Time is a benefit given to mankind and creation by Allah, The Most High. We are instructed to take advantage of and use time wisely. In the Holy Quran, Allah affirms and vows to humanity in Suratul Asr
“By the ‘passage’ of time, surely mankind is at loss, except those who have faith, do good, and urge each other to the truth, and urge each other to perseverance”
As Islam is a religion of justice and balance, we are given time to live, time to grow, time to reflect and time to be one who seeks the favor and receives the blessings. We have times in Islam that offer more reward and Mercy from Allah. Think of the equity in Islam. During Ramadan we have the last 10 nights and then the blessed night of power Laitaul Qadr. Correspondingly, during the month of Dhul Hijjah, we have the first 10 days and then the day of the recurring happiness, Eid Ul Adha
The first ten days of the month of Dhul Hijjah are of such significance that we have the confirmation, declaration and guarantee from Allah in the Holy Quran in Suratul-Fajr:
“By the dawn and the ten nights”
Suratul Fajr: 1-2
In the hadith tradition of Muhammad, the prophet (PBUH) and the consensus of scholars in Islam, there is agreement that these two verses from Suratul Fajr refer to the beginning of the month of Dhul Hijjah.
Dhul Hijjah is special because it is the time of Hajj and Yawm Al Arafah – The Day of Arafah.
During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, Muslims were not able to make pilgrimage to Makkah. Although during that time hujjaj were at the Kaaba nor physically begging for the Mercy of Allah while at Mount Arafat, these days still passed. The isolated state of the ummah did not keep us from the benefits of this month. Even though we were not able to be there physically, we extracted the true beauty and spiritual significance because we were forced to focus on the meaning rather than the ritual of hajj. Thus, we gained a greater insight and appreciation..
Our task during the days of Dhul Hijjah are always to place a greater focus on Allah whether at Al-Haram or at home. Allah as Maker and Fashioner of time gives us more than just one special time of year for heightened ibadah. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) teaches us:
There are no days during which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days," meaning the (first) ten days of Dhul- Hijjah. They said: "O Messenger of Allah! Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah?" He said: "Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah, unless a man goes out with himself and his wealth and does not bring anything back.
Hadith No: 1727 From: Sunan Ibn Majah. Chapter 9
Dhul Hijjah is a time for action and time we gain more blessing for our deeds. If we are not on hajj, we pray, we dhikr, we help the poor, we visit the sick, we offer sadaqah, we slaughter and share the meat,
The tradition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was to fast, especially on the Day of Arafah. If a believer is not able to fast any other time during these days, they should strive to at least fast on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, the Day of Arafah.
The Day of Arafah is the most important day on the Islamic calendar, just as the night of power is the most important night. Muhammad, the prophet (pbuh) said “Hajj is Arafah” (Sahih Muslim) meaning that Arafah is the highest achievement of our worship during Hajj. When the pilgrims gather at Mount Arafat, they spend the day in prayer and submission to Allah. There is no better or significant form of ibadah.
Arafah was the day on which Allah (SWT) completed His revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), fulfilled favor upon His beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and approved Islam as a way of life for all of mankind.
"This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion."
(Surah al Maa'idah 5:3)
Fasting on the Day of Arafah connects non-hajjis to the hajj experience as pilgrims themselves do not fast on this day.
Muhammad, the prophet (PBUH) teaches the believers that fasting on Arafah is a forgiveness of sins for the year past and the year coming and said.
"There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of 'Arafah. He comes close to those (people standing on 'Arafah), and then He revels before His Angels saying, ‘What are these people seeking."
The opportunities for worship and the pleasure of Allah during this time is also enhanced by the tradition of Muhammad, the prophet (pbuh) who advised Muslims to recite the Tahleel, Takbeer, and Tahmeed as many times as possible on the day of Arafah, and also on the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah).
- Tahleel is to say "Laa ilaaha il-lal-laah"
- Takbeer is to say "Allahu Akbar"
- Tahmeed is to say "Alhamdulillaah"
- Tasbeeh is to say "Subhanallaah".
The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the best of days and Yawm Arafah is a blessed day. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) tell us:
On this day, Allah, the most Exalted, descends to the nearest heaven, and He is proud of His servants on the earth and says to those in heavens, look at My servants, they have come from far and near, with hair disheveled and faces covered with dust, to seek My Mercy. Even if their sins are as much the sand or the froth of the sea, I shall forgive them.