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New Muslims Pilgrimage

All about the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

By Editorial Staff

After a few days, Muslims all over the world will be witnessing the best days a year. Out of Allah’s wisdom, He favors some of His creatures over others. Allah creates and chooses whatever He wills and does whatever He intends. A certain creature per se is not better than any other creature. It is Allah Who gives preference to some creatures over others through His inexhaustible wisdom. For instance, in the world of angels, the archangel Gabriel is the best of them. Prophets are the best of all humankind. The unrelenting Messengers of Resolve are the best among all prophets and messengers. This also applies to animals, inanimate objects, places, times, etc.

If we take a closer look at the shari’ah texts concerning time, we find out that the last one-third of night is the best time among all the other 24 hours. Friday is the best day a week. The month of Ramadan is the best of all months. Similarly, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best days a year.

Which is better, the last ten days of Ramadan or the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah?

In his reply to this question, Shaikh al-Islam, Ibn Taimiyah said,

“The daylight time is better in the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah than the last ten days of Ramadan. However, the nights are better in the last ten days of Ramadan than those of Dhul-hijjah.”

The nights are better in the last ten days of Ramadan because there is Lailat al-Qadr (the Night of Decree). On the other hand, the daylight is better in the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah because of the 9th day, the Day of Arafat, and the 10th day, Eid Al-Ad-ha. On these two days, Muslims perform most rites of Hajj (Pilgrimage).

The Virtues of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:

1. Allah swears an oath by these days in the Gracious Quran.

Allah says,

“By the dawn, and the Ten Nights (of the Month of Pilgrimage)! By all that is even and all that is odd, and the night as it passes! Is there in this an oath (of sufficient proof) for whoever has a mind (that God is all-able to punish the ungodly)?” (Quran 89:1-5)

The majority of the commentators of the Gracious Quran hold the opinion that the “Ten Nights” refers the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. On the other hand, when Allah swears by something of His creatures, this denotes that such a thing is excellent.

2. These days are mentioned in the Gracious Quran as “the known days”.

Allah says,

…they may observe (many) benefits for themselves and mention (much) the name of God during the known days (of Hajj-Pilgrimage)… (Quran 22:28)

“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah)

3. Some commentators of the Gracious Quran say that these days are also referred to in the following verse:

“Thereafter, We promised to Moses thirty nights (of retreat in Our presence at Mount Tur), and We completed them with ten (more).” (Quran 7:142)

4. Acts of worship performed during those days are better and more beloved than any other time of the year.

Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (ﷺ) replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Obligatory deeds performed on these days are better than those performed on other than such days. Likewise, voluntary deeds performed on these days are better. However, voluntary deeds observed on these days cannot be better than obligatory ones. And therefore, fasting the last ten days of Ramadan is better than fasting on the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

5. The ten days are sacred as they are in the sacred month of Dhul-Hujjah.

Concerning the four sacred months, Allah says,

… do not wrong yourselves (or others) in them. (Quran 9:36)

What should a Muslim do to make the best use of these days?

These days are a great season of worship and a great opportunity every Muslim should seize. The truthful believer becomes more active in worship on these days. Here are some acts of worship Muslims can observe:

1. (Dhikr) Remembrance of Allah

One of the best acts of worship to be observed during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah is spending a lot of time doing dhikr. In a mu’allaq (suspended) hadith mentioned by Al-Bukhari, he quotes Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) as saying,

“…and mention (much) the name of God during the known days (of Hajj-Pilgrimage)… (Quran 22:28)

These are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah whereas “the numbered days” are the days of Tashriq (the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul-Hijjah)”

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) means by “the numbered days” to refer to the following verse:

 

“Thus make (much) mention (of the name of) God (with solemn reverence) in the (special) numbered days (in the valley of Mina).” (Quran 2:203)

“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.” (Al-Bukhari)

In another hadith concerning these ten days, it says, “… so increase saying Tahlil (saying la-illah illa Allah), Takbir (saying Allahu akbar), and Tahmid (saying Al-hamdullilah)” (Ahmad)

Remembrance of Allah is one of the best purposes of worship. Thus, it is part of a lot of acts of worship including prayer, Friday speech, hajj, offering a sacrifice, etc.

