The month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, is upon us, having commenced yesterday evening after maghrib, the dusk prayer, on September 24th, 2014. Dhul Hijjah signifies the beginning of hajj season where pilgrims visit the holiest sites in Islamic history, located in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Closer to home, the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor is holding Dhul Hijjah and Hajj related classes and activities for the next 10 days until the holiday Eid-Al Adha arrives. Eid-al Adha is the celebration of sacrifice for Muslims, to signify and emphasize with Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son for God.
Virtues of the first 10 days of Dhu’l-Hijjah according to Islamic tradition and narration:
The first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are among the special seasons of worship which Allah has preferred over all the other days of the year.
Allah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]
Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this season for people throughout the world, and also because of the virtue of the place – for the Hujjaaj (pilgrims) to the Sacred House of Allah.
‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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 Tahleel (“La ilaaha
ill-Allah”),Takbeer (“Allahu akbar”) and Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillah”).” (Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that it is saheeh).
These texts and others indicate that these ten days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadaan. But the last ten nights of Ramadaan are better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr (“the Night of Power”), which is better than a
thousand months. Thus the various reports may be reconciled. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/412).
These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on which Allah perfected His Religion. Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years. These days also include Yawm al-Nahar (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other
Question: What must the Muslim avoid during these ten days if he wants to offer a sacrifice?
The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” According to another report he said: “He should not remove (literally, touch) anything from his hair or skin.” (reported by Muslim with four isnaads, 13/146)
Oh, pilgrims Labayk Allahumma Labayk! And happy hajj.