Magnificent Opportunity: the First Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah; Layal Ashara

The sadness of separation that starts after the first half of Ramadan increases after the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) and it reaches the top with the last tarawih and fasting. The month of mercy and forgiveness is about to end, and the nights in which one thousand rewards are given for one good deed prepare to say farewell. Many believers who are sensitive towards spirituality shed tears and they even spend the eid with a heavy heart.

The fasting performed in the month of Shawwal soothes our sorrowful hearts to some extent. It looks as if we live the extension of Ramadan. The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah just before the eid al-adha is a kind of consolation prize for our sorrowful hearts that have been separated from the abundantly rewarding and virtuous worships of Ramadan. Those ten nights are a magnificent opportunity for our enthusiastic hearts that cry as “I wish Ramadan were a bit longer.” Or “I wish I had benefited from Ramadan properly.”

We do not know exactly what a magnificent treasure is the ten nights mentioned at the beginning of the Chapter al-Fajr in the Quran as: “By the ten nights …”. Although it is stated in some sources that those ten nights are the last ten days of Ramadan or the first ten days of Muharram, the generally accepted view is that those holy ten days are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. That is, the first nine days before the eid al-adha and the first day of the eid al-adha, totally ten days.

Dhul Hijjah is the month of general amnesty and forgiveness

Dhul Hijjah, which is the twelfth moth of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the month of general amnesty and forgiveness, in which the worship of hajj is fulfilled. The period of time of that holy month that we mentioned above is called layal ashara, that is, the ten holy nights. The tenth day is the first day of the eid al-adha.

The magnificent glad tidings of our beloved Prophet (pbuh) expressing the value of those days:

“There are no better days to worship Allah than the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. One day of fasting performed on those days is equal to the fasting of one year; the prayers performed on each night are equal to the Night of Power.” (Tirmidhi: Sawm, 52; Ibn Majah: Siyam, 39)

That is, one day of fasting performed on those days can be equal to the fasting of 360 days. The mercy and blessing of Allah increase so much that He gives the reward of one year for the fasting of one day. Is it possible to remain indifferent to such nice and delightful good news? The fact that those nights are resembled to the Night of Power is a different beauty because the Night of Power is better than one thousand nights and it is equal to the worship of 83 years.

Say subhanallah (glory be to Allah), alhamduliilah (praise be to Allah), la ilaha illallah (there is no god but Allah) and Allahuakbar (Allah is the greatest) a lot on those days.

Another encouraging sentence of our Prophet (pbuh):

“There are no deeds more valuable than those performed on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah at the sight of Allah. Say tasbih, tahmid, tahlil and takbir a lot on those days!” (Abd b. Humayd, Musnad, 1/257)

Tasbih means, subhanallah; tahmid means alhamdulillah; tahlil means la ilaha illallah; takbir means Allahuakbar. If we think that tasbih, tahmid, tahlil and takbir are the seeds of prayers, we can understand how virtuous it is to increase nafilah prayers on those days.

There is another narration supporting the hadith above: “There is no other day in which deeds are more virtuous and loftier and lovelier at the sight of Allah than the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah …” (Tirmidhi, Sawm: 52; Darimi, Sawm: 52)

The following narration of Ibn Abbas indicates that worshipping on those days are more virtuous than even jihad:

The Messenger of Allah stated the following:

“There are no other days in which good deeds are more lovable at the sight of Allah than the days we are in now (the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).”

The Companions asked:

“O Messenger of Allah , even more lovable than jihad for Allah?”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) replied:

“Yes, more lovable than jihad for Allah except someone who sets off for jihad himself with his goods and spends his goods and dies for Allah.” (Ibn Majah, Siyam: 39.Ibn Hajar, 5:119)

Accordingly, the deed of a person who sets off for jihad, spends all of his goods and is martyred is more virtuous than the deeds performed in those ten days.