2. Reciting the Gracious Quran

Reciting the Gracious Quran is also part of doing dhikr which should be given full attention on these days. So, it is a good idea to specify a time for reciting or studying the Gracious Quran. There are a lot of proofs that indicate the excellence of reciting and reflecting on the Quran. Allah says,

Indeed, those who recite the Book of God, and who (duly) establish the Prayer, and who spend (charitably) from what We have provided them, secretly and openly- they have hope in a (blessed) transaction that shall never come to ruin- that He may give them their rewards (in full) and increase them evermore from His bounty. Indeed, He is all-forgiving, ever-thankful. (Quran 35:29-30)

3. Fasting

When we say, “fasting on the first ten days” we mean only the first nine days which are allowed to fast because it is known that fasting on Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice), on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah,  is prohibited.

Imam Al-Nawawi said that fasting these nine days is highly recommended especially the 9th day, the Day of ‘Arafat.

4. Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafat

As well as being the best day of the year, the Day of ‘Arafat is the day when Allah perfected the religion of Islam. Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:

Once a Jew said to me, “O the chief of believers! There is a verse in your Holy Book which is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration.” ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab asked, “Which is that verse?” The Jew replied,

“This day I have perfected your religion For you, completed My favor upon you, And have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Quran 5:3)

‘Umar replied,”No doubt, we know when and where this verse was revealed to the Prophet. It was Friday and the Prophet (ﷺ) was standing at ‘Arafat (i.e. the Day of Hajj)” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Secondly, fasting on this day expiates the sins of two years, the last and the coming one. This is mentioned in a hadith related by Muslim. However, it is recommended for pilgrims not to fast on that day out of emulation of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Not fasting will also give the pilgrim more energy to do a lot of dhikr and make du’aa (supplications to Allah)

Thirdly, ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There is no day on which Allah sets free more slaves from Hell than He does on the Day of ‘Arafah.” (Muslim)

There are a lot of other acts of worship a Muslim is recommended to observe. These include offering sacrifice (on the 10th, 11th 12th and 13th Day of Dhul-Hijjah), praying for Allah’s blessings upon the Prophet, giving to charity, being kind to parents, etc.

 

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

The Fiqh of Udhiyah (The Sacrificial Animal)

By Editorial Staff

Definition

The Udhiyah (the sacrificial animal) is a grazing animal from among camels, cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats that is sacrificed on Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) and the following three days (the days of Tashriq) for the sake of drawing near to Allah.

The Proofs

The proofs from the Gracious Quran, the Sunnah and the Consensus denote that the udhiyah is one of the rites of Islam. Allah says,

For each (faith)-community We have appointed (sacred) rites, so that they may mention the name of God over any grazing beasts (that they sacrifice as charitable-offerings, from whatever) He has provided them. (Quran 22:34)

Anas reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) sacrificed with his own hands two horned rams which were white with black markings reciting the name of Allah and glorifying Him (saying Allah-u-Akbar). He placed his foot on their sides (while sacrificing). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Muslim scholars have reached a consensus that the Udhiyah is one of the legal rites of Islam.

The Udhiyah (the sacrificial animal) is a grazing animal from among camels, cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats that is sacrificed on Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) and the following three days (the days of Tashriq) for the sake of drawing near to Allah.

The Legal Ruling

As for the legal ruling, the majority of scholars are of the opinion that the Udhiyah is highly recommended. This is the opinion of Imam Al-Shafi’I and the more famous opinion of Imam malik and Imam Ahmad. On the other hand, Imam Abu Hanifah’s legal opinion is that it is obligatory. This is also the other opinion of Imam Ahmad and Imam Malik. Allah says,

So pray to your Lord, and sacrifice (charitable-offerings to Him alone). (Quran 108:2)

The prerequisites for offering a sacrificial animal:

1. Sincerity

Sincerity is a prerequisite for the acceptance of every act of worship. So, the person who intends to offer an udhiyah (a sacrificial animal) should do this only for the sake of Allah. Allah says,

Never shall (any part of) their flesh nor their blood reach God. But rather, it is (your devotion inspired by the) fear of God in you that reaches Him. Therefore has He subjugated them to you, that you shall extol God, (the Creator) for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you. So give glad tidings to those who excel in (doing) good. (Quran 22:37)

2. The sacrificial animal must be one of the following grazing animals:

A. the camel and the she-camel

B. the bull, the cow and the buffalo

C. the sheep (the ram and the ewe)

D. the goat and the she-goat

Allah says,

For each (faith)-community We have appointed (sacred) rites, so that they may mention the name of God over any grazing beasts (that they sacrifice as charitable-offerings, from whatever) He has provided them. (Quran 22:34)

3. The sacrificial animal must reach the legally specified age.

Jabir (RAA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

“Sacrifice only a full-grown animal (musinnah) unless it is difficult for you, in which case you should sacrifice a jadha’ah(six to ten month old) sheep.” (Muslim)

Scholars interpret an adult sacrificial animal (musinnah) as thaniyyah whose milk teeth (the medial incisors) have fallen out and are replaced by permanent teeth. Unlike the thaniyyah, the jadha’ah is a young animal.  For grazing beasts to be described as thaniyyah, they have to reach a specific age that differs according to the different kinds of beasts.

