Excellence of the first ten days of Dhul Hajjah
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Dhul Hijjah is an important month of the Islamic calendar because of the magnificence of Hajj performed during this month. Millions from all over the world are drawn to the Holy city of Makkah al Mukarramah on this auspicious occasion. According to Prophet (SAW) three months associated with Hajj are Shawwal, Dhul Qadah, and Dhul Hijjah. It means that the completion of Ramadan ushers us into the days of Hajj. Hujjaj used to start their journey from Shawwal before the modern means of transportation came into being. These three months are called “Ash’hu’ri Hajj – the months of Hajj. Jurists have approved the idea of wearing Ihraam from the month of Shawwal for Hajj. This verdict indicates that the spirit of worship continues with the change in focus from Ramadan to Hajj. Such continuity reflects that a Momin is an all-time bondsman of Allah, a full-time worshipper, and his relationship with his Creator is not on a part-time basis. Aayah 56 of Surah Dhariyat says: “I created Jinn and Mankind to worship Me.”
Eid-ul-Fitr is an expression of gratitude for the blessings of Ramadan, and Eid-ul-Adha is to celebrate our indebtedness to Allah (SWT) on the completion of Hajj. The difference between the two is that the pleasure of Eid-ul-Fitr commences by giving Sadaqat-ul-Fitr, while Eid-ul-Adha’s pleasure lies in the performance of sacrifice.
The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah carry great blessings. Aayahs 1-2 of Surah Al-Fajr say:
“By the Daybreak, by the Ten Nights, …”
Majority of scholars have interpreted that by the oath of 10 nights, Allah (SWT) is referring to the first ten nights of Dhul Hijjah. When Allah (SWT) takes an oath on something, He (SWT) attests to its importance and the grandeur of its status. As related by Ibn Abbas (RA), Prophet (SAW) said about this ten-day unit:
“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah as a righteous action done during these days…”
According to another tradition, Prophet (SAW) said that if anyone observes fast during these days, the reward of one fast equals the fasting of the whole year. On another occasion, he (SAW) said that the worship of one out of these ten nights is like worshipping in Night of Power – Lailat-ul-Qadr. [Tirmidhi #758]
Though there is no specific tradition highlighting the excellence and blessings of these ten nights, but deliberations lead us to conclude a few points.
One: The entire universe is Allah’s creation, and it is up to Him to distinguish and honor one of His creations over the other. He grants excellence to some days over other days, some months over other months, some cities over other cities and some people over other
people like His Messengers occupy a higher status among all men. He (SWT) says in Aayah 253 of Surah Al-Baqarah:
“We favored some of these messengers above others. Allah spoke to some; others He raised in rank…”
It is up to Him to grant a higher status to any one single Prophet over other Prophets or Messengers as Aayah 68 of Surah Qasas says:
“Your Lord creates what He pleases and selects those He will...”
At times Allah (SWT) unveils the secret of his selection, other times He does not. He shows the excellence of Ramadan over other months in Aayah 185 of Surah Al-Baqarah as such:
“It was in this month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong…”
He also mentions the superiority of the Night of Power & Glory – Lailat-ul-Qadr over other nights in Aayah 3 of Surah Al-Qadr as such: “The Night of Glory is better than a thousand months…”
Two: The month of Dhul Hijjah is an important, respected and blessed month as mentioned in Aayah 36 of Surah At-Tawbah:
“Allah decrees that there are twelve months – ordained in Allah’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth – four months of which are sacred: this is the straight Deen. Do not wrong your souls in these months…”
To be wrong to the self is always forbidden but doing wrong during these months adds to their respectability and uniqueness.
Three: The month of Dhul Hijjah is one of the four months warranting a special respect for it. The performance of Hajj as mentioned in Aayah 197 of Surah Al-Baqarahfurther adds to its esteem.
“The pilgrimage takes place during the prescribed months …”
and these prescribed months are: Shawwal, Dhul Qadah and Dhul Hijjah. It lays double emphasis on Dhul Hijjah being also the month of Hajj.
Four: The first ten days of this month are important because some very significant rites of Hajj are performed during this period.
8th Dhul Hijjah is called the Yom-at-Tarviyah. 9th Dhul Hijjah is Yom-e-Arafah, and the 10th is called Yom-al-Hajj, or Yom-an-Nahr. The most distinguished day of the year is Yom-e-Arafah.
