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Best Days of the Year: What to Do This Year?

One of my fondest memories as a child was when my father decided that I, at the ripe age of 6, was old enough to understand the concept of altruism, sacrifice and devotion.

I remember I had wondered why he was fasting the first days of the month of Dhul Hijjah asking him if the month of Ramadan had come upon us once again. After all, at 6, Ramadan and fasting were one to me.

The Hajj

He explained to me that in commemoration of the trials of the Prophet Ibrahim and his family in Makkah, which included Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son in response to God’s command, Muslims worldwide make a pilgrimage to the sacred city at least once in their lifetime.

The Hajj – or pilgrimage – he said is one of the “five pillars” of Islam, and thus an essential part of our faith and practice as Muslims.

He never got tired of my questions and it was when I asked him which was better the last ten nights of Ramadan or the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah that he advised me to seize the moment and that God was Merciful in that He gave a second chance to make up for those nights we may have missed in Ramadan and take advantage of the first days of Dhul Hijjah.

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Perform any good deeds, he would say, and encourage us as we counted down and marked off the days of the calendar leading us to what he had described as the best day of all as the day Muslims stood on Arafah as one. The Quran reminds us that, originally, humankind was one Ummah (Nation), but this unity was broken by various differences which we as human beings created among ourselves it says:

{The people were but one nation, then they differed. And had it not been for a previous command from your Lord, the matter would have been immediately judged between them for what they differed.} (Yunus 10:19)

In Unity There is Strength

Mindful of my father’s words every year I recollect the mercy of God during these days.

Somehow I always felt guilty for not taking full advantage of the last 10 nights of Ramadan and feel that He is giving me a second chance in the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah to do good and reap the bountiful rewards during the process.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah than those that are done in these ten days.

So increase in tahlil (to say la illaha illallah), takbir (to say allahu akbar) and tahmid (to say alhamdulillah).” (At-Tabarani)

Do More, Give More

Every year at this time, I, now equipped with my late father’s advice, teach my children to go above and beyond. Do just a bit more with something at work, school or at home with friends or with family.

In short, give more than is expected. Mark on a calendar and count down the days to where Muslims as one unite on the Day of Arafah and experience the strength in just being part of this great day regardless of where you are.

With the current turmoil where I live, the upcoming 10 days of Dhul Hijjah will give me, personally, time to reflect on where I stand at this point and what can be done to improve myself.

My willingness to examine my own possible biases is an important step in understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society as I see it today and the rift which has unfortunately taken a strong foothold on the country.

The current discrimination which is treating people unequally because of their group memberships with discriminatory behavior, which range from slights to hate crimes, often begins with negative stereotypes and prejudices.

Pondering over events in the country one can only liken the situation of Hagar, Prophet Ismail’s mother, who had complete faith in God that He would make things better and provide for her infant son when she ran across the desert looking for water.

The Zamzam Well to me represents this faith, perseverance and hope.

How to Benefit from the Best Ten Days

We, as Muslims, should start these days with sincere repentance to Allah and that includes cleansing ourselves from the prejudices and working on becoming one, remember, in unity there is strength.

I personally believe the only way for any people including both Muslims and non-Muslims alike of any situation is through going back to the guidance of God and the Quran. We can do this through reflection, self-examination and true sincerity, in order to truly correct ourselves.

Recognizing that any problem is in others as well as in ourselves should motivate us all to try both to understand and to act on this basis.

On a larger scale there is comfort in knowing that Islam being a flexible religion allows for a variety of opinions and customs, as long as they do not contradict the religion.

As mentioned, disagreements can be resolved by turning to the Quran, not by isolation or segregation.

The Quran is the book of guidance for all of mankind. How can we convince anyone of this if we cannot even be united amongst ourselves?

We should learn to adopt the principle of consensus and as Voltaire once said I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it and also learn to accept difference of opinion.

Restraint, Humility & Intentions

Exercising restraint during these days is just as significant as fasting during Ramadan.

We can aim at holding our tongue simply by not saying it. We may want to. And we may have the right to. But we should just try smiling instead. Hard?

For sure.



Islam has taught us to show humility and what better time to demonstrate it than now?

Purely bask in just knowing your own greatness inside without the need to have it reinforced publicly. We should seize the moment and during the upcoming days define our own insight regarding integrity. What does it mean to us as Muslims on a larger scale and as an individual family member on another?

Write it down then question ourselves are we living in it or are we caught up in the moment forgetting or disregarding it as we occupy ourselves with less important things.  

Lastly remember that any good deed done during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah is rewarded tenfold and now is the time to examine our intentions.

We should as individuals carefully look at why we are doing something. And ask do our intentions match our values? If not, reconsider. Bear in mind that intentions are the foundations of every action. The prophet says:

“Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended.

So the one whose ‘hijrah’ (migration) was to Allah and His Messenger, then his ‘hijrah’ was to Allah and His Messenger.

And the one whose ‘hijrah’ was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his ‘hijrah’ was for what he made ‘hijrah’ for.” (Muslim)

(From Discovering Islam archive) 

About Deana Nassar
Deana Nassar is a published writer. As a mother of four, in her home she’s the sole expert on all things related to marriage, children’s psychology, motherhood and creative survival. She loves charity work, reading and writing poetry, and is mostly known for writing articles discussing family and social issues, faith, freedom, and purpose that comes through God. She can be reached at [email protected]