Allah has chosen particular times, places and actions and made them special – filled with abundant opportunity to attain His pleasure.
One of those well-known times is Ramadan. Although we regularly witness plentitudes of Muslims who strive to utilize the blessing of Ramadan – upon us right now, is another specially chosen time that gets far less attention: the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
These days of Dhul Hijjah are packed with blessings and golden opportunities. We don’t want to allow them to pass by without using them wisely.
While millions are answering the call of their Lord and making their way to Hajj, millions more are not.
So what about all of us staying home with our usual lives ongoing during these sacred days?
It is related that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said about these special days:
There is no day more honorable in Allah’s sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil (There is nothing worthy of worship but Allah), takbir (Allah is the greatest) and tahmid (All praise is due to Allah) a lot [on those days]. (Ahmad and At-Tabarani)
Just as in Ramadan, where we strive to increase our self-control, good deeds and emerge better people in the sight of Allah, the ten days of Dhul Hijjah similarly are a momentous occurrence.
It is one of the many chances given to us by our Maker to regain the clarity and sense of purpose that often gets muddled and mired in our material lives.
We are indeed offered a generous gift if we are fortunate enough to live to experience these days. Many have passed away before the arrival of these ten days, and many of us will not live to the next Dhul Hijjah.
Fasting the Day of Arafah
In addition to the adhkar mentioned in the hadith above, the Prophet Muhammad also emphasized fasting and tahajjud.
Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of Allah 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]. (At-Tirmidhi)
It was also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah (the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah) and he said:
It expiates for the past and coming years. (Muslim)
So, as we increase our focus and worship, dhikr, fasting and salah in the last part of the night, are all on the list. But these acts are only buttressed by our intentions and our awareness – presence of that worship in our hearts.
While we pray, our foreheads on the floor, with words upon our lips, glorifying our Creator – free of deficiency, The Most High – are our hearts and minds present?
Are those words emanating from within us with conviction and sincerity? Or do those words originate on our tongues?
If you were to die making sujood, chances are everyone would believe Allah was pleased with you, but it is only Allah who knows us both internally and externally. He knows if we are prostrating, saying subhana Rabbi al A‘la, but instead of being immersed in Awe for Him, the YouTube video we just watched is replaying in our minds.
These kinds of fundamentals, like our wudu, our salah, our fasts, dhikr with a present heart and mind, are the things we should work to improve and perfect especially during these days.
It is Allah alone with complete control of all things, including time. We will not be able to make it stop. My dream of super powers will not come to fruition. Time is incessantly passing and slipping away from us. What we can do, though, is use that time wisely.
Allah has provided us numerous opportunities throughout the year to renew our faith and to encourage us towards acts of goodness by specifying such special days.
May Allah help us to remember Him and glorify Him with awareness and sincerity.
And may He aid us and allow us to increase in goodness and righteous acts during these days of Dhul Hijjah and beyond.
(From Reading Islam’s archive.)