The Blessings of the First Days of Dhul Hajj

Date: 18th September, 2015

According to a very well-known Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) informed us of the virtue of the first ten days and nights of Dhul Hajj:

Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “No good deed is better what is done on these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” Some companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Not even jihad in the cause of Allah?” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Not even jihad in the cause of Allah, except in the case of a man who goes out with his life and wealth in danger and returns with nothing.”

Reference: Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 926.

It was common practice for the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to fast on the first nine days of Dhul Hajj. This is proven through the following Hadith:

It was narrated from Hunaydah Ibn Khaalid from his wife that one of the wives of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) 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.

References: Sunan An-Nasaa’i, 4/205 & Sunan Abu Dawood. Classed as Sahih by Shaykh al-Albaani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2/462.

The days and nights of the first tens are so blessed that if we fast for the first nine days, we will be getting a blessing of fasting one whole year and the blessing is such that it has been compared to the night’s prayer during Lailatul Qadr. Another authentic Hadith dictates:

Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer Salatul Tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e. Lailatul Qadr].”

References: Jami at-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah, and Sunan Al-Baihaqi.

Doing good deeds on the first 10 days of Dhul Hajj has tremendous rewards fastened to them. In one authentic Hadith we have been promised as such:

Harun Bin Moosa said:  I heard Hadhrat Hasan (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrating on the authority of Anas Bin Malik (Radi Allahu Anhu):  Every single day of the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah is equal to 1000 days in reward and the day of ‘Arafah is equal to 10,000 days.

References: Shu‘abul Imaan by Imam Al-Bayhaqi (Rahmatullah Allaih), Hadith No. 3607.

Allah gave us these special days throughout the year for us to make the fullest use of it. The Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) were not granted with a long Hayat (life span) but we were compensated through the provision of some blessed days and months- like Lailatul Qadr, Day of Arafah, and Month of Ramadan. Although during the month of Dhul Hajj, doing deeds as a non-Haji may be termed as a Nafl but let us as the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) endeavor to do better than what we are presently, let’s all sleep less and spend these blessed nights in prayers and thereby honor the much-forgotten Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

We can also make use of these days to receive Allah’s forgiveness. Hadith states:

Abu Qatadah (Radi Allahu Anhu) said : the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Fasting on the day of `Arafah is an expiation [of sins] for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it and the fasting the day of `Ashura’ is an expiation for the year preceding it.

References: Sahih Muslim, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Sunan Ibn Majah & Sunan Abu Dawood.

One thing needs to be discussed when considering about fasting during Dhul Hijjah is about the counting of the Arabic months. Whenever we set to count the months in the Arabic calendar we must consider the trend of the moon. A lot of us think that counting the days based on the speculations done in Saudi Arabia is a Sunnah but there is no evidence placed in the Hadiths which states us to follow solely Saudi Arabia. It is true that Islam originated from Saudi Arabia- being the birthplace of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) but he never commanded us to follow the moon sightings based on the readings of the Saudi Alims. Rather the Sunnah is to follow our own speculations made by the Islamic board of our own individual locality. Here is the Hadith to verify this practice. (Though it is based on speculations made for the month of Ramadan, it goes true for all the Arabic months as well.)

Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu), Kurayb said: Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i.e. her son) to Mu’awiyah in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Abdullah Ibn Abbas asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said: We saw it on Friday night. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? I said: Yes, and the people also saw it so they observed fast and Mu’awiyah also observed fast. Thereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we shall continue to observe the fast until we complete thirty (fasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sighting of the moon by Mu’awiyah not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has commanded us. Yahya ibn Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration) was by Kurayb, Naktafi or Taktafi.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2391.

Another similar Hadith being based on the fasting for the month of Muharram proving that counting days based on local speculation is the actual Sunnah.

Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu), Hakim Ibn al-Araj reported: I went to Ibn Abbas and he was reclining using his mantle as a pillow near the fountain of Zamzam. I said to him: Tell me about fasting on Ashura. He said: When you see the new moon of Muharram then count the (days) and observe fast on the 9th. I said to him: Is it how the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) observed the fast? He said: Yes.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2526.

For moon sightings we need to have reliable Islamic people for them to inform us of the proceeding of the months in case if the sightings are incoherent.

Husayn Ibn al-Harith al-Jadli from the tribe of Jadilah Qays said: The governor of Mecca delivered a speech and said: The Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) took a pledge from us that we should perform the rites of Hajj after sighting the moon. If we do not sight it and two reliable persons bear witness, we should perform the rites of Hajj on the basis of their witness. I then asked al-Husayn Ibn al-Harith: Who was the governor of Mecca? He replied: I do not know. He then met me later on and told me: He was al-Harith Ibn Hatib, brother of Muhammad Ibn Hatib. The governor then said: There is among you a man who is more acquainted with Allah and His Apostle than I. He witnessed this from the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). He then pointed with his hand to a man. Al- Husayn said: I asked an old man beside me: Who is that man to whom the governor has alluded? He said: “This is Abdullah ibn Umar, and he spoke the truth. He was more acquainted with Allah than he. He (Abdullah ibn Umar) said: For this is what the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) commanded us (to do).

References: Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 2331.

