Ibn 'Abbas says about the Aayah, "Remember Allaah during the well known days," that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. [This is related by al-Bukhari]
Allaah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "By the dawn; by the 10 nights" [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: "This is the correct opinion." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413]
Praise be to Allaah Who has created Time and has made some times better than others, some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, prepare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the Day of Judgement.
This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct ones faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that one might have missed. Every one of these special occasions involves some kind of worship through which the slaves may draw closer to Allaah, and some kind of blessing though which Allaah bestows His favour and mercy upon whomsoever He will. The happy person is the one who makes the most of these special months, days and hours and draws nearer to his Lord during these times through acts of worship; he will most likely be touched by the blessing of Allaah and will feel the joy of knowing that he is safe from the flames of Hell. [Ibn Rajab, al-Lataaif, p.8]
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days [meaning the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah]." The companions asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, not even jihad in the way of Allaah?" He said, "Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger [for Allaah's sake] and returns with neither of them." [This is related by the group except Muslim and an-Nasa'i]
Ahmad and at-Tabarani record from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "There is no day more honorable in Allaah's sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allaah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah : Laa ilaaha illallaah), takbir (Allaah is the greatest : Allaahu Akbar) and tahmid (All praise is due to Allaah : alhumdulillaah) a lot [on those days]." [Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated it is saheeh]
Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "There are no days more loved to Allaah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr]." [This is related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi]
Ibn 'Umar narrated that at Mina, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Do you know what is the day today?" The people replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know it better." He said, "It is the forbidden (sacred) day. And do you know what town is this?" They replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know it better." He said, "This is the forbidden (sacred) town (Mecca). And do you know which month is this?" The people replied, "Allaah and His Apostle know it better." He said, "This is the forbidden (sacred) month." The Messenger added, "No doubt, Allaah made your blood, your properties, and your honour sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours in this month of yours in this town of yours."
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: On the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijja), the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) stood in between the Jamrat during his Hajj which he performed (as in the previous Hadith) and said, "This is the greatest Day (i.e. 10th of Dhul-Hijjah)." The Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) started saying repeatedly, "O Allaah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message)." He then bade the people farewell. The people said, "(This is Hajjat-al-Wada)." [Bukhari 2.798]
The Types of Deeds in These Ten Days:
First: The performance of Haj and Umrah, and these are the best of deeds that may be done. And what indicates their superiority are a number of Ahaadith, one of which is the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Performance of Umrah is an expiation of the sins committed between it and the previous Umrah, and the reward of the Haj which is accepted by Allah, the Most High, is nothing but Paradise. (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
Second: Fasting during these days - as many of them as may be easy (for one to fast); especially the Day of Arafah. There is no doubt that the act of fasting is one of the best deeds, and it is from what Allah, the Most High, has chosen for himself, as in the Hadith Qudsee: Fasting is for Me, and it is I who give reward for it. Verily, someone gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for My sake..." (Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, Maalik, at-Tirmidhee, Nasaa'ee and Ibn Maajah)
Also, from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree who said that the Messenger of Allah said: No servant (of Allah, the Most High) fasts one day in the Path of Allah, except that Allah, the Most High, removes his face from the Fire because of it (the distance of travelling) seventy years. (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
From Abu Qatadah that the Prophet said: Fasting the Day of Arafah will be credited with Allah by forgiving one's sins of the previous year and the following year. (Muslim)
Third: At-Takbeer ( Saying Allah Akbar) and adh-Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah through different words of praise and glorification) in these (ten) days, Allah said "And mention the name of Allah on the appointed days"(12:28).
This has been explained (by some) to mean the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah), and the scholars consider it desirable to increase adh-Dhikr in these days, based upon the hadith of Ibn Umar narrated by Ahmad, which contains the words:
... so increase in these days the Tahleel and Takbeer and Tahmeed...
It is reported about Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah that: the two of them used to go out to the market place during the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) saying: Allahu Akbar, causing the people also to say it. (Al-Bukhaaree)
Ishaaq narrates from the scholars of the Taabi'een that in these ten days they used to say:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Laa Ilaaha illa 'llah Wa 'llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Wa li'llahi al-hamd.
It is a beloved act to raise the voice when saying the Takbeer in the markets, the houses, the streets, the Masjids and other places, because of the saying of Allah, the Most High, in Surah al-Hajj, verse 37: "... that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you"
Note: The saying of Takbeer in congregation, ie everyone pronouncing the Takbeer with one voice, is not permissible since this has not been transmitted (to us) from the early generations of the Sahabah and those who followed their ways. Verily, the Sunnah is for everyone to say the Takbeer individually. And this is (generally) applicable to Dhikr and supplications, except if the person doesn't know what to say. In that case he may repeat after someone else until he learns (the words to be said). It is also permissible to make Dhikr with all the different wording of Takbeer and Tahmeed and Tasbeeh, and the rest of the Islamic legislated supplications (from the Qur'an and Sunnah).
Fourth: At-Tawbah (repentance) and abstaining from disobedience and all types of sins, since forgiveneand mercyare the results of deeds. Disobedience is the cause of being far away (from Allah, the Most High) and repulsion, while obedience is the cause of being near (to Allah, Most High) and His love. In the hadith of Abu Hurairah he said that the Prophet said: Verily Allah has a sense of Ghaira*, and Allah's sense of ghaira is provoked when a person does that which Allah has prohibited. (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
Fifth: Doing plenty of voluntary (nafl) righteous deeds of worship like Prayer, Charity, Jihaad, reading the Qur'an, Commanding what is Good and Forbidding what is Evil, and other such deeds.
