By Amreen Pathan
The absence of Ramadhan is sorely undeniable; its unavailability made more marked with the inevitable passing of time. Allāh S through His infinite mercy bestows us with blessed days and nights so that we may take advantage of such moments to repair our relationship with our Creator. The imminent arrival of the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah as the final month of the Islamic calendar as well as the month of pilgrimage is somewhat nostalgic then in the face of the absence of Ramadhan.
Signs of its significance
In Sūrah AL-Fajr Allāh S says:
“By the dawn; and [by] the ten nights. (89:1-2)
Swearing by something is a conscious and deliberate means of drawing attention to it in the Arabic language. Therefore taking an oath by the ten nights of Dhul Hijjah is a symbolic and literal testament to its greatness. The greatness is amplified by the further fact that it is Allāh S Himself who is taking the oath.
Two virtues of Dhul Hijjah
- It is related that Rasulullah s said, ‘On no days is the worship of Allāh S more beloved to Him than in the (first) ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The fast of each of these days is equal to the fast of a whole year, and the worship of each of these nights is equal to the worship of Laylatul Qadr. (Tirmidhi)
When two things are compared, an automatic likeness between the two is assumed. The very nature of the comparison between Laylatul Qadr and Dhul Hijjah espouses the value and superiority of this month.
- A’ishah (ra) reports that Rasulullah s said, “There is no day in which Allāh S sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of ‘Arafāt. And on that day, Allāh S draws near to the earth and by way of exhibiting His pride, remarks to the angels, “What is the desire of these (servants of mine)?” (Muslim)
We pray for emancipation from the hell-fire particularly in the last set of the month of Ramadhan. The day of ‘Arafat is presented as another treasurable opportunity to gain a sort of congruence with those fortunate souls freed from the pits of Jahannam.
Actions to be carried out in Dhul Hijjah
- There is great virtue in fasting in this month. The noble Prophet s used to fast the first nine days. Besides the virtue of this example alone, the fast of Arafat compensates for the (minor) sins of the past and the coming year.
- One should increase their recitation of SubḥanAllāh, Lā ilāha illAllāh, Alḥamdulillāh and Allāhuakbar in the light of the virtue of good deeds being amplified in these ten days.
- The Takbīrāt of Tashrīq should be read by every adult Muslim (audibly by men and quietly by women) after every Fardh Salah from the Fajr of 9th Dhul Hijjah to the ‘Asr of the 13th of Dhul Hijjah.
- One should consider this to be a period of recapturing the grace and spirituality of Ramadhan. This means Islamic rulings and teachings should be adhered to even more than usual like one might do in the month of Ramadhan.
Dhul-Hijjah literally means ‘Possessor of the Pilgrimage.’ Pilgrimage to the sacred home of Allāh S may not be possible every year for every individual but in that case, pilgrimages need not be literal. The concept of pilgrimage is a devotional practice and a transient experience to reflect on and reform one’s identity and the days of Dhul Hijjah two months after the departure of Ramadhan offers us an opportunity to undertake a smaller kind of pilgrimage of our own.
Inspired by Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullah (Islamic Dawah Academy)