Hajj 2022 will likely begin about July 7 at sunset, but that must be confirmed.
Dhul Hijjah, the Islamic lunar “Month that Holds the Hajj-Pilgrimage” (as its name means) – is exceedingly blessed for at least five primary reasons:
Allah set the once-in-a-lifetime Hajj – the fifth of Islam’s sacred Five Pillars – in this 12th and last month of Islam’s lunar year.
Dhul Hijjah is one of four months that Allah selected for people as sacred, and it comes between two of its sacred sister months, Dhu’l-Qi’dah (11) and Muharram (1) (the other is Rajab (7)).
Allah says in the Quran:
Indeed, the ordained number of the months with Allah is twelve lunar months, as was decreed in the Preserved Heavenly Book of Allah on the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred – and that is the upright religion – so do not wrong yourselves or others in them (Surat Al-Tawbah, 9:36).
As the verse warns us, doing wrong in these months (especially to people) increases the degree of sin more than the same act in other months. Good deeds in these months also gain greater divine reward than at different times.
Allah declared the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah the greatest days in the entire Islamic year
By the dawn, and the Ten Nights [of the Month of Pilgrimage] (Surat Al-Fajr, 89:1-2).
The Prophet, on him be peace, said of the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah:
On no days are righteous deeds more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” (Bukhari)
So, these ten days are the best days of the Islamic year in terms of divine blessings, just as the last ten nights of the fasting month of Ramadan (9) are the best nights of the year to gain Allah’s bounty.
The ninth day of Dhul Hijjah is ‘Arafah or the Day of the Standing. It is called this because on that day, the pilgrims making Hajj gather on the plateau of ‘Arafat outside of Makkah and supplicate Allah from morning till late afternoon. This is the Hajj.
The Prophet, on him peace, said of this day:
There is no day on which Allah sets free more servants from the Fire [of Hell] than on the Day of ‘Arafah. He draws near. Then He praises them to the angels, saying: ‘What do these people want?’”– meaning He shall answer their pleas, deliver them from Hell, and admit them to His Garden.
The last of these ten days is the first day of Eid Al-Adha, the great Festival of the Ritual Sacrifice, which lasts four days. It is also known as the Day of Slaughter (Yawm Al-Nahr), for on it, the sacrifice of cattle in gratitude to Allah and to feed the poor begins.
There are six important practices that you can do to gain the most out of these blessed ten days.
But first, there is something crucial you must do to ensure the acceptance of your worship and good deeds in them:
Family members – parents especially – are at the top of this obligatory list, and then siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. – as many of your relatives as possible.
Set your relationships with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and so on if any hard feelings have developed.
So fear Allah! And set things aright among yourselves. And obey Allah and His Messenger if, indeed, you are believers. (Surat Al-Anfal, 8:1)
Fasting the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah is desirable (mustahabb).
Fasting is of the very best of all worship, though the Prophet, on him be peace, prohibited fasting the days of Eid. So one who chooses to fast may only do so in the first nine days of this month.
One of the wives of the Prophet, on him be peace, said:
Allah’s Messenger, on him be peace, used to fast nine days of Dhul Hijjah, the day of ‘Ashura,’ and three days of each month, the first Monday and two Thursdays.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
Charity is one of the best acts of worship one can offer, especially these days and in the sacred months. Therefore, giving sadaqah ranks high among the good deeds one should do these days.
Also, if you have not paid your obligatory yearly Zakat, these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are great days to set your Zakay payment cycle in.
You should perform a variety of good deeds during these days – especially giving charity, being good to others, and reciting the Quran.
But uttering the remembrances of Allah (dhikr) is particularly recommended in these days of Hajj, wherever we are, most particularly repeating: “Allahu akbar,” Allah is the Greatest.
Bukhari reported that the Companions Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with them, used to go out to the marketplace on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah saying “Allahu akbar” repeatedly, and the people would join them.
The Prophet, on him be peace, said:
The best supplication is the supplication of the Day of ‘Arafah. And the best that I, and the prophets before me, have said is “La ilaha illa Allah. Wahdahu la sharika lah. Lahu’l-Mulk wa-lahu’l-Hamd. Yuhyi wa yumit. Wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in qadir.”
(There is God but Allah. He is alone. There is no partner for Him. For Him is all dominion, and for Him is all praise. He gives life. And He gives death. And He is powerful over all things.)
It is also authentically reported that the Prophet, on him be peace, said:
Four words are dearest to Allah: Subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah), Alhamdulillah (All praise is for Allah), La ilaha illa’Llah (There is no God but Allah), and Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest).
Fasting the day of ‘Arafah – the ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah – is not obligatory but significant.
Every Muslim capable of fasting that day should reap its great benefit. The Prophet on him be peace, said:
Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah atones for the sins of two years, the one past and the one coming.” (Muslim)
Dhul Hijjah is the month of Eid Al-Adha, the Festival of the Ritual Sacrifice, which lasts four days. Therefore, on the tenth of Dhul Hijjah, the first day of Eid, all Muslims, old and young, women and men, should attend the Eid Prayer, and fasting on it is prohibited.
It is desirable (the Hanafis say obligatory) for Muslims to slaughter cattle on behalf of themselves and their families (the Hanafis say for each obliged individual). One should say at the moment of sacrifice, with the animal facing Makkah:
Bismillahi wa’Llahu Akbar. Allahumma hadha minka wa laka
(In the Name of Allah. Allah is the Greatest. O Allah! This is from You and for You).
Eat and give a third of this sacrifice to your family, another third distribute as gifts to friends and loved ones, and the last third to the hungry and those in need.
In these times of unprecedented hunger, poverty, and suffering among Muslims in the world today, it is a great deed to send a sacrifice also to your brothers and sisters in dire need through Zakat Foundation’s Qurbani/Udhiyah distribution program.
Following Eid Day are the three Days of Tashriq. The word ‘tashriq’ means to expose something to the sunlight for drying. These days bear this name because they were the days in which people exposed the butchered meat of their sacrifices to the sun after salting it to make beef, lamb, or camel jerky, to preserve it.
Fasting any of these three days (like the previous Day of Eid) is forbidden due to the statement of the Prophet, on him be peace:
The days of Tashriq are days of eating, drinking, and mentioning Allah.”
We learn at least four lessons from these ten best days:
There are many good works, but it is important not simply to do whatever is good in and of itself (we should do good). We should do the particular good that is appropriate for the time. So we exert ourselves in one way in Ramadan and another in Dhul Hijjah.
These ten days are a blessing and a motivation for initiating good doing. In this way, they prime us for how and what kind of good works to do throughout the year.
These days remind us that we have limited days on earth. The days of Dhul Hijjah come and go, as do the days of life. So we should use them in the highest and best possible way.
The ten days of Dhul Hijjah make way for those who feel we did not perform to the optimum level we had hoped for in Ramadan to make up for any shortcomings.
This also teaches us to always look to the future with hope and anticipation. So if you find that you have slacked off in your worship, charity, or other good deeds – or your practice and that your faith has slipped – instead of lamenting and letting the whisperer burden you with guilt and bad feeling, just intend with each new day to strive in some of these many ways of goodness that Allah has opened specially for you.
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