MAKING THE MOST OF THE FIRST 10 DAYS OF DHUL HIJJAH

 S SALAM ALAIKUM WARAMATULLAH WABARAKATU
 
 The Prophet (SAW) said ‘No good deeds done on other days are superior on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).’ Then some companions of the Prophet said not even jihad? He replied, ‘not even jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.’[Bukhari]
 
This statement encapsulates the virtues of these days. The tenth Day of Dhul Hijjah marks the end of Hajj which is commemorated with the festival of Eid Al Adha. The virtue of this festival is so meritorious that there are rewards before its arrival.
Allah (S.W.T) states in the noble Qur’an. “By the Dawn. And by the ten nights.” (Qur’an 89:1-2) Allah promises upon the ten nights, The Scholars such as Ibn Abbas (RA),  reported that Al-Fajr refers to the day of sacrifice in particular, which is An-Nahr the day of Eid. While, the ten nights refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
Scholars have sighted that these days are so powerful because all 5 pillars of Islam are incorporated within these ten days, and there is no other time during the entire year that all 5 pillars can be incorporated. During these ten days we:
1.        bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah
2.        engage in Salah
3.        can give Zakat if eligible and we should give out charity (Sadaqah) (Money is not the only form of sadaqah, give your free time to help someone, smile and do good)
4.       should fast during these ten days and it is highly encouraged to fast the 9thday which is the day of Arafah  and
5.        can go for Hajj, which only takes place these days.
Ramadan has the best night of the year while the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah has the best days of the year. In Ramadan we are able to perform 4 pillars, but we cannot perform Hajj. It is only in these 10 days that all the pillars can be acted upon. We should not let these days slip away from us without maximizing them.
Another virtue that makes these days meritorious is that they are not compulsory, unlike the month of Ramadan where it is mandatory to fast. Also, in the month of Ramadan the devils are chained, and this makes a person to perform good deeds easily as there is no restriction. Meanwhile, on the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah there are restrictions to do good deeds because the devils are not chained, the doors of hellfire are not locked, there is no atmosphere like that of Ramadan that keeps a person from striving to do good deeds. So this means whatever good deeds done in these days is purely from your own effort striving against your nafs (self), with the help of Allah.
 DEEDS TO ENGAGE IN DURING THESE 10 DAYS.
DHIKR (REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH):  “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor having a hard time.” (Qur’an 22:28) Recite Tahlil, saying: La Ilaha Illallah, and Takbir saying Allahu Akbar and a great deal of Tahmid, saying Allhamdulillah during these days. We should keep our tongue moist with the Talbiya, by reviving the Sunnah  and repeat often:  Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laillahaillah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Walilalihamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no God but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be all praise). We should praise Allah (SAW), glorify Him, and thank Allah during these ten days. Talbiya is prescribed from the first day of Dhul Hijjah until the days of Tashrik (3 days after Eid). It should be recited anywhere, wherever and whenever permissible such as, in the Masjid, in the home, when walking, when doing house chores, in the market place, etc. While after Eid it is prescribed to be read only after the 5 daily prayers.
PRAYERS AND NAWAFIL (VOLUNTARY PRAYERS): On the day of Judgement the first deed to be taken into account will be the Salah and if there is deficiency in the Fard prayers, then it will be said that your voluntary prayers be looked into. Therefore if there is a surplus of voluntary prayer it will be used to patch up the Fard prayers. This explains why we have to take our Nawafil serious.
It has been reported that the one who prays twelve rakah in a day will have a reward of a house in Jannah. [Al-Tirmidhi] How beautiful is this reward!
SALATUL DUHA: The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said there is a charity due upon every joint but by offering two rakah of Salatul Duhathose charity falls off your joint …your responsibility to give out those charity falls off your joint. [Muslim]
ISHRAAQ PRAYER: The Prophet (SAW) said, the one who prays Salatul Fajr and then remains seated remembering Allah (SWT) until the sun rises and after the sun has risen if he were to offer two unit of prayer he gets the reward of a complete Hajj and a complete Umrah. [Al-Tirmidhi]
Abu Huraira said that: My friend (the Prophet) advised me to do three things and I shall not leave them till I die, these are: To fast three days every month, to offer the Duha prayer, and to offer Witr before sleeping. [Bukhari].
ENGAGE IN QIYAMUL LAYL (NIGHT PRAYERS): The fact that it says best days does not mean we should leave the nights out of it. Abu Huraira said that: Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said,: ‘Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” [Bukhari].
FASTING: It is recommended to fast in the first nine days, most especially fasting on the day of Arafah (9th  day of Dhul Hijjah) if we are not performing Hajj.  (There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the Day of Arafah.) ‘The Messenger of Allah was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah, and he said, ‘I hope by Allah that it will be expiation for the previous year and the coming year.’ [Muslim] How amazing is this reward that a day fast gives us the reward for two years, we have to take full advantage of this moment.
RECITE THE QURAN: Recite the Quran and ponder upon the meaning.
DUA: Supplicate to Allah on these days, make use of this opportunity to pray for yourself and your family, seek for forgiveness of sins, ask for paradise, pray for your loved ones, pray for the sick, needy, orphans and helpless people, pray for the whole Muslim Ummah.
SEND SALUTATION ON THE PROPHET: Recite blessings on the Prophet (S.A.W).
TAUBA: Sincere repentance, another moment to repent and seek for forgiveness of your Rabb.
REMEMBER DEATH: It is a good attribute to always remember death. The Prophet said: ‘Remember often the Destroyer of Pleasures’. [Al-Tirmidhi] This makes us strive to do good deeds as we are always kept in a state that we can die anytime.
SACRIFICE: Going for Hajj (pilgrim) to the holy house in Makka is a form of sacrifice. The reward for an accepted Hajj Mabrur is Jannah. Another form of Hajj sacrifice is to send a sacrificial animal to Makkah, even if you yourself are not performing Hajj i.e. to arrange for a sacrifice to be carried out in Makka on the day of Eid. Furthermore, another form of sacrifice that is strongly recommended is that every household that is financially stable should sacrifice one sacrificial animal for the sake of Allah (SWT).
 The slaughtering of Udhiyyah/Qurbaani sacrificing an animal for the sake of Allah (SWT), is a deed through which people feed the poor, the hungry, and the needy. If the head of a family sacrifices an animal that responsibility falls off anyone dependent on him. It is also permissible to give out Udhiyyah for the one who has passed away; you give out Udhiyyah for the sake of Allah on behalf of the one who has passed away.
The general performance of GOOD DEEDS and striving to do more good deeds in these 10 days than you would normally do with regard to fasting, night prayer, charity, repentance, spending quality time with your family and others.
May Almighty Allah (SWT) make it easy for us to make the most of the 10 days and accept it as an act of Ibadah.

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