BY: ASLAM ABDULLAH
Various scholars say that the first ten days of Dhul Hijja are considered to be the best days of the year.
In support of this assertion scholars give reference to the Quranic verse: By the Dawn, by the Ten Nights, by the even and the odd. 89: 1-3
Some scholars on the authority of Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Az-Zubair, Mujahid say that “the ten nights” refers to the dawn of the first ten nights of the Feast of Sacrifice, in the month of Dhul-Hijjah.
The scholars further quote the hadith of the Prophet saying: “There is no deed that is better in the sight of Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of Al-Adha”…. (Al-Bukhari)
During these days the following acts are recommended:
- Perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)
- Fast all nine days and especially on the ‘Day of Arafah’
- Perform Dhikr and Takbeer
- Stand the Night in Prayer
- Make Sincere Repentance
- Return to Book of Allah (The Quran)
- Increase in doing ALL good deeds
- Slaughter an animal and distribute the meat (Sacrifice)
- Attend Eid prayers
- Thank Allah
This explanation limits the understanding of the commonly held belief that the first ten days are the most blessed ones.
In chapter 89 the Quran first, is alluding to the pre-Islamic period when the first ten nights of Dhul Hijja were spent in merry-making and debauchery. People would surround the Kaaba and indulge in lewdness, gambling and getting drunk.
The Quran is reminding the people gathering for Hajj that the all acts of immorality and corruption like those of the pre-Islamic period must erased and if people want to understand the fate of those people who indulged in these kinds of acts, they should check human history that would explain to them that nations that chose that behavior were destroyed.
The chapter further elaborates that they indulged in this behavior disregarding their responsibilities towards those who were helpless, neglected and marginalized and who had no regard to the life yet to come. The Quran, then concludes the chapter by asserting, that if people want to have a peaceful exit from this world and a comfortable entrance into the next world, they should focus on purifying themselves during these ten days to reorient the self to the divine values of caring and sharing.
Unity of Humanity
The Quran makes this allusion in the context of the Hajj that is considered the biggest assembly of human beings regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, status, wealth, knowledge, caste, color, dress or creed. The Quran is describing this annual exercise in human unity and dignity as the most significant moment of human existence.
Thus by describing the first ten days the best in the year, the Quran is reminding the people that the essence of all faiths is the unity of humanity and its dignity and Hajj is an occasion when this unity and dignity is vividly visible. During these ten days, men, women, children animals and all other creations of God are safe. During this period people show the utmost humility and sincerity towards each other and celebrate the oneness of humanity.
An argument can be made that if this is the noble goal than it must be made available to all. Well, this experience is open to all who believe in the idea of monotheism as explained by all the prophets and reaffirmed by Prophet Muhammad (s) and who stand for the unity of humanity, dignity of human beings, peace and harmony between all sectors of human society.
Thus one may conclude these first ten days of Dhul Hijja are the best days of the year because during this time people prove to themselves that they can overcome their differences for the unity of humanity and live in peace and with humility with each other.
Through the example of Hajj may God help us understand and internalize the love and unity of humanity.