Alhumdulillah! Alhumdulillah! Alhumdulillah!
Insha’Allah, one of the most blessed times of year begins this weekend.
As we enter the first 10 days of the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah, let us make Dua for those who received and answered the invitation to visit Bait Allah and make Hajj this year. Not everyone can or will make Hajj each year. However, we, our family, and the community of believers can still reap the blessings of this most auspicious time.
Indeed, Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, was reported to have told the believers:
"There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah The Most High than these ten days. So, increase in them the saying of Tahleel (La ilaha ill Allah), and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhamdu lillah)." -(Bukhari)
This is a wonderful spiritual time and the whole family should increase their Ibadah (worship). Sacrifice your typical routine during these 10 days and read the Quran together as a family, perform Nawafil (extra voluntary) prayers and Dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Remind yourself and your family that during these first 10 days, we should all make a concentrated effort to do good deeds.
In addition to increasing Ibadah and doing good deeds, make these days vibrant and interesting to your family. The recurring days of happiness, our Eid days, are a time for family togetherness and connectedness. If you don’t routinely sit and talk or do things together as a family, do so during these 10 days. Children, teens, 20-somethings, older adults, and even non-Muslim family members or friends may appreciate the following:
- Begin with the story of Prophet Ibrahim, (God’s peace be upon him), Hajar (may God be pleased with her ) and Zam Zam so that everyone knows the history and strength of faith it takes to be willing to sacrifice on that level. Share stories from Seerah (biography of Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings be upon him) and Hadith about the life of Prophet Ibrahim (God’s peace be upon him). Young children may enjoy picture books on Hajj like “Going to Mecca” by Naima Roberts; tweens and teens may like islamiccomics.org stories about Hajj. Someone can do a good deed by providing the materials to read, researching the story to tell, or referring others to online books or articles.
- Put Hajj front and center – This may be accomplished in a variety of ways. Take a book with a Hajj cover, a calendar with a picture of the Kaba, or a Hajj photo downloaded from the internet and place it in a book holder. Then set it in a prominent place like as a table centerpiece. Families that like crafts can make a kaaba model from simple items like a square box, black cardboard paper, black plastic bag or black cloth and gold fringe, gold ribbons or gold fabric glue/paint. If these are not your family’s way, place a countdown calendar of the days to Eid-ul-Adha in clear view. The key is to put Hajj on the minds of everyone. Let your children and teens do a good deed by making a reminder gift like a replica or poster for a family friend or relative.
- Invite a Haji to share their story about their pilgrimage experience. Use the internet to have virtual presentations from family or close friends who may have performed Hajj but don’t live nearby. Include a question and answer period. Afterwards, make Dua (supplication) to Allah to be blessed with the opportunity to perform Hajj or do it again if you went previously. Remind busy little ones or impatient teens that it is a good deed to listen quietly and respect the speaker.
- Learn about the Kaaba. Invite your young children to watch the Sound Vision Adam’s World Classic video “Take me to the Kaba”. For older children, have them check out this article about the Kaba. Let family members research and share facts learned. As you read the article, imagine how the Muslims who lived through those times felt. This is sure to be a lively discussion as everyone benefits from sharing knowledge, which is a good deed.
- Hajj movie night. Take advantage of the movies about Hajj that are available. PBS has educational videos “Sacred Journey episode 4: The Hajj” or their interactive virtual Hajj page. Documentaries, as well as “story” type movies exist. You can find different movies by searching streaming platforms. Here, the family can earn a good deed as they practice consensus and compromise to choose a movie all will appreciate.
- Live tune-in to Makkah. Many live streams of Makkah exist. The number of pilgrims is beginning to increase by now and will continue to do so. Watching a live feed of Haji (pilgrim) making Tawaf (circling the Kaba) brings the days into focus. Distant family or friends can be invited to watch simultaneously. Whoever is the most technologically savvy in pulling up the live feed earns the good deed that night.
- Hajj has officially begun. It is a good deed to know and teach others the Talbiyah. The whole family can practice it. Pilgrims chant this as they begin the rites of Hajj, declaring with conviction that they intend to perform the Hajj only seeking the pleasure of Allah, The Most High. The text of the Talbiyah is:
Labbayka Allāhumma Labbayk, Labbayk Lā Sharīka Laka Labbayk, Inna l-Ḥamda, Wa n-Niʻmata, Laka wal Mulk, Lā Sharīka Lak
- Gifts and Sadaqa (charity). Small gifts or cards can be made or ordered and mailed. Make arrangements for Qurbani, Iftar snacks (seen Day 9) or start preparation for the family Eid meal. Invite all members of the family to earn the blessings of doing a good deed by contributing their own act of Sadaqa – smile, decorate the house, help a senior or a sick person, donate money. Pray for the less fortunate and for humanity to recover from the trials of war, disease, and disasters. Remind everyone that acts of charity are good deeds that come straight from the heart and don’t need to be broadcast aloud for all to know and see, but rather done!
- Fast on the Day of Arafah. The pilgrims are at Arafa making Dua this day for all of humanity and begging Allah for His guidance, mercy and forgiveness. It is recommended to fast on this day and the Prophet said, “Fasting the Day of Arafa (the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah) will be credited with Allah forgiving a person’s sins of the previous year and the following year”. Family members who are too young, old, or with health concerns can do a good deed and prepare Iftar for the family, other fasting people, or even a dinner for a senior citizen in the community.
- It is Eid-ul-Adha. Put on your best clothes, recite the Eid Takbir and go to the congregational prayer. Or, pray at home with the family and enjoy an online Khutba; call or text others to wish them Eid greetings; enjoy an outdoor activity, meal or family prayer together; exchange gifts and kind words. If your family offers Qurbani, deliver the meat yourself. Make Dua that Allah accepts the efforts and intentions of the Hajj pilgrims and forgives us all.