Markazul Ma'arif, Delhi
Allah alone is the Supreme Owner and Creator of everything, living and non living, on this vast earth and He reserves all the right to disposal in them. Thus, He granted special position to some people over others; made some places nobler than others and declared some times more blessed as compared to others. Therefore many little good deeds done at such occasion, sometimes, carry much more reward and value than great deeds done at normal times. One of such occasions is the first Ashara, ten days Dhil Hijjah, the last month of the lunar calendar.
Allah Almighty has granted the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah special status and honor. Many verses of the Glorious Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet (saws) have appeared speaking of their glory; while the actions of the Companions also establish their nobility. Thus, the reward of the good deeds performed on this occasion surpasses the reward of the acts done in normal days. In the following paragraphs, let’s analyze the evidences from the Glorious Qur’an which speak of superiority of these days.
FIRST: Allah Almighty says in the Glorious Qur’an والفجر وليال عشر (By the dawn, and by ten nights) which nights are referred here? Imam Baghawi writes that Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) narrates that the phrase “Ten Nights” refers to the beginning ten nights of Dhil Hijjah. He same has been opined by other exegesis scholars like Qatada, Mujahid, Zahhak, Suddi and Kalbi (ra).
After quoting the opinions of different scholars on the intended meaning of the “Ten Nights”, the author of “Tafseer Ibn Kathir” writes “The true is that the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah is intended here.” He also quotes a narration from Musnad Ahmad to support his opinion which reads: “The Prophet (saws) said, “The ten refers to ten days of Dhil Hijjah.”
Coming across to the opinions of these scholars, it gets established that the “Ten Nights” in the above mentions verse of the Glorious Qur’an refers to the whole ten days of the month of Dhil Hijjah. Now the notable point here is that Allah Almighty Himself is taking oath by the “Dawn” and the “Ten Nights”; while the fact is that the oath is taken only by the things which reserves utmost love and importance. Thus, the importance of these nights gets crystal clear, as Allah Himself took oath by them. This perfectly establishes the idea that these days hold paramount importance in the eyes of Allah.
SECOND: At another place, Allah says: الحج أشهر معلومات (The Hajj is (in) the well-known months) Hafiz Ibn Rajab Hambali (ra) writes: “One of the causes of the blissfulness of the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah is that these are the last portion of the “well-known” months; and these are the months of Hajj about which Allah said “الحج أشهر معلومات” These months are Shawwal, Dhil Qa’da and the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah.
The author of Tafseer Ibn Kathir says that the “well-known” months, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafee and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal (ra), refer to Shawwal, Dhil Qa’da and Dhil Hijjah. Moreover, the author himself seems to be inclined to this very opinion. In addition to that, Imam Bukhari (ra) has reported a hadith in his Sahih from Ibn Umar (ra) which clearly reads: “The months of Hajj are Shawwal, Dhil Qa’da and (first) ten days of Dhil Hijjah.”
Performing Hajj is such a sacred act that it holds the place of first religious and spiritual wish for every sensitive Muslim. Thus, the days which have been declared as the “Months of Hajj” by the Glorious Qur’an itself will surely hold significance and sacredness. While the above mentioned face have fully proved that the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah is also among the months of Hajj. They, therefore, undoubtedly make a sacred and blissful occasion for Muslims to act and get rewarded.
THIRD: Allah says: ويذكرسم الله في أيام معلومات (And recite the Name of Allah in specified days.) In this verse, Allah Almighty has explicitly enticed His slaves to recite His Names in specified days. This undoubtedly establishes the blissfulness of these days. Now the question is that what are these specified days? Again the answer is “First ten days of Dhil Hijjah”. Imam Bukhari (ra) reports a hadith from Ibn Abbas (ra) which reads, “These specified days refer to the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah.” Moreover, the same opinion has been expressed by other exegesis scholars, such as Hasan, Ata, Ikramah, Mujahid, Qatadah and Shafi (ra).
Human beings owe a great deal of favor from Allah Almighty. It, therefore, gets compulsory for human to recite the Name of his Beneficent Lord each and every time. Yet the Benevolent Creator has specified a span of time for the recital of His Name, which definitely lays foundation for these days to be sacred.
After pondering over these verses of the Qur’an, the sacredness of the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah is proved and provides sufficient ground for those who want to achieve nearness of Allah. Yet we have some ahadith of the Prophet (saws) as well, which clearly speak of the sacredness of these days. Some of them are mentioned here.
The Prophet (saws) says: “No day is better than these ten days in which the good deeds are more beloved to Allah. The Companions asked if the Jihad in way of Allah also is not (so beloved). The Prophet (saws) replied, “Not even the Jihad in the way of Allah, but the Jihad of the one who gets out in the way of Allah with his life and wealth but returns with nothing.”
Explaining this hadith, Hafiz Ibn Rajab Hambali (ra) writes: “When the good deeds done on this occasion is more beloved to Allah as compared to the deeds done in normal days of the year, the little acts of these days will bring much more reward than the high acts done in other days. This was the reason why the Companions asked if the Jihad performed in other days of the year is also not so beloved. The Prophet (saws) replied, “Not”.
Another hadith which has been recorded by Ahmad and Darmi reads: “There is no act more purified to Allah and more reward-fetching than the acts done during the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah. He was asked, “even the jihad in the way fo Allah?” he replied, “Even the jihad in the way of Allah, but the jihad of the person who goes out with his life and wealth and does not return with anything.”
