The Blessed Days of Dhul-Hijjah

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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 Allâh 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 Allâh. He is most likely to be touched by the blessings of Allâh. [Ibn Rajab, al-Latâ’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. Imâm Ibn Qayyim
(rahimahullah) (d. 751H) said:

  “Indeed, its days are the most excellent of all the days with Allâh. It has been confirmed in Sahîh al-Bukharî from Ibn Abbas (radhi Allâhu anhu) that the Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

“No deed are more virtuous than deeds on these days.”

The companions asked: ‘Not even Jihad (fighting in Allâh’s Cause)?’ He (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam) replied:

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

[Sahîh al-Bukharî vol: 2, no: 457]

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

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

This is why it is recommended to increase in making Takbîr, Tahlil and Tamhid
during these days.” [Zâd al-Ma’âd 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 Allâh completed his
revelation on His Messenger (sAllâhu alaihe wa-sallam). It is reported in the Sahîhayn (i.e. Sahîh al-Bukharî and Sahîh Muslim), from Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi Allâhu anhu) that a Jewish man said to him:

  “O Amîr al-Muminîn (O head of the Muslims)! There is a verse in the Qur’ân, 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.” [Sûrah al-Maidah (5): 3]

Umar (radhi Allâhu anhu) said: ‘We know on which day and in which place was this verse revealed to Allâh’s Messenger (sAllâhu alaihe wa-sallam). It was when he was standing in Arafat on a Friday.’

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

 “ “(When Allâh created Adam (alaihis-salâm) Allâh took covenant from him in a place Na’mân 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’. Allâh
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, Allâh, were our Lord. No one told us that we were only supposed to worship You.”

[(Sahîh by Shaikh al-Albanî in Silsilah al-Ahâdîth as-Sahîhah 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 Allâhu anha) narrated the Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam) saying:

 “ “There is
no day on which Allâh 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?’” [Sahîh Muslim]

This Hâdîth 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 Khâlid reported from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet (sallAllâhu alaihi
wa-sallam) said:

  “The Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam)
used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day of Ashûrah, on
three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of
each month.” [(Sahîh) by Shaikh al-Albanî in Sahîh Abi Dawûd vol:
2, no: 462]

It is reported in Sahîh Muslim that when the Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu 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.” [Sahîh
Muslim]

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

  “The People of Knowledge
consider it recommended (Mustahabb) to fast on the day of Arafat,
except for those at Arafat.” [Jâmi’ut-Tirmidhî (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 Allâh. It was recorded in a Hadîth by Imâm Ahmad (in his Musnad vol:
4, no: 350) that the day of Nahr is the most virtuous day to Allâh. The
Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

 “ “The greatestday of Hajj (Pilgrimage) is the Day of an-Nahr (Slaughtering).”
[(Sahîh) by Shaikh al-Albanî in Irwa al-Ghalîl (no: 1101). Abu
Dawûd no: 1945]

Imâm 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 (sallAllâhu alaihi
wa-sallam) said:

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

[(Sahîh) by Shaikh al-Albanî in Irwa al-Ghalîl (no: 2018).
Related by Abu Dawûd no: 1765].” [Majmû al-Fatawa vol: 25, pp. 288]

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

 “ “I cameto you and you had in Jahiliyyah, two days of play and amusement. Allâh
has replaced something better for you. The Day of an-Nahr and the day
of al-Fitr.” [(Sahîh) by Hâfidh Ibn Hajr in Bulûgh al-Marâm. Related by Musnad Ahmad vol: 3, no: 103]

The Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

 “ “The day of al-Fitr, and the day of an-Nahr, and the days of at-Tashrîq (the three days after an-Nahr) are our days of Eid (festivity); and they are days of eating
and drinking.” [(Sahîh) by Shaikh al-Albanî in Sahîh al-Jamî (no: 8192). Related by Musnad Ahmad (no: 1945)]

Glorifying Allâh with Takbîr: (Takbîr al-Muqayyid):

From the day of Arafat until the Asr prayer of the 13th day of
Dhul-Hijjah, one should make Takbîr after every obligatory Salât. Ibn
Abî Shaybah relates that Alî (radhi Allâhu anhu) used to make the
Takbîr beginning after the Fajr prayer on the day of Arafat, until
after the Asr prayer on the last day of at-Tashrîq. [(Sahîh) by
Shaikh al-Albanî in al-Irwa. Related by Ibn Abî Shaybah in al-Musannaf]

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:

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

Imâm al-Khattâbî (rahimahullah) (d. 456H) said:

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

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

1. Ibn Mas’ûd (radiyAllâhu anhuma): Allâhu Akbar, Allâhu Akbar, La ilaha illa Allâh, Allâhu Akbar, Allâhu Akbar wa lillahil-Hamd. [(Sahîh) Irwâ al-Ghalîl (650), Daraqutne, Ibn Shaibah]

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

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

[(sahîh) – Bayhaqî (3/315)] (Allâh is the Greatest, Allâh is the Greatest, Allâh is the Greatest and to Allâh belongs all praises. Allâh is the Greatest to that which He has guided us to)

3. Salman (radhi Allâhu anhu) : Allâhu
Akbar, Allâhu Akbar, Allâhu Akbar kabîra.

[(sahîh) – Bayhaqî (3/316)] (Allâh is the Greatest, Allâh is the Greatest, Allâh is the
Greatest)

  “Increase in these days with Tahlil, Takbîr and Tamhid. (Takbîr al-Mutlaq). And mention the name of Allâh on the appointed Days.” [Sûrah 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 Allâh)
in these days, because the Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu alaihi wa-sallam) is reported to have said:

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

Tahlil, Takbîr and Tamhid mean saying ‘La ilaha illa Allâh’, ‘Allâhu Akbar’ and ‘al-Hamdu lillah’, respectively.

Ishâq narrates from the scholars of the Tâbi’în that in these ten days they used to say: Allâhu-Akbar, Allâhu-Akbar; Lâ-ilâha-ill-Allâh; wâllâhu-Akbar, Allâhu-Akbar; Wa-lillâhil-hamd.

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

  “…that you may magnify Allâh for His Guidance to you…”

Imâm Bukharî (rahimahullah) said in the book of al-Idayn in the chapter of
the Virtue of good) deeds during the days of Tashrîq, Ibn Umar and Abu
Hurayrah (radhi Allâhu anhuma) would go out in the marketplace during
the ten days and say Takbîr, and the people would say Takbîr when they said Takbîr. [Sahîh al-Bukharî]

The Sunnah is to say the Takbîr individually. The saying of Takbîr in
congregation, i.e., everyone pronouncing the Takbîr with one voice, is
not permissible since this has not been transmitted (to us) from the early generations of the Sahâbah 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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