A. The thaniyyah from camels is about five years old.

B. The thaniyyah from cows or buffaloes is about two years old.

C. The thaniyyah from goats or sheep is about one year old.

In case the person who intends to sacrifice does not find a grazing beast that meets this requirement, he or she is allowed to sacrifice a jadha’ah (a six month old) lamb.)

4. The sacrificial animal must be free from all physical defects that make it unsatisfactory sacrifice for offering.

Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“Four (types of animals) should be avoided in sacrifice: A One-eyed animal which has obviously lost the sight of one eye, a sick animal which is obviously sick, a lame animal which obviously limps and an animal with a broken leg with no marrow.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Nasa’i)

A more serious defect than those mentioned above is, a fortiori, a one that makes the sacrificial animal unacceptable as sacrifice.

5. Slaughtering the animal designated for sacrifice must take place within the legally specified time.

People can start slaughtering their animals after performing the Eid al-Ad-ha prayer on the 10th to the sunset on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.

Narrated Al-Bara’ bin `Azib:

On the day of Nahr (sacrifice) Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) delivered the Khutba (speech) after the ‘Eid prayer and said, “Anyone who prayed like us and slaughtered the sacrifice like we did then he acted according to our (Nusuk) tradition of sacrificing, and whoever slaughtered the sacrifice before the prayer, then that was just mutton (i.e. not sacrifice).” Abu Burda bin Niyar stood up and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! By Allah, I slaughtered my sacrifice before I offered the ‘Eid prayer and thought that today was the day of eating and drinking (nonalcoholic drinks) and so I made haste (in slaughtering) and ate and also fed my family and neighbors.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “That was just mutton (not a sacrifice).” Then Abu Burda said, “I have a young she-goat and no doubt, it is better than two sheep. Will that be sufficient as a sacrifice for me?” The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, “Yes. But it will not be sufficient for anyone else (as a sacrifice), after you.” (Al-Bukhari)

Recommended acts concerning the udhiyah and the person who intends to offer it

1. On the sight of the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, it is recommended for the people who intend to offer a sacrifice not to have their hair cut or their nails trimmed.

Umm Salama, the wife of Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ), reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to have said:

“When is the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah and anyone of you intends to offer a sacrificial animal, he should not get his hair cut or nails trimmed until he offers it. (Muslim)

2. As for the sacrificial animals, the best kind is the camel then the cow in case one of them is offered by a single person. After that comes the sheep, then the goat, then one-seventh of a camel, then one-seventh of a cow. However, the best sacrificial animal with regard to quality is the fattest.

What is the smallest number of sacrificial animals that can be offered?

A person can buy at least one sheep to offer as sacrifice on behalf of himself/ herself and his/her family. With regard to the possession, a single person can offer only one sheep. Similarly, seven people can share a camel or a cow. Hence, eight people cannot share a camel or a cow. Also, two people cannot share a sheep. As for the rewards, the person can share the reward of one sheep with one’s family or as many people as one wishes.

Jabir (RAA) narrated, ‘In the year of Hudaibiyah (Reconciliation), we sacrificed a camel for each seven people along with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), and also a cow for seven. (Muslim)

How can the sacrificial animal be distributed?

It is recommended to eat, give as a present and give to charity from the udhiyah. Allah says,

 

…they may observe (many) benefits for themselves and mention (much) the name of God during the known days (of Hajj-Pilgrimage) over what He has provided them of grazing beasts (to sacrifice). So eat of them and feed the afflicted (ones), the (indigent) poor. (Quran 22:28)

 

… (you may butcher their meat to )eat of them (yourselves)- and to feed (both) the self-restrained needy and the suppliant poor. (Quran 22:36)

Some scholars prefer the meat to be divided into three: one-third for the owner, one-third for charity and the last third to be given as gifts.

 

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