The Best Days of the Year

November 24, 2009

We are in the midst of the first 10 days of the month of Dhul Hijjah. Doing good deeds in them is better than in any of the other days of the year. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The companions asked: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet replied, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything” (Narrated by Bukhari).
It is highly recommended that we all increase in doing good deeds and extra voluntary acts of worship during these 10 blessed days so we can make the best out of them and gain Allah’s reward.
These 10 days are so important and blessed that Allah swore by them in the Quran in the beginning of Surah Al-Fajr. It is in these 10 days that all the pillars of Islam are being performed, because it is the time of the year for Hajj, along with the other pillars like Salah, Fasting, and Zakah also being performed. So insha’Allah, we should strive to start that month with sincere repentance to Allah and exert ourselves in doing as much good deeds as we can.
Here are a few of the possible good deeds that one can do, along with a few other things to keep in mind:

1) Fasting:
We should try to fast as much of the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah as possible, since fasting is a virtuous deed, and even more so during these days. As prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says: “Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.’” (Narrated by Bukhari).
It was the Sunnah of the prophet to increase in fasting during these blessed days. However, fasting all of the first 9 days is not compulsory, nor was it a constant sunnah that the prophet peace be upon him never dropped. But insha’Allah, increase in your fasting during these first 9days because the reward and virtues of fasting are numerous, such as the du’a or supplication of the fasting person is accepted, fasting is a means of attaining Taqwah, and it also is a protection from Hell-fire, as prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says: “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep his face seventy years’ distance away from the Fire because of it.”(Narrated by Muslim).
2) The Day of ‘Arafah:
The day of ‘Arafah is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah (which will be on Thursday, November 26),and it is the day when the pilgrims (performing Hajj) stand in worship on the mountain of ‘Arafah.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’” (Narrated by Muslim).
Whether you decide to fast most of the first 9 days, or you decide to just fast only one day out of the nine, make sure that you fast on the day of ‘Arafah which is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah (which will be on Thursday, November 26), because when prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah, he said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” (Narrated by Muslim). Therefore, it is highly recommended to fast on the day of ‘Arafah for those who are not going on Hajj. 
The day after ‘Arafah, the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, is the day of Eid Al-Adha which is also called the day of Nahr (slaughtering), and the next three days after Eid (the 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul Hijjah) are called the days of Tashreeq. The day of Eid and the three days of Tashreeq after it are days of celebration and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) forbade fasting on these days and said: “Do not fast on these days, for they are the days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.” (Narrated by Ahmad; Classed as Saheeh by Sheikh Albani).

3) The Udhiyah (Sacrifice):
One of the righteous deeds that brings one closer to Allah is slaughtering an animal for the sake of Allah, and this is highly recommended sunnah for those who can afford it (some scholars even said it is mandatory to offer the sacrifice for those who are able to afford it), because the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to offer a sacrifice every year for the 10 years while he was in Medina, as narrated by the companion Abdullah ibn Omar may Allah be pleased with them both. The time for slaughtering the animal begins after the Eid Prayer on the day of Eid and lasts until the end of the three days of Tashreeq after Eid.
For those who plan to sacrifice (usually, the head of the household), then they are prohibited to cut their hair or nails from the 1st day of Dhul Hijjah until they offer the sacrifice. This is only for the one who plans on performing the sacrifice and not for his entire family, and it applies the same to both men and women. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Once the tendays start, for those of you who have the intention to sacrifice, let them not cut any of their hair or nails (until they sacrifice).” (Narrated by Muslim).
[Note: If you have the habit of biting your nails, this might be the perfect way to help you break that habit during these great 10 days!] 
If you plan on performing the sacrifice, also make sure to pick a mature and healthy animal that is free from any flaws that you will slaughter. When slaughtering the animal, it is sunnah to say: “Bismillah, wa Allahu akbar” (which means “In the name of Allah, Allah is most great).

4) Other Deeds:
Some other good deeds that we can do during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are:
*Increase in Dhikr and remembering Allah frequently, like saying the Takbeer at any time throughout the day. One of the forms of the Takbeer is “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahi’l-hamd” (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 praise).  Keep in mind that the Takbeer should be done out loud but on an individual basis and without saying it in unision as a group as this is not from the sunnah.
*Doing Istighfaar and repenting sincerely to Allah from all our sins, and staying away from committing any more sins during these 10 days.
*Increase in giving charity.
*Do more of the voluntary acts of worship like extra prayers throughout the day and at night.
*Pray the 5 obligatory daily prayers early on time and with tranquility, and if you are able to then pray them in congregation at the Masjid.
*Any other good deed that you can think of !!
*Remember to attend the Eid prayer on the day of Eid (the 10th day of Dhul Hijja), as the prophet ordered everyone, men, women, and kids, to attend the Eid prayer.


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