Eid is a very distinct holiday in the minds of most Muslims across the globe. It calls into focus images and memories of sparkling clothes, henna designs, high heels and brutal pre-celebration beauty regimens. But as we get older — or perhaps it’s simply my own personal case — we start to slow our strut across the Eid-prayer hall and begin to realize that there is actual rule and reason to this centuries-old celebration that brings together millions of people and forces them to become equal regardless of their differences.
The sight of millions of pilgrims moving in unity for Hajj is a powerful scene that cannot and will not ever be replicated by any other event created by mankind. And while we learn about the history of this pilgrimage, and it is mesmerizing and awe-inspiring to see images and videos of the incredible Hajj that takes place every year in Mecca, it can equally be disheartening and confusing to figure out what those of us who are not participating in it can do while at home. This is where Islam, once again, comes in to accommodate us in ways we can’t possibly begin to be thankful for.
Dhul Hijjah is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, and while we often hear that Ramadan is the most important month of the year in the Islamic faith, Dhul Hijjah is also far from ordinary. More specifically, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are considered to be the best days of the year to ask for forgiveness, to fast, and to remember Almighty Allah (SWT). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,
“No good deed done on other days is superior to what is done on these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.”
So what can we do during these ten days? We can recreate our actions and intentions of this past Ramadan! In these ten days, we can increase our recitation of the Holy Qur’an, consciously pray all of the Sunnah prayers we can, increase our dhikr, ask for forgiveness and do as many good deeds according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad as we can. This can be as simple as smiling at people, moving something harmful from a path, picking up litter, giving a gift to someone, or saying thank you to the custodial staff or the office secretary. Every good deed, no matter how small it may seem, can have an incredible impact during these ten days.
These last ten days are ideal for making lots of dua’a, spreading knowledge and da’wah and going to Eid prayer (to actually pray, not just to participate in the unavoidable fashion show that takes place on the sisters’ side). Most importantly, it is recommended to fast from sunrise to sunset on each of these ten days. For fasting on the final day, the day of Arafat, the entirety of our previous year’s sins are erased.
The beauty of these ten days doesn’t end with the amount of opportunity for forgiveness that is offered to us. It continues on with the idea that all parts of the foundations of Islam and ‘ibadah are achievable during these last ten days. So although we may not be participating in Hajj this year, we are also at a comfortable advantage. Quite literally, these last ten days are a representation of Islam itself.
Written by Tahira Ayub
Featured image from Flickr