The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are full of virtues and great blessings. According to a large group of mufassireen (commentators of the Qur’an, the ten nights mentioned in Soorah Al Fajr are the nights of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Allah says:
By the Dawn; By the ten Nights; (89:1-2)
This oath substantiates the greatness and sacredness of these ten nights in the eyes of Allah. This is an extra ordinary oath; it is very reliable and significant and the wise men can understand that by this oath, Allah too attaches great importance and value to the ten nights of Dhul Hijjah.
The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam too, has clearly mentioned the importance and the virtue of these blessed moments. It is reported by Abdullah Ibne Abbaas radhiyallahu anhuma that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).” Thereupon, some companions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Not even Jihaad ? ” He replied, “Not even jihaad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of these things.”
Bukhaari V1 pp132
In another Hadeeth reported by Aboo Hurayrah radhiyallahu anhu, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “On no days is the worship of Allah desired more than in the (first) ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The fast of each of these days is equal to the fast of a whole year, and the worship of each of these nights is equal to the worship of Laylatul Qadr.”
Tirmizi V1 pp58
Moreover, what other virtue can be greater for these blessed days than the fact that certain specific devotions cannot be performed but in these specified days. Allah Almighty has specifically chosen these days for the fulfilment of two of the most important devotions, viz. Hajj and Qurbaani.
One may argue and say that there are other forms of devotions too, which are fixed to specific days and moments; hence what is the speciality of these particular days ? The answer to this argument is simple. Although there are other devotions too, which are also fixed to specific time, such as fasting in the month of Ramadhaan; but one may, if he desires, fulfil the devotion of fasting in days other than Ramadhaan i.e. as an optional devotion. On the contrary, the wuqoof of Arafaat (which is the essence of Hajj), the wuqoof of Muzdalifah, etc., cannot be performed but in these specified days.
If one was to remain in Arafaat for many months after the 9th Dhul Hijjah, he will not receive any reward whatsoever and it will never be considered an act of ibaadah.
Similarly, Qurbaani is performed only in three days one of which is 10th Dhul Hijjah. There is no possibility whatsoever of a nafl Qurbaani once these days have lapsed, so much so that qazaa Hajj or qazaa Qurbaani is not even possible. It is because of these distinguishing characteristics that the ulamaa have stated, in the light of Qur’aan and Hadeeth that after the days of the month of Ramadhaan, the greatest days in virtue are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
The reward of ibaadah in these days increases abundantly and the results are honoured with specified blessings and mercies by the Creator.
ACTS OF VIRTUE
There are certain specific acts of virtue in these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah which are enumerated and explained below:
1. Upon sighting the moon of Dhul Hijjah, those people intending to perform Qurbaani should neither cut their hair nor clip their nails until the Qurbaani is performed. This is a mustahab (desirable) act derived from Hadeeth of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam wherein he has said:
“A person should neither clip his nails nor cut his hair until he performs qurbaani”.
Some ulamaa have explained the reason and wisdom behind this order of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam thus that in this month, hundreds of thousands of people are blessed with the opportunity of visiting the sacred house of Allah in Makkah.
They enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the holy places and acquire maximum benefit from the blessed moments.
Whilst they are there in the state of ihraam certain acts become impermissible for them. Amongst them is clipping of nails and cutting the hair. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam instructed those of his followers who could not reach the blessed places, to imitate the pilgrims by not cutting the hair and clipping the nails so that the mercy of Allah can enshroud them too together with the pilgrims.
2. These days are so blessed that a day’s fast is equivalent to a year’s fast and a night’s devotion is equivalent to the ibaadah of Laylatul Qadr. The indication is towards the fact that we should endeavor to perform as many virtuous acts as possible in these days.
3. 9th Dhul Hijjah is the day of Arafah in which the main fardh of Hajj is performed i.e. wuqoof Arafah. This is a great moment for the pilgrims when the Mercy of Allah descends upon them in abundance and their sins are forgiven and du’aa accepted. Allah, through His Compassion and Mercy, has not deprived the non-pilgrims of his mercy, but rather, shown the way to His Pleasure. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam was asked about the fast of the day of Arafah. He said, “It compensates for the (minor) sins of the past and the coming year.”
Note: One should take note that the sins forgiven are minor sins. The major sins are not forgiven without tawbah.
4. The reciting of Takbeeraate Tashreeq after every fardh Salaat from the Fajr of 9th Dhul Hijjah to the Asr of 13th Dhul Hijjah (i.e. total of twenty three fardh Salaat). It is waajib upon men to recite this takbeer once after every fardh Salaat audibly. The women should recite it silently.
5. The Sunnah of Ibraahem alayhi salaam – the Qurbaani. It is to be performed on 10th, 11th or 12th Dhul Hijjah. One may sacrifice a thousand animals on days other than these, but it will never be regarded or considered a Qurbaani.
Here, a believer is taught a great lesson that an action or a place or a time does not hold any virtue in itself; but rather it is Allah’s command and order that changes the status, level and grade of things. Regarding Qurbaani, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
“There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbaani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgement with its horn, hair, and hooves (to be weighed). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart.”
Tirmizi V1 pp275, Ibne Maajah V1 pp226
May Allah ta’aalaa bless us with spiritual gains and His Pleasure in these blessed moments. Aameen.
Head Imam Sajid Latif Qadri