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Big Nights and Days of Islam: Dhul Hijjah

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In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

Prayers and Peace upon His Noble Messenger

Introduction

Dhul Hijjah is the 12th and last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is one of the four sacred months, the other three being Muharram, Rajab & Dhul Qa’dah. Only Rajab is on its own, the other three come together. Dhul Hijjah’s significance is enormous as related in the Holy Quran, and the sayings of the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and His Noble Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all).

Allah, Almighty and Glorious is He, says in the Holy Quran:

“And by oath of ten nights.”

                                                                                    [Al-Fajr 89:2]

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father), the great Companion of the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and illustrious exegete of the Holy Quran explained that the expression “and ten nights [wa layaalin ‘ashr]” refers to the ten special nights at the beginning of the month of Dhul Hijjah.

Hazrat Abu Saeed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him), another great Companion of the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam reported that the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“The chieftain [sayyid] of the months is the month of Ramadan, and the mightiest of them in sanctity [hurma] is Dhul-Hijjah.”

According to Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said that:

“Of all the days, there are none in which Allah, Exalted is He, more dearly loves to have worshipful service performed for His sake, other than the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah. To devote just one of the them to fasting is equivalent to fasting for one whole year, and keeping vigil on one of these nights is like keeping vigil for one whole year.”

Narrated Hazrat Ibn Abbas radi Allahu anhuma: The Prophet alayhi salatu wa salaam said,

“No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).” Then some Companions radi Allahu anhum of the Prophet alayhi salatu wa salaam said, “Not even Jihad?” He alayhi salatu wa salaam replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.” [Bukhari Shareef, Volume 2, Book 15, Number 86]

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radi Allahu anhu reported that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said,

“None of the days are dearer to Allah during which He is worshipped than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Fasting on each of these days is like fasting for a year and standing (in worship) on each of its nights is like standing on Laylatul Qadr.” [Jami’ At-Tirmidhi Hadeeth #758, Ibn Majah Hadeeth #1728]

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Ritual Prayer to be Recited During the First Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah

Hazrat Ali (may Allah ennoble his face) reported that the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam once said:

“When the Ten [Days and Nights] of Dhul-Hijja come around, you must devote yourselves strenuously to worshipful obedience, for they are the days upon which Allah, Exalted is He, has bestowed His special favor, and He has made the sanctity of their nighttime equivalent to the sanctity of their daytime. So if a worshipper prays during any night of the Ten Nights, performing four cycles of ritual prayer [raka’at] in the last third [of the night], and including the following recitations from the Holy Quran in each cycle: 

  • Surah Al-Fatiha [1:1-7] once
  • Surah Al-Falaq [113:1-5] & Surah An-Naas[114:1-6] once each
  • Surah Al-Ikhlaas [112:1-4] 3 times and
  • Ayat Al-Kursi [2:255] 3 times

and if he  raises his hands, as soon as he has completed this ritual prayer and says: 

Subhaana Dhil-‘Izzati wal-Jabaroot. Subhaana Dhil-Qudrati wal-Malakoot. Subhaanal-Hayyil-ladhee laa yamoot. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa yuhyee wa yumeetu wa Huwa Hayyun laa yamoot. Subhaanal-laahi Rabbil-‘ibaadi wal-bilaad. Al-hamdu lil-laahi katheeran wa tayyiban wa mubaarakan ‘alaa kulli haal. Allahu Akbaru kabeera Rabbanaa jalla Jalaaluhu wa Qudratuhu bi-kulli makaan.

 

and if he then pleads for whatever he wishes, he will be entitled to the same reward as someone who perform the Pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah, visits the tomb of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and strives in the cause of Allah. Whatever he asks of Allah, He will surely grant him his request.

 

If he performs that same ritual prayer during every night of the Ten Nights, Allah, Exalted is He, will grant him lawful access to the Highest Paradise [al-Firdaws al-A’laa] and He will erase every bad deed from his record. ‘Now set about your work from a new beginning,’ he will be told.

 

If it happens to be the Day of ‘Arafa, and he devotes the daytime thereof to fasting and night thereof to ritual prayer, and he pronounces this invocation and he offers many a humble entreaty in the presence of Allah, Exalted is He, Allah will say: ‘O My angels, bear witness that I have granted him forgiveness, and that I have equated him with the Pilgrim of the House of Allah [al- Haajj ilaa Baitillah].’ The angels will be delighted to learn what Allah, Exalted is He, has bestowed upon that believing servant, as a reward for his ritual prayer and his invocation.”

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Merits of Hajj

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) said:

We were in the company of Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, when a group of people arrived from Yemen. They said: “May our mothers and fathers be our ransom! Will you tell us about the special merits of the Pilgrimage [Hajj]?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“Yes! If any mans sets out from his home, as a Pilgrim or a Visitant, whenever he lifts a foot, or sets a foot down on the ground, sins are scattered from his feet, just as leaves are scattered from the trees. Then, when he reaches the city of Medina, shakes my hand, and salutes me with the greeting of peace [salaam], the angels will likewise salute him with the greeting of peace. Then when he reaches Dhul Haleefa (the miqat or meeting point for Pilgrims approaching Mecca from the direction of Medina), and performs the major ritual ablution, Allah will purify him of his sins. When he puts on two new pieces of clothing, Allah will renew his good deeds for him….” (Please refer to the source text for the entire Hadeeth, which is quite extensive.)

