The month of Dhul Hijjah is upon us, and in North America it just so happens to coincide with the summer months, making it a great opportunity to rack up some good deeds. For those of us who are not embarking on the ultimate journey of Hajj – a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca – the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah mean engaging in extra acts of worship to commemorate this important pillar of Islam.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“No good deeds are better than what is done in these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.”
Summer means children are on break from school, parents may be taking time off from work, and everyone is spending more time outdoors. That means it can be easier to commit to extra worship, generosity, and community service together as a family. With so many ways to engage in random acts of kindness, the possibilities are truly endless. However, we can help you jumpstart your plans for these blessed days with some thoughtful ideas (and the ahadith to support them).
Here is a list of ten good deeds that you and/or your child(ren) can perform over the course of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. (Do them all together and you will have certainly leveled up during these blessed days, insha’Allah!)
1. Perform extra acts of worship.
Worshipping Allah is the ultimate good deed and our purpose in life. The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah can be the perfect time to reconnect with our Creator and charge our iman batteries. Perform additional acts of worship such as adding extra Sunnah and nawafil (voluntary) prayers to your schedule, reciting dhikr frequently, reading more Quran, giving charity, or fasting.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days. So, during this time, recite a great deal of tahlil (saying La ilaha illa-Allah or there is no god but Allah), takbir (saying Allahu akbar or God is great) and tahmeed (saying Alhamdulillah or all praise is for Allah).”
He also recommended fasting as much as possible during the first days of Dhul Hijjah, except on the tenth day, which is Eid-al-Adha. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was asked about fasting the day of Arafat (the 9th) and he said:
“It will expiate the sins of the previous and upcoming years.”
2. Visit the sick.
Visit local hospitals, nursing homes, or individuals who are ill and offer them company, support, and encouragement. There are countless blessings in visiting a sick person, both for the one who is suffering and for his/her visitor. The benefits for the person who is afflicted with illness are getting much-needed emotional support, a boost in their morale, and a sense of community and compassion. As for the one who visits, there are many hadith that outline the rewards reserved for that person including the following:
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Whoever visits a sick person or visits his brother for the sake of Allah, a heavenly caller will announce: May you be blessed, may your walking be blessed, and may you dwell in a residence of Paradise!”
It should be noted that visiting the sick is not limited to only fellow Muslims. Many Muslim families have non-Muslim relatives, neighbors, and friends who may be suffering from an illness. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was known to visit sick individuals who were not Muslim at the time. Showing them our support is a great way to teach them about the compassionate nature of Islamic principles and manners.
The close companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
“A young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet and he became sick, so the Prophet went to visit him. The Prophet sat near his head and asked him to embrace Islam. The boy looked at his father, who was sitting next to him. The father said, ‘Obey Abu al-Qasim,’ and so the boy embraced Islam. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, came out saying, ‘All praise is due to Allah, who has saved the boy from Hellfire.’”
3. Send gifts to family members.
Surprise your family members with thoughtful gifts or gestures to express your love and appreciation. Even a card or phone call can go a long way to make someone’s day better. This kind of good deed is a win-win for everyone. Exchanging gifts strengthens family bonds, creates joy and happiness, and fosters a sense of gratitude within the family. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”
4. Provide cold drinks to outdoor workers.
Working outdoors in the summer can cause serious health concerns like heat stroke and dehydration. Offer cold drinks or refreshments to outdoor workers, such as construction workers, waste management staff, professional landscapers, or gardeners, during hot weather. Some workers may not be able to accept open cups, so offer refrigerated or frozen prepackaged bottled water, juice, or sports drinks instead. Through this simple act of kindness, you can show public servants empathy, help them stay hydrated, and acknowledge their hard work.
Umar ibn al-Khattab reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was asked, “Which deeds are best? The Prophet said: ‘To bring happiness to a believer, to satisfy his hunger, to clothe his nakedness, or to fulfill his needs.’”
(Al Mujam al-Aswat)
5. Make someone smile.
Something as simple as making someone smile is a wonderful and easy way to accumulate good deeds during these blessed ten days. A companion named Jarir ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him said:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, never avoided me ever since I embraced Islam. I would never see him but with a smile on his face.”
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, would go out of his way to smile and make others smile. Abu Huraira reported that it was said to him:
“O Messenger of Allah, do you joke with us? The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Verily, I do not say anything but the truth.’”
What he meant was that while being humorous is acceptable, it is not ok to lie just to make others laugh. One way I personally like to show love to my family and friends is by sending them funny or uplifting messages through text or social media. Sharing humorous and halal content is one way to brighten their day and bring a smile to their face. By making our loved one smile, we spread joy, strengthen our relationships, and promote positivity.
