The last month in the Islamic calendar, Zulhijjah is fast approaching. The first ten days of the month is considered important and special for Muslims, particularly because it is during Zulhijjah that we observe the beginning of Hajj on the 8th followed by the day of Arafat on the 9th and Eid-ul-adha on the 10th. It is a month in which Allah has given us a more of a reason to dedicate our time in multiplying our ibadah as good deeds are regarded as beloved to Allah more on these days than on any other. It is with the intention that our sins would be forgiven that we welcome a new hijrah year in a better state of soul.
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked , “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?”. He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
The day of Arafat signifies the moment when Prophet Muhammad Salallahu Alahi Wassalam delivered his last sermon that summarizes the entirety of Islam including a call against riba (interest) in financial dealings, mistreatment to people based on their race and abuse towards women, among many others.
It was also the day when Allah has perfected the religion by revealing the last ayat of the Quran to Rasulullah.
“… This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…” (Quran 5:3)
It was, without a doubt, a highlight in the history of Islam in which the touching words of Rasulullah still lives in the hearts of many despite his physical absence from this world.
Today, pilgrims make their way to the mount and plain of Arafat where they will stand – a ritual commonly known as wuquf – and dedicate an entire day to prayer while asking for Allah’s forgiveness.
It is recommended to fast on the day of Arafat (9th Zulhijjah) for those who are not performing Hajj.
If nothing is stopping you from fasting on this day, then it would be a golden opportunity to do so as our sins would be erased, as stated in the hadith below:
“It was narrated from Abu Qatadah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
‘Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
We should do whatever we can to not miss it! It is a rare occasion and only God knows if we are lucky enough to observe the same day next year. Fasting on the first eight days would also be a good addition to our deeds as fasting itself is abundantly rewarded.
For the ladies out there who can’t fast on the 9th – don’t despair. If you have the intention to fast but won’t be able to – if Allah wills it – you will still at least be rewarded for your intention.
The following three days (from 10th Zulhijjah) will be Eid-ul-adha, a day of remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim Alaihis Salam’s great sacrifice. It will be when Muslims who can afford Qurbani, which is the sacrifice of livestock animals, as a means to get closer to Allah. These meat will then be distributed especially to the less fortunate and those in need.
Other than the official recommended acts, we should maximise the time that we have on the first ten days of Zulhijjah by reciting more of the Al-Quran as well as the 4Ts (takbir, tahmid, tasbih, tahlil which correspond to Allahu Akbar, Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah and Lailla ha ill-Allah respectively).
In the spirit of keeping our faith alive, we can do more than usual and take these precious days as a chance to get closer to Allah. Now that we know why the first ten days of Zulhijjah matter, there is no reason not to dedicate our time to increasing worship and righteous deeds. Feel the peace and love culminating in your soul like a gentle cup of tea or warm soup would do for the ill body.