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It’s that time of the year again, when many Muslims are preparing to visit the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, for their once-in-a-lifetime Hajj journey. But for those of us who are unable to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, the month of Dhul Hijjah is a beautiful time to re-energise our worship.
‘There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.’ (Bukhari)
So, if you’re missing the ‘spiritual high’ of Ramadan, now is the time to get some of it back by making the most of these blessed, first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. This month is a celebration of our faith in Allah (SWT), reminding us that no matter how hard the times, our Maker (SWT) always has a plan for us. It’s also an opportunity for us to perform lots of good deeds that will be generously rewarded. Here are 10 tips for the first 10 days:
One significant blessing of this month is the sacrifice of cattle in the name of Allah (SWT). The word “Qurbani” means “to draw near” in Arabic – through animal sacrifice, we seek to draw closer to Allah (SWT) by reaffirming our faith in Him.
‘The Prophet (SAW) used to sacrifice two rams, and I also sacrifice two rams.’ (Bukhari)
This year, give the best that you can afford by choosing both quantity and quality. Why not follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and sacrifice an extra animal on behalf of those who can’t afford to perform Qurbani?
Book your Qurbani now
2. Reconnect with the Quran
There is no greater gift than reading the word of Allah (SWT).
‘The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Quran will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Quran and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward.’ (Bukhari)
This Dhul Hijjah is a great opportunity to take more time to connect with the Holy Quran. Recite more and read the Tafsir (commentary) to really deepen your understanding and appreciation.
Fasting is a way of purification. It is Sunnah to fast during the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, especially on the Day of Arafah. It’s reported that our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) made fasting on this day a lifelong practice.
‘Fasting the day of Arafah expiates the sins of two years: the past one and the coming one.’ (Muslim)
4. Recite Lots of Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, Tahleel and Takbeer
This month is a chance for us to glorify the name of Allah (SWT) at any place and at any time. You don’t have to sit down to do Dhikr, especially if you don’t have the time. You can do Dhikr while commuting to work, doing some grocery shopping or even while cleaning the house – basically, as you go about your daily chores.
‘That they may witness things that are of benefit to them [reward of Hajj in the Hereafter and also some worldly gain from trade] and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them [for sacrifice].’ (Holy Quran 22:28)
5. Seek forgiveness
We’ve all made mistakes. But Allah (SWT) reminds us over and over of how forgiving He is and how He loves to forgive. So, let’s seek forgiveness at this blessed time, and hope to draw nearer to Allah (SWT) than we were to Him even before the mistakes we made.
‘Anas ibn Malik (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.”’ (Hadith Qudsi)
6. Up your Sadaqah game
These first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the best opportunity for Sadaqah and we can expect multiplied rewards for our good deeds. This year, with so many of the world’s poorest facing crisis, our acts of kindness are more necessary than ever.
‘There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days. The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause [of Allah], and came back with nothing.”’ (Bukhari)
7. Forgo your Nafs (Ego)
Have you fallen back into those negative, counterproductive habits after Ramadan? Now is the time to have another go at stomping them out.
Reconnect with the story that inspired Qurbani. At the heart of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) sacrifice is a devotion and willingness to forgo the Nafs (ego) and its desires for our Number One – Allah (SWT). Trust that Allah (SWT) is helping us overcome any shortcomings and showing us the way to our best selves.
8. Honour the Day of Arafah
The 9th day of Dhul Hijjah is the most important day of this blessed month. Muslims are encouraged to fast, say prayers and give Sadaqah on this day when we are promised more rewards for good actions than any other day.
Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘There is no day on which Allah (SWT) frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of Arafah.’ (Muslim)
Do you want millions of your sins to be forgiven? Make sure you don’t miss out on making the most of this blessed day.
9. Renew your Taqwa (God-consciousness)
We’ve all tried to maintain our high levels of Taqwa (God-consciousness) after Ramadan. But daily life and its stresses often get in the way and affect our focus. Have you been affected by recent events around the world? We hear you.
It is reported that our Prophet (PBUH) pointed to his heart and said: “Taqwa is here!” (Muslim)
Remember that to reconnect, all you need to do is turn inwards. Allah (SWT) is the only one we can turn to in times of difficulty. And this is the perfect time to consolidate our relationship with Him and revitalise our Taqwa.
10. Share with your loved ones
It’s important to learn and better ourselves in the way of Allah (SWT). But sharing is caring, and it’s vital that we share our knowledge and experiences with others to inspire and encourage them as well.
‘Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward.’ (Muslim)
Why not start by sharing this blog? Afterwards, get the family together to read the story of Ibrahim (AS). Remind yourself, your children and all your loved ones about the positive lessons of this blessed month. Offer them consolation and encouragement that will help them make reconnect with Allah (SWT).
Have you booked your Qurbani? Book your Qurbani with Aryana Aid to feed some of the poorest people in the world.