VIRTUOUS DEEDS DURING ZUL HIJJAH
IMPORTANCE OF FIRST TEN DAYS OF ZUL-HIJJAH
The first ten days of Zul Hijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. Rasulullah (SAW) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.”(Bukhari)
Rasulullah (SAW), has 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 of “Laylatul-Qadr”. (Tirmizi)
Every Muslim should avail oneself of this wonderful opportunity by performing as much Ibadah (acts of worship) as he or she can during this period.
Ways We Can Maximize The First Ten Days Of ZUL HIJJAH
- Purifying our intentions: “Verily actions are judged by intention.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is crucial that we purify & correct our intentions before doing any acts of worship. This is because we may have other underlying intentions in our hearts without even realizing it. Like for e.g. we may have in our hearts that we fast because we don’t want to look bad in front of our family or friends or because others fast etc. So before doing any good deed we need to align & focus our intention to ONLY pleasing Allah. By doing this we will increase the sincerity in our worship & acts of virtues & by having better intentions when doing any good act is a means of earning greater rewards for whatever good deed we are doing. Ibn Al-Mubaarak said: “Maybe a small action is made great by its intention, and maybe a great action is made small by its intention.”
Even daily routines like eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, travelling etc can be a source of great reward by having the right intentions. Having good Intentions is easy & great rewards can be gained without making any hard physical effort. By just spending a couple of seconds having the right intention in our hearts we can turn a whole day to a day of worship. It is like turning dust into gold.
- Schedule & Monitor Daily Worship: What better way to maximise our worship during these blessed days and nights than to plan & schedule our time so that we can spend it as effectively as possible. By setting ourselves daily targets we can ensure that we are more likely to achieve them. We should strive to worship on all if not at least as many of the first ten nights of Zul Hijjah as is possible Inshallah, for these rewards are unmissable and time is short and we need as many good deeds as possible in order to please Allah before we are taken.
- Avoiding distractions: There will be many things getting in our way & distracting us from our worship. But we must take all necessary precautions & measures in order to avoid any possible distractions. We should spend as little time as possible on things other than worship. We should fulfil our daily duties as quickly as possible & spend as much time as possible in worshiping Allah.
- Fasting the First 9 Days, Especially the Day of `Arafah (9th): The scholars have concurred that it is recommended to fast during the first nine days of Zul Hijjah.
Abu Qatada (RA) related that Rasulullah (SAW) said, “Fasting the Day of `Arafah (f: 9th of Zul Hijjah) expiates for two years, one prior and one forthcoming. And fasting the Day of `Ashura (f: 10th of Muharram) expiates for the past year.” (Muslim)
So we should try our best to fast all 9 days of Zul Hijjah particularly the 9th which is the day of Arafah. If we cannot fast all 9 days then we should try and fast as many of the 9 days as possible particularly the 9th which is the day before Eid Ul Adha.
- Recite the Qur’an abundantly: We should try our best to read as much of the Holy Qur’an as is possible especially during the daytimes of the first 10 days of Zul Hijjah. We should aim to try and complete the whole Qur’an within this period which is around 3 Juz (chapters) a day. Every action is judged upon its intention so even if we do not complete the entire Qur’an we should at least intend to do so for Allah looks for every excuse to reward his servants and may reward us like we completed the whole Qur’an if he wanted to for he is most generous and will reward his servants as much as he wants.
Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas & Anas Ibn Malik (RA) reported that Rasulullah (SAW) said, ‘Whoever recited Surah Zilzilah (99) would get the reward of reciting half the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Kaafirun (109) would get a reward as if reading a quarter of the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Ikhlas (112) would get a reward as if reading one third of the Qur’an’. (At-Tirmidhi)
Therefore let us recite as much of the Qur’an as we can in these first ten days and nights of this month and aim to finish at least one Qur’an if we can. Then let us continue reciting the Qur’an throughout the rest of the year, for there is no better worship of Allah than to recite the Qur’an!
- Worshiping the 10 days and the nights of the 8th, 9th and 10th of Zul Hijjah: Scholars have concluded that the days (between Fajr and Maghrib) of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the best days of the year, even more so than the days of Ramadan. Therefore we should increase ourselves in worship during these blessed 10 days by fasting the 9 days, doing excessive Dhikr, reciting the Qur’an, making Dua and sincerely repenting as much as possible.
Mu’ãdh Ibn Jabal (RA) relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said, “Jannat is wãjib (incumbent) for those who stay awake with the intention of making ‘Ibãdah on the following nights: 8th, 9th and 10th of Zul Hijjah, the night of ‘Eedul Fitr and the night of the 15th of Sha’bãn.” (Targheeb)
Therefore we should make utmost effort to worship Allah during these blessed nights. If we cannot worship in all 3 nights then we should at least worship as much as we can even if it is for an hour, half an hour etc. On the day of judgement we will look back and be in utter regret at the opportunities we missed to do good deeds. So grab the opportunity NOW and let us NOT be of those in utter regret saying..”Why didn’t i do so and so? I am truly in utter loss.”
