* Originally Published on 1/09/2016

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why the first ten days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah are so special, and what actions we can take to benefit from them.

The life of a Muslim is very special as it is full of opportunities to get closer to Allah ﷻ‎ by doing 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?

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 the Qur’an and Sunnah

Qur’an

In Surah Fajr (1-2), 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 (radiallah anhum) 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 (radiallah anhu) mentions that the days referred to in this ayah are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.

Sunnah

In a Hadith narrated by ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu), 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 (radiallah anhu), 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, Syedina Jabir (Radiallah anhu) 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 (radiallah anhu) 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 (radiallah anhum) 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!

Best Actions for the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah

1)      Nawafil: 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.
2)      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.
3)      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!
4)      Tahlil, Tahmeed, Takbeer:  To repeat La ilaha illallahAlhamdulillah 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.
5)      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.

Dua on Day of Arafah of Sayyidina Ali 

In making dua on the day of Arafah, Sayyidina Ali (RA) 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.
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.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)