The 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are some of the most important days in the Islamic year. Allah swears by them in Surah Al-Fajr.
By the Dawn and By the ten nights, and…Surah Al-Fajr: 1-2
Generally, an oath is made against something lofty or valued, and if Allah uses these ten nights, then they are not to be taken lightly.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).”
Then some companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Not even Jihad?”
He (ﷺ) 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.”Sahih al-Bukhari 969
Ibn Hajar, in Fath ul Baari, says this is due to great acts of worship being performed like Salah, Fasting, Zakah, Sadaqah, Qurbani, Eid, the Day of Arafah and Hajj.
In terms of them being the best days of the year, some scholars conclude the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are better than the final 10 days of Ramadan, however, the final 10 nights of Ramadhan are greater due to Laylatul Qadr. Likewise, the 9th of Dhul Hijjah is the greatest day of the year.
What to do on the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There are no days in this world during which worship is more beloved to Allah, Glorious is He, than the (first) ten days (of Dhul- Hijjah). Fasting one of these days is equivalent to fasting for one year, and one night of them is equal to Lailatul-Qadr.”Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 7, Hadith 1728
One of the best forms of worship is fasting, each day is equivalent to one year, so that is 9 in total. On the 10th day, it is Eid ul Adha, so it is not permissible to fast on Eid.
Muslims should try to fast the whole 9 days, and if not then at least the 9th of Dhul Hijjah. If one can fast more, then the next preference would be Monday and the Thursday within the 9 days, these are sunnah days. If one makes the dual intention, then he will be given the reward of a Sunnah fast for the whole year.
…It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year…Sahih Muslim 1162
It is related that the two sahabi, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah رضی اللہ عنھم would go into the marketplace and say Allahu Akbar, in reply the people would also chant Allahu Akbar. This was in the city of Madina, alsthough these were the days of Hajj in Makkah, they brought to revive Allah’s name in places where it is forgotten and create a buzz around the time of Hajj and Eid.
The scholars recommend reciting SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar and La ilaha illallah.
Some other key ways to reap the rewards
- Performing obligatory actions – It goes without saying, one can only draw near to Allah by performing supererogatory actions after first having performed that which is obligatory.
- Remembering Allah from Fajr until Ishraq.
- Attending a gathering of knowledge, zikr and mawlid.
- Pray in congregation at the mosque or at least at home.
- Perform Jumuah prayer and also the Eid ul Adha.
- Support your brother and sisters with a helping hand and do more for your parents.
Whether it be prayer, fasting, charity, remembrance, seeking knowledge, helping people, any righteous actions we do will be greatly rewarded and beyond that are beloved to Allah. This is also a time when prayers are answered by Allah.
The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the 10 days until after he has offered his sacrifice.
The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if anyone of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.’Muslim
The scholars say, one of the reasons for this is so that those not going for Hajj can emulate the hujooj, because in reality, Hajj is for all Muslims, it was just that we could not make it this year.
You can read more on Qurbani here.