Halal living is a complete way of life. It encompasses everything we do, from the moment we wake until the time we go to bed, with the ultimate goal of pleasing our Creator. While Muslims strive to live a halal life on a daily basis, Allah, The Most Merciful, has chosen certain times of the year during which the rewards for good deeds are multiplied. The first ten days of Dhul Hijja, which are just around the corner, are one of those blessed seasons when good deeds are more beloved to Allah, and carry greater rewards, than the rest of year. This means that any good deed such as fasting, praying, giving charity, reading Quran, etc. is more beloved to Allah and carries a bigger reward than doing those very same deeds any other time throughout the year. Here are some virtues of the first ten days of Dhul Hijja, as well as ten things you can do to optimize halal living during these days.
VIRTUES OF THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF DHUL HIJJA
- These are the best days of the year. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him said, “The ten days (first ten days in Dhul Hijja) are the best days in the dunia (world).” (Ibn Hibban)
- Good deeds are more beloved to Allah during these ten days than the rest of the year. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him said, “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 Al-Adha.” (Al-Bukhari)
- The Almighty swore by these days. Allah says in Surat Al Fajr, “By the dawn; By the ten nights” [Al Fajr 89: 1-2]. Most scholars agree that those nights are referring to the first ten days of Dhul Hijja. While we are only allowed to swear by Allah, The Almighty can swear by any of His creatures. Allah only swears by that which is great, giving extreme significance to those ten days.
- These days include the day of Eid, the best day of the year. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him said, “The best day of the year is the day of slaughter (Nahr).” (Abu Dawud)
- They include the day of Arafah (9th day of the month). On this day, Allah forgives more people and protects them from hellfire than any other days in the year. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him also said, “Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah (ninth Dhul-Hijja) is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year.” (Muslim)
- Pilgrimage (Hajj), the fifth pillar of Islam, is carried out during these days. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “Verily there shall be no reward for a righteous pilgrimage except Jannah (paradise).” (Al-Bukhari)
- All acts of worship, including hajj, Umrah, prayer, fasting charity, dhikr as well as all other good deeds, can be performed during these ten days. This is the only time of the year when this is possible.
TEN THINGS TO DO TO OPTIMIZE HALAL LIVING DURING THESE TEN DAYS
- Go to Hajj: If you are already planning on going to hajj, congratulations and may Allah accept from you. If you need to make a last-minute decision, don’t hesitate to go. If you can’t make it this year, start planning for going next year or as soon as possible and make duaa that Allah allows you to perform such a wonderful act of worship.
- Fast as many days as you can: You can fast all 9 days, but we are not allowed to fast the day of Eid (10th day). If you can’t fast all 9 days, try to fast as many days as you can. If you can’t fast during those days, do your absolute best to fast the day of Arafah (9th day).
- Offer extra prayers: This is a great time to offer extra prayers, especially the night prayer, which is the best prayer that can be offered after mandatory prayers. If you are already offering extra prayers, try to offer more. If you are not, it is a great time to start getting into this habit and to do your best to continue after this season is over.
- Read more Quran: This is one of the best times to read more Quran. Try to increase your daily portion of Quran. If you haven’t been reading Quran on a regular basis, it is a great time to start.
- Offer an animal sacrifice (Qurbani): Another great deed you can do is offering a Qurbani during these 10 days. Allah doesn’t benefit from the meat or the blood of the animal. It is we who benefit from it by strengthening our faith and getting closer to Allah. It is the Sunnah to slaughter the animal yourself, eat from it, and offer it to neighbors, friends and the needy. If you are unable to do that, you can donate the money to one of the trusted organizations that can do that on your behalf. Islamic Relief Canada offers to send Qurabani to many countries throughout the world. You can visit their website at islamicreliefcanada.org to offer your Qurbani.
- Give extra charity (Sadaqah): Since your deeds are multiplied during these days, try to give as much as you can. Remember that any amount you give during these ten days will be multiplied many fold and can earn you a much greater reward than donating during any other time of the year. You should donate whatever you can whether it is one dollar or one thousand dollars. Just make sure you don’t miss out on giving back during these blessed days.
- Attend Eid prayer: Attending Eid prayer is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. It is also a great way to reconnect with family, friends and the rest of the Muslim community in your city. In the West, some Muslims only see each other once or twice a year during the Eid prayers.
- Increase your remembrance of Allah (Dhikr): The more you remember Allah, the more He remembers you. Nothing is more beloved to Him than good deeds during these ten days, and no deed is more beloved to Him than His remembrance. The more you remember Him, the greater the reward will be and the closer to Allah you will get.
- Offer your sincere repentance (Tawbah): The door to repentance is wide-open all year long. However, this is a special time of the year for all of us to pause, reflect on what we are doing in our lives, and renew our repentance once more.
- Make supplication (Duaa) to Allah: During such blessed times, raise your hands and make as much duaa to Allah as you can. Ask Him whatever you want of this world and the hereafter. We spend most of our time chasing things in life and we sometimes forget that everything is in Allah’s hands. This is a great opportunity to stop, think about what is most important to us and ask Allah.