The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days (Dhul Hijjah).” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Therefore we should increase the amount of good deeds we do in order to take advantage of this blessed time where good deeds are increased significantly.
Tip: Complete as many worldly tasks as possible beforehand and do not waste this precious time: Make arrangements to clear as many of your pending tasks as possible or make a plan for tackling them later. This way, one is free to worship during the 10 days and nights without being distracted by worldly tasks. We must make a firm intention that during these blessed 10 days that we will not take part in idle talk, watch TV, play computer games or spend time on the social media. There are many more days in the year for all that – if you really cannot resist. This is just 10 days! Consider the utter loss and regret for those who waste these blessed 10 days.
The following 7 deeds are amongst the best actions we can do during these blessed 10 days:
- Reciting the Qur’an abundantly: ”Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi]So if one letter of the Qur’an is equivalent to ten good deeds then imagine how much reward there is for reading each letter during these blessed 10 days which are said to be the best days of the year! Subhanallah!Abu Darda’ reported Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as saying: Is any one of you incapable of reciting a third of the Qur’an in a night? They (the Companions) asked: How could one recite a third of the Qur’an (in a night)? Upon this he (the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) said:” He is Allah, One” is equivalent to a third of the Qur’an. [Sahih Muslim]
Therefore let us recite as much of the Qur’an as we can during these 10 days and nights and aim to recite it from cover to cover if we can. After that we should continue reciting the Qur’an throughout the rest of the year, for it is one of the excellent forms of worship!
Tip: Increase your recitation by adding a few minutes or pages to your usual recitation routine. If you don’t have a routine yet, maybe this is the time for you start forming the habit. Begin by committing to recite at least one or two pages (or for 10 minutes, if you are a slow reciter) and then work to increase on this. Carry a small pocket mus’haf with you or install a reliable Qur’an app on a mobile device so that Shaytan cannot discourage you when you are out and about!
Note: It is also very relevant to read the story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) which will give one a deeper understanding of the rituals of Hajj and the qurbani.
- Showing exemplary character: The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the Scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [At- Tirmidhi].So we must aim to be the best in character during these blessed days and nights and continue to do so for the rest of the year. We must not argue, swear, backbite, slander or gossip.Tip: Make an extra effort to be good to your friends, family, and neighbours, and especially those of other faiths.
- Giving much in charity: As the rewards of doing good deeds during these days are increased significantly then we should also give as much as we can in charity.Allah promised forgiveness of our sins if we give in charity and give to the poor and needy. He honoured our charity and described it as a “ beautiful loan to Allah “ to emphasise that we are doing something good that He loves, and that He himself will pay our loan back to us doubled:“If ye loan to Allah a beautiful loan, He will double it to your (credit), and He will grant you Forgiveness: for Allah is Most Ready to appreciate (service), Most Forbearing.” [Surah At-Taghabun:17]
Tip: Have some change with you at all times to hand out when the opportunity arises. If you don’t have the opportunity to give out money in public, go online and resolve to donate a fixed amount every morning! If you don’t have money, remember that even a smile is considered charity – so go on and spread some good cheer!
- Respecting and honouring our parents: Islam teaches us that of the most beloved deeds to Allah, having respect for one’s parents is second only to that of prayer and is greater than that of fighting in His cause.It is narrated on the authority of Abdullah bin Mas’ood (may Allāh be pleased with him), who observed: “I asked Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) which deed was the best.” He (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) replied: ‘The Prayer at its appointed hour.’ I (again) asked: “Then what?” He (the Holy Prophet) replied: ‘Kindness to the parents.’ I (again) asked: “Then what?” He replied: ‘Earnest struggle (Jihad) in the cause of Allah.’ I refrained from asking any more questions for fear of annoying him. [Sahih Muslim]Tip: Make an extra effort to spend time with them during these blessed days. Recite Qur’an with them, read a book together, discuss a lecture you heard, share your plans for the future and seek their input. Drive your father to the masjid if he is unable to walk there and earn reward for doing so, or call them a few more times in the day if they live far away.
