Indeed it is a great favour and blessing from Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala that He has awarded the Ummat of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam exceptionally extraordinary and special periods of time within which all virtuous deeds are magnified many times over and Allah manifests His grand mercy, pardon and clemency. One of these opportunistic periods is the first ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar, in which the Hajj is performed). It is upon the followers of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam to grab at this occasion with both hands in appreciation to the divine bounties which are showered in this period. We, whose lives are riddled with sin and transgression, whose souls are perforated with evil and filth, are in dire need of such blessed days.
There are many virtues and blessings found in Dhul Hijjah, and the most in the first 10 days. We do not know which of us will be alive to see this month next year. As such, we must fervently and eagerly devote ourselves to the obedience and attainment of the pleasure of Allah Ta’aala.
Allah Ta’aala swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah says "By the dawn; by the 10 nights" [Surah al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: "This is the correct opinion." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413]
Ibn' Abbas Radiallahu Anhu says about the Aayah, "Remember Allah during the well known days," (Surah Hajj) that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. [This is related by al-Bukhari]
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing” (Bukhari).
Narrated Ibn' Umar Radiallahu Anhu: On the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijja), Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam stood in between the Jamrat during his Hajj which he performed (as in the previous Hadith) and said, "This is the greatest Day (i.e. 10th of Dhul-Hijjah)." Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam started saying repeatedly, "O Allaah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message)." He then bade the people farewell. The people said, "(This is Hajjat-al-Wada)." [Bukhari 2.798]
Allah Glorified and Exalted be He, blessed the nation of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam with opportunities to reap rewards and blessings every day of the year. The last ten nights of Ramadan (the month of fasting) are among the most blessed nights of the year; in particular Laylatul-Qadr (the night of power) is extremely sacred. Similarly, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijja (the 12th Islamic calendar month) carry special status during the blessed month of “Pilgrimage.” The above Hadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam spells out the importance of these ten days in the sight of Allah Glorified and Exalted be He and the amplified reward for all good deeds during this blessed season.
Just like the last ten nights of Ramadan are the best ten nights out of the year, these first ten days of Dhul-Hijja are the best days of the year and the most beloved to Allah as they combine acts of worship in a way unlike any other time.
With regards to the noble companion Sa'id bin Jubayr, when the days of Dhu'l-Hijjah began he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity until he was unable to increase anymore. [Reported by Ad-Darimi]
So, the questions we should be asking ourselves are, “How do we make the most of this season of blessings?”, “What deeds can I perform to attain His pleasure?”.
Ibn Hajar (AR) says in Fath al-Bari: "The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine."
The following articles will in shaa Allah outline some examples of the acts of worship that will help us gain His pleasure and eternal salvation in shaa Allah.
(To be continued)