The First Ten Days of Dzul-Hijjah
These are the first ten days of Dzul-Hijjah and they include the day of ‘Arafah, about which the Prophet SAW said: “There is no day in which Allah Frees more of His slaves from The Fire than the day of ‘Arafah” (Muslim). These ten days are concluded by the day of An-Nahr (sacrifice); then follows the day of Al-Qarr.
The Prophet SAW said: “The greatest days in the scale of Allah are the days of An-Nahr and Al-Qarr” (Abu Dawud). The day of An-Nahr is the major day of Hajj and the day of ‘Eid; the day of Al-Qarr is the following day. Virtuous deeds have a magnified position during these days.The Prophet SAW said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than the (first) ten days of Dzul-Hijjah” (Ad-Darimi).
In another narration the companions asked: “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” he SAW said: “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except for a man who loses (sacrifices) both his wealth and life in a battle” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, At-Tirmidzi).
What great virtues and what a great season! What an opportunity this is to gain greater rewards than that of Jihad, which is the best deed after sound belief and punctual Solah. This season represents a wonderful opportunity for those who want to compete in collecting rewards and a miserable loss for the idle, who shun such opportunities.
One need to seek For Allah forgiveness and paradise which is as wide as the heavens and earth and do not slacken and be unhurried, because the Prophet SAW said: “Being laid-back is best in every matter except for good deeds” (Abu Dawud; Al-Hakim). One must compete and march forward when it comes to working for the hereafter as Allah says that which translates as: “… So for this let the competitors compete” (Al-Mutaffifeen: 26) and also, “…So race to (all that is) good…” (Al-Baqarah: 148).
In this season, the roads leading to goodness are numerous, so do not miss out on any of them. The intelligent ones are those who exhaust themselves during this season to gain abundantly; you see many of them joining their days with their nights, continuously doing righteous deeds and hardly sleeping in order to get the most out of this season. On the other hand, you see those who put all their efforts into the attainment of worldly gains. The sad fact is that the result of all this effort would be, at most, the doubling of their capital - if indeed they do not actually lose it.As for the wise believers, nothing is dearer to them than increasing their efforts and righteous deeds that please the Lord, get them closer to Him and elevate their ranks; Allah told us what pleases Him in His Book and through His messenger; Allah will guide those who truly wish for goodness (if He Wills).
Solah is one of the ways leading to goodness and something that Allah loves. The slave must be keen to perform it in congregation as Allah says that which translates to: “…And bow (in ruku’) with those who bow” (Al-Baqarah: 43), and the Prophet SAW said, “He who hears the Adzan (call for Solaah) and does not respond, his Solaah is not accepted, except with the congregation, unless he has a (valid) excuse” (Ibn Majah) The excuse is either fear, sickness or rain.
A servant of Allah who is guided would perform optional Solah in these ten days, because it is a path to goodness which that Allah loves. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet SAW said: “Solaah is the best thing that one can do, so perform as many as you possibly can” (At-Tabarani) and he SAW also said: “Two light raka’ahs which you may think as insignificant to add to you deeds, is better for you than possessing the whole world” (Ibn Al-Mubarak) he SAW also said, as narrated by Abu Hurairah, “The son of Adam could not do anything more beneficial for himself than Solah, reconciliation (between Muslims) and being well mannered” (Al-Baihaqi and others).
These were three examples of good deeds that lead to righteousness, Solah, reconciliation and being well mannered which are better than anything else that the son of Adam can do, yet you see some people slight the performance of obligatory Solah, let alone optional Solah; you see them instigating disputes between people; and you see ill-mannered people who have lost out on the great reward for having a good character. So let us repent to Allah from our sins, reform our situation and improve our manners.
A woman was praised in the presence of the Prophet SAW for her Solah, fasting and other good deeds; her only flaw was that she harmed her neighbours. Upon hearing the praise, the Prophet SAW said: “She is from the people of the Fire” (Ahmad). In reality, the guided ones are those who do all those things which please Allah and refrain from all those things that cause His wrath, as some of the scholars said: “Wisdom is to perform what you are obliged to, in the correct manner and on time; he who is granted wisdom has attained a great deal of good”.
Many hadiths mentioned the virtues of optional Solah: “Prostrate as much as you can, because whenever you prostrate, Allah elevates your rank by a degree and wipes out a sin from your record” (Muslim). In another narration: “Whenever a servant prostrates to Allah, Allah writes a reward for him, wipes out one of his sins and elevates his rank by one degree; so prostrate as much as you can” (Ibn Majah). The way to perform Solah is as the Prophet SAW described: “The night Solah is done two (raka’at) at a time” (Al-Bukhari) and in another narration: “The optional Solah at night and during the day is done two Raka’at at a time” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah and others).
Servants of Allah! Another o path seeking righteousness is reciting the Qur’an. The Prophet SAW said: “The best amongst you are those who learn the Qur’an and then teach it” (Bukhari). Prophet SAW also said: “He who recites a letter from the Book of Allah will get a reward and each of these rewards will be multiplied ten times. I do not mean ‘Alif Lam Meem’ is one letter, but rather ‘Alif” is a letter, ‘Lam is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter ” (At-Tirmidzi). Prophet SAW also said: “If one of goes to the masjid and learns a verse or reads two verses from the Book of Allah, is better for him than owning two she-camels, (reading) three are better than (owning) three, (reading) four are better than (owning) four and so on” (Muslim) and also, “Let him who wants to attain love for Allah and His messenger read from The Book of Allah”.
Fasting is a good deeds, the Prophet SAW encouraged us to “Fast on Mondays and Thursdays” (Ahmad ; Nasa’i) and “Fast the day of ‘Arafah” (Muslim) also: “Fast like the Prophet Dawud (who fasted every other day)” (Bukhari & Muslim). I do not know of any specific reference that relates to any special virtue for fasting these ten days in particular, but, having said this I would add that one should still fast during these days because of the general texts encouraging good deeds during these ten days.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[‘Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sudais, Translated:Hazem Rajab, Edited:Nasim Chowdhury, December 2002, Islamway.]