By Syed Amir Hussain (5th Year ʿĀlim Student, DarusSalam Seminary)
Islām’s calendar consists of twelve lunar months. Today, we welcome the month of Dhū al-Ḥijjah. This month is special for many reasons. Annually, people from all over the world gather in Makkah for the pilgrimage. And this happens during the first part of Dhū al-Ḥijjah. This is a major event where man submits before his Lord in worship. And while the pilgrimage’s rites and virtues are many, they are not the focus of this writing. Herein, I intend to present some of the Qurʾān’s verses and the Prophet’s narrations that are specific to the month of Dhū al-Ḥijjah and its virtues.
This is not to say that there is no correlation between the pilgrimage and the virtues of Dhū al-Ḥijjah. In fact, these being the days during which the pilgrimage takes place is significant and related to its virtue and the blessed nature of this specific time. The first ten days of Dhū al-Ḥijjah are so virtuous that many scholars, including Ibn ʿAbbās, said that these are the nights referred to in the second verse of Sūrat al-Fajr. Allāh says:
“And by the ten nights.”
Customarily, in the Arabic language, when one wants to express the importance of something, he may do so by taking an oath by it. The virtue and importance of these days is further emphasized through the indefinite usage. Through the oath and the indefinite, Allāh is telling us how important and virtuous these days are. This time in which the pilgrimage is performed is replete with many blessings that Allāh benevolently placed in them through His infinitely divine wisdom. Like how the place where the pilgrimage is performed is blessed, the time in which it is performed is also blessed.
Allāh’s Messenger (peace be upon him) informed us regarding these days’ great virtue. Ibn ʿAbbās related that he said:
مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أَفْضَلُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ أَيَّامِ عَشْرِ ذِي الْحِجَّةِ
“There are no days that are better according to Allāh than the ten days of Dhū al-Ḥijjah.”
Considering the virtue of these days, when one lives through them, he should do his utmost to perform good deeds. What this means is that one should strive to recite more Qurʾān, to offer more supererogatory prayers, and to increase in all that is pleasing to Allāh. Keeping one’s tongue engaged in Allāh’s remembrance is important. One should turn his heart to his Creator while remembering Him profusely. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللهِ وَلَا أَحَبُّ إِلَيْهِ الْعَمَلُ فِيهِنَّ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْأَيَّامِ الْعَشْرِ فَأَكْثِرُوا فِيهِنَّ مِنَ التَّهْلِيلِ وَالتَّكْبِيرِ وَالتَّحْمِيدِ
“There are no days greater according to Allāh nor more beloved to Him than these ten days. One should perform good deeds during these days. Be frequent in Allāh’s remembrance with tahlīl, takbīr, and taḥmīd.”
One of these days is the Day of ʿArafah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said regarding it:
مَا رُئِيَ الشَّيْطَانُ يَوْمًا هُوَ فِيهِ أَصْغَرُ وَلَا أَدْحَرُ وَلَا أَحْقَرُ وَلَا أَغْيَظُ مِنْهُ فِي يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَمَا ذَاكَ إِلَّا لِمَا رَأَى مِنْ تَنَزُّلِ الرَّحْمَةِ وَتَجَاوُزِ اللَّهِ عَنِ الذُّنُوبِ الْعِظَامِ إِلَّا مَا أُرِيَ يَوْمَ بَدْرٍ
“The Devil does not witness any day in which he is more insignificant, vanquished, disdained, and infuriated than the Day of ʿArafah. The reason for that is what he sees from the of mercy and Allāh’s pardoning of grave sins. The only exception to this is what the Devil saw on the Day of Badr.”
This is a special day because it is a day in which one’s prayers are readily accepted. One should spend the day making as much duāʾ as is possible. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
أَفْضَلُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَأَفْضَلُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ
“The best prayer is the prayer on the Day of ʿArafah. And the best of what I and the Prophets before me said is: ‘There is no god except for Allāh, He is One and has no partner.’”
As well, it has been related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would repeat the following supplication on the Day of ʿArafah:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ بِيَدِهِ الْخَيْرُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“There is no god except for Allāh, He is One and has no partner. He has all sovereignty and to Him is all praise. He is the giver of goodness. And He is capable over everything.”
Fasting on this day has a virtue associated with it too. Our beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) was asked regarding fasting on the Day of ʿArafah to which he replied:
يُكَفِّرُ السَّنَةَ الْمَاضِيَةَ وَالْبَاقِيَةَ
“It expiates the sins of the previous and the coming year.”
The last of the ten days is ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. During the previous days, Allāh has been worshiped, glorified, and praised. And on this day, we slaughter as He commanded us to. Then, we eat from it while also giving portions away to the poor in charity. One will firstly pray and then proceed to the place where he will perform the sacrifice. Allāh is worshiped in prayer and then He is worshiped through the sacrifice. This is a day of immense virtue. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
إِنَّ أَعْظَمَ الْأَيَّامِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى يَوْمُ النَّحْرِ ثُمَّ يَوْمُ الْقَرِّ
“The greatest day according to Allāh is the day of sacrifice and then the day of rest that comes after.”
The prayer and sacrifice are mentioned in the Qurʾān. Allāh says:
فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ
“Pray to your Lord and slaughter.”
As well, Allāh says:
لَنْ يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِنْ يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنْكُمْ
“It is neither the meat nor blood that reaches Allāh. Rather, it is your piety that reaches Him.”
During the Jāhilīyah, the people would splatter the Kaʿbah with the blood of their sacrifices. Then, after Islām came, the Muslims felt that they are more entitled to do this than the pagans. However, Allāh did not want this practice to continue so He revealed this verse. He is informing the believers that what He accepts is our devotions done while worshipping Him. His pleasure is earned not through the physical substance of meat nor the blood that is spilled. Rather, those who slaughter earn His divine pleasure through their sincerity when conscious that they are dutifully performing this ritual for Him.
There are many reasons why the month of Dhū al-Ḥijjah is important. These are just a few of them. Muslims should try to increase in their good deeds and abstain from sin during these ten days. Hastening to good and avoiding sin is something we should inculcate in ourselves throughout the rest of the year too. We must strive to purify our hearts and to make our deeds sincerely for Allāh’s sake while submitting to Him in worship during these days.
 Q, 89:2.
 Taʾwīlāt Ahl al-Sunnah, 10:515.
 Tafsīr al-Rāzī, 31:149.
 Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, 2:969.
 Musnad Aḥmad, 10:296.
 Muwaṭṭaʾ, 422.
 Musnad Aḥmad, 11:538.
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 2:819.
 Sunan Abī Dāwūd, 2:148.
 Q, 108:2.
 Q, 22:37.
 Tafsīr Ibn Juzayy, 2:40; Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr, 5:378; Tafsīr al-Nasafī, 2:442.