As the Month of Dhul Hajj draws near, and Muslim nations from all over the world are busy sending the last of the pilgrims to Makkah, one does wonder how to reap the benefits of this month if one has not been given the opportunity to perform the Hajj this year.
Fortunately, Our Allah is a God of infinite mercy and blessings. The month of Dhul Hajj is not only a month of expiation for the Hujjaj visiting the Holy Mosque of Makkah. If we try to heighten our spirituality in this holy month, even we, those so far from the Muqam-e-Ibrahim can feel the angels open the doors of Mercy and Forgiveness of the Ultimate Heavens where Allah resides, and bathe in his blessings, washing away our sins. These ten days are so important, and such a prime period for blessings that Allah Himself has sworn by them in the Quran.
1. By the dawn 2. And [by] ten nights [89:1-2]
Below are the ways in which one can find peace, forgiveness, and serenity in the month of Dhul Hajj
Fast for Your Lord, Allah
Narrated Abu Sa`id: “I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s Pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years” [Sahih al-Bukhari 2840]
Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated from his wife on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) who said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, Ashura’ and three days of every month, that is, the first Monday (of the month) and Thursday. [Sunan Abi Dawud 2437]
Nafal Fasting or non-obligatory fasting is considered as among the highest forms of worship by Allah. Fasting in this months, and not just leaving food, but leaving sin, lying, bad habits and trying to become someone who ‘establishes’ five-time prayer, is also a goal to fasting. Fasting gathers all these good deeds a Muslim man can do, bundles them in a package and thereby brings in more favor from Allah for the same effort. If one can not fast all the first ten days of the Dhul Hajj, then fasting on the ninth is especially impressed in the Ahadith. Also, it is never a bad idea to lose a few pounds anyway.
Keep the Takbeer on Your Tongue
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There are no days on which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allah than on these ten days, so recite much Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), Takbeer (saying Allahu akbar) and Tahmeed (saying alhamdulillah).
We are ordered by the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to repeat the Taqbeer often within the first ten days of the Hajj. The taqbeer is as below:
“Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd”
which means: ‘Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is none worthy of worship but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise.’
This declaration is endeared by Allah. In doing so the Muslim is able to break the idols that tempt and engage him through his life. Idols may not necessarily be in physical forms, sometimes life problems, debilitating bad habits, and stresses grip a Muslim’s souls and make him subservient to them. Breaking these idols, and repeating these verses help a Muslim to be free. This declaration is the utmost form of the Declaration of Independence. We are a free people, we demand freedom from those who try to command us both physically and mentally. We only are shackled to the Bliss from Allah, because everything in us and everything around us wants to be Allah’s slave. Only Allah deserves to be our Commander, not our desires, or our wishes or habits. He, only he is Great, above all, and above everything.
The Tahajud (Night time prayer)
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” [Sahih al-Bukhari 1145]
Tahajud is the time that is a few hours before the Fajr Prayers. That is the most exceptional time when our dua can be heard from and our problems can be made to dissipate by Allah. Praying the Tahajud in the Dhul Hajj has an even more profound result.
The Fajr Prayer to get the reward for a Hajj
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever prays Fajr Prayer in congregation, and then sits and remembers Allah until the sun rises, then (after a while) prays two rak’as, he will gain a reward equal to that of making perfect Hajj and Umrah.” [He repeated the word “perfect” thrice.] (At-Tirmidhi)
This authentic Hadith is self-explanatory. If one is unable to perform the Hajj or Umrah, perhaps just reading the Quran after the Fajr congregation until the sun is out might at least give you the chance of reaping similar benefits.
Be (MORE) Good
Narrated Ibn Abbas (RA): The Prophet (ﷺ)(peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijja).” Then some companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.” [Tirmidhi]
So, just be a better Muslim. Be more spiritual, be more kind, generous, respectful to others. Take care of your cleanliness, and be on guard against the brazen ways the Shaytan may indulge in your desires. Check yourself, and know who you are. Be a better you, even exercise for a better health, and aim to be your Best Muslim every day.