Importance of first 10 days of Zil Hajj
November 04, 2011
The Zil Hajj moon has been sighted in Pakistan and Inshallah Eidul Adha will be celebrated on Monday, November 7. This was announced by the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman after heading a meeting of the committee. Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman said the moon had been sighted in a number of cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Faisalabad.
Zil Hajj is the last month of the Islamic calendar. It means ‘the month of Hajj’. This name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of ‘Hajj’ is performed in this month in Makkah and the sacrifice to commemorate the willingness of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail (A.S) as an act of obedience to Allah Almighty, before He (Allah) intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead. Apart from these two great incidences, the first 10 days of the month of Zil Hajj are equally important for all Muslims.
The first 10 days of Zil Hajj are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar; they are full of virtues and great blessings. According to a large group of mufassireen (commentators of the Quran), the ten nights mentioned in Soorah Al Fajr are the nights of the first ten days of Zil Hajj. Allah says: “By the Dawn; By the ten Nights; (89:1-2)”
This oath substantiates the greatness and sacredness of these 10 nights in the eyes of Allah. This is an extraordinary oath; it is very reliable and significant and the wise men can understand that by this oath, Allah too attaches great importance and value to the 10 nights of Zil Hajj. Allah Almighty has specifically chosen these days for the fulfilment of two of the most important devotions, viz. Hajj and the sacrifice (qurbani).
The Prophet (PBUH) too has clearly mentioned the importance and the virtue of these blessed moments. Narrated Ibn Abbas (RA), the Prophet (PBUH) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhal Hajja).” Then some companions of the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad”, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.”(Bukhari 15: 86 & Tirmidhi)
In another Hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Prophet (PBUH), "On no days is the worship of Allah desired more than in the (first) ten days of Zul Hijjah. The fast of each of these days is equal to the fasting of a whole year, and the worship of each of these nights is equal to the worship of Laylatul Qadr." (Tirmidhi V1 pp 58)
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah—the Hajj—is performed in this month. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and it is religious duty that must be carried out at least once in a lifetime of every Muslim, male and female. However, it is obligatory only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to Allah.
The route of the pilgrimage.
Every year, nearly 2-3 million Muslims from all over the world gather in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj. On the first day of the Hajj, i.e. the 8th of Zil Hajj, pilgrims perform their first "Tawaf". This is the first time the pilgrims enter The Sacred Mosque of Makkah, circling the Ka’ba seven times, and run back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah and drink from the Zamzam Well.
On the 9th pilgrims leave for Mina; offer a whole day’s five prayers at Mina. Here they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of Hajj, namely the “Wuqoof of Arafat” (stay in Arafat). 9th ZulHajja is a very sacred day. When asked about fasting on the this day (Yaum e Arafah), Abu Qatadah (RA) is reported to have said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year” (Muslim 6: 2603, & Ibn Majah)
The next day the white-robed pilgrims begin their ascent of Mount Arafat at dawn, covering the Jabal Al Rahmah (Mountain of Mercy) at Arafat in an endless sea of white as their chant “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik, La Shareek Laka, Labbaik. Innal Hamdah, Wan Nematah, Laka wal Mulk, La Shareek Laka” ("Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners."). Hajj is considered invalid if they do not spend the afternoon on Arafat.
As soon as the sun sets, the pilgrims leave Arafat for Muzdalifah, spend the night sleeping on the ground with open sky, and in the morning they gather pebbles for the next day's Ramy al-Jamarat, stoning of the three Pillars of Satan to signify their defiance of the Devil after returning to Mina. After the Stoning of the Devil, an animal is sacrificed in commemoration of the willingness of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son Hazart Ismael (AS). Afterwards the pilgrims cut their hair and end the Ihram.
Narrated Al-Bara' bin 'Azib (RA): I heard the Prophet (SAW) say when he gave a sermon (on the day of Idal-Adha), "The first thing we will do on this day of ours is to offer the ('Id) prayer and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunna (tradition)”. (Reported by Bukhari)
On this or the following day the pilgrims re-visit Masjid al-Haram mosque in Makkah for another tawaf. The night of the 10th is spent back at Mina. On the afternoon of the 11th and again the following day the pilgrims must again throw seven pebbles at each of the three jamarat in Mina. Pilgrims must leave Mina for Makkah before sunset on the 12th. If they are unable to leave Mina before sunset, they must perform the stoning ritual again on the 13th before returning to Makkah to perform the Farwell circumambulation of the Kab’aba.
The day of the sacrifice is known as the Eidul Azha. Sacrifice has not been made obligatory by Allah; however, it has the status of being Obligatory Sunnah ( Sunnat e Wjiba). Through this act, the pleasure of Allah is obtained and also results in atonement of sins.
Sacrifice has been commanded to the people in all the revealed laws (Shariat) since the time of Prophet Adam (AS) to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Allah mentioned this sunnah in beautiful words in Surah Safaat:
“My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.”
So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Inshâ’ Allah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc).
Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering);
And We called out to him: “O Abraham!
You have fulfilled the dream” Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinûn (good-doers). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial
And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram)
And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times. Salâmun (peace) be upon Ibrâhim!” (37:100-109)
Sacrifice symbolises full obedience and total submission to Allah. Hazrat Ibrahim’s (AS) obedience, loyalty and sacrifice greatly earned him the pleasure of Allah and He declared him as a Mohsin and Khalil Allah (Friend of Allah) and his name and his sacrifice are remembered till this day. Muslims send their blessings on Ibrahim (AS) along with Muhammad (SAW) five times a day. Allah expects the same obedience and sacrifice from His slaves. Thus the sunnah of sacrifice offered every year is actually the expression of a salve’s love for his Creator
While sacrificing, if this state and if these feelings of love and total obedience to Allah are not there, then merely shedding the blood of animals and distributing meat are all activities without any spirit. Allah does not need the blood of animals nor their meat. All that He requires from His slaves is the Taqwa, obedience and the feelings of self sacrifice for their Lord.
Now the Question arises what should be done on these sacred 10 nights? There are many forms of ibadah. Any good deed done for the sake of Allah is accepted. Specific actions done in these days according to sunnah is fasting and verbal zikar. The Prophet (PBUH) used to fast on this day (al Nisai and Abu Dawud).
The verbal remembrance of Allah is another meritorious act during these first 10 days of Zil Hajj. Muslims should recite a lot of Tasbeeh ("Subhan-Allaah"), Tahmeed ("Al-hamdu Lillaah") and Takbeer ("Allahu akbar") during this time. The Takbeer may include the words "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu Akbar wa Lillahi’l-Hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)," as well as other phrases.
Generally, all good deeds are rewarded highly at this blessed time. These actions include praying, reading Quran, making Dua (supplication), giving in charity and being good to our families.