Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنهما narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“There are not any days in which righteous deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah than these days, i.e. the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah).” They said, “O, Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the path of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad in the path of Allah Most High, except if a man goes out (for Jihad) with his self and his wealth, then he doesn’t return with anything from that.” [Bukhari]
Imam Ahmad narrated from Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما that the Messenger of Allah Muhammad ﷺ said,
“There aren’t any days greater, nor any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah Most High, than these ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah). So, increase saying Tahlil (Laailaaha illallaah), and Takbir (Allahuakkbar) and Tahmid (alhumdulillaah) in them.”
The Ten Special Deeds
1. Hajj and ‘Umrah
The performance of Hajj and ‘Umrah, and these are the best of deeds that may be done. Their superiority is indicated by a number of hadiths. One of them is the saying of (the Messenger of Allah) ﷺ,
“Performance of ‘Umrah is an expiation of the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah, and the reward of the Hajj which is accepted by Allah Most High is nothing but Paradise.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
The fasting during these days as many of them as may be easy – especially the Day of ‘Arafah. There is no doubt that the act of fasting is one of the best deeds. It is something that Allah Most High has chosen for Himself, as in the Hadith Qudsi,
“Fasting is for Me, and it is I who give reward for it. Verily, someone gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for my sake…” [Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, Tirmidhi, Nasai and Ibn Majah]
Also, from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu), who said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“No servant (of Allah Most High) fasts one day in the way of Allah, except that Allah Most High removes his face from the fire because of it (the distance of travelling) seventy years.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah will be credited with Allah by forgiving one’s sins of the previous year and the following year.” [Muslim]
3. Takbir and Dhikr
At-Takbir (saying: Allahu-Akbar) and adh-Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) in these (ten) days, because of the saying of Allah in Surah al-Hajj Ayah 28:
“…And mention the name of Allah on the appointed Days…”
This has been explained (by some) to mean the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah). The scholars consider it desirable to increase adh-Dhikr in these days because of the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhumaa) narrated by Ahmad, which says in it,
“…so increase in these days the Tahlil and Takbir and Tahmid”.
Bukhari mentioned about Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنهم that,
“the two of them used to go out to the market place during the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) saying ‘Allahu-Akbar’, causing the people to say it also.”
Ishaq narrated from the scholars of the Tabi’in that in these ten days they used to say:
Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar; Laailaaha illallaah; Wa Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar; wa lillaahil-hamd.
It is a beloved act to raise the voice when saying the Takbir in the markets, the houses, the streets, the masjids and other places, because of the saying of Allah Most High in Surah al-Hajj Ayah 37:
“… that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you..”
The saying of Takbir in congregation, i.e., everyone pronouncing the Takbir with one voice (in unison), is not permissible since this has not been transmitted (to us) from the early generations of the Sahabah and those who followed their ways.
Indeed the Sunnah is for everyone to say the Takbir individually (each at his own pace). And this is applicable for all Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and supplications, except if the person does not know what to say. In that case he may repeat after someone else until he learns (the words to be said). It is also permissible to make Dhikr with all the different wording of Takbir (Allahu-Akbar) and Tahmid (alhumdulillaah) and Tasbih (SubhaanAllah), and the rest of the Islamic legislated supplications (from the noble Qur’an and blessed Sunnah).
4. Tawbah (Repentance)
At-Tawbah (repentance) and abstaining from disobedience and all types of sins, because forgiveness and mercy are the results of deeds. Disobedience is the cause of being far away (from Allah Most High) and repulsion, while obedience is the cause of being near (to Allah Most High) and His love. In the Hadith of Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه, he said that the Messenger of Allah Muhammad ﷺ said,
“Verily Allah has a sense of ‘Ghayrah’ (honour, prestige and anger over it’s violation), and Allah’s sense of Ghayrah is provoked when a person does that which Allah has made prohibited”. [Bukhari and Muslim]
5. Voluntary deeds
Doing plenty of voluntary (Nafl) righteous deeds of worship like prayer, charity, Jihad, reading the Qur’an, commanding what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other deeds like this. Indeed they are amongst those deeds whose (virtue) are multiplied in these days. Because, during these days even those deeds which are less preferred are superior and more beloved to Allah than superior deeds done at other times – even the Jihad which is one of the most superior of all deeds, except in the case of one whose horse is killed and his blood is spilled.
6. Legislated Takbir
It is legislated in these days to make at- Takbir al-Mutlaq (unrestricted to specific times or form) at all times of night and day until the time of the `Eid Prayer. Also, at-Takbir al-Muqayyid (restricted to specific times and done in a particular manner) is legislated, and it is done after the (five) obligatory prayers which are performed in congregation. This begins from Dawn (Fajr) on the Day of ‘Arafah (the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah) for those not performing Hajj, and from Noon (Dhur) on the Day of Sacrifice (10th of Dhul-Hijjah) for those performing Hajj (pilgrims); and it continues until ‘Asr prayer on the last day of the days of Tashriq (13th of Dhul-Hijjah).
7. The Sacrifice
The slaughtering of a sacrificial animal (Udhiyyah) is also legislated for the Day of Sacrifice (10th) and the Days of Tashriq (11th, 12th and 13th). This is the Sunnah of our father Ibrahim عليه السلام – since the time Allah Most High redeemed his son by the great sacrifice (of an animal in his place).
It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ slaughtered two horned rams, black and white in colour, and that he slaughtered them with his own hands. He mentioned the name of Allah Most High (saying Bismillaah), then said Takbir (Allahu-Akbar) and placed his foot on their sides (while slaughtering them). [Bukhari and Muslim. Bukhari English translation – Dr. Muhsin Khan, Vol.2, Pg. 447-448 #770 and 772, 1979]
8. Hair and Nails
Muslim and others narrated from Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها that the Messenger of Allah Muhammad ﷺ said,
“If you see the Hilal (new moon) of Dhul-Hijjah, and any one of you wants to make a sacrifice, then he should not cut (anything) from his hair and his nails.”
In another narration he said,
“…then he should not take (cut) anything from his hair, nor from his nails, until he performs the sacrifice.”
Perhaps this is because of the similarity with the one who is bringing a sacrificial animal for slaughter (in Hajj). As Allah Most High said,
“…and do not shave your heads until the Hadi (sacrifice) reaches the place of sacrifice…”
The apparent meaning of this prohibition is that it is meant particularly for the one whom the sacrifice is for and does not include the wife or children, unless there is an individual sacrifice for one of them. There is no harm in washing the head, or scratching it, even if some hair may fall out.
9. Eid prayer
It is incumbent for the Muslim (who is not making Hajj) to make every effort to perform the `Eid Prayer wherever it is performed, and to be present for the Khutbah and benefit from it. He must know the wisdom behind the legislation of this `Eid. It is a day of thankfulness and performing deeds of righteousness. So, he must not make it a day of wildness, pride and vanity. He should not make it a season of disobedience and increase in the forbidden things like music and singing, uncontrolled amusement, intoxicants and the like – those things which could cause the cancellation of the good deeds done in these ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah).
10. Remember the obligations
After what has been mentioned, it is fitting that every Muslim, male and female, take advantage of these days by obeying Allah Most High, remembering Him, thanking Him, fulfilling all the obligatory duties, and staying far away from the prohibited things. He must take full advantage of this season, and the open display of Allah’s gifts to attain the pleasure of his Lord.
Surely, Allah Most High is the One who grants success, and He is the Guide to the Straight Path. And may the blessings of Allah Most High, and Peace be upon Muhammad and his family and companions.