Do you know what days are better than all other days of the year? The days of Ramadan? No! (The last ten nights of Ramadan are higher in status though, as they comprise Laylatul-Qadr) It’s the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah as narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta):
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha (sacrifice).” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “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.” (Bukhari and Darimi)
Surprisingly, the masses are unaware of these virtuous days and miss the opportunity to gain rewards and Allah’s pleasure in these blessed days. According to the Sunnah these are some of the important actions done in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:
- Hajj: Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Those who get the opportunity of Hajj should make the most of these days as an accepted Hajj eradicates all past sins. Hajj is not just a ritual that needs to be finished; it is a spiritual cleansing, a treasure chest of lessons that need to be learnt and safe kept for life long.
- Sacrifice: Eid-ul-Adha, the second Muslim festival, also comes in the blessed month. The price of the animal purchased for slaughter and quality of the barbeque served at Eid parties is not just it. What matters is the intention and Taqwa behind our actions. Allah says: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” (Hajj 22:37)
- Fasting: Fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah (The tenth day is Eid!) is an established Sunnah of the Prophet (sa). (Nasai and Abu Dawood).
- Remembering Allah (swt): The remembrance of Allah (swt) is one of the most beloved of deeds to Him, especially during these days. Prophet Muhammad (sa) has 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 (La ilaha illallah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) during them.” (Ahmad)
- Takbeerat: Recite them as much as you can. See this page for details.
So, there is something for everyone. If you’re not going for Hajj, you may sacrifice. If you cannot afford an animal, you can still fast. If you’re incapable of fasting you can always remember Allah! We must race after every virtue that we can lay our hands on. Life is too short and every passing second is an asset.