Causes of Fazeelat:
Allah alone is the creator and owner of everything. He sometimes takes the things of least importance to the high in the sky, while at the other time He brings the things of high respect and honor down to earth. Whenever He wants, He grants superiority to something over the things of similar kind. Thus, this no surprising matter, if he granted superiority to the ten days of Dhil Hijjah over normal days of the year. But the things of this world have been constituted under the system of cause and effect. Therefore, the man is always in search of the reasons and causes to every happening. About the sacredness of the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah, the scholars have given some reasons. Hafiz Ibn Hajar (ra) says, “The reason of the ten days of Dhil Hijjah being so sacred and distinct seems that all the basic worships like Namaz, fast, Sadaqa and Hajj gather in these days; and they do not gather in other days.”
One the reasons of the Fazeelat of these ten days is that the days Arafah occur during them on which Allah Almighty completed the Faith and and His bounties upon Muslims. Naturaly the days on which somebody get a memorable bounty gets memorable for him. Imam Bukhari (ra) has recorded a hadith from Umar (ra). A Jew said to Umar (ra) that your book consists of the verse which you read. If this verse would have been revealed to us, we would celebrate of the day of its revelation. Hazrat Umar (ra) asked, “Which verse?” He replied: اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم... Umar (ra) says, “We know the day and the place on which this verse was revealed. The Prophet (saws) was staying at Arafa and it was Friday.
One reason to it is that the last day of them is the day sacrifice about which the Prophet (saws) said that the most beloved day to Allah is the day of sacrifice and stay. This hadith clearly establishes the Fazeelat of the day of sacrifice which is the last day of the first ten days of Dhil Hijjah. Thus, the sacrifice day makes the whole ten days special.
The above mentioned verses and ahaidth make the Fazeelat of the ten days of Dhil Hijjah crystal clear. This is the reason why the blessed companions, mystic men and sincere Ulama would take great care of worship during these days. To these blessed persons, the sole purpose of life was to achieve the pleasure of Allah. Therefore, they always were in quest of the places and times in which the rewards of things get increased to many fold, so that they could prepared the provisions for their afterlife journey by doing special deeds and worships. In sharp contrast to them, common Muslims show drastic carelessness towards such auspicious occasions, which leads them to irreparable loss. Therefore, they should also try to avail these occasions and achieve the nearness of Allah. In following line, the good deeds which have been prescribed to perform are being mentioned.
Dhikr of Allah’s Name:
During these days, it is msnoon to excessively recite takbeer, tahmeed and tahleel. According to a hadith, the Prophet (saws) said, “To perform the righteous deeds in these days is such a great and beloved act to Allah that no any other days. You should, therefore, recite excessively لا إله إلا الله، الحمد للہ and اللہ اکبر.
The wordings of the takbeer for these days are: (1) اللہ اکبر اللہ اکبر کبیرا (2) اللہ اکبر اللہ اکبر لا الہ الا اللہ واللہ اکبر اللہ اکبر وللہ الحمد۔ Takbeer is permissible in two ways: (1) Takbeer Mutlaq (Abdolute Takbeer) which to means to recite the takbeer evertime at every place where and when it is allowed to recite the name of Allah. Its time begins from sighting the moon of Dhil Hijjah. (2) Takbeer Muqayyad (Defined Takbeer). Its time begins from the Fajr of ninth Dhil Hijjah and lasts till the Asr of 12th Dhil Hijjah. It should be recited specially after every Namaaz. Men should recite it in high tone, while the women are suggested to recite in low tone.
In today’s world, the Sunnah of reciting takbeer has vanished. Very few people are seen taking care of the takbeer. We should, therefore, take care the takbeer to revive a sunnah of the Prophet (saws). The Prophet (saws) is reported to have said, “The one who revived a sunnah of mine which had been left, he will get reward equal to those who actually performed it without any cut up from the reward of the practitioner.” Therefore, we should excessively recite the names of Allah during these days.
During these days, any good deed fetches much more reward than normal acts. As far as the fast is concerned, it is so great an act that Allah says, “I Myself am the reward for fast.” Keeping fast, therefore, becomes a great source of reward during these days. Moreover, the Prophet (saws) himself is reported to keep fast in the first nine days of Dhil Hijjah. The blessed mothers of the believers narrate, “The Prophet (saws) used to keep fast in the first nine days of Dhil Hijjah, on the days of Aashura and three days every month.” Hafsa (ra) says, “Four things, the Prophet (saws) would not skip: the fasts of Aashura, first nine days of Dhil Hijjah, three days every month and two rak’ats before Fajr.”
In short, keeping fast in the nine days of Dhil Hijjah is masnoon and a blessed act. But Muslims have brushed it asid which is indeed deprivation of the great bounty. Apart from that, the fast of the ninth Dhil Hijjah is specially sunnah. The ahaidth clearly speaks of its blissfulness. Hazrat Qatada (ra) reprts that the Prophet (saws) said, “keep fast on the day of Arafa. I hope Allah makes it Kaffarah for sin of one previous and one later years.”
Supplication on the Day of Arafa:
It is such a blissful act to supplicate on the day of Arafa. The Prophet (saws) is reported to have said, “The best of all supplications is that which is done on the day of Arafa and the most blessed supplication which I and the Prophet before me have done is لا الہ الا اللہ وحدہ لا شریک لہ ولہ الحمد و ھو علی کل شیئ قدیر. Ibn Abdul Bar (ra) says that this hadith also points out to the fact that the prayers of the day of Arafa are mostly answered. Therefore, even those who did not go for hajj should make special supplications on this day.
It is obligatory on every Muslim to repent to Allah every time. But its importance is increased even more on auspicious occasions. We should, therefore, take this Ashara as a golden opportunity to repent and we must not delay in it. The reason is that we never know when to leave this earthly world for the eternal one. If a Muslim is enabled to repent to Allah with sincerity, he indeed is a blessed person.