Verily, these are amongst the deeds that are multiplied in these days. It is during these days that even deeds that are less preferred, are superior and more beloved to Allah than superior deeds done at other times. (These deeds are superior) even to al-Jihaad - which is one of the most superior of all deeds - except in the case of one whose horse is killed and his blood is spilled (loss of life in Jihaad).
Sixth: It is legislated in these days to make at-Takbeer al-Mutlaq** at all times of night and day until the time of the Eid Prayer. Also, at-Takbeer al-Muqayyad*** is legislated, and it is done after the (five) obligatory prayers that are performed in congregation. This begins from Dawn (Fajr) on the Day of Arafah (the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah) for those not performing Haj, and from Noon (Dhur) on the Day of Sacrifice (10th of Dhul-Hijjah) for those performing Haj (pilgrims); and it continues until Asr prayer on the last day of the days of Tash-reeq (13th of Dhul-Hijjah).
Seventh: The slaughtering of a sacrificial animal (Adhiyah) is also legislated for the Day of Sacrifice (10th) and the Days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th). This is the Sunnah of our father Ibraaheem - when Allah, the Most High, redeemed Ibraaheem's son by the great sacrifice (of an animal in his place). It is authentically reported that The Prophet Muhammad slaughtered (sacrificed) two horned rams, black and white in colour, and said Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and placed his foot on their sides (while slaughtering them). (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
Eighth: Offering animal as Udhyia It has been narrated from Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet said: If you see the Hilal (new moon) of Dhul-Hijjah, and any one of you wants to make a sacrifice, then he should not cut (anything) from his hair and his nails. (Muslim and others) . And in one narration, he said: .Then he should not cut (anything) from his hair, nor from his nails, until he performs the sacrifice. Perhaps this is because of the similarity with the one who is bringing a sacrificial animal for slaughter (in Haj). As Allah, the Most High, said: And do not shave your heads until the Hady (sacrifice) reaches the place of sacrifice...
The apparent meaning of this prohibition is that it is particularly for the one whom the sacrifice is for, and does not include the wife or children, unless there is an individual sacrifice for one of them. There is no harm in washing the head, or scratching it, even if hairs may fall out.
Ninth: It is incumbent for the Muslim (who is not performing Haj) to make every effort to perform the Eid Prayer wherever it is performed, and to be present for the Khutbah and benefit.
He must know the wisdom behind the legislation of this Eid (celebration). It is a day of thankfulness and performing deeds of righteousness. So, he must not make it a day of wildness, pride and vanity. He should not make it a season for disobedience and increase in the forbidden things like music and singing, uncontrolled amusement, intoxicants and the like - those things which could cause the cancellation of the good deeds done in these days (of Dhul-Hijjah).
Tenth: After what has been mentioned, it is fitting that every Muslim, male and female, take advantage of these days by obeying Allah, the Most High, remembering Him, thanking Him, fulfilling all the obligatory duties, and staying far away from the prohibited things. He must take full advantage of this season, and the open display of Allah's gifts, to attain the pleasure of his Lord.
Surely, Allah, the Most High, is the One Who grants success, and He is the Guide to the Straight Path. And may the blessings of Allah, the Most High, and peace be upon Muhammad and his family and companions!
*Ghaira: A sense of honour and prestige, and the anger caused by its being violated.
**At-Takbeer al-Mutlaq: the Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) which is unrestricted to specific times or any specific form.
***At-Takbeer al-Muqayyad: The Takbeer which is done at a particular time and in a specific manner.
The Day of Arafah is the ninth day of Dhul-Hijja which is the day before the day of nahr (the day of slaughtering (Eid Al-Adha))
1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allaah’s Favour was completed.
In Al-Saheehayn it was reported from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an aayah in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an ‘Eid (festival).” ‘Umar said, “Which aayah?” He said: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [al-Maa’idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]. ‘Umar said, “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It was when he was standing in ‘Arafaah on a Friday.”
2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Yawm ‘Arafaah (the day of ‘Arafaah), Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyaam al-Tashreeq (the 3 days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking.” This was narrated by the authors of al-Sunan. It was reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “It – i.e., the aayah ‘This day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of ‘Arafaah, both of which – praise be to Allaah – are Eids for us.”
3. It is a day by which Allaah swore an oath.
The Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm ‘Arafaah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of ‘Arafaah].” [al-Burooj 85:3].
It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of ‘Arafaah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allaah swore in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“And by the even and the odd” [al-Fajr 89:3]. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The even is the Day of al-Adhaa [i.e., 10th Dhoo’l-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of ‘Arafaah [i.e., 9th Dhoo’l-Hijjah] This is also the view of ‘Ikrimah and al-Dahhaak.
4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years.
It was reported from Abu Qutaadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah. He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” Narrated by Muslim.
This (fasting) is mustahabb (preferable) for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of ‘Arafaah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast on this day in ‘Arafaah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah in ‘Arafaah.
5. It is the day on which Allaah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam.
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’maan, i.e., ‘Arafaah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendents after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., ploytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ [al-A’raaf 7:172-173 – interpretation of the meaning].” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. And there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.
6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there:
In Saheeh Muslim it was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no day on which Allaah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafaah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”
It was reported from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of ‘Ishaa’ on the Day of ‘Arafaah, about the people of ‘Arafaah. He says, ‘Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.