- Increase in Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah): We should glorify Allah night and day, especially in these first ten days of the blessed month of Zul Hijjah. Remembering Allah much through acts of Dhikr brings much peace and tranquillity to the heart. It also gives us a sense of Taqwa (fearful awareness of Allah), a consciousness that makes us realise that Allah Almighty is ever near and that we should always strive to please Him.
أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ
“…Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Surah Al-Rad 13:28)
وَلَذِكۡرُ ٱللَّهِ أَڪۡبَرُۗ
Remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue. (Surah Ankabut 29:45).
- Dua and Repentance:
We should busy ourselves in making sincere Dua and repentance during these blessed 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. How unfortunate is the one who does not make use of these blessed 10 days and nights in order to supplicate to his lord to gain his mercy and forgiveness.
We find many reassurances throughout the Quran for those who make Dua:
Allah the Exalted, has said:
وَقَالَ رَبُّڪُمُ ٱدۡعُونِىٓ أَسۡتَجِبۡ لَكُمۡۚ
“And your Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer” (Surah Ghafir 40:60)
ٱدۡعُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ تَضَرُّعً۬ا وَخُفۡيَةًۚ
“Call upon your Lord Humbly and in secret” (Surah Araf 7:55)
وَ إِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌۖ أُجِيبُ دَعۡوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِۖ
“When My servants question thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:186),
What a beautiful thing it is to create a relationship with Allah through Dua and asking his help and invoking in him for whatever we want in this life and the next! Especially in these days we should increase the amount of Dua’s we do especially in the latter part of the nights when they are most listened to.
Ayesha (RA) said: “No believer makes Dua and it is wasted. Either it is granted here in this world or deposited for him in the Hereafter as long as he does not get frustrated.”
THE TAKBEERAAT OF TASHREEQ
It is Wajib (incumbent) for every adult Muslim male to recite the Takbirat of Tashreeq after every Fardh Salat-performed with Jamat or individually from the Fajr of the 9th of Zul-Hijjah to the Asr of the 13th of Zul Hijjah. The Takbirat should be recited once only.
The words of the Takbirat of Tashreeq are as follows:
اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ
Transliteration: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar laa ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar. Allahu Akbar walillaahil hamd.
Translation: “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest and all praises belong to Him Alone.”
NB. Men should recite this Takbeer audibly whilst females should do so softly.
Zaid bin Arqam (R.A.) reports that the Companions of Rasulullah (SAW) asked him: “Oh Rasulullah (SAW), what is this sacrifice?” He said: “It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim (AS) .” They asked:“What (reward) is for us therein?” He replied: “There is a reward for every hair (i.e. the reward for meat and useful parts of the animal’s body will be very lofty in merit, but there will also be a great reward for the parts which are useless and thrown away such as the hair).” They asked: “For the wool, Ya Rasulullah?” He replied: “There is one reward for every strand of wool.” The aim of sacrifice, like all other fundamentals of Islam, is to imbibe piety and self-righteousness. It also promotes the spirit of sacrifice for a right cause. To explain its purpose, ALLAH says in the Quran. “It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches ALLAH, It is their piety that reaches ALLAH” (22:37)
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “On the 10th of Zil-Hijjah, there is no better act in the view of ALLAH than shedding the blood (of slaughtered animals). And verily sacrifice earns the approval of ALLAH even before the drop of blood (of the slaughtered animal) falls on the ground. Hence you should offer it in good spirit. For every hair of the sacrificial animal, there is a blessing.”
It is commendable that one who intends to offer a sacrifice should refrain from having a haircut, a shave, and pruning of nails, from the 1st of Zil-Hijjah (up to the time he has performed the sacrifice).
Method of Sacrifice
- The animal for slaughter should be laid on its left side facing Ka’aba and its throat cut open with a sharp knife, and its blood allowed to drain.
- DO NOT buy from a farm or supplier where the animals are mistreated. Just as the Sunnah prohibits us from slaughtering an animal in anything other than a humane manner, we are prohibited from abusing animals while they are living. It might take time to identify a farm where animals are treated with compassion, but if you plan ahead, you can find a supplier who shares your principles.
- DO NOT treat the animal roughly or let it see the knife before you slaughter it. Rather, give the animal a drink of water to quench its thirst and let it feel at peace.
- DO NOT slaughter your animal in front of other animals – this terrifies them and it is forbidden to inflict this kind of emotional pain on animals.
- DO NOT use a knife that is nicked, serated, dull or short. All of this things will cause pain and suffering to the animal, which is prohibited. When the jugular vein of an animal is opened with a razor-sharp knife in one cut, the animal will quickly bleed to death with little pain.
- DO NOT move the animal for the butchering process until you are certain that it has died.
Rasulullah (SAW)said, “There is a reward for doing good to all living creatures.” Let us make this sacrifice an occasion to earn ALLAH’S reward and to avoid the punishment of those who mistreat animals
The Time of Qurbani
Qurbani can only be performed during the three days of Eid, namely the 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah, which coincides with the 26th, 27th and 28th of October this year (2012). It is only in these days that slaughtering of an animal is recognised as an act of worship. No Qurbani can be performed in any other day of the year.
Although Qurbani is permissible on each of the three aforementioned days, it is preferable to perform it on the first day i.e. the 10th of Dhul Hijjah.