Dhul Hijjah: A Sacred MonthAssima Alam
Every year millions of Muslims from around the globe travel to perform Hajj, the major ritual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Hajj in one of the five pillars of Islam, and is obligatory for every Muslim to perform once in their lifetime if they have the financial means and physical ability to do so.
Unsurprisingly however, Hajj this year is not an option for UK residents due to the COVID-19 situation. Though this is disappointing news, as Muslims we still have the opportunity to perform great acts of worship during the season of Hajj which falls in the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah.
Dhul Hijjah is the 12th and final month of the lunar calendar and contains within it the best days of the year as well as the second Eid of the year, Eid Al Adha.
A Sacred Month
In Islam, four of the lunar months are considered to be sacred, and Dhul Hijjah is one of them. In the Quran, Allah says: ‘Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve – in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth – of which four are sacred.’ (9:36). This sacred month also contains the best days of the year. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah (God) than these ten days.’
Virtues of Dhul Hijjah
Unknown to many, the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are actually more virtuous than the days of Ramadan. In the Quran, Allah takes an oath by these days to demonstrate their importance: ‘By the dawn; by the ten nights.’ (89:1-2).
Additionally, a number of the Hajj rites carried out by pilgrims on these days can be traced back to the life and times of Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him). If you would like to hear the story of Prophet Ibraheem, please click here. This month therefore encourages Muslims to reflect on their rich history, and draw practical lessons from the great Prophets of the past.
As aforementioned, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us that the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are the best days of the year. For this reason, we are also encouraged to actively increase in our good deeds and try our best to draw nearer to Allah (God).
There are a number of actions that Muslims can perform in order to make the most of these special days. Here are some recommended acts:
Increasing in prayer is a great way to ensure that you’re making the most of these days. Begin with the 5 obligatory prayers, and if you’re able to do more, then move onto the recommended and supererogatory prayers.
It has been reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would fast the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah. For this reason, it is highly recommended that we follow his example, and take this as an opportunity to satiate our souls, while abstaining from food and drink.
- Fasting on Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah)
It is strongly recommended to fast on the day of Arafah. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it.’
- Remembrance of Allah (dhikr)
During these days it is recommended to proclaim the Greatness and Glory of Allah (God). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘There is no day more honourable in Allah’s sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil (There is nothing worthy of worship but God/Allah), takbir (Allah is the greatest) and tahmid (All praise is due to Allah) a lot (on those days).’
- Qurbani (sacrifice)
During Dhul Hijjah, the head of every Muslim household is commanded to sacrifice an animal, and distribute its meat to the poor & needy as well as family, friends and neighbours. This act commemorates the story of Prophet Ibraheem and his willingness to submit to the will of God. For Muslims today, it serves as an expression of submission and piety before God. If you’d like to ensure that your Qurbani is done ethically this year, please click here.
A great act of worship in Islam is to seek God’s forgiveness. During these days, we have a great opportunity to repent for the sins we have committed and hope in God’s mercy. In the Quran, Allah (God) says: ‘O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ (39:53).
For Dhul Hijjah this year, Green Lane Masjid & Community Centre (GLMCC) are focussing on the poignant story of Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him). There are countless lessons to take away from the many events, incidents and stories from his life and times. If you would like to learn more about this campaign, please click here.