So when we are counting the days, we shouldn’t be obscured by our emotions and think that by following Saudi Arabia we are in fact following Sunnah- this is a big misunderstanding and all these go against the Sunnah of our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

From the Fajr of 9th Dhul Hijjjah to the ‘Asr of 13th Dhul Hijjjah, after every Fardh Salah, every Muslim man and woman should recite Takbir Tashreeq. To say the Takbir Tashreeq once is Wajib (compulsory) and saying it thrice is better (Afdhal). Hadith states:

Imam Al-Bukhari in a mu’allaq report mentioned Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (Radi Allahu Anhum) used to go out to the market-place on first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people used to recite Takbeer because of their Takbeer.

Reference: Sahih Al-Bukhari

Most scholars have agreed that the Takbir Tashreeq goes like this. (Although variation exist in the views.)

Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah,

Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, wa lillaahi’l-hamd

Let’s now briefly recall the events which blessed us with the alm of practicing Qurbani.

When Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām) was old enough Allah wished to test Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām). He was presented with a dream where he was going to slay Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām). He knew it from then that Allah had placed this task upon his shoulders. The dreams of the Prophets are Wahy (revelation) for they are protected from the Shaitan. The Ummah has agreed upon this. This is why Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) set out to fulfil the command of Allah to sacrifice his son Ismail when he saw that in a dream.

The historical significance of Jamarat ritual hails from Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) when Shaitan appeared to him three times at the site where al-Jamara are. This happened when Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām).

Allah the Almighty told us of Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām)’s affliction with his beloved son and the story of the sacrifice in the Holy Quran as such:

And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.”

Surah As-Saffat, Ayah 102 (37:102)

These two sentences are manifesting the state of both the father and son who surrendered and consented with the will of Allah. The son Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām), confidently, with a brave heart, obeyed the order of his father and with all the respects he told his father: My father, please be patient and be calm.

Both the father and the son left the Kaaba and went towards the mosque of Al Khaif and reached the Mina (where the pilgrims of hajj offer their sacrifice).

The son requested his father: I have three wishes.

The father enquired: Tell me, what they are?

Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām) replied: My first wish is that please first tie up my hands and feet so that my blood do not colour you dress which may upset my mother and make me a sinner.

My second wish is that when you visit back home please convey my salaam to my mother.

My third wish is that when my friends visit the garden of the flowers, they remember me and please you perform the order of the Allah quickly.

Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) tied the feet and hands of Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām) laid him on the ground, took out his knife and with all his might pressed the knife on the throat of Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām). But the knife was not piercing his throat.

He sharpened the knife then put it on his throat and pressed it again. But the knife was not penetrating into the throat. Third time he tried and pressed the knife into his throat but did not cut it.

In a fit of rage he hit the knife on the stone which was broken into two pieces. Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) got astonished and said: O knife you had broken a hard stone but you did not cut the tender throat like a flower.

Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām) said: Dear father! Please do it soon, sharpen your knife more to cut the throat easily.

A drop of blood dripped from the knife. It pleaded: O Ibrahim! You tell me to cut the throat whereas the Almighty Allah commands me not to cut.

When Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) was going to slay his son, Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām) uttered the Takbir Tashreeq, this is from where we get the Takbir and it is meant to be recited during the month of Dhul Hijjah to honor Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) and Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām).

Then Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) heard somebody reciting, ‘Allah O Akbar, Allah O Akbar’ when he raised his head, he saw Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām), who claimed,

You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice,

Surah Surah As-Saffat, Ayahs 105-107 (37:105-107)

When Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) looked around he saw a black and white sheep and he sacrificed it there. And with its meat he provided meal for the people. He even weaved a blanket with its wool for Bibi Hajra and placed the blanket in the box of testament. The blanket was given to the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) on his advent. He made a dress with it and he wore it till his death. Ismail (Alayhi As-Salām) was a sacrifice and a sheep was send at his place.

It was from the time of Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) that people got to have grey hair and beard upon aging. According to authentic traditions Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) is the first person who got to have grey hair in his beard. He asked the Almighty as to what it was. The Almighty revealed, “It is the dignity of this world and the light (noor) of the hereafter.”

There was a time when food never used to get stale no matter how long it was stored. One of the blessings of the Bani Israel was that their foods never got stale upon storing them. It was during the time of Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) that blessing was lifted away from the humankind as the Ummah of Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) would always horde food and live miserly. Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) came to his people by saying as it is mentioned in the Quran:

And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 39 (3:39) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Allah has mentioned something verse crucial in this following verse:

Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 214 (2:214) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Allah will impose trials on us just like the ones which were afflicted onto the other Ummahs so as to identify the true believers. Rather than becoming overwhelmed we should learn to be patient and make the best use of our time- given the fact that our time is limited. Salah was given to us as an honor and leaving it turns us into major sinners. The Nafl alms were given us as a plus point to work on our Hereafter. In Jannah, we will be rewarded based on our deeds in this world. So why shouldn’t we make use of these valuable days which were given to us as provisions. On the month of Dhul Hajj, we are expected to do Hajj and for the non-Hajis, fasting is the most recommended alm while Qurbani is Fardh on all of us. We came to this world upon Allah’s order and upon His order will be leaving and so let’s all be steadfast and take our lives as much seriously as possible, may Allah grant us the required guidance towards achieving Jannah, Ameen.


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