The place of Arafa (the day before the eid) is different

Performing fasting, worshipping during the day and night of those days will bring up forgiveness and a lot of rewards.

The place of Arafa among those ten days is really different. Our Prophet (pbuh) stated the following about fasting on the day of Arafa:

“The fasting performed on the day of Arafa is atonement for the sins of a year in the past and next year.” (at-Targhib wa’t-Tarhib Trns, 2. 457)

Abdurrahman, the son of Abu Bakr, went to the presence of Hazrat Aisha. She was fasting. Somebody was sprinkling water on her because of the heat. Abdurrahman said to her, “Break your fast.”

Hazrat Aisha said, “Shall I break my fast though I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say, ‘fasting on the day of Arafa eliminates the sins of the year before it’?” (at-Targhib wa’t-Tarhib Trns, 2:458)

“Is atonement for” means it covers the sins, causes them to be forgiven. Can there be a better glad tiding than that one for us, the Muslims of the end of time who float almost in a sea of sins? It is an opportunity of being pardoned and forgiven!

In another narration, Hazrat Aisha says the following:

“Fasting on the day of Arafa is like fasting one thousand days.” (at-Targhib wa’t-Tarhib Trns, 2. 460)

That is, the reward of one day of fasting on the day of Arafa is equal to the reward of fasting for three years. 

Our Prophet describes the virtue of Arafa as follows:

“When the day of Arafa comes, Allah, the Exalted, distributes his mercy. On no other day are so many people freed from Hell. Allah meets the request of a person who wants something from Him regarding the world and the hereafter.”

Another hadith regarding the issue is as follows:

“There is no other day more virtuous than the day of Arafa. Allah, the Exalted, praises the people on the earth to the angels and says the following about the pilgrims (hajjis):

‘Look at my slaves. They have come to me their hair entangled and in a daggy state, and in dust from distant places. They expect my mercy and fear my torture. Be witnesses that I have pardoned them. I have allocated Paradise for them.’

The angels say:

‘There is someone among them who pretends to be like them. That woman is like that too.’

Allah, the Exalted, says:

‘I have pardoned them too.’

On no other day are so many people freed from Hell.”

We would like to remind something here. What is meant by the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah in the hadiths are the first nine days in terms of fasting because the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah is the first day of the eid al-adha and it is not permissible to perform fasting on that day; however, that day is a day of worshipping too. The night before the eid is included among the ten nights because nights are regarded to come before days.

The eight day of Dhul Hijjah is called “the day of tarwiya” and the ninth day is called “the day of Arafa”; the tenth day is called “the day of nahr: sacrifice” and the three days following it are called “the days of tashriq”.

Those who do not have any missed prayers should perform nafilah (supererogatory) prayers in addition to five daily prayers. Those who have missed prayers should perform their missed prayers. 

How should we benefit from those ten days?

First of all, we should never ignore five daily prayers, which are the indispensable worship in every time and place because no nafilah prayer can be equal to fard. We should try to perform prayers in congregation and perform them more carefully and in awe. If it is possible, we should fast and spend our time by reading the Quran, asking for forgiveness, reciting salawat, dhikr and supplications. Those who do not normally perform prayers like ishraq, awwabin and tahajjud should perform them on those days and try hard to attain forgiveness from Allah.

Aiming to attain the forgiveness and consent of Allah, we should spend those ten days as if they are the last ten days of Ramadan. Those who cannot do it should at least spend the day of Arafa and tarwiya by fasting and worshipping. Among the ten nights, it is especially important to worship on the nights of tarwiya, arafa and eid.

It is virtuous to read the Chapter of al-Ikhlas a thousand times on the day of Arafa because Arafa is the day when the oneness, magnificence and greatness of Allah are felt and declared. Therefore, it is wajib (obligatory) to recite takbirs of tashriq after each fard prayer beginning from the morning prayer on the day of Arafa to the afternoon prayer of the fourth day of the eid al-adha. It is also virtuous to recite those takbirs during those ten days when it is possible.

