The month of Dhul Hijjah is one of the four Sacred Months of the Islamic year. It is a time when increased acts of worship are greatly prescribed. Indeed, this is the month when Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, is performed and when Muslims travel from all over the planet to perform it. But the blessings of this month are far from limited to those who perform Hajj. The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are superior even to the days of the blessed month of Ramadan in virtue, while Laylatul Qadr is the most blessed night of the year.
“Indeed, the number of months decreed by Allah when He created the heavens and the earth is twelve [lunar] months. Of these, four are sacred. That is the upright (i.e. correct) law (i.e. the sacredness of these months), and so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight the Pagans collectively just as they fight you collectively. And know that Allah is with those who fear Him.”Quran: Surah At-Taubah: 9:36
Abu Bakra, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: “The sequence of time has now returned to its form when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year consists of twelve months, of which four are sacred. Three sacred months occur in succession, and these are: Dhul Qi’dah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar, which comes between Jumada Al-Akhirah and Shaban.”*Muhammad (SAW) : Al Bukhari: 4662
*In Pre-Islamic Arabia, the Pagan tribes would delay or defer a sacred month to another month with the intention of waging war at a time when it was prohibited to do so. The Qur’an condemns this practice, and in the above report, the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, states that, with Islam, this practice was abolished and the sanctity of the Sacred Months was restored.
Dhul Hijjah Fasting
Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah earns forgiveness for the sins of two years – the sins of the previous year and those of the year to come.
Qatadah bin Nu’man, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said:
‘Whoever fasts the Day of Arafah will have the sins of the previous year and the year to come forgiven.”Hadith: Saheeh Muslim: 1162
There is no day on which Allah emancipates more people from [the deserved punishment of] the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah.
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrates that the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said,
“There is no day on which Allah emancipates more people from [the deserved punishment of] the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He draws near, then boasts of His servants to the angels, and says ‘What do these [pilgrims] seek?*”Muslim: 1348
*The answer to this question comes from the angels and is understood to be, “They seek nothing more than your forgiveness.” This is further corroborated by another narration that was also collected by Muslim where Allah then says, “Bear witness, My angels, that I have indeed forgiven them.”
In a report narrated by Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, the Prophet ﷺ said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these [ten] days [of Dhul Hijjah].” 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 sets out to wage JIhad, and gives of his own self and his wealth for the cause, and then comes back with nothing.”Al Bukhari: 969
Good Deeds in the Blessed Days
Some of the good deeds prescribed in these blessed days are as follows:
- Hajj and Umrah
- Fasting – especially the first 10 days and, above all, ‘Arafah
- Saying the Takbeer often
- Repenting from our sins
- Praying more, reading more Qur’an and making more Dhikr
- Sacrificing an animal
- Praying the Eid prayer
- Appreciating the blessings of Allah, thanking Allah for HIs blessings and asking His forgiveness for our sins
- Honoring one’s parents and upholding ties of kinship.
- Asking Allah for the opportunity to perform Hajj and to accept it from us.
It is Sunnah to fast on the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, because fasting is one of the best of deeds. The Prophet (saw) said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than in these [ten] days.”Al Bukhari: 969
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet said: “Whoever sees the new crescent of Dhul Hijjah and wants to offer a sacrifice, let him not remove any of his hair or nails until he has offered the sacrifice.”Sunan An-Nasa’i: 4366