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Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which Allah has preferred over all the other days of the year.  Ibn 'Abbaas (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said: 
"There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihaad 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." [Bukhaaree]

Ibn 'Abbaas (ra) also reported that the Prophet (saw) said:
"There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allaah, nor greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of Sacrifice." He was asked, "Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihaad 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." [Bukhaaree]

Ibn 'Abbaas (ra) also reported that the Prophet (saw) said:
"There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allaah, nor greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of Sacrifice." He was asked, "Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihaad 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." [al-Daarimi]

These texts and others indicate that these ten days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadaan.  But the last ten nights of Ramadaan are better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power), which is better than a thousand months.

We should know that the virtue of these ten days is based on many things:

1-    Allah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefits.  Allaah says:
"By the dawn; by the ten nights" [al-Fajr 89:1-2]

Ibn'Abbaas (ra) and others said this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.  Ibn Katheer (rh) said: "This is the correct opinion."

2-    The Prophet (saw) testified that these are the best days of this world. [see above ahaadeeth]

3-    The Prophet (saw) encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this time for people throughout the world, and also because of the virtue of the place - for the Hujjaaj (Pilgrims) to the Sacred House of Allaah.

4-    The Prophet (saw) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (Subban Allaah), Tahmeed (Alhaahu akbar) during this time.

Ibn Umar (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said: "There are no days greater in the sight of Allaah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel (La ilaaha ill-Allaah) Takbeer and Tahmeed." [Ahmad]

5-    These ten days include the Day of Arafaah on which Allaah perfected His Religion.  Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years.  These days also include the Day of Sacrifice (Nahr), the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.

6-    The one who offers a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and not remove anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (saw) said: "When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice." [Muslim] 

According to another report he said: 'He should not remove (literally, touch) anything from his hair or skin.'

This prohibition applies only to the one who is offering the sacrifice, not to his wife and children, unless any of them is offering a sacrifice in his or her own right, because the Prophet (saw) used to sacrifice "one behalf of the family of Muhammad." There are no reports that say he forbade them to cut their hair or nails at that time.

One must understand that these ten days are a great blessing from Allaah to His slave.  It is the Muslim's duty to appreciate this and make the most of the opportunity, by striving hard to increase in worship.

Among His blessings to His slaves, Allaah has given us many ways in which to do good and worship Him, so that the Muslim may be constantly active and consistent in the worship of his Lord.

Performing Hajj and Umarh.  One of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the sacred House of Allaah.  The one whom Allah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of the Prophet (saw):

"An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise"

Doing good deeds as these are beloved by Allaah and will bring a great reward from Him.  Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allaah, paying, reading Qur'aan, remembering Allaah, making supplication, giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other acts of worship.

We should ensure that we do not miss any of these important occasions, because time is passing quickly.  We need to prepare ourselves by doing good deeds which will bring us reward when we are most in need of it, for no matter how much reward we earn, we will find it is less than we need. 

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