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What is Dhul Hijjah and Why is it Important?

The Prophet (SAW) said about the virtue of Dhul Hijjah:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.”  [Bukhari, 2/457]

 

What is Dhul Hijjah?

Dhul Hijjah is a sacred month in the Islamic calendar. Allah (SWT) has appointed four months as sacred months in Islam, and Dhul Hijjah is one of them. The above-mentioned hadith classifies the first ten days as the holiest days of the year. Scholars describe Dhul Hijjah as a special season for worship in view of its distinctive virtue. Dhul Hijjah is the final month of the Islamic calendar and accompanies the pilgrimage of Hajj and the festival of Eid-al-Adha.

What are the First 10 Days of Dhul Hijjah?

The first ten days of the month consist of the time between 1st and 10th of Dhul Hijjah. 1st of Dhul Hijjah is determined by moonsighting on 29th or 30th of the previous month. The important rituals of Hajj also take place during these days. The pilgrimage begins on 8th of Dhul Hijjah with the pilgrims travelling to Mina.

The next day is 9th Dhul Hijjah, which is also known as the Day of Arafah. On this day, the pilgrims travel to Arafah and stay until sunset to complete the essential rites of Hajj. The rest of Muslims in their home countries are encouraged to fast on 9th Dhul Hijjah. The believers are encouraged to engage in sincere supplication on this day due to the likelihood of acceptance. The Prophet (SAW) said about fasting on the day of Arafah:

“It expiates for the past and coming years.”  [Muslim 1162]

 

10th Dhul Hijjah is the day of sacrifice for all Muslims. It is also the first day of Eid al-Adha – the festival of sacrifice. The Prophet (SAW) stressed the significance of this day in the following hadith:

“The greatest of days before Allah is the Day of Sacrifice.”  [Sahih Abi Dawud]

 

Why is Dhul Hijjah Important?

Dhul Hijjah is important because of the special characteristics granted to this month by Allah (SWT). The holy month opens doors to many blessings for Muslims who fulfil sacred rituals of faith during this time. Dhul Hijjah hosts the great pilgrimage of Hajj and the noble practice of Qurbani. It is a special time to remember the remarkable sacrifice of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and embrace the spirit of submission. It is a time to proclaim the greatness of Allah (SWT) by honouring the symbols appointed by Him. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

“And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols [i.e., rites] of Allah; for you therein is good. So, mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy [who does not seek aid] and the beggar. Thus, have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful.”  [22:36]

 

What to do in Dhul Hijjah

Many people ask questions about what happens in Dhul Hijjah. The prescribed acts to be performed in Dhul Hijjah are the noble acts of worship, such as fasting, praying and Qurbani. This includes established Sunnah practices mentioned in hadith. According to a hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said:

“There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.”  [Ahmad]

 

Takbeer

This hadith encourages believers to engage in remembrance of Allah (SWT) by way of dhikr and tasbih. This means declaring the Oneness and greatness of Allah (SWT) in words recommended from Quran and hadith. The recommended forms of dhikr include ‘Allah-u-Akbar, Subhan Allah, Alhumdulillah, la ilaha illallah.’

It is Sunnah to recite takbeer in the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and the days of Tashreeq, which are 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah. Reciting takbeer after prayers is also recommended in the days of Eid-al-Adha until sunset on the last day of Tashreeq. Takbeer during Eid prayer is also an example of glorifying Allah (SWT) in the recommended manner. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

“So that they witness benefits for them, and recite Allah’s name in specified days, over the provision He gave them from the cattle. ‘So, eat thereof and feed the distressed, the poor’.”  [al-Hajj 22:28]

 

Fasting – Do you fast in Dhul Hijjah?

Fasting in the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah is a Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). Fasting is an act of worship that is regarded highly in the sight of Allah (SWT). According to a report in hadith:

 

The Prophet (SAW) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah.”  [Abu Dawood]

 

Hadith on Cutting Hair and Nails

It is recommended for those intending to offer Qurbani to refrain from cutting nails or hair in the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah until the time of slaughter. The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said:

“When the first ten days (of Dhul Hijjah) have begun, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, he should not touch (i.e., remove anything from) his hair or skin.”  [Narrated by Muslim]

 

Qurbani and Hajj

Hajj is performed in the first part of Dhul Hijjah. As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, it is obligatory on all able Muslims. An accepted Hajj is a matter of great reward as mentioned in authentic hadith.

“…an accepted Hajj brings no reward but Paradise.”  [Bukhari 1773]

 

Qurbani is an important act of worship in the days of Dhul Hijjah. Muslims are encouraged to purchase a healthy animal and slaughter it according to prescribed guidelines. Qurbani provides the gift of nutritious meals to less fortunate people during the days of Eid. Donate your Qurbani to Orphans in Need this Eid al-Adha and help our team support those suffering from hunger and starvation around the world.