By Romina Afghan
One of the many blessings of Islam and being a Muslim, is knowing in detail all of the special times of the year, month and week that Allah Himself has preferred over other times, and the rewards of deeds in these special times that our Lord gives us. These special times are like the “good deal” offers that we rush towards in the shops, but they are not for mere material things that will break and perish after some time- no, these rewards and blessings are something that will stay with us for eternity!
Right now is one of those blessed and special times, if not THE most blessed and special time of all of them! So, when we weigh up how to use our time in these special and blessed days, let us remember to weigh up for how long our soul will benefit from the deed we are about to indulge in; let us remember to think about what we are most in need of: sleep for a few hours in this world, or praying at night and then having eternal paradise? Food in this world, or fasting a few hours and then the Pleasure of our Lord; money for a few luxuries in this world, or giving in charity and then being under the shade of it on the day Of Judgement?
In order to motivate ourselves to do these good actions, we need to know some facts about the blessings, significance and reward. In that spirit, here are 10 facts that everyone needs to know about this month:
1. ALLAAH HIMSELF CHOSE THESE DAYS AS SPECIAL
Allaah swears an oath by these 10 days, and He does so in order to highlight how important they are. Anything that He subhanhu wa ta’ala singles out as important, that He takes special care to point out to us, must be taken as a significant sign for us to sit up and take notice of this time.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
These days are not like normal days, so that means we should exceed what we “normally” do on these days if they are good things, and we should decrease or at least minimise the bad that we do, as an honour to the sanctity of these days.
2. THUL-HIJJAH COMBINES ALL OF THE FIVE PILLARS LIKE NO OTHER TIME OF YEAR
The five pillars of Islaam are uniquely combined in these 10 days, and never at any other time– we renew our shahada and make thikr of Allaah, we pray the salat, we fast the day of Arafah, we give in charity – especially the sacrifice- and in this month only, the faithful leave their homes and make the spiritual and physical journey to Allah when they make Hajj. Anything that gathers together good things is naturally elevated in status, so a time which gathers together the greatest deeds in islam ( the “fard” or pillars are the greatest actions and the most beloved to Allaah) is also going to be elevated to a greater extent.
3. THERE ARE MORE REWARDS ON OFFER FOR GOOD DEEDS THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME OF YEAR
Any good deed done in these 10 days is better than a good deed done in any other day – even including RAMADAN, according to the majority of scholars.
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 jihad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihad 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-Bukhari, 2/457).
This means we can increase in whatever righteous good deed that we choose (Allaah has given us a choice to do any good deed) and it will be rewarded more than at other time of year. If you like reading Quran, do more Quran. If you like fasting, then fast more. If you like praying, giving in charity, helping others…whatever it is, you can do more of that worship and earn extra reward, Allaahu akbar!
4. INCREASE IN THIKR- EASY DEEDS FOR HEAVY REWARDS
One of the best deeds to do in this time is also one of the easiest, and something that everyone can do, regardless of time or money or even physical purity- it basically has such little requirements to it that it would be possible for ANYONE to grow in closeness to Allah at this time.
What is this amazing deed? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbih (“Subhan-Allaah”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”) and Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”) during these ten days.
‘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.”
Make thikr on your journeys, while you’re working, cleaning, cooking – anytime you find yourself thinking about something and with a spare minute or two, take this advice of the Prophet Muhammad saws, and start remembering Allaah with your heart and toangue, and planting your trees in Jannah!
5. THE SPECIAL THIKR OF THUL-HIJJAH
Know that there are special “thikr” called “Takbeer” like the takbeeraat that we make at Eid, that should be done throughout the day, and these are specific to these special 10 days.
The Takbeer normally takes the form “Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allaah; wa Allaahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god but Allaah; Allaah is Most Great and to Allaah be praise),” but they can also include other phrases and wordings too.
Takbeer at this time is a special Sunnah that has been forgotten, and it should be said loudly from the first of thul Hijjah up until the third day after Eid! This Takbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to those who are not remembering Allaah. The companions Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer loudly in order to remind the people, and the people would remember the sunnah and recite Takbeer when they heard them.
If there is a special type of thikr or duaa to be done at a specific time, then this should take precedence over other forms of thikr that are not limited to a special time or place, and we can make special efforts to take part in doing something which has a limited time offer on it!
