The Blessed Days of Dhul-Hijjah

From Islamic Newsletter 'As-Sunnah' Issue no: 10 Compiled by Shawana A. Aziz

The month of Dhul-Hijjah is a season of worship, and seasons of worship bring along blessings, benefits and opportunities to correct one's faith and make up for shortcoming. Every one of these special opportunities involves some kind of worship, which brings the slave closer to his Lord. And Allh bestows His blessings and Favours on whom He wills. The fortunate person is he who makes good use of these special months, days, and hours, while worshiping Allh. He is most likely to be touched by the blessings of Allh. [Ibn Rajab, al-Lat'if pp. 8]

The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are marked blessed for both, the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims. Rewards of good deeds are multiplied in these days. Imm Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) (d. 751H) said:

Indeed, its days are the most excellent of all the days with Allh. It has been confirmed in Sahh al-Bukhar from Ibn Abbas (radhi Allhu anhu) that the Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

No deed are more virtuous than deeds on these days.

The companions asked: 'Not even Jihad (fighting in Allh's Cause)?' He (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) replied:

Not even Jihad for the sake of Allh, unless a man goes out risking himself and his wealth for the sake of Allh, and does not come back with anything.

[Sahh al-Bukhar vol: 2, no: 457]

And it is these ten days, of which Allh takes an oath saying:

By the dawn; by the ten nights. [Srah al-Fajr (89): 1-2]

This is why it is recommended to increase in making Takbr, Tahlil and Tamhid during these days. [Zd al-Ma'd vol: 1, pp: 56]

Yawm al-Arafat:

The 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah is the day of Arafat. It is this day when the pilgrims gather on the mountain plain of Arafat, praying and supplicating to their Lord. The day of Arafat holds great importance in Islam since this is the Day when Allh completed his revelation on His Messenger (sAllhu alaihe wa-sallam). It is reported in the Sahhayn (i.e. Sahh al-Bukhar and Sahh Muslim), from Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi Allhu anhu) that a Jewish man said to him:

O Amr al-Muminn (O head of the Muslims)! There is a verse in the Qur'n, which if was revealed on us, the Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival). Umar asked: Which verse? He said:

This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. [Srah al-Maidah (5): 3]

Umar (radhi Allhu anhu) said: We know on which day and in which place was this verse revealed to Allh's Messenger (sAllhu alaihe wa-sallam). It was when he was standing in Arafat on a Friday.

Arafat is the day on which Allh took the covenant from the progeny of Adam (alaihis-salm), it was reported that Ibn Abbas (radhi Allhu anhu) narrated: The Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) related:

(When Allh created Adam (alaihis-salm) Allh took covenant from him in a place Na'mn on the day of Arafat, then He extracted from him all the descendants who would be born until the end of the world, generation after generation, and spread them out in front of Him in order to take a covenant from them also. He spoke to them face to face saying:

Am I not your Lord?

and they all replied: Yes, we testify to it. Allh then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He was their Creator and only true God worthy of worship. He said:

That was in case you (mankind) should say on the Day of Resurrection, 'Surely, we were unaware of this. We had no idea that You, Allh, were our Lord. No one told us that we were only supposed to worship You.

[(Sahh by Shaikh al-Alban in Silsilah al-Ahdth as-Sahhah vol: 4, no: 1623]

Indeed, the day of Arafat is a blessed day and there is no other covenant greater than this covenant! Arafat is a day of Forgiveness from sins, freedom from the Hell-Fire for the people who are present in the plain of Arafat. A'ishah (radhi Allhu anha) narrated the Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) saying:

There is no day on which Allh frees more people from the Fire than the day of Arafat. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels saying, 'What do these people (the Hajis) want?' [Sahh Muslim]

This Hdth mentions forgiveness for the pilgrims. In addition to this, fasting on the day of Arafat is a Sunnah and an expiation of sins for the residents. Hunaydah ibn Khlid reported from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

The Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day of Ashrah, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month. [(Sahh) by Shaikh al-Alban in Sahh Abi Dawd vol: 2, no: 462]

It is reported in Sahh Muslim that when the Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) was asked about the fasting on the day of Arafat, he said:

It expiates the sins of the previous year and that of the following year. [Sahh Muslim]

This fasting is Mustahabb only for the non-pilgrims and not for the Hajis (the pilgrims) because it was not the practice of Allh's Messenger (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) to fast on the day of Arafat during pilgrimage and in a narration he also forbade doing so. Imm at-Tirmidh (rahimahullah) (d. 275H) said:

The People of Knowledge consider it recommended (Mustahabb) to fast on the day of Arafat, except for those at Arafat. [Jmi'ut-Tirmidh (3/377)]

Yawm an-Nahr:

The tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah is the greatest day of Hajj. It is known as Yawm an-Nahr (the day of Sacrifice), since it marks the ending of the major rite of Hajj - the Sacrifice. And it is on this day that the Muslims commemorate the bounties and blessings of Allh. It was recorded in a Hadth by Imm Ahmad (in his Musnad vol: 4, no: 350) that the day of Nahr is the most virtuous day to Allh. The Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

The greatestday of Hajj (Pilgrimage) is the Day of an-Nahr (Slaughtering). [(Sahh) by Shaikh al-Alban in Irwa al-Ghall (no: 1101). Abu Dawd no: 1945]

Imm Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) said:

The most excellent day of the week is the day of Jumuah (Friday), by the agreement of the Scholars. And the most excellent day of the year is the day of an-Nahr. Some of them said that it is the day of Arafat. However, the first opinion is the correct one, since it is related in the Sunan collections that the Prophet (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

The most excellent days with Allh is the day of an-Nahr, then the day of al-Qarr (the day that the Muslims reside in Mina).