The point which needs to be remembered is that worships performed during these days cannot be performed at any other time. Five prayers are obligatory, but supererogatory worship i.e. nawaafil can be prayed at any time. Fasting is obligatory during Ramadan, but supererogatory fasting can be observed any time during the year; Zakat is due to be paid once in a year, but Sadaqah and charity can be given at any time. There are two worships which are time specific and if performed outside the specified period, they wouldn’t be considered as worship. One of those is Hajj with its rites like staying at Arafat, spending the night at Muzdalifah, and doing Rameeat Jamaraat. Performance of these rites at any other than specified time wouldn’t be considered as worship. The other worship is performance of sacrifice, the Qurbani. Three days have been earmarked for Qurbani, the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul Hijjah, and Qurbani made earlier or later wouldn’t earn the reward associated with it.
The month of Dhul Hijjah starts with the sighting of the moon. Prophet (SAW) said: “One from among you who intends to do Qurbani shouldn’t clip his hair or nails after having seen the new moon. [Ibn-e-Maajah #3187]
In the light of this tradition, scholars regard this act as desirable and preferable. This may sound strange, but it carries a great blessing for those who may not be performing Hajj. Hujjaj are required to wear Ihraam, a dress of two plain sheets. They cannot wear any sewn cloth, put on perfume, cover their face, and clip their nails and hair; all these things are forbidden. Prophet (SAW) wanted the non-Hujjaj to resemble with the Hujjaj to attract Allah (SWT)’s mercy and blessing. Maulana Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (RehmA) quotes his Sheikh Doctor Abdul Hay’ye (RehmA), who said: “Allah (SWT) looks for a pretext to bestow honor and blessing on his bondsmen. By putting up a resemblance with the Hujjaj, no wonder the likeness may earn some reward and blessing. The esteemed scholar added that Allah (SWT) knows the circumstances of people who couldn’t perform Hajj. Being Beneficent, Kind and Merciful, He (SWT) does not want to exclude those from rewards and blessings who wanted to perform Hajj, but could not for valid reasons.
Five: The day of Arafah falls during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Listen to what Prophet (SAW) said about fasting on this day as related by Abu Qatadah (RA):
“It is expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year.”
Meant here is forgiveness of smaller sins and not major sins as those are not forgiven without repentance.
Six: A special rite during these days is Takbeer-e-Tashreeq, which starts from Fajr on the Day of Arafah and continues until Asr time on the 13th of Dhul Hijjah covering 23 salats.
This Takbeer is required (waajib) at least once after each obligatory prayer. Men are supposed to make it in a moderately loud voice, where as women in a low voice. Hanafi school of thought draws its validity from Aayah 203 of Surah Al-Baqarah:
“Remember Allah on the appointed days…”
Hazrat Jaabir (RA) said that on the Day of Arafah, Prophet (SAW) made Takbeer from Fajr until Asr time. [Dar Qatni].
The words of Takbeer are: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaaha IlalLahu, W’Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa’lilLaahil Hamd.
In the Maliki school of thought Takbeer from Zuhr of 10th Dhul Hijjah until Fajr of 13th Dhul Hijjah covering fifteen obligatory prayers is recommended as preferable.
Imaam Shafa’ee (RehmA) closely follows Imaam Malik and according to one opinion Takbeer starts from Fajr on the Day of Arafah until Asr on the 13th Dhul Hajjacovering fifteen obligatory prayers. Umar (RA), Ali (RA), Ibn-e-Masood (RA), and Ibn-e-Abbas (RA) have followed the same practice and Imaam Nawawi has also preferred it.
According to Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal (RehmA)’s school of thought, Takbeer is a recommended as Sunnah, which starts from Fajr of the Day of Arafah until Asr of the 13th Dhul Hijjah covering 23 obligatory prayers. [Al Fiqhul Islami wa Adillatuhu, vol. 4 p. 1408-1411]
Seven: A very important rite associated with the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah is the sacrifice, which should be done during the three days, i.e. 10th, 11th, and 12th ofDhul Hijjah. This sacrifice is Waajib, required from every Muslim man and woman who can afford it. There are many commands in this context in Prophet (SAW)’s traditions and books of jurisprudence.
These are just a few important aspects of the Ashra-e-Dhul Hijjah attesting to its significance with regards to fasting, praying, reciting the Holy Qur’an, and performing other good deeds. Let us take full advantage of these days and make the most out of them by making repentance, doing extra worship, fasting, thanking, glorifying and remembering Allah (SWT) as much as possible.
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
AS = AlehisSalam
RA = Radhiyallaho anhu
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.