6. THE DAY OF ARAFAH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE DAYS OF HAJJ
The best day of the entire year falls in these 10 days – the day of ARAFAH. this day is like the crown of thul Hijjah because it is the day when more people are freed from hellfire than any other day.
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There is no day on which Allaah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafat. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”
That means, in 5 days’ time, or whenever we reach the Day of Arafah inshaaAllaah, your name and mine has the chance to be written amongst those people who are FREED from hellfire – no fire will touch those special people! They will enter the Paradise of their Lord, unscathed and untouched by any of the bad that they did! Subhan Allah, what an opportunity!
7. ALLAH COMPLETED HIS DEEN ON THE DAY OF ARAFAH
Arafah is the day on which this beautiful religion was perfected and Allah’s Favour on this ummah was completed, and the day of Arafah is when the Quran was completed and it’s last ayaat were revealed to the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.
‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that a Jewish man said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an aayah in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an ‘Eid (festival).” ‘Umar said, “Which aayah?” He said: This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. [al-Maa’idah 5:3]. ‘Umar said, “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It was when he was standing in ‘Arafaah on a Friday.”
On this day we received the completion of the Book of Allaah, and the completion of our deen- this beautiful way of life that takes us out of darknesses and into the light of knowing our Lord, and of knowing with certainty how to gain His Pleasure and His Love- that is something to celebrate and be thankful for, if nothing else, subhanAllaah!
8. THESE 10 DAYS ARE FOR RENEWING OUR COVENANT WITH ALLAAH
In these 10 days we renew our covenant with ALLAAH that we will worship and accept only Him as our Lord- why? Because the day of Arafah is the day is the day on which Allaah took this covenant from all of the children of the Prophet Adam – that’s all of us!
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’maan, i.e., ‘Arafaah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)? [al-A’raaf 7:172-173].” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
This shows us there is no greater day than this and we have no greater covenant than this – this is the reason for our living and our dying, the reason for our existence is to affirm Allah’s Lordship over us and His Right to be uniquely worshipped, and so we use these ten days to renew this covenant, remind ourselves of it, and celebrate it!
9. FASTING ON THE DAY OF ARAFAH IS A SUNNAH, AND WIPES AWAY TWO YEARS OF SINS!
It was reported from Abu Qutaadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah. He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” Narrated by Muslim.
Allahu akbar! What an opportunity! What a blessing! How is it possible for anyone to doubt what a merciful Lord they have, when He gives us opportunity after opportunity, the chance for reward upon reward, at so many different times of the year.
10. GET CLOSE TO ALLAH BY MAKING THE SACRIFICE
It’s a sunnah to sacrifice an animal in these 10 days (or to appoint someone to do it on our behalf if we can do it ourselves). Sacrificing is a command in the Quran, which shows our dedication and submission to Allaah and also commemorates the sacrifice of prophet Ibrahim, when he ( peace be upon him) was asked to make the ultimate sacrifice:
“Therefore, turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” [al-Kawthar 108:2]
The sacrifice is called, “qurbani” and the word qurbani is derived from the same root word which denotes closeness – meaning that all of these 10 days are an opportunity for us to get close to Allaah, and we use these days as a springboard for our life’s mission, which is to be so close to Allaah that we earn His love, His forgivness, and ultimately, His jannah and eternal joy! Being close to Allaah is the source of every joy in this world, the cause of distance from every pain and the cure to all of our problems. Whoever is close to Allah, can bear anything from this dunya- they can be separated from whatever brings other people joy and still experience joy because of their closeness to Allaah, SubhanAllaah!
My dear sisters, use the blessings of these days while we have them. Motivate yourself by remembering the Day that these days are supposed to prepare us for – the Day of Judgment. Take these days as the most important in your spiritual journey to Allaah so that when you see the good deeds of these days, your future self on that day will rejoice at the choices you made today!
About the author:
Romina is a happy mother to four children, a Master NLP-practitioner in training, part-time teacher, coach and passionate believer in unlocking the wonderful potential of each and every soul by connecting them to Allaah and His Book. She has been blessed to be a part of Solace for some years now, and loves connecting with sisters and children everywhere! You can connect with her on Instagram at @connectedcoachingbyrom and listen to her podcast “Grounded in Guidance” at https://anchor.fm/groundedinguidance or on Spotify.