surely there is no logic in putting all of our efforts into a short, temporary life which can end at any second and neglect that which will last forever. Knowing this then why do we put everything into this life and neglect the Hereafter? Time is passing us by and we are blinded by the deception of this life. Time is not on our side. This life is very short indeed. It is like a quick passing phase. It is a short stopover in our journey to the eternal Afterlife.
In closing, it is important to remind ourselves of the purpose of our deen, as is stated in Surah Anbiya: “We did not send you other than to be a Mercy to all the Worlds,” speaking about the Messenger of Allahﷺ. So we can never stop striving, we must be that mercy.
May Allah ﷻ grant His Mercy and the company of His Mercy ﷺ, and may He make these ten days those of forgiveness and acceptance of our duas.
(Credits: seekersguidance & productivemuslim.com)