Millions of believers are in the holy places for hajj now; some are circumambulating the Kaaba, some are praying and wailing, some are shedding tears in Rawda al-Mutahhara (the Pure Garden), where the tomb of the Prophet is located in Madinah, some are performing sa’y by dhikr and supplications, some are performing prayers in front of Maqam Ibrahim , and some are begging for forgiveness at Multazam (the area between the door of the Kaaba and Hajar al-Aswad). All want forgiveness, pardon, consent success and guidance from Allah for themselves and for believers. All of them are in Arafat on the day of Arafa, reciting loudly “Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk” and taking refuge in the mercy of Allah through the prayers and supplications they perform.

We can attain a spiritual state by imagining that we are performing hajj and regarding ourselves together with hajjis and following them imaginarily. We should pray hoping that our supplications and prayers are included among the worship of the hajjis. 

We should not forget that it is necessary to make the best use of those days in terms of quantity and quality in order to attain the glad tidings stated in the hadiths. Thus, we can assume a completely different mood, experience the delight of the worship and insha’allah reach the eid al-adha by having been forgiven.

-“There are no deeds more valuable than those performed on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah at the sight of Allah. Say tasbih, tahmid, tahlil and takbir a lot on those days!” (Abd b. Humayd, Musnad, 1/257)

- Dhul Hijjah, which is the twelfth moth of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the month of general amnesty and forgiveness, in which the worship of hajj is fulfilled. The period of time of that holy month that we mentioned above is called layal ashara, that is, the ten holy month. The tenth day is the first day of the eid al-adha.

- We should never ignore the five daily prayers, which are the indispensable worship in every time and place because no nafilah prayer can be equal to fards. We should try to perform prayers in congregation and perform them more carefully and in awe. If it is possible, we should fast and spend our time by reading the Quran, asking for forgiveness, reciting salawat, dhikr and supplications. Those who do not normally perform prayers like ishraq, awwabin and tahajjud should perform them on those days and try hard to attain forgiveness from Allah.

Key points of Benefiting from the Ten Days

- Although many people know about the importance and value of those days, they cannot make a good plan of benefiting from those ten days due to the daily routine. They either forget about it and spend time carrying out worldly chores or benefit from it very little. Pay attention to these simple but effective suggestions:

- Put the 9 days before the eid al-adha and the first day of the eid, that is, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah on your agenda every year or make a note about it and put it somewhere that you see every day.  

Avoid any guests, travels or tiring work that will keep you busy during those ten days. Postpone those kinds of programs or do them before those ten days.

- Refrain from watching football matches, dramas, news, etc without making any discrimination that are not very important and that do not interest you every day; be very careful about them especially during those ten days.

- Take care of your health on those days so that you will not miss worshipping and dhikr. Do not arrange any operations or treatments on those days.

-If you are a housewife, retired or old, that is, someone who does not have to work regular hours, benefit from those ten days as much as you can as if you are in itikaf.

- If you have to work regular hours like a student, official, worker, etc, try to perform fasting and worshipping on your free days as much as possible.

- Try to benefit from the free time that occurs during your work at your workplace or school. We mean free time like breaks, waiting in line, etc. You can recite the Quran, salawat, prayers, dhikr, etc during then.

- Always have a small Quran or books of prayers with you. It will be useful for you even if you read a few pages when you are free.

- Even if you do not know how to read the Quran, you will get rewards if you read the chapters that you know by heart many times.

- Try to do with less sleep during those ten nights and have the things like tea, coffee that will keep you awake more.

- If you cannot fast the whole nine days, perform fasting any day you can even if it is Friday. Although it is makrooh to fast only on Friday, makrooh means the reward you will get will decrease; otherwise, you will not get any reward if you do not fast.

- Try to do the eid shopping and buying a sacrifice before those ten days in order to save time.

Reference: Moral Dünyası Magazine

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