Whenever the month of Dhul Hijjah draws near, my heart begins to yearn for the sacred house. I am reminded of the words of the poet who said the following:
خذوني خذوني إلى المسجد *** خذوني إلى الحجر الأسود
خذوني إلى زمزم علَّها *** تبرد من جوفيَ الموقد
خذوني لأستار بيت الإله *** أشد به في ابتهال يدي
دعوني أحط على بابه *** ثقال الدموع وأستنفد
فإني أحيا على لطفه *** وإن يأتني الموت أستشهد
which can be roughly translated to mean:
Take me, take me to the mosque,
Take me to the Black Stone,
Take me to Zamzam, hoping that it cools
The fire burning within my heart.
Take me to the curtains of the House of God,
Where I can pour out my supplications,
Let me lean against its door,
With tears heavy and exhaustion apparent.
For in His kindness, I find life,
And even if death comes to me, I will become a martyr.
It is as if he put beautiful poetic words to what our hearts want to scream out but are unable to find the right words on our own. A majority of you that are reading this will unfortunately not be able to fulfill that desire of being in the blessed sacred lands during the blessed sacred days this year. But this should not lead to us to despair as we are people that live in the constant mercy and kindness of our Lord ﷻ. We are a people that never despair of Allah’s ﷻ kindness when it comes to opportunities to perform beloved actions. How should we take advantage of the opportunities that are ahead of us?
First let us understand what this opportunity is. This week we will be entering the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah. This is the twelfth month of the Islamic Calendar, which means we will soon be wrapping up the Islamic Year. This is also one of the four sacred months in Islam. It is also the month in which one who is able to can perform the fifth pillar of Islam, Hajj. If the only virtue that this month had was the fact that it was the month in which the fifth pillar of Islam is performed it would be enough of a virtue but it is not the only virtue of this blessed month.
Let us look at some of the virtues that are associated with the days that are in front of us. Allah ﷻ swears upon these days in the Quran. Allah ﷻ Says:
وَالْفَجْرِ * وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ
“By the dawn, * And [by] the ten nights”
The 10 nights that are mentioned here are referring to the ten first days of Dhul Hijjah as it is transmitted to us in the books of tafsir from the noble companions (رضي الله عنه) of our messenger ﷺ. Allah ﷺ swearing upon them shows us the greatness of the days.
Our messenger also states in regards to these days with the following;
ما من أيام العمل الصالح فيها أحب إلى الله من هذه الأيام -يعني أيام العشر-” قالوا: يا رسول الله ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله ؟ قال: “ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله إلا رجل خرج بنفسه وماله ثم لم يرجع من ذلك بشيء”
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days” – referring to the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The companions asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a person goes out for Jihad with his life and wealth and does not return with anything”
SubhanAllah look at this beautiful Hadith of our messenger ﷺ. Imagine how merciful our Lord ﷻ is to us that almost any action done on these days is more beloved than if it’s done on other days. The exception is if somebody was able to go and perform jihad with his wealth and his soul and doesn’t return, which is the only deed that, whether it is done in the days of Dhul Hijjah or not will, be weighted the same.
In another Hadith our messenger ﷺ stated:
«ما مِن أيَّامٍ أعظمُ عِندَ اللهِ ولا أحَبُّ إليه مِن العَملِ فيهنَّ مِن هذه الأيَّامِ العَشرِ؛ فأَكْثِروا فيهِنَّ مِن التَّهليلِ، والتَّكبيرِ، والتَّحْمِيد»
“There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days. So, increase in saying ‘Tahleel’ (Laa ilaaha illallah), ‘Takbeer’ (Allahu Akbar), and ‘Tahmeed’ (Alhamdulillah).”
Ya Allah, how can we not rejoice at the fact that the greatest days in the Sight of Allah ﷻ are upon us? By now we should understand the greatness of the days that are ahead of us. What should we actually be doing in these days that are ahead of us?
In this Hadith our messenger ﷺ has narrated some of the things we should be doing during these days. We are instructed to increase in righteous deeds because all of them are beloved to Allah ﷻ. I know that this is vague advice which can sometimes be overwhelming. Let us break it down to a level that we can all benefit from the blessed days.
