Whatever we can view and whatever we can’t, have all been created by Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Holy Quran:
“Verily your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days.”
[Surah Al-A’Raf (The Heights) http://quran.com/7/54%5D
And for the formation of the world to work He created the sun and the moon. Allah states in Quran
[He is] the cleaver of daybreak and has made the night for rest and the sun and moon for calculation.
[Surah Al-An’am (the Cattle) http://quran.com/6/96%5D
For the calculation to work Allah (swt) formulated days and months, Allah (swt) mentions:
“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months, so was it ordained by Allah on the day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred,”
[Surah At-Tawbah (The Repentance) http://quran.com/9/36%5D
The sacred months are Muharram (The 1st month), Rajab (7th), Dhul Qa’dah (11th), and Dhul Hijjah (12th).
From this verse we understand that Allah (swt), in His Perfect Wisdom, has blessed certain times and certain places with virtues and great rewards with which he has not graced others.
Allah (swt) has made certain months, days and nights more virtuous than others, to motivate his slaves to increase in worship and righteous deeds, renew their energies and revitalise their Iman.
From all the days Friday is the most virtuous and ‘The Best of Days’. (Sahih Muslim Book 7, Hadith 26 – http://sunnah.com/muslim/7/26 Sahih Muslim).
And from among the months Ramadhan is the most virtuous. However, there are other days scattered around the year that, too, have great virtues in them. The ten days of Dhul-Hijjah (The 12th month of the Islamic calender) fall under this category.
These are the days when the pilgrims perform their tasks of Hajj. Just as these hujjaj have a special chance to get extra rewards, the ones who were not able to go for Hajj are also given a special chance to get more rewards during these days.
Such are the virtues and blessings of the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah that Allah (swt) takes an oath by them, which indicates their importance. Allah (swt) says: “By the dawn; by the 10 nights” [Surah Al-Fajr (The Dawn) http://quran.com/89/1-2%5D.
Ibn Abbas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.”
There are various hadeeth that narrate virtues of the ten days.
The Prophet (upon whom be peace) said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the “Lailat-ul-Qadr”.
In another hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) the Prophet (upon whom be peace) said, “On no days is the worship of Allah desired more than in the (first) ten days of Dhul Hijjah. (Tirmizi)
So, during this period every Muslim should avail of this wonderful opportunity by keeping fast and performing as much acts of worship to Allah as he or she can.
Scholars have mentioned in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah that during the first ten days of Zul Hijjah Muslims should take care of performing 4 types of deeds:
(1) Takbirat: it means doing zikr (remembrance) of Allah by saying:
a) Takbir: Allah-u-Akbar (Allah is the Greatest)
b) Tahlil: La ilaha illaAllah (there is no god except Allah)
c) Tahmid: Alhamdu liAllah (all praises are due to Allah) and
d) Tasbih: Subhan Allah (Allah is Glorious)
The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:
“There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah then those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlil (to say la illaha illallah), takbir (to say Allahu akbar) and tahmid (to say alhumdulillah).”[ at-Tabarani in al-Mu’jum al-Kabir]
The Takbir said during these days is of two types: general and specific.
(a) General Takbir: It is a sunnah to say takbirat at all times during the first 13 days of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade), and mention the name of Allah on known appointed days.” [22:28]
The known appointed days are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah according to the scholars of tafsir. Moreover, Allah says in surah al-Baqara: “And remember Allah during the few appointed Days.”[2:203] The few appointed days are the 11th, 12th and 13th days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah.
Regrettably, only a few people care to perform this great sunnat of our beloved Prophet (may peace be upon him). This takbir should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is no specific time to do; we can do it as per our convenience. This is a time to glorify our Lord, thank Him for His countless bounties and having mercy upon us.
It is narrated about Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them) that during these 10 days ‘they used to go out to the markets saying the takbir, which motivated other people to join them in saying takbir. Hazrat Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say takbir after prayers, whilst on his bed, in his tent, in a gathering and whilst walking.
There are a number of ways of making takbir, but the most authentic form is that which has been recorded about Umar bin al-Khattab and Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with them): Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar; Allahu Akbar wa lillahil Hamd. (There is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)
(b) Specific Takbir: The other form of takbir is the restricted takbir. It is same in words; the difference is that it is to be said after each obligatory prayer beginning from the Fajr of the 9th Zul Hijjah up to the ‘Asr prayer of the 13th. This takbir is called Takbir of Tashriq.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar; Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd.
Saying this takbir after each and every fard salah, whether performed collectively or individually, is obligatory on each Muslim. However, male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice, while females should recite it in a low voice. It is narrated about Umar bin al-Khattab, his son Abdullah and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them) that they used to say takbirat loudly.
(2) Fasting: The second deed that Muslims should try to perform is observing fast. Fasting nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah is recommended.
Fasting is a form of worship of Allah, the Exalted. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) the Prophet (may peace be upon him): “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days – i.e. the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah).”. These righteous deeds include fasting.
However, on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah it is haram to fast. A hadith narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) has it: “He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] forbade fasting on the day of (Eid) al-Fitr and the day of al-Nahr (the day of sacrifice, i.e., Eid al-Adha).” (Bukhari: 1992; Muslim: 827)
The scholars are unanimously agreed that it is Haraam to fast on these days.
From among the 9 days of Dhul Hijjah, the best day to fast is the day of ‘Arafah i.e. 9th of Dhul Hijjah. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said about fasting the Day of ‘Arafah, “It is expiation for the previous year and the coming year.”
InshaAllah we will discuss the other 2 forms of worship: the sacrifice and Haj in our next article.
Note: Upon sighting the moon of Dhul Hijjah, those people intending to perform sacrifice should neither cut their hair nor clip their nails until the sacrifice has been performed. This is a desirable act. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) has said: “A person should neither clip his nails nor cut his hair until he performs sacrifice.” (Ibn-e-Majah)
Explaining the reason and wisdom behind this, some of the ulama have said that in this month, hundreds of thousands of people are blessed with the opportunity of visiting the sacred house of Allah in Makkah. There, they enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the holy places and acquire maximum benefit from the blessed moments. Whilst they are there in the state of ihraam certain acts become impermissible for them. Amongst them is clipping of nails and cutting the hair. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) instructed those of his followers who could not reach the blessed places, to imitate the pilgrims by not cutting the hair and clipping the nails so that the mercy of Allah can enshroud them too together with the pilgrims.
Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said, “When anyone of you intends to sacrifice the animal and enter in the month of Dhul-Hijjah, he should not get his hair cut or nails pared till he has offered his sacrifice.” (Muslim)
Ulama have stated that this includes moustache and hair of the private parts etc. However, if the hair under the arms and in the pubic region is very long (which renders the salah makrooh i.e. it has been more than forty days since it was last removed), then it will become compulsory to remove such hair. However, if a person forgets to clip the nails before the 1st of Dhul Hijjah and the nails have grown so long that they may cause injury, then he may clip them.
Moulana Abubakr Diwan