The Significance of the First 10 Days of Dhul Hijjah
In the Islamic calendar, Dhul Hijjah marks the final month of the year. As a month where we are thankful to have experienced another year, it is also a time most blessed by Allah (SWT). This is especially true for the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, as Muslims around the world increase in worship towards our Creator and prepare for the important events of Hajj and Eid al-Adha during these most sacred days.
Why is Dhul Hijjah Important?
Within Islam, several verses and ahadith emphasise the importance of Dhul Hijjah and its first 10 days as the holiest days of the year.
In the Quran, Allah (SWT) swears an oath by these first 10 days by saying:
“By the dawn and by the ten nights,” (Al-Fajr 89:1-2)
As the Creator of the universe and beyond, when Allah (SWT) swears an oath by something, it is indicative of how important and of great benefit they are to us as His creations.
Likewise, on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, the Day of Arafah, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) received this verse:
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Quran 5:3)
Much like how Laylatul Qadr during the blessed month of Ramadan is considered the greatest night of the year, the Day of Arafah is considered the greatest day of the year. As it was on this Day of Arafah that Allah (SWT) perfected His religion, completed His favours upon His beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and approved Islam as a way of life.
In turn, ahadith that signify how blessed the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are include:
“The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period – salawat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine.” (Fath al-Bari).
“There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” (Bukhari)
As such, many Muslims use the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah to increase their remembrance of Allah (SWT). As a time beyond Ramadan when we have the best opportunity to maximise our blessings and rewards from Allah (SWT), we should make the most of these best 10 days by elevating our good deeds and acts of worship.
What Should We Do During the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah?
Generally, all good deeds are greatly rewarded during the blessed 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. This is especially true on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, as “There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Muslim)
Good deeds include actions such as praying, reading the Quran, making Dua (supplication), seeking Allah’s forgiveness (Istighfar), Tawbah (repentance), giving in charity and being good to our families, and other voluntary (nafl) righteous deeds of worship. On the other hand, there are also specific good deeds mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah that are encouraged for us to carry out during these best 10 days.
The month of Dhul Hijjah is also known as “The Month of the Pilgrimage”. On the 8th, 9th and 10th day of the month, Muslims from all around the world come together in Makkah to fulfil Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, in the hope they will have all their previous sins forgiven upon completion.
This is because performing Hajj is considered one of the best deeds that one can do during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. Likewise, for the one who sincerely performs and completes Hajj, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.” (Ibn Majah)
Fasting in the month of Dhul Hijjah is greatly encouraged during the first nine days. This is especially true for the Day of Arafah, as the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Fasting the day of Arafah expiates the [minor] sins of two years” (Muslim)
Dhikr, the verbal remembrance of Allah (SWT), is another virtuous act that is especially beloved to God in these first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah.
In Quran, it is stated: “And mention the name of Allah on the appointed days” (Al-Hajj 12:28)
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also encouraged Muslims to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (SubhanAllah), Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah) and Takbeer (Allahu-Akbar) during this time.
He (SAW) said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah in which Good Deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.” (Ahmad)
The 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah is Eid Al-Adha, a day where we perform Qurban (sacrifice). This ritual of Eid Al-Adha commemorates the devotion of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to Allah (SWT). In his willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail (AS) for the sake of Allah (SWT), God intervened and sent a ram to be sacrificed in Ismail’s place.
Thus, on Eid Al-Adha, the festival of the sacrifice, Muslims around the world slaughter an animal – a goat, sheep, cow or camel – to reflect this great act of worship. Following the sacrifice, the meat is divided, in which at least one-third of the meat must go to the poor or vulnerable. Donating Qurban is a highly encouraged act for every Muslim who is financially able to do so and can be done so through a certified charity, such as Islamic Relief Australia, with specific Qurban programs.
As the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are well upon us, we hope that this blessed month marks a time of great joy, reflection and blessings for all. May we take this opportunity to make the most of the rewards Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us, insha’Allah!
Give for the sake of Allah (SWT)
Take advantage of the most rewarding days of the year; give your Qurban and increase your acts of Sadaqah before the ten days are over.