When Ramadhan departed, we began Shawwal determined to keep a tight hold on our spirituality. We were on a high, as our days were filled with fasting, remembrance and charity. We strengthened our relationship with our Creator and focused on pleasing Him solely. But, as weeks passed, we began to slip back into our old habits. Although many of us tried to keep on top of our good deeds, we may have felt unable to feel as connected as we did during Ramadhan.
However, all hope is not lost. Allah (swt) had made some months and periods of time, better than others, to boost our motivation and Iman. We can dust off those Ramadan blues, as we have been offered another opportunity: the days of Dhul Hijjah.
Dhul Hijjah is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar, its name referring to ‘the Month of the Pilgrimage.’ We usually realise Dhul Hijjah is approaching when we hear of people setting off to perform Hajj. This year, however, things are very different. Due to the pandemic, Muslims from around the world cannot travel to perform the pilgrimage. But the blessings of Dhul Hijjah are not reserved only for those who perform Hajj. Whatever restrictions may be imposed, we are still able to reap the virtue of these blessed 10 days, from the comfort and safety of our own homes.
“There is no day wherein any good action is more beloved to Allah than these ten days… not even Striving in the path of Allah, with the exception of that person who left with his life and wealth and did not return with any of it (i.e. he is martyred).” (Bukhari)
Unlike the last 10 days of Ramadhan, where we exert ourselves to maximize our rewards, sadly we do not find the same fervor for Dhul Hijjah. We often neglect this time and fail to recognise that these days are in fact more virtuous than the last days of Ramadhan.
“These ten days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadhan.” (Ibn Kathir)
In the lead up to a special event or memorable occasion, we make sure all finer details are sorted to guarantee its smooth running. We go to great lengths to plan and prepare for matters of the dunya, so surely we should put the same, if not more, effort into matters of the akhirah?
To make sure that you fully capitalise on these blessed 10 days, we’ve prepared 10 ways to make this your best Dhul Hijjah – easy deeds that you can perform to truly make it the best days of the year. We have also prepared a 10 Days of Good Deeds Checklist to help keep you on track. You can download it here.
1. Fast the 9 days
The Prophet (saw) would fast the first nine days of the month so it’s highly recommended to do so, but if you’re unable to, try your best to at least fast on the ninth day (also known as the Day of Arafah). Fasting on the Day of Arafah is the key to Allah (swt) forgiving your sins for two whole years, as the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told us: “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” (Muslim)
2. Increase in Charity
Due to the pandemic, many of us are facing financial instability. With the loss of jobs, and with people being furloughed, many of us fear the uncertainty we face. We may not give as much charity we were accustomed to, as we are worried we do not have enough. The reality is giving in charity will not decrease your wealth.
“Charity does not decrease wealth.” (Muslim)
In fact, it increases it, repels calamity and cures sickness, as the Prophet (saw) told us in various narrations. In a time where we are drowning in anxiety, due to an uncertain future, it is the perfect time in fact to give in charity. And if you need an even greater incentive, then we have the added virtue of the blessed 10 days!
At this time, we’re reminded of the story of Sayyidina Hajar, our mother, whose struggle is commemorated in the Sa’ee performed during hajj, but also of the Hajars in our midst today: the single mothers HHUGS support suffering silently, unable to feed their children, crippling under the pressure, uncertainty and instability that hangs over them daily.
HHUGS has a range of ways in which you can support these sisters Dhul Hijjah. By giving to these families in these 10 days, you are pleasing your Creator, banking the reward for your hereafter, and changing the dynamic of these households. And as we lead our busy lives, we often miss out on opportunities that are beneficial to us. But we’ve made it that bit easier for you, by allowing you to schedule your donations. Sign up for automated giving so you don’t miss out on a single reward.
3. Offer Qurbani
During these blessed 10 days, there is nothing more beloved to Allah than the act of Qurbani.
“There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbani than the sacrificing of animals.” (Tirmidhi)
During this blessed 10 days, make the greater sacrifice by performing your Qurbani with HHUGS. It means offering the biggest animals, the best quality, raised in the best conditions for those nearest in need.