 

The Prophet alayhi salatu wa salaam’s Prayer at Arafat

Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib radi Allahu anhu reported that at Arafat at the mawqif after zawal (decline of the sun), much of the supplication of Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam was:

O Allah, praise belongs to You in the manner You say but better than we say. O Allah, for You is my salah, my sacrifice, my living and my death. To You is the return for refuge. For You is my legacy. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the punishment in the grave and the temptation in the heart and confusion in affairs. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the evil with which the wind comes.
[Jami’ At-Tirmidhi Hadeeth #3531]

Note: Please note that the Prophet alayhi salatu wa salaam did not need to seek refuge from the punishment in the grave or the temptation in the heart or the confusion in affairs and the like as he alayhi salatu wa salaam is already protected from these. Such words were presented by his blessed tongue alayhi salatu wa salaam so it would become a Sunnah for sinners like us to follow for our salvation insha Allah.

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The 9th of Dhul Hijjah

Hazrat Ibn Umar  (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) said that he heard Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam say:

“Allah, Exalted is He, inspects His servants on the Day of ‘Arafa, and if there is an atom’s weight of faith [imaan] in the heart of any one of them, He grants them forgiveness without fail.”

Fasting on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah

Hazrat Abu Qatada al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may blessings and peace be upon him) … was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafa (9th of Dhu’I-Hijja), whereupon he said:

“It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year….” [Sahih Muslim, Book 006, Hadeeth #2603][1]

Takbeerat-ut-Tashreeq

الله اكبر الله اكبر , لا اله الا الله و الله اكبر , الله اكبر و لله الحمد

Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illAllahu wAllahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa liLlaahil Hamd

The above is recited immediately after every congregational prayer from the Fajr prayer of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah to the Asr prayer of the 13th of Dhul Hijjah loudly. This is called Takbeeraat-ut-Tashreeq. To recite it once is Waajib and thrice is Mustahab. It is not recited after Nafl, Witr and Sunnat prayers but Waajib to be recited after Jumu’ah prayer. It may be recited after Eid-ul Adha prayer. The one who offers prayer by oneself may also recite the said Takbeer though it is not Waajib for him or her. [Source: Hamara Islam]

Ritual  Prayer to Be Recited on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah

Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“If someone performs four voluntary cycles of ritual prayer, on the Day of ‘Arafa, between the Dhuhr and ‘Asr reciting in each cycle Surah Al-Faatiha one time, and Surah Al-Ikhlaas 50 times, one million good deeds will be recorded in his credit column. For every letter in the Quran, he will be promoted by one level in the Garden of Paradise, the distance between each level and the next being a journey of fifty years…” (Please refer to the source text for the remaining benefits of performing this prayer.)

Also, in another traditional report, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“If someone performs two voluntary cycles of ritual prayer on the Day of ‘Arafa, reciting in each cycle: 

  • Surah Al-Faatiha 3 times, each beginning with the Basmala (Bismillaahir-rahmaanir-raheem) and ending with Aameen,
  • Surah Al-Kaafiroon [109:1-6] 3 times, and
  • Surah Al-Ikhlaas once, beginning each time with the Basmala,

 

Allah (Exalted is He) will surely say [to the angels]: ‘Bear witness that I have granted him forgiveness for his sins.’

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The Ritual Prayer of the Night of Sacrifice 

In the ritual prayer of the Night of Sacrifice (i.e. the night preceding the day of Eid), the worshipper must perform two cycles of prayer, reciting in each cycle:

  • Surah Al-Faatiha 15 times, and
  • Surah Al-Ikhlaas 15 times, and
  • Surah Al-Falaq 15 times, and
  • Surah An-Naas 15 times

After concluding the prayer he should:

  • recite Ayat-ul-Kursi 3 times
  • seek forgiveness of Allah 15 times, and then:
  • appeal for whatever he wishes from the good of this world and the Hereafter.

The Day of Eid 

When the believer sets out to attend the Festival prayer, following a particular route, he is recommended to return home by a different route. This advice is based on the report of Hazrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) who said that the Holy Prophet y took one road [to the congregational prayer] on the Day of the Festival, and used a different road on His way back home.

Udhiyya (Qurbani) 

The animal sacrifice (udhiyya /qurbani) is a customary practice (Sunnah) in the Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi madhhabs, the omission of which is not recommended for anyone who is capable of performing it. In the Hanafi it is strictly necessary (wajib) (technically same as Fard in terms of implementation).

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Dua

We pray that Allah, Most Glorified and Exalted is He, by the waseela (connection) of His Beloved Prophet (Prayers and Peace be upon Him) accepts the Hajj of all those who had the good fortune to go this year and may He grant the opportunity to those who desire the journey in future years. May He forgive our faults and accept our worship and make us true servants of His Noble Friends (Awliya Kiram). Aameen.

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Compiled by
Syeda Shagufta Ahmad Qadri

[1] Part of a larger Hadeeth text

Written by Shagufta Ahmad

October 4, 2013 at 6:46 pm