FRIDAY SERMON DELIVERED AT THE UNIVERSITY MAIN MOSQUE OF FOUNTAIN UNIVERSITY, OSOGBO ON 27TH DHUL-QA’DAH, 1436 (11TH SEPTEMBER, 2015)
Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuhu.
Virtues of the First Ten Days of “Dhul-Hijjah”
The month of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic Calendar, is one with numerous virtues and blessings. Allah swore by these days when He said:
“By the dawn; And by the ten nights......” (Q89:1-2).
According to Ibn Kathir, "the ten nights" are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, this is the opinion of Ibn Abbas, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujahid and others.
The Prophet , was also reported to have said:
ما من أيام العمل الصالح فيهن أحب إلى الله من هذه الأيام العشر فقالوا يا رسول الله ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله فقال رسول الله صلى لله عليه وسلم ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله إلا رجل خرج بنفسه وماله فلم يرجع من ذلك بشيء
“There is no deed that is better in the sight of Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of Dhul-Hijjah”. It was asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for Jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Al-Bukhari).
These ten days are very important in the life of Muslims and are even more virtuous than the days of the month of Ramadhaan according to the scholars. Ibn Hajar in Fath ul-Bari wrote: "The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine." Ibn Taymiyyah also said: "The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are better than the last ten days of Ramadan, but the last ten nights of Ramadhaan are better than the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah."
It is encouraged to perform different acts of worship in these days to earn lots of reward from Allah. Among the deeds to be performed are the following:
Hajj: For those who can make it, Hajj is the best act to be performed in this period. Allah said:
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَـتٌ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلاَ رَفَثَ وَلاَ فُسُوقَ وَلاَ جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يأُوْلِي الأَلْبَـبِ
“The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known months. So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And take provisions for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). So fear Me, O men of understanding!” (Q2:197).
Adhkaar: Remembrance and Glorification of Allah are encouraged throughout the year and these special days should not be left out for multiple rewards. Exalting Allah and extolling His greatness, as well as praising and thanking Him are highly rewarding in this period. This is even more special on the night of Eid till the end of Ayyaam-ut-Tashreek.
Nawaafil prayers: These days and nights afford Allah’s servants more opportunity to seek for help and forgiveness from Him. It will also draw them closer to their Lord. Believers should therefore seek the opportunity to sincerely repent to Allah. The night prayer is a shield from all evil and the daily Nawaafil are a ticket to Paradise.
Recitation of Quran: These days are a special occasion to fervently increase our relationship with the Quran by reciting more of it to earn more rewards. Recitation should be followed with obedience to all its injunctions without being selective.
Charity: This is also a period to give more charity and perform all other good deeds that are encouraged in Islam. The rewards to be expected are second to none as the Prophet has said good deeds in these days are better and more beloved to Allah than other periods.
Fasting: Fasting is encouraged in the first nine days, especially the Day of Arafah. Fasting on the Day of Eid, the tenth day, is completely forbidden. Fasting is very virtuous on these days because the Prophet said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” (Bukhaari, Muslim). The Day of Arafah is very virtuous as described by the Prophet when he said: “There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the Day of Arafah. On that day Allah draws near to the earth and by way of exhibiting His Pride remarks to the angels, 'What is the desire of these (servants of mine)?” (Muslim). He also said: “Apart from the day of the Battle of Badr there is no day on which the Shaytãn is seen to be more humiliated, more rejected, more depressed and more infuriated, than on the Day of Arafah, and indeed all this is only because of beholding the abundance of descending mercy (on the day) and Allah's forgiveness of the great sins of the servants.” (Mishkãt). He therefore encouraged fasting on this special day saying: “Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah (ninth of Dhul-Hijja) atones for (all the minor sins of) the previous year and the coming year.” (Muslim).
Eid prayers: The Prophet encouraged all Muslims to participate in the Eid Prayers. This will afford us the opportunity to witness and also take part in the Salat, sermon, supplications, Takbeerat, praises, thankfulness, etc.
Animal sacrifice: Offering an animal for sacrifice is highly encouraged and rewarding for anyone who can afford it. It is the best and most rewarding act of worship on this day. Distribution of the meat will also be part of charity on this day of Eid. The Prophet was asked: "Oh Prophet of Allah, what is this sacrifice?" He said: “It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim (AS).” They asked: "What (reward) is for us therein?" He replied: “There is a reward for every hair”. They asked: "For the wool, Oh Prophet of Allah?" He replied: “There is one reward for every strand of wool.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah).
In conclusion, the Prophet encouraged those who intend to perform animal sacrifice to abstain from shaving hairs and cutting of nails from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah until the animal is sacrificed. Let us try and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet and perform lots of acts of worship to earn multiple rewards in these coming days. We ask Allah to make easy for us the task of performing good deeds and refraining from sins.
Wassalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuhu.
Ahmad Salaudeen (Ph. D),
Biochemistry & Nutrition Unit,
Department of Chemical Sciences,
Fountain University, Osogbo,
Osun State, Nigeria.