“If there are poor people in one’s own country, then it is better to give it to them so as to meet their needs…it is preferable to slaughter it in the country where you are.” (Ibn Jibrin)
Many of us perform our Qurbani abroad, as it is the cheaper option, content that we have made our sacrifice. However, we should aim to give the very best even if it is more expensive. We are giving for His sake so should we not give the best we can to please Him?
“The finest Qurbani is that which is expensive in price, and very fat.” (Ahmad)
4. Sacrifice what you love
The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are about Muslims following in the footsteps of Ibrahim (AS) and sacrificing that which we love for Allah (SWT). This Dhul Hijjah why not sacrifice your guilty pleasures so that a family in need can have access to basic necessities?
You can do this by signing up to the Give It Up For HHUGS challenge sacrificing something you love during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. Whether it’s caffeine, sugar, junk food or maybe even social media, you can raise funds as you’re sponsored to tackle your nafs whilst relieving a HHUGS family this Eid ul Adha.
Or if you prefer to keep things simple, sign up to our Race to Jannah Campaign. You can help change lives from the comfort and safety of your own home. You can raise this in no time, by asking 10 friends for £10. Whichever challenge you prefer, we make the page, you promote it, and sit back and witness the generosity of this ummah at its best. It’s as simple as that.
5. Increase in Dhikr
Remembrance of Allah should be part of our daily routine, keeping our tongues moist with Dhikr as it draws us closer to Him, Now is the time to start getting into a routine with your morning and evening adhkar if you haven’t been able to, and incorporating into our daily activities such as eating, sleeping and drinking. Dhikr protects us in our daily lives, erases sin and repels punishment. When. you do dhikr, you are filled with inner solace and peace.
“Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah, hearts find rest.” (Qur’an13:28)
The days of Dhul Hijjah are marked particularly for reciting Takbeer at-Tashreeq. This Takbeer should be recited after every obligatory prayer from the Fajr of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah until the Asr of the 13th of Dhul Hijjah. Men should recite it aloud, whilst women should recite it silently. The Takbir is:
Arabic: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahil Hamd.”
Translation: “Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest and all praises are for Allah only. “
6. Recite and reflect over the Quran
Reciting Quran is the shortest route for you to draw closer to Allah. The Sahaba saw attachment to the Qur’an as an indication of one’s religious commitment.
Ibn Masood said “None of you needs to ask himself [about anything] except for the Qur’an: If he loves the Qur’an, he loves Allah, and if he detests the Qur’an, he detests Allah and His Messenger.”
And Uthman Ibn Affan said: “If our hearts were really clean, we would never become satiated with the words of Allah.”
The Prophet (saw) informed us that our recitation will be an intercessor for us on the Day of Judgement(Muslim) and that our position in Paradise will be determined by the number of verses we’ve recited (Abu Dawud). We are literally rewarded for every letter we recite!
“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that ‘Alif, Lam, Meem’ (a combination of letters frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran) is a letter, rather I am saying that ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Lam’ is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi]
As we set ourselves targets to complete the Quran in Ramadhan, we should similarly set ourselves a target for these 10 days. Whether it’s a few ayat, a page a day, or a juz a day, try to create a schedule and set aside some private time for you to connect with His Word. Whatever we read, we should also take time to understand its meaning and reflect over it so have your favourite translation and tafsir book to hand.
7. Increase in supplication
Du’a is a manifestation of our need for Allah in all our affairs, our means of conversing with Him. We ask Allah for everything we want in our life, no matter how big or small. When we may feel alone in this world, we know He is always listening and ready to respond. Allah says:
“When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” (Quran, 2:18).