6. Help with chores in the house.
Family life is all about teamwork and every single family member should contribute to keeping the house tidy and clean. Assisting family members or even friends with household chores like cleaning, organizing, washing clothes, and cooking can help lighten the burden of housework and foster a spirit of cooperation. The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, when good deeds are worth even more than usual, is the perfect time to be a good helper.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was no ordinary man. He was a Messenger of Allah, a spiritual guide, a political leader, an avid worshipper, and a teacher. However, he was also a dedicated father, husband, and provider to his family. Despite his unimaginably busy schedule, he still set aside time to help around the house. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, reported:
“The Prophet would do chores for his family, and he would go out when it was time for prayer.”
7. Be an extra good neighbor.
One of the defining characteristics of a believer is their commitment to being a compassionate and supportive neighbor. Hence, neighborly good deeds are especially rewarding. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his neighbor.”
One of the ways we can show our neighbors how much we care during the summer months is by mowing their lawn. Offer to cut the grass, water a garden, or perform yard work for an elderly neighbor or someone who might be physically unable to do it themselves. The benefits of these neighborly deeds include providing practical assistance, promoting a sense of community, and enhancing neighborhood connections.
Oftentimes, neighbors do not even interact with one another although they live in close proximity. We should strive to befriend our neighbors or at least show kindness to them and offer them help whenever they need it. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also said:
“The believer is friendly and befriended, for there is no goodness in one who is neither friendly, nor befriended. The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”
(Al Mujam al-Aswat)
8. Organize a story time and read to children.
What better way to spend the summer and amass good deeds during the month of Dhul Hijjah than by promoting literacy and education among the youth in our communities? Gather your family and/or other volunteers to arrange a storytelling session at a local library, community center, or school, where you can read engaging stories and interact with children.
Consider stories and age-appropriate books about Hajj, Eid, giving charity, and Prophets related to this season like Ibrahim, Ismail, and Ishaq, peace be upon them.
Want to earn the reward of Hajj? Organize the story time in the masjid! Teaching in the House of Allah guarantees a huge reward. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Whoever leaves for the mosque in the morning, for no reason but to learn goodness or teach others, he will have a reward as if he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage.”
9. Prepare and Distribute meals to the poor.
Prepare nutritious meals and distribute them to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or individuals in need. Since we are in the warmer months, consider cold sandwiches, fruit, and frozen drinks. There is so much reward in helping the poor; we can contribute to combating hunger in our communities, provide hope and support to those facing difficult circumstances, and teach our children about empathy and selflessness.
A companion named Abu Shurayh, may Allah be pleased with him reported:
“He asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, tell me something that will guarantee Paradise for me.’ The Prophet said, ‘Speak kind words, offer peace, and feed the hungry.’”
(Sahih Ibn Hibban)
10. Donate toys and clothing.
My Puerto Rican grandmother would often repeat a Spanish saying, “Da de lo que tienes, no de lo que te sobra,“ which translates to “give from what you have, not from what is left over.” She was always generous with her wealth, food, and her property, and set an excellent example for her family.
This was also the advice of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who advised not to withhold or delay giving out of greed. Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
“A man came to the Prophet and he said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, which charity has the greatest reward?’ The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, responded: ‘That you give charity while you are healthy, greedy, fearing poverty, and hoping to be rich. Do not delay giving until you are on your deathbed, then say it is for such a person. It already belongs to that person.’” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
Hoarding wealth and property benefits no one because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Take this opportunity during these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah to sort through your belongings and consider donating some items even if you love them. Collect new or gently used toys and clothing and give them to charitable organizations or individuals who can benefit from them. Encourage your family and friends to do the same. This is a great way to declutter, support community members in need, reduce waste, and practice generosity.
Aside from additional acts of kindness and good deeds, believers should strive to stay away from unhealthy vices. All of us have things to work on to become better human beings. Taking these first ten days of the month of Dhul Hijjah to reflect and abstain from evil deeds will help us equally level up as Muslims. Whether it is leaving a bad habit or giving up a bad vice or friend, anytime we make a change for the better, Allah will reward us in ways we cannot even imagine.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty, but that Allah will replace it with something better for you.”
Remember, these acts of kindness can be spread over ten days or done all at once, depending on your family’s preference and schedule. Use this as a template and add more or make a Dhul Hijjah good deeds chart to track your progress. By performing these acts of worship and kindness, you set a great example for your family, contribute to your community, and most importantly, come closer to Allah.
Wendy Díaz is a Puerto Rican Muslim writer, award-winning poet, translator, and mother of six (ages ranging from infant to teen). She is the co-founder of Hablamos Islam, a non-profit organization that produces educational resources about Islam in Spanish (hablamosislam.org). She has written, illustrated, and published over a dozen children’s books and currently lives with her family in Maryland. Follow Wendy Díaz on social media @authorwendydiaz and @hablamosislam.