Even for those not performing the pilgrimage, Hajj, the first ten days of this month are considered very sacred. They provide us an opportunity for increased reflection, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, and doing good deeds of all types.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has said about the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause and came back with nothing” (Bukhari).
So sacred are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah that Allah swears an oath by them when He says in the Quran: “By the dawn; by the ten nights” (89:1-2). Swearing an oath by something indicates its importance and great benefit.
What Kinds of Worship Should You Perform During the First 10 Days of Dhul-Hajjah?
While any good deed done for the sake of Allah according to the way He approves will be rewarded immensely during the first ten days of Dhul-Hajjah, God willing, some of the more specific actions mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) are fasting and verbal Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah.
The Prophet(PBUH) 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 Lailatul-Qadr” (Tirmidhi).
It is particularly encouraged to fast on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawm al-Arafa. The Prophet (PBUH) used to fast on this day (al Nisai and Abu Dawud). Fasting on this day will expiate a Muslim’s sins for two years.
Dhikr, or the verbal remembrance of Allah, is another important act during these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged Muslims to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (saying “Subhan Allah”, which means Glory be to God), Tahmeed (saying “Alhamdu lillah” which means Praise be to God), and Takbeer (saying “Allahu akbar” which means God is the Greatest) during this time.
The Takbeer may include the words “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah; waAllahu akbar wa Lillahi’l-hamd (Translation: Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise),” as well as other phrases.
Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah, two of the Prophet (PBUH)’s Companions, used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer individually when they heard them.
Performing Hajj or Pilgrimage
Not everybody can perform Hajj during these days as only a select few can do so. However, Muslims are required to perform Hajj or pilgrimage at least once in their lifetimes if they have the means to do so.
Giving Sadaqah or Charity
Reciting the Quran
Praying Eid Prayer
Doing Good To Our Families
Generally, all good deeds are rewarded highly at this blessed time. These actions include praying, reading the Quran, making Dua (supplication), giving in charity, and being good to our families.
In addition, seeking Allah’s forgiveness at this time is also encouraged. This means more than just a verbal expression of sorrow for past misdeeds. It also requires a firm resolution to avoid making the same mistakes in the future by giving up bad habits and behavior while sincerely turning to Allah.
At the end of the first days of Dhul-Hajj, we may not be able to perform all the good deeds listed above. However, we should try to do as much as we can to please Allah.