It’s important to use these days to increase in asking Him for goodness in this life and the next, for mercy and for forgiveness. Many of us will be fasting, making it an accepted time for our supplications, especially at the time of Iftar. We should make the most of these moments in which our du’as are accepted, such as during the last third of the night, the final hour on Friday and the hour on Wednesday:
Jabir (ra) said, “There wasn’t anything that was crucially important for me to have solved, except I called on Allah during that hour of the day between Dhuhr and Asr knowing He would answer.” (Adab al Mufrad)
We should make extra effort too to ask for forgiveness during these 10 days, even moreso on the day of Arafah. To get you started, follow us on Facebook for a great series of reminders live daily at 8pm for the 10 days on our Facebook page, with Ustadh Hisham Ja’far, covering 10 of the supplications of Ibrahim (as)!
8. Seek knowledge
One of the ways we can make the most of these days is to increase in the time we spend seeking knowledge. Only those who know Allah, can love Him and fear Him. Only those who know what He has prepared as a reward and as a punishment, will find the determination to follow His commands and abstain from His prohibitions. Only those who understand the details of those obligations and prohibitions will be able to correctly perform them. For this reason, the Prophet (saw) said:
“Whoever follows a path in pursuit of knowledge, Allah makes his way easy to paradise.” (Bukhari)
In our time, there’s no excuse with a plethora of books to purchase, online courses, and YouTube lectures to choose from at the swipe of our fingertips. As it is Dhul Hijjah, we can also make an effort to educate ourselves on Hajj, and the history behind it. Learning and understand the history of past Prophets and Sahaba allows us to truly appreciate the sacrifices they made for Islam. We can draw lessons from Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) sacrifice and apply that in our own lives. To fully appreciate the legacy of sacrifice made by Hajar and Ibrahim (as), and learn from their certainty and reliance on God, join us for our exclusive online Webinar: In the footsteps of Hajar and Ibrahim on July 26th!
9. Make changes
Many of us want to connect to our faith on a deeper level, however we often delay it. Sadly, we have no guarantee that of our next breath, let alone days or weeks ahead. These ten days therefore are the perfect time to reflect and start making those life changes. It’s the ideal time to start shedding those bad habits. We might be prevented from performing our sacrifice in Makkah, but we can still slaughter our desires here.
“Whoever was unable to slaughter his sacrificial offering at Mina; then let him slaughter his desire right here – and indeed he would have attained the endurance of adversity.” (Ibn Rajab)
As much as Dhul Hijjah is about increasing the good that you do, it’s also about leaving the sins you’ve grown accustomed to.
“So do not wrong yourselves therein [in Dhul Hijjah].” (Qur’an 9:36)
We should refrain from anything displeasing to Allah (swt) during these blessed 10 days. Any sins committed in the sacred months are magnified. Thankfully, the same goes for good deeds too. For every sin that you leave, try to replace it with something that pleases Allah (SWT) as He promises to wipe the sins out with your good deeds. As well as gaining the reward of abandoning sin, you’ll also gain the reward of doing good.
10. Increase in good deeds
During these first ten days, we should aim to do as many good deeds as possible. All the actions which you may disregard as minor, will be heavy on your scales in the hereafter, so do not overlook them. This could be as simple as smiling at your neighbour, honouring your parents, or helping a stranger out. It could be focusing on improving our character or our internal actions of our heart, like gratitude, forgiveness, and contentment.
We should also aim to increase in our Ibadah, by day and by night:
“When the first ten days would start, Ibn Jubayr would say: “Do not turn off your lights during the nights of the first ten days [of Dhu’l-Hijjah].” (Al-Lataaif)
We need to begin by making those first crucial steps to incorporating more good deeds into our daily routine. You might start by praying two rakah of the Night Prayer (Qiyam) or the Sunnah prayer for Fajr, before gradually moving on to the other ten voluntary rakat, for which the believer is promised a house in Paradise.
There is great value in small but consistent deeds.
“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” (Ibn Majah)
Why not begin this good habit by becoming a regular volunteer for HHUGS? You can bring happiness to a believe and relieve their distress, by volunteering your time to help a HHUGS family. Begin your volunteering journey today!
To start making these changes, download your 10 Days of Good Deeds Checklist today!