- Doing many nawafil (superogatory) prayers: Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:”Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).” [Abu Dawud]The following are sunnah and nawafil prayers to pray during the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah:
– Pray 12 raka’ahs of sunnah daily along with the fardh prayers. Umm Habibah Ramilah bint Abu Sufyan (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated she heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying: “A house will be built in Paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve units of prayers other than the obligatory ones in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” [Muslim]
Umm Habibah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever sticks to the habit of offering four rak`ahs before Noon Prayer & four rak`ahs after it, Allah will shield him against the Hell-Fire.” [Sunan An-Nasai]
– Salaatul Duhaa: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is reported to have said: Whoever prayed twelve rakaats (before midday), then Allah will, as a reward, prepare a palace of gold for him in Paradise. [Sunan An-Nasai]
– Two raka’ahs sunnah after entering the masjid: Abu Qatadah (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as saying: “If any one of you enters a mosque, he should pray two rak`ahs before sitting.” [Abi Dawud]
– Tahiyyatul wudhu: – 2 raka’ahs sunnah after performing wudhu (ablution). Abu Hurayrah (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (may Allāh be pleased with him) saying to Bilal (may Allāh be pleased with him): “Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal (may Allāh be pleased with him)replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform Prayer for as much as was destined for me to do.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
– Tahajjud prayer: The most virtuous nawafil (voluntary) prayer is the Tahajjud prayer as it enables one to get closer to Allah (glorified and exalted be He). The best recitation of the Qur’an is done during Tahajjud prayer. You should recite as much of the Qur’an as you have memorised. In the long prostrations, beg Allah (glorified and exalted be He) for forgiveness and mercy and surely He will never turn away his slaves who beg of him during this prayer.
Note: During the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah we should aim to pray Tahajjud every night. If not then we should pray it in as many nights as we possibly can. When fasting during the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah one should awaken a little earlier for Suhur, make wudhu and pray Tahajjud. The last third portion of the night is the most blessed part of the night in which duas are more readily accepted during this time. So by praying Tahajjud it gives us the best opportunity to get closer to Allah and to make sincere dua, repenting for our sins past and present and to beg, cry and ask of Allah for whatever we want.
Tip: Before you go to bed each night, use the Productive Muslim Taskinator to block out time for these additional acts of worship. You are more likely to get something done if you allocate time for it. As the saying goes – what gets scheduled, gets done!
- Increase in glorification & remembrance of Allah: As His creations we should all remember and glorify our creator as much as we possibly can, but even more so during these blessed days. The following are some easy and very beneficial dhikr and glorification we can do throughout these blessed days and nights.- Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahil Hamd
– Allahu Akbar
– Laa ilaha ilallah
– La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah
– SubhanAllahil azeem wa bihamdihi
– Subhāna-llāhi, wa-l-hamdu li-llāhi, wa lā ilāha illā-llāhu, wa-llāhu akbar. Wa lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāhi-l-aliyyi-l-azīm
– Lā ilāha illā-llāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu lahu-l-mulku wa lahu-l-ḥamdu yuhyi wa yumītu wa huwa ḥayyu-llā yamūtu abadan abada, ḏū-l-jalāli wa-l-ikrām, biyadihi-l-khayr, wa huwa alā kulli Shay-in qadīr or the shortened version Laa ilaaha illal-laahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay-in qadeer
One can also recite the durood that one recites towards the end of one’s salaah or the shortest durood: Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim.
Tip: Have something in your environment or on your person as a reminder for dhikr. It could be a special ring that you wear or a sticker placed on your desk or car wind shield.
- Making much dua: Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an, ”When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [Suratul Baqarah:186]We should busy ourselves in Dua during these 10 blessed days and nights particularly on the night and day of Arafat which is the 9th of Dhul Hijjah. Duas are also readily accepted during fasting, especially just before Suhur ends and just before breaking the fast.
- Making life changes: We should make the necessary changes to improve ourselves as Muslims and what better time to make such changes than during these blessed 10 days where we can change our lives forever? We must internalise these changes and make a firm commitment to Allah (glorified and exalted be He), and maybe that he will wipe off our sins until we become newborn babies, In sha Allah.Therefore let us make the best of these blessed days and make the necessary changes so that we may live a life devoted to Allah. We should aim to rectify our condition and live for the Hereafter rather than living for this world which can end at any second for any one of us. Allah tells us In the Qur’an to enter fully into our deen (way of life) and not partly:
“O believers enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan, surely he is your clear-cut enemy….” [Surah Al-Baqarah:208-210]
So then will we not make Islam a FULL part of our lives? This is our best opportunity and if we don’t grab it now and death comes to us then surely we will regret it for ETERNITY! Surely there is no logic in putting all of our efforts into a short, temporary life which can end at any second and neglect that which will last forever. Knowing this then why do we put everything into this life and neglect the Hereafter? Time is passing us by and we are blinded by the deception of this life. Time is not on our side. This life is very short indeed. It is like a quick passing phase. It is a short stopover in our journey to the eternal Afterlife.
This short life is our only one opportunity to build our Hereafter. In the Hereafter we will want to be taken back to this life in order to live it again so that we can worship Allah. But we will not be able to. So let us prepare for the Hereafter and our inevitable death before preparations are made for our funerals.
May Allah enable us to make the best of these blessed days and nights and make it a means of our success in this world and in the Hereafter. Ameen.