Why are the Ten days of Dhul Hijjah most valued by Allah and what should we do to uphold the values of these sacred days?
By the dawn; (1) By the ten nights (i.e. the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hîjjah) (2) And by the even and the odd (of all the creations of Allâh) (3) And by the night when it departs (4) There is indeed in them (the above oaths) sufficient proofs for men of understanding (and that, they should avoid all kinds of sins and disbeliefs)!
In the Qur’an, there are instances when Allah swears and swearing is to emphasise the importance of a particular issue. The above verses are from Surah al Fajr, He has sworn on four things and one of them is - By the dawn. According to senior and authentic scholars, this dawn refers to the morning of Yaumul Arfa ( Yaumul Nahr- The day of sacrifice) and the second is - By the ten nights. According to the scholars, the ten nights means ten days (and nights) of 1 to 10 Dhul Hijjah. The third and fourth are And by the even and the odd - The Arabic term is shaf’a and watr which means the day of Arfa and the day of Nahr.
Allah has decreed some deeds, places and days as best and more virtuous
If you offer Isha prayers at home, it is not as virtuous as offered in your local masjid. The value differs as per the command of Allah. The best place is the masjid and among the best Masjid of the cities is the Masjid e Nabwi, Madinah where each prayer offered is rewarded as having offered one thousand times. Similarly, prayers offered in Haram of Makkah is rewarded equivalent to one hundred thousand prayers as Makkah is appointed as Ummul Qura - The mother of all the cities.
There are certain times even during each days which are singled out as the best time to perform a good deed
Every day, there is one time which has been very precious before Allah, and those are the mornings and evenings - These two times offers so much virtues that if a person performs even a small good deed, he gets ample of rewards by the Most Generous Allah. Thus they compensate for every defect in our efforts during the day.
The Prophet ﷺ was asked- Which (nawafil) prayers are the best? He replied - The prayers offered in the last part of the night because Allah descends upon the nearest heaven to the earth.
In other Hadith he was asked- Which are the best times for the supplications to be accepted? He replied- the last part of the night.
Allah has singled out some months and days as more virtuous than others.
Jumuah, Friday is appointed as the most valued and blessed day of the week. In the same way, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are declared to be the most virtuous of all the days. That means - Good deeds in these days are more rewarding. Jabir ibn Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet ﷺ - The best days are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah - Scholars have said that this hadith is sahih. The correct understanding goes like this- no other days in a year can match these ten days in terms of status, honour, virtues and blessings. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said - No other days have virtues and rewards like the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The people asked - More than Jihad? He replied- Yes, more than Jihad in the way of Allah except the one who went out with wealth in the way of Allah and could not return (alive) ( because he was martyred, and his wealth was confiscated by the enemies). Then he said- Walk on straight path, try your best in performing good deeds but the morning and evenings are most valued’ notes an authentic Hadith (Bukhari and Muslim).
The value of each good deed is so much that in an authentic Hadith, Aisha ( Allah be pleased her) said- The prophet ﷺ said, “After entering Jannah, the person of Jannah will regret only one thing- Those moments in his life, which he could not do good deeds, even if it were the words of glorifying and praising Allah- This would be because he will see the rewards of even short phrases of SubhanAllah and Alhamdulillah highly rewarding.
We do not value good deeds that are even small and easy
Consider this- Many of us would get restless if a sermon they listening gets little longer. Some people would react if the Imam would stretch the prayers a little longer, but the same people would not mind loitering with friend late night or roam in cyber lanes. On the contrary we are advised to take care of certain virtuous deeds on certain days as a blessed opportunity from Allah.
It is a test for us that Allah has not declared fasting in these days as compulsory like in Ramadan
You come to know that Allah has singled out these days for virtues and you have an option to perform as many good deeds as you can. No extra worship are appointed to be compulsory in these days. This puts to test how enthusiastic we are in rushing to good deeds that are dear to Allah on the days that are dear to him if they are kept optional. For many of us, observing Fard acts becomes easy for us whereas we skip the voluntary deeds. Many of us just focus on the sacrifice of Eid ul Ad’ha while we ignore the good deeds in ten days.
Grab opportunities of good deeds especially those which are highlighted as more virtuous in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah
And remember Allah as much as you can so that you may be successful- Surah Anfal verse 45
In the above verse, success refers to the success of both the worlds, this and Hereafter. In Surah Jumuah it says - Once you are done with your Jumuah prayers then disperse in the land so that you may earn Rizq and do not discard the remembrance of Allah. .
Then when the (Jumu'ah) Salât (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allâh (by working, etc.), and remember Allâh much, that you may be successful (10)
Breezes of Allah’s mercy pass by us every day during special times and it is unfortunate to miss them. Ramadan has just passed by and now we have these ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Some scholars have said that we should be performing at least these few deeds during the ten days- Dhikrullah, Remembering Allah as much as you can. .. ‘The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh("Subhan-Allaah"), Tahmeed ("Al-hamdu Lillaah") and Takbeer ("Allaahu akbar") during this time.
so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel ("La ilaaha ill-Allaah"), Takbeer and Tahmeed." (Reported by Ahmad)
Allah has assured us - Remember me and I will remember you (Surah al baqarah verse 152)
The next virtuous act is to perform Hajj and Umrah during these days.
Besides that, Fasting during these ten days is highly recommended. Some wives of the Prophet ﷺ said - The Prophet ﷺ, never missed voluntary fasts on the day of Ashura (10, Moharam), first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and three days every month - Sunan Nasai
Nawafil Fast are have huge rewards
Some scholars have concluded that these fasts are highly virtuous- Abu Umama (Allah be pleased with him) came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked - Direct me to a deed that makes me enter Jannah. He suggested- fast (nawafil). Few days later the man approached and asked the same question and the reply was same - Fast. Everytime the man asked he got the same reply, one day he asked the reason and the Prophet ﷺ replied - There is no deed which makes the entry into Jannah easy as fasting.
If you are able to fast for all ten days, then do it otherwise try to fast at least on the day of Arfa.
It was asked to the Prophet ﷺ about the fasting of Arfa . He replied - It expiates sin of one full year. Next time when he was asked he said - fasting on the day of Arfa expiates sins for two years, the previous and the next.
Therefore, try to fast all the ten days of Dhul Hijjah or as many as you can from the first ten days and if that is not possible for you due to certain reasons then try to fast at least on the day of Arfa.
Sacrificing an animal on the day of Eid ul Ad’ha is an act of virtue
Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only) - declares Surah Kauthar. Ali bin Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) said - The Prophet ﷺ commanded us to check the eyes and the nose of the animal that we buy for sacrifice. Then he also added - An animal meant for sacrifice should have its ears unscatched from four defects. Its ears should not be having a cut from front or back, it should not have a hole on its ear lobes nor a long tear or cut. Besides this, a lame animal, a sick animal, an animal with defects in its eyes or blind and a very old and weak animal.
One animal is enough as a sacrifice on the behalf of the whole family. One may sacrifice as many animals as he can afford with a pure intention and no display of wealth or status. When they offered an animal for sacrifice, the sahaba used to recite - On the behalf of me and my family
Other good deeds that can be recommended on this day are Tawbah-Istighfar and Recitation of Qur’an. Try to compile as many good deeds as you can, even if it is a small amount of charity. Those who have an intention of sacrifice should not cut or trim hair and nail as per the sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ and this is also a part of good deed that you obey the Prophet in every matter.