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Lessons from Hajj and the First Ten Days of Thul-Hijjah

Wednesday 26/10/2011
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This article is not about the Islamic ruling on Hajj, its rationale, manners, conditions, description, prohibitions and fruits, although this information is vital for each and every Muslim, especially those who intend to perform Hajj so that they can perform this act of worship properly. It is also not about the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah and the Islamic rulings about them, although such information is fundamental for every Muslim.

This article addresses the Muslim’s inner dialogue with himself on such great occasions and how to seize them and make full use of them in order to fill his balance of good deeds with abundant rewards beyond words, beyond imagination.
 
First point of discussion:
The blessed days are approaching; the greatest days in the entire year. Allaah The Exalted Swore by these blessed days in the Quran. Indeed, and He only swears by a great matter. Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {By the dawn*And [by] ten nights…}[Quran 89:1-5]
According to the correct opinion of scholars, this verse refers to the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah.
This blessed spiritual season witnesses the performance of Hajj, the Day of ‘Arafah, Day of Nahr (the 10th day of Thul-Hijjah), which is the greatest day of the year, the Day of the Great Hajj, the Day of ‘Eed Al-Adh-ha, and slaughtering the Hady (sacrificial animal) and Udh-hiyah. Moreover, during these blessed days and the following Days of Tashreeq, the pilgrims savor the blessings of being in the best time and the holiest place in the world and spend the best of times. They perform all kinds of worship and righteous deeds with which they can come closer to their Lord, which is a privilege that is not granted to non-pilgrims.
It is recommended for Muslims to carry out righteous deeds whose virtues and rewards are equal to those of a man who participates in Jihaad, offering his money and life for the Cause of Allaah and does not return with any of these. Such a Mujaahid spends all his money and is granted martyrdom for the Cause of Allaah.
A significant question arises in this regard; should Muslims, males and females, not change their daily routines and lifestyles on these priceless, virtuous, blessed days?
 
Second point of discussion:
One of the features of change in the Muslim’s daily routine and lifestyle during these blessed days is becoming aware of the greatness and significance of Hajj, whether pilgrims or non-pilgrims. If Muslims ponder over Hajj, they would be amazed at the Greatness of Allaah The Exalted and the beauty of His Legislation. Allaah The Exalted, the only deity worthy of worship, created us and set the optimal and perfect legislation and Sharee‘ah (Islamic law) for us. He bestowed upon His slaves His mercy and exemption from Hellfire.
This feeling [of the greatness of Hajj] embodies the unity of the pilgrims as they collectively walk to Al-Masjid Al-Haraam, circumambulate the Ka‘bah, bow down and prostrate themselves before their Lord, perform Sa‘y, shave or shorten their hair, stand at ‘Arafaat, spend the night in Muzdalifah, throw the pebbles, and slaughter the Hady. All the pilgrims perform these rites communally; they offer them to one Lord and have the same aspiration, i.e. attaining the forgiveness of Allaah, exemption from Hellfire, and admittance to Paradise.
All the pilgrims perform the due rituals of Hajj together peacefully and safely, enjoying the commendable services offered to them. They race one another in doing righteous deeds in a great picture that is beautifully engraved in our hearts. Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of Ihraam], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj.} [Quran 2:197]
Moreover, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “Whoever performs Hajj to this House (Ka‘bah) and does not approach his wife for sexual relations nor commits sins (while performingHajj), he will come out as sinless as a newly-born child (just delivered by his mother).”
In this spiritually overwhelming experience, hearts are humbled, the eyes shed tears of remorse and the pilgrims are emotionally moved by the greatness of this spiritual experience. This urges pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike to turn to their Lord in repentance, with hearts that are full of remorse, hoping that they would be among the winners to whom Allaah The Exalted would Say on the night of ‘Arafah, “You are forgiven”.
 
Third point of discussion:
Another aspect of the change that occurs in the Muslims’ ways of life during these blessed days is reflected in their attitudes towards this spiritual season. They know the greatness, virtues, and merits of these blessed days; therefore, they make special plans for spiritual gains and acts of worship so as to do as many righteous deeds as possible and gain as many rewards as possible. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these days, i.e. the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah.” Some Companions asked, “Not even Jihaad?" The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), replied: "Not even Jihaad, except a man who goes out (for Jihaad) with his self and his wealth, then he does not return with any from that.”
Among the recommended righteous deeds on these blessed days is Thikr (words of remembrance of Allaah The Almighty):
The most important Thikr to be recited during this spiritual season is Takbeer, Tahleel, and Tahmeed. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “There are no days greater in the Sight of Allaah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Takbeer (saying Allaahu Akbar: Allaah Is The Greatest), Tahmeed (saying Al-Hamdulillaah: All praise is due to Allaah), and Tahleel (saying La ilaaha illa Allaah: There is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah) [on those days].”
Indeed, the best Thikr is the recitation of the Noble Quran and supplications during prayers or at any other time.
Another recommended righteous deed to be done during these blessed days is fasting, especially on the Day of ‘Arafah. It was narrated that fasting the Day of ‘Arafah expiates the sins of two years; the past and following years. Only the non-pilgrims fast the Day of ‘Arafah as the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), did not fast the Day of ‘Arafah during the Farewell Hajj.
In addition, there are other righteous deeds to be done on these blessed days such as dutifulness to one's parents, maintaining kinship ties, offering charity to the poor and the needy, kindness to relatives, good and kind treatment of others, teaching the ignorant people and guiding those who have gone astray and other good deeds.
One of the commendable good deeds that should be done during this great spiritual season is offering the Udh-hiyah (sacrifice) as it is an act of the Sunnah.
Muslims should organize their spiritual and worship plans on these days, chart out a schedule for  performing each act of worship and other good deeds and they would find plenty of time and abundant bounty which Allaah The Almighty bestows on them.
 
Last point of discussion:
It is recommended for Muslims on these blessed ten days to revive and renew their sincerity and devotion in offering their good deeds and acts of worship exclusively and sincerely to Allaah The Exalted. They should hope that their righteous deeds are accepted and turn to their Lord in repentance, relishing the fruits of these righteous deeds in themselves, their families, and community.

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