In the second Hadith we are told that we should increase in the following things; “So, increase in saying ‘Tahleel’ (Laa ilaaha illallah), ‘Takbeer’ (Allahu Akbar), and ‘Tahmeed’ (Alhamdulillah).” These are forms of Dhikr (remembrance) that you and I should be increasing in. Dhikr is one of the greatest forms of worship that has been legislated for us. It is very easy to perform but it is very great in our scale of our
“كَلِمَتَانِ خَفِيفَتَانِ عَلَى اللِّسَانِ، ثَقِيلَتَانِ فِي الْمِيزَانِ، حَبِيبَتَانِ إِلَى الرَّحْمَنِ: سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ، سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ”
“There are two words that are light on the tongue, heavy on the scale, and beloved to the Most Merciful: Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi (Glory be to Allah and praise Him), Subhan Allahil ‘Azeem (Glory be to Allah, the Exalted).”
These two statements ﷺ and other forms of Dhikr are truly how they were described by our messenger as being light on the tongue but heavy in our scales and beloved in the sight of Allah ﷻ.
So this is a time in which we need to fill our scales with these beautiful words that are going to be pleasing to our Lord ﷻ. Whichever type of remembrance is easy for you, I want you to make a goal of how many times that you are going to say it during these ten days. For example if istigfar is your favorite type of Dhikr, then tell yourself that I want to say it ten thousand times during these ten days. Ask Allah to grant you tawfiq to be able to meet your goal.
Whatever type of goal we make for ourselves, May Allah allow us to achieve it. Below is one type of Dhikr that we should be saying in these ten days, especially on the day of Arafat. This is the chosen Dhikr of all the prophets including our our messenger ﷺ.
خيرُ الدعاءِ دعاءُ يومِ عرفةَ، وخيرُ مَا قلتُ أنَا والنبيونَ منْ قبلِي: لا اله إلا اللهَ وحدَهُ لا شريكَ لَهُ، لَهُ المُلكُ ولَهُ الحمدُ وهُوَ عَلَى كلِّ شيءٍ قديرٌ”
“The best supplication is the supplication on the Day of Arafah, and the best statement that I and the Prophets before me have said is: ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without any partner. To Him belongs the dominion, and to Him belongs all praise, and He is capable of all things.’
This is the greatest dua that could be made on that day. You might be wondering how is this a dua when I am not even asking Allah ﷻ for anything. I am just talking about him. The beautify of this dua lies in the fact that that Allah ﷻ knows everything that I want and desire and I am stating in this dua that He is the one that is capable of all things, including things that are in my heart that I want to ask for but I am leaving it up to my Lord ﷻ.
This is both a dua and a type of remembrance that we should strive to increase in the following days. It is also important that you and I increase in general duas in these days, as our messenger ﷺ described dua as being itself worship.
The last piece of advice is that we should spend these days fasting. Our messenger ﷺ is described as fasting during the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah. If we are able to fast every single day of the first nine days, this is truly a blessing from our Lord ﷺ, but if we are not able to, we should strive to fast the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah as this is the day of Arafat. Our messenger ﷺ said about the fasting of that day.
صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ، وَالسَّنَةَ الَّتِي بَعْدَهُ” (رواه مسلمٌ).
“The fasting of the day of Arafat, I have hope in Allah ﷻ that He will forgive the sins of the previous and coming year.”
Imagine fasting just a single day and having the sins of the past year and the year to come be all forgiven! A small act, but through the Kindness and Mercy of Allah ﷻ we can have the many many sins that you and I commit in two years be forgiven. How can we miss out on this chance? This is a golden opportunity that we all must take advantage of. Not only will your sins be forgiven for two years, you will be from those that will be taken far away from the fire. Our messenger ﷺ states about the one that fasts a day for the sake of Allah ﷻ meaning a fast that is not an obligation;
مَنْ صَامَ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بَعَّدَ اللَّهُ وَجْهَهُ مِنْ جَهَنَّمَ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا
“Whoever fasts a day for the sake of Allah ﷻ, Allah will distance his face from the hellfire by a distance of seventy years.”
Ya Allah, look at the Mercy, Kindness and Generosity of our Creator ﷻ. This is not a difficult deed but we are rewarded as if it is the most difficult of deeds. Especially in the days that are most blessed and virtues.
To recap, we want to focus on three things in the coming ten days;
- Doing any type of Dhikr but emphasis should be placed on the ones that are mentioned above.
- Increasing in our Duas.
- Fasting during the first nine days but if we are unable to do all nine, we should ensure that we fast on the ninth day.
Overall we should increase in all types of righteous deeds in these blessed days. The ones that are highlighted are a good place to start.
May Allah ﷻ accept all of our efforts in the blessed days and make us from those that are saved from the fire during these blessed days. Ameen