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The Days Allah Swears by

Allah swears by these days; this is something that you hear often in the tafsir, but the virtues of that, the benefits of that, or how Allah swears by these days is often not spoken about.

So, we know that in the Quran, Allah swears by the dawn and then by the ten nights. And then Allah swears by the even and the odd, and He swears by the last part of the night.

So, what is the benefit of that? And what does this refer to?

Well, according to the majority of the scholars, in fact Imam Al Tabari said that:

“These ten nights that Allah swears by are the first ten of the Dhul-Hijjah; and that is a sign of its virtue that Allah would honor it with an oath.”

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Which Days Are They?

Some of the scholars say, a minor opinion, that they’re the last 10 nights of Ramadan; and some of the scholars actually mentioned that Allah does not use any definite article to refer to these as the only 10 nights; they say that it can refer to two sets of ten nights. So it could refer to both the first 10 days of the Dhul-Hijjah as well as the last 10 nights of Ramadan.

Now some of the scholars talked about, “Well how come Allah uses “wa layaal” the nights instead of the days, when we know the most virtuous nights of the year are the last 10 nights of Ramadan and the most virtuous days of the year are the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah?”

The scholars of the Arabic language and the scholars of the Quran will point to the fact that ‘layal’ (nights) and ‘ayaam’ (days) in Arabic are often interchangeable in their usage.

This is the case for example with Zachariah (peace be upon him) where there’s a theme when Allah talks about the Prophet Zachariah; when Allah talks about the three days that he was given an oath of silence, in one place Allah refers to it as days and in another place He refers to it as nights.

Some of the scholars also said that when Allah swears by the fajr, He is swearing by the fajr of the day of Eid which is right after Arafah and the day of the sacrifice; so Allah is swearing by a very particular dawn.

Now, what is the benefit of this flow though?

If you pay attention to this, Allah is swearing by the best part of the day; then He swears by the best days of the year; He swears by the best days of those days, then Allah swears by the best part of the night.

The Best Part of the Day

So fajr is the best part of the day. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Allah has placed blessing in the early morning hours.

There are things that can be done between fajr and sunrise that cannot be done throughout the day. So it’s the most blessed part of the day; it’s the time that you find your greatest energy; it’s the time that you find that your needs are amplified that you can start the day off.

So even sitting in the masjid and remembering Allah between fajr and sunrise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, is the reward of hajj. It’s the most blessed part of the day and most people miss the opportunity of it.

The Most Blessed Days of the Year

Then Allah swears by the most blessed days of the year in the first ten days of the Dhul-Hijjah.

The Even and the Odd

And then according to narrations the even and the odd would refer to the day of the sacrifice; the day of Eid, being the even the tenth of the Dhul-Hijjah and Arafah which is the most blessed day the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah. So Allah takes the most blessed days of the ten days and swears by them in particular.

The Last Part of the Night

And then Allah swears specifically by the night as it starts to leave you; meaning the last part of the night which is the time of qiyam, the most blessed time of prayer; the time of a sahr, the time where we would feed ourselves physically if we were to fast; and feed ourselves spiritually whether we’re fasting or not in those last times of the night.

So what is Allah emphasizing here for us? And what’s the lesson that we can take from this other than Allah has honored these times of the day, these times of the year, these times of the night?

What we can take from this is Allah has given us blessed seasons throughout the year, blessed months, a blessed day of the week, blessed times of the day; and that a person who is seeking the blessing of Allah will always seek to get ahead by making use of those times; and that most people will not make use of those times and as a result of that will fall behind.

That is not from a lack of mercy or a lack of justice on the part of the Lord, but it is instead a time where we would prove neglectful; and where we need to remind ourselves that Allah has given us ample opportunities to do things to please Him.

Make Good Use of it

So, these are times that people typically don’t take advantage of. Most people miss the blessings of these days, most people are not doing anything spectacular in terms of their remembrance, in terms of their good deeds especially in the first eight days of Dhul-Hijjah… This is where people really shine.

And it’s important to mention this here because in Ramadan everyone is worshiping Allah, everyone is fasting, everyone is doing certain things… But if you really want to shine in the sight of Allah, then that time after fajr, where most people go back to sleep, if they even woke up in the first place. Shine in the morning, get ahead start on your good deeds, get ahead start on your productivity.

If you really want to shine, take advantage of these ten days that are better than the entire year. If you really want to shine, wake up a little bit before fajr when most people are still sleeping at night and invoke Allah at a time where Allah truly favors his chosen servants in those moments.

So, this is your time to shine; don’t lose the opportunity and that’s one of the wisdoms of Allah swearing by these blessed times.

The Witness and the Witnessed

The scholars also mentioned “shaaheden wa mashhood” the witness and the witnessed are referring to Arafah and Jumuah; because the day of Arafah and the day of Jumuah share many similar traits.

So, just as the day of Arafah is the best day of the year, the day of Jumuah is the best day of the week; just as the time between asr and magrib prayers is a time where we should increase dua on the day of Arafah; it’s a time according to an authentic narration that on the day of Jumuah we should increase our dua to Allah.

About Omar Suleiman
Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.