How do the first ten days of the Month of Dhul Hijjah differ from other days of the year?
All praise belongs to Allaah, may His peace and blessings be upon our final Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow his guidance.
Praise be to Allaah 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.
This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct one’s faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that one might have missed. Every one of these special occasions involves some kind of worship through which the slaves may draw closer to Allaah, and some kind of blessing though which Allaah bestows His favour and mercy upon whomsoever He will. The happy person is the one who makes the most of these special months, days and hours and draws nearer to his Lord during these times through acts of worship; he will most likely be touched by the blessing of Allaah and will feel the joy of knowing that he is safe from the flames of Hell. (Ibn Rajab, al-Lataa’if, p.8)
The Muslim must understand the value of his life, increase his worship of Allaah and persist in doing good deeds until the moment of death. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty.” [al-Hijr 15:99]
The mufassireen (commentators) said: “‘The certainty’ means death.”
Among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which Allaah has preferred over all the other days of the year. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, 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.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).
You should know, my brother in Islaam, that the virtue of these ten days is based on many things:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this season for people throughout the world, and also because of the virtue of the place – for the Hujjaaj (pilgrims) to the Sacred House of Allaah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allaah”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”) and Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”) during this time.
‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allaah 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 ill-Allaah”), Takbeer and Tahmeed.” (Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that it is saheeh).
These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on which Allaah perfected His Religion. Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years (Muslim). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
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.
Question: What must the Muslim avoid during these ten days if he wants to offer a sacrifice?
The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah 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.” (reported by Muslim with four isnaads, 13/146)
There is nothing wrong with men or women washing their heads during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) only forbade cutting the hair, not washing it.
5. 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 Allaah. The one whom Allaah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”
6. Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allaah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allaah, praying (solat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allaah, 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.
7. Sincere repentance. One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allaah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allaah 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 Allaah 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. Allaah 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. The time of departure is at hand, the journey is frightening, delusions are widespread, and the road is long, but Allaah is ever watchful, and to Him will we return and render account.
“O you whose hard heart is as dark as the night, is it not time that your heart was filled with light and became soft? Expose yourself to the gentle breeze of your Lord’s mercy during these ten days, for Allaah will cause this breeze to touch whomever He wills, and whoever is touched by it will be happy on the Day of Judgement. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his Family and Companions.”
“جئنا هنا رب لترضى “