Ibn 'Abbas says about the verse, "Remember Allah during the well known days," that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. [This is related by al-Bukhari]
Allah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"By the dawn; by the 10 nights"
[Noble Quran 89:1-2]
Ibn Abbas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Kathir said: "This is the correct opinion." [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 8/413]
Praise be to Allah 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 Judgment.
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 Allah, and some kind of blessing though which Allah bestows His favor 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 Allah and will feel the joy of knowing that he is safe from the flames of Hell. [Ibn Rajab, al-Lataif, p.8]
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) 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 Allah, not even jihad in the way of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger [for Allah'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 Allah (peace be upon him) said, "There is no day more honorable in Allah's sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah: La ilaha ill Allah), takbir (Allah is the greatest: Allahu Akbar) and tahmid (All praise is due to Allah: alhumdulillah) a lot [on those days]." [Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shakir stated it is Sahih]
Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. 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 Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Do you know what is the day today?" The people replied, "Allah and His Messenger know it better." He said, "It is the forbidden (sacred) day. And do you know what town is this?" They replied, " Allah 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, "Allah and His Apostle know it better." He said, "This is the forbidden (sacred) month." The Messenger added, "No doubt, Allah 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-Hijjah), the Messenger (peace be upon him) 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 (peace be upon him) started saying repeatedly, "O Allah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message)." He then bade the people farewell. The people said, "(This is Hajjat-al-Wada)." [Bukhari 2.798]
In what follows, we will highlight some of the Sunnah regarding these days, hoping by this to provide an incentive to make the best out of them and gain Allah’s reward, insha’Allah.
Ibn ‘Abbas commented on the verse:
"…and to mention Allah’s name [plentifully] on Known days"
[Noble Quran 22:28]
by saying: (…these known days are the ten days [of Dhul Hijjah].) [Tafsir ibn Kathir]
One of the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Allah’s Messenger used to fast the (first) nine days of Dhul Hijjah, the day of ‘Ashura’, and three days of each month. [Sahih Sunan Abi Dawud #2129]
Fasting on all these days, however, is not a Wajib (compulsory), nor is it a constant Sunnah that the Messenger, peace be upon him, never dropped. ‘A’ishah said:
"I never saw the Messenger, peace be upon him, fast the ten days." [Muslim]
Fasting Day of Arafat
The Day of ‘Arafah - The Best Day of the Whole Year
The day of ‘Arafah is the day when the pilgrims stand in worship on the Mountain of ‘Arafah.
"There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire as He does no the day of ‘Arafah. He comes close (to those standing on ‘Arafah) and then revels before His angels, saying: "What are these people seeking?" [Muslim]
Abu Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allah (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. Fasting the day of 'Ashura is an expiation for the year preceding it." [This is related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi]
Hafsah reported, "There are five things that the Messenger (peace be upon him) never abandoned: fasting the day of 'Ashura, fasting the [first] 10 [days of Dhul-Hijjah], fasting 3 days of every month and praying two Rak'ah before the dawn prayer." [This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i]
'Uqbah ibn 'Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "The day of 'Arafah, the day of sacrifice, and the days of Tashriq are 'ids for us--the people of Islam--and they are days of eating and drinking." [This is related by "the five," except for Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidhi grades it Sahih]
Abu Hurairah stated, "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade fasting on the day of 'Arafah for one who is actually at 'Arafah." [This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah]
At-Tirmidhi comments: "The scholars prefer that the day of 'Arafah be fasted unless one is actually at 'Arafah."
It is Sunnah to say Takbir ("Allahu Akbar"), Tahmid ("Al-hamdu Lillah"), Tahlil ("La ilaha ill-Allah") and Tasbih ("Subhan Allah") during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted. Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)..."
[Noble Quran 22:28]
The majority of scholars agree that the "appointed days" are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because of the words of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father), "The appointed days are the first ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah)."
The Takbir may include the words "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil- hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)," as well as other phrases.
Takbir at this time is an aspect of the Sunnah that has been forgotten, especially during the early part of this period, so much so that one hardly ever hears Takbir, except from a few people. This Takbir should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evidence that Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbir, and the people would recite Takbir when they heard them. The idea behind reminding the people to recite Takbir is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Shari'ah for doing this.
The Day of Al-’Adha
The tenth of Dhul-Hijjah is Eid Al-Adha or the day of an-Nahr (slaughtering). It marks the conclusion of the major rites of Hajj, and commemorates Allah’s bounty on His Messenger Ibrahim, when He gave him a ram to sacrifice as ransom for his son Isma’il, peace be upon them.
"The day of al-Fitr [i.e. ‘Eid ul-Fitr], the day of an-Nahr, and the days of Tashriq are ‘Eid days for us Muslims. They are days of eating and drinking." [Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, Sahih ul-Jami’ #8192]
The Three Days Following ‘Eid ul-’Adha
On these days, the pilgrims complete their rites, Muslims continue with their ‘Eid celebrations, and are prohibited to fast.
"The days of Tashriq are days of eating, drinking and mentioning Allah." [Muslim]
Allah mentioned the sacrifice together with the first and foremost worship in Islam: prayer. This is a clear indication of its great importance. Thus He ordered His Messenger, peace be upon him, to slaughter sacrifices by saying:
"…Pray unto your Lord and slaughter [your sacrifice]"
[Noble Quran 109:2]
The general consensus of the Muslim scholars is that the sacrifice is an important Sunnah, and a worship called for in the Law of Allah. However, they differ as to whether it is Nafl (voluntary) or Wajib (mandatory) for those who can afford it. Some scholars have explained the different hadiths on the subject by stating that the sacrifice is obligatory on those who can afford it and not obligatory on those who cannot.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "He who has the capacity, and does not sacrifice, may not approach our Musalla (place of prayer - on the ‘Eid)." [Ibn Majah, Ahmad and others, authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, #2533]
Regarding this Hadith, Imam ash-Shaukani said: "Prohibiting the one who could afford to sacrifice, but did not do so, from approaching the Musalla indicates that he must have left off a Wajib, as it becomes useless to offer the Salah without this Wajib [obligation]." [Nayl ul-Awtar]
Avoid Cutting Hair or Nails
The one who plans to sacrifice (normally, the head of household) is prohibited to cut his hair or nails from the first Dhul Hijjah until he offers the sacrifice. "For the one who has a slaughtering to perform (on ‘Eid then, once the Hilal (crescent) of Dhul Hijjah is observed, let him not cut any of his hair or nails until he sacrifices." And in another narration: "Once the ten days start, for those of you who have the intention to sacrifice, let them not cut any of their hair or nails (until they sacrifice)." [Muslim] This prohibition is the opinion of the majority of the scholars of the early generations of Muslims.
Our last call is all praise is to Allah and may His Salah and Salam be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family.