[(Sahh) by Shaikh al-Alban in Irwa al-Ghall (no: 2018). Related by Abu Dawd no: 1765]. [Majm al-Fatawa vol: 25, pp. 288]

The day of An-Nahr is also known as 'Eid al-Adh' meaning the festival of Sacrifice and it is one of the two festivals which Allh has granted to the Ummah of Prophet (sAllhu alaihe wa-sallam). Anas (radhi Allhu anhu) narrated, Allh's Messenger (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) came to Medina and the people of Medina in the days of Jahiliyyah had two days of play and amusement. So, Allh's Messenger (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

I cameto you and you had in Jahiliyyah, two days of play and amusement. Allh has replaced something better for you. The Day of an-Nahr and the day of al-Fitr. [(Sahh) by Hfidh Ibn Hajr in Bulgh al-Marm. Related by Musnad Ahmad vol: 3, no: 103]

The Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

The day of al-Fitr, and the day of an-Nahr, and the days of at-Tashrq (the three days after an-Nahr) are our days of Eid (festivity); and they are days of eating and drinking. [(Sahh) by Shaikh al-Alban in Sahh al-Jam (no: 8192). Related by Musnad Ahmad (no: 1945)]

Glorifying Allh with Takbr: (Takbr al-Muqayyid):

From the day of Arafat until the Asr prayer of the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah, one should make Takbr after every obligatory Salt. Ibn Ab Shaybah relates that Al (radhi Allhu anhu) used to make the Takbr beginning after the Fajr prayer on the day of Arafat, until after the Asr prayer on the last day of at-Tashrq. [(Sahh) by Shaikh al-Alban in al-Irwa. Related by Ibn Ab Shaybah in al-Musannaf]

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:

The most correct saying concerning the Takbr - that which the majority of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors), and the Scholars from the Companions and Imams were upon - is to begin making the Takbr from Fajr (dawn) on the day of Arafat up until the last day of at-Tashrq (the thirteenth of Dhul-Hijjah), after every Prayer. [Majm al-Fatawa (24/220)]

Imm al-Khattb (rahimahullah) (d. 456H) said:

The wisdom behind saying the Takbr in these days is that in the times of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance), they used to slaughter for their Tghts (false objects of worship). So the Takbrs were prescribed in order to indicate that the act of slaughtering is directed to Allh alone, and by mentioning only His Name. [Fath al-Bar]

As regards to the actual wording of the Takbrs, then nothing authentic has been related from the Messenger of Allh. However, the following have been reported from the Sahabah:

1. Ibn Mas'd (radiyAllhu anhuma): Allhu Akbar, Allhu Akbar, La ilaha illa Allh, Allhu Akbar, Allhu Akbar wa lillahil-Hamd. [(Sahh) Irw al-Ghall (650), Daraqutne, Ibn Shaibah]

(Allh is the Greatest, Allh is the Greatest, There is none worthy of worship except Allh. Allh is the Greatest, Allh is the Greatest and to Allh belongs all praises)

2. Ibn Abbas (radiyAllhu anhuma): Allhu Akbar, Allhu Akbar, Allhu Akbar wa lillahil-Hamd; Allhu Akbar wa-ajal, Allhu akbaru ala mahadana.

[(sahh) - Bayhaq (3/315)] (Allh is the Greatest, Allh is the Greatest, Allh is the Greatest and to Allh belongs all praises. Allh is the Greatest to that which He has guided us to)

3. Salman (radhi Allhu anhu) : Allhu Akbar, Allhu Akbar, Allhu Akbar kabra.

[(sahh) Bayhaq (3/316)] (Allh is the Greatest, Allh is the Greatest, Allh is the Greatest)

Increase in these days with Tahlil, Takbr and Tamhid. (Takbr al-Mutlaq). And mention the name of Allh on the appointed Days. [Srah al-Hajj (22): 28]

This verse has been explained (by some) to mean the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Scholars consider it desirable to increase Dhikr (remembrance of Allh) in these days, because the Messenger of Allh (sallAllhu alaihi wa-sallam) is reported to have said:

There are no days that are greater to Allh or in which deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so increase your Tahlil, Takbr and Tamhid during these days. [Musnad Ahmad]

Tahlil, Takbr and Tamhid mean saying 'La ilaha illa Allh', 'Allhu Akbar' and 'al-Hamdu lillah', respectively.

Ishq narrates from the scholars of the Tbi'n that in these ten days they used to say: Allhu-Akbar, Allhu-Akbar; L-ilha-ill-Allh; wllhu-Akbar, Allhu-Akbar; Wa-lillhil-hamd.

It is a beloved act to raise the voice when saying the Takbr in the markets, the houses, the streets, the masjids and other places, because of the saying of Allh Most High in Srah al-Hajj verse 37:

...that you may magnify Allh for His Guidance to you...

Imm Bukhar (rahimahullah) said in the book of al-Idayn in the chapter of the Virtue of good) deeds during the days of Tashrq, Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allhu anhuma) would go out in the marketplace during the ten days and say Takbr, and the people would say Takbr when they said Takbr. [Sahh al-Bukhar]

The Sunnah is to say the Takbr individually. The saying of Takbr in congregation, i.e., everyone pronouncing the Takbr with one voice, is not permissible since this has not been transmitted (to us) from the early generations of the Sahbah and those who followed their ways. This is applicable for all Dhikr and supplications, except if the person doesn't know what to say. In that case he may repeat after someone else until he learns (the words to be said).

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