“By the dawn; And [by] ten nights.” [Qur’an: Chapter 89, Verses 1-2]
The aforementioned statement is an oath made by Allah, regarding the ten nights of Dhul Hijjah. This statement alone, should make us realize of the importance of these ten nights, that Allah has gifted upon as a gift, so that we may benefit and make the most out of them, in shaa Allah .
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (PBUH) replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” [Sahih Bukhari]
So, are you ready to make the most out of these ten nights? Here are a couple of things to get you started on!
- Do loads of Azkaar
Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), takbeer (saying Allahu akbar) and tahmeed (saying al-hamdu Lillah) during them.” [Ahmad]
Doing azkaar is beneficial anyway. However, during these 10 days, earn special benefit by being more particular in doing azkaar. Whether you’re sitting at the work desk, driving the car, walking down the stairs, sitting in the school van, don’t miss even the slightest opportunity, to utter those words of azkaar. An investment of a few minutes, will earn you multiple times the amount of reward, that which you cannot even fathom!
- Be mindful of your obligations
This is a great time to ensure more discipline and punctuality in your prayer. Try to pray on time, set targets for yourself and offer yourself little incentives to achieve those targets! Look for other obligations that you can nail, for instance pay your zakat if you haven’t yet.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever observes fast for a day in the way of Allah (non-obligatory fasting observed for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah and seeking His blessings), Allah will remove his face from the Hell to the extent of seventy years’ distance.” [Sahih Muslim]
The opportunity to fast in Dhul Hijjah will just come once in a year. Avail it! Fasting in the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah will earn great benefits, but be mindful that you only have the first 9 days to avail this opportunity!
Have a dress that’s been lounging around in the cupboard too long? Useless kitchen utensils that are hoarding up your kitchen? Pieces of furniture that are suffocating your house? Get rid of them! De-clutter your place and part with what you love! Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 92]
- Refresh your taqwa
Offer repentance and promise yourself, that you will come out as an improved person after these 10 days. Although the gates of forgiveness are always open, these 10 days give you a special opportunity to turn over a new leaf in your life. According to Dr. Muhsin Khan’s translation of the Qur’an, the people of taqwa are “the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained).”
- 9th Dhul Hijjah!
9th Dhul Hijjah, on the grand day of Arafah, don’t forget to fast, repent and make dua, as well as astaghfar. With regards to making dua, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The most excellent dua is the dua on the Day of Arafa, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said, is ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner.” [Muwatta Malik]
Make a list of duas so you can make the day as effective as possible!
- Don’t waste time
These are the most valuable days of the year! Be wise to not let them go to waste! If possible, try taking time off work and school/college, don’t schedule your appointments on these days and don’t commit to any invitations during these days.
- Connect to the Quran
A source of peace and contentment, let the Quran become your best friend in these few days. Recite the Quran as much as possible and also aim to motivate others in doing so. The immense reward of reciting the Qur’an is evident from the following hadith:
Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Reading around 3½ Juz’ each day will allow you to finish the Qur’an before Eid begins In shaa Allah (within the first 9 days)!
- Earn reward equivalent to one Hajj
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two Rak’ah, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and Umrah.” He said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Complete, complete, complete.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
(This does not of course mean, that you will be free from the obligation of Hajj)
10. Do Dawah
One of our major responsibilities as Muslims, is to spread the word of Allah. Read the message of Allah, and reflect on it, not just for yourself, but also use that knowledge as a means of empowering others. Communicate short verses from the Quran or Ahadith or incidents from the lives of the Prophets, and invest in enlightening your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.