“The last time I remember feeling extremely close to God was in Ramadan.”
Not only is this a common statement uttered by the vast majority of us, but it also evokes an understanding of how common acts of worship are usually forgotten about upon the completion of Ramadan. Reciting the Qur’an, standing in prayer the entire night, fasting during the day, seeking Laylatul Qadr and rejoicing on the day of Eid; all these moments and acts come together to provide us with an unmatched and heightened spiritual experience!
Many of us despair and reminisce over the quality moments we spent trying our best to please God, forgetting that a couple of months later, another big moment is arriving.
The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which is replete with significance and virtues, once again allows us to maximise our chances of benefitting spiritually by increasing our prayers, noble deeds, charity and daily dhikr. What’s more, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have been identified and highlighted by Allah and the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. In fact. Allah has preferred the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah over all the other days as the Prophet PBUH mentions, “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).” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
For us to revive our love and significance for the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, it’s wise to identify the key factors which make these days special. Ten days is not a lot of time and not as lengthy as Ramadan, but with the right mindset, a solid plan and sincere intentions, we can transform ourselves, revive our hearts and witness the blessings of Allah in these powerful days.
What Makes The First Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah So Special?
Fasting is not only reserved for Ramadan. Dhul-Hijjah comes with its own version of fasting which promises great rewards. While it’s common to fast on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, also known as the Day of Arafah, it’s also Sunnah (and highly recommended!) to fast the first 8 days. The Prophet PBUH said: “There are no days more beloved to Allah that He be worshipped in them than the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, fasting every day of them is the equivalent of fasting a year, and standing every night of them (in prayer) is the equivalent of standing on the Night of Qadr.” [Jami’ al-Tirmidhi]dhikr
Dhikr during the first ten days is unlike dhikr on any other day throughout the year. It’s for this reason that the Prophet PBUH mentioned, “During [the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah] recite a great deal of tahlil, takbir, and tahmid.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Reciting La ilaha illa Allah, Allahu akbar and Alhamdulillah should be at the centre of our days during the first ten days of Hajj. For those performing the pilgrimage, this will come naturally as it is chanted across the sea of pilgrims. However, for those of us at home, we should make it a point to remind ourselves often.
The 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, also known as the Day of Arafah, is almost synonymous with the concept of reflection. On this day, pilgrims spend the entire day on the plains of Arafah engaged in reflection, deep thought and prayers. For those of us at home, the Day of Arafah should be spent in the state of fasting and in sincere reflection with the hope and intention of reaching our spiritual goals. As it’s a day before Eid, we should try ending the last few peak moments of these precious days in a way that is pleasing to Allah.
Perfect Chance To Increase Good Acts
With the rewards of these days increased manifold, it’s the ideal opportunity to increase all our good acts. Whether that’s giving in charity, helping out in the community, relieving a family member’s burden, being grateful, praying at night, reciting the Qur’an, or maintaining ties with family. For those of us who are not pilgrims, these acts can be a great way to reap the rewards whilst we’re at home!
The day of Eid acts as a culmination of all the good we did throughout the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah! Not only is it a moment to celebrate with prayers, food and spending time with family and friends, but Eid is also the perfect day to be grateful for all the rewards you amassed during the previous nine days!