Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani
The month of Dhu al-Hijjah
The month of Zul Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Literally, it mean “the month of Hajj.” Obviously, this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of “hajj” is performed in this month. for this reason, it has a particular significance as compared to other months of the year. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below:
1) First ten Days
The first ten days of the month of Zul Hijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the “Lailatul Qadr”.
Every Muslim should avail of this wonderful opportunity by offering during this period as much ‘lbadah (acts of worship) to Allah as he or she can.
Allah Swears by Ten Nights
This period of ten days commencing from the first and ending on the tenth of Zul Hijjah, occupies a very prominent position among the twelve months of the year, so much so that Almighty Allah has sworn by these ten nights in the opening verses of the Surah Al-Fajr in part – 30 of the Holy Qur’an:
والفجر وليال عشر
“By the Dawn and the nights”. It is not necessary for Almighty Allah to swear to confirm and ensure anything but if Allah swears by anything, it is to emphasize the esteem and honor of that thing. A large group of the commentators of the Holy Qur’an are of the opinion that the ten nights by which Allah has sworn are these first ten nights of the month of Zul Hijjah. This indicates the esteem and grace of these nights.
The Supremacy of the Ten Days
The Holy Prophet ﷺhas himself mentioned in clear words in a Hadith the importance and superiority of these ten days. He ﷺ has also mentioned that Almighty Allah does appreciate acts of worship in these ten days more than other days of the year whether that worship is in the form of optional prayers, recital of the sacred names of Allah or some charitable deed. [Bukhari, The book of Edain, Hadith no: 969]
He ﷺ has also said in a Hadith. If anyone observes fasts during these days, he is granted reward for one fasting equal to the reward for fast for a full one year. He ﷺ has also said that worship in one of these nights is equal to the worship performed during the Lailatul Qadr (the Night of value). Such a high degree of excellence has Allah bestowed upon these ten days of Zul Hijjah! [Tirmizi, Book of Fasting Hadith no: 758]
2) Cutting off Nails and Hair in these days
Immediately after the sighting of the Zul Hijjah moon a strange command is brought to our notice. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has said that it is not right for him who has to offer Sacrifice (Qurbani) to clip his nails and cut his hair after sighting the Zul hijjah moon. As this order has been narrated from the Holy Prophet ﷺ, it has been declared as Mustahab (desirable). According to this order a man should not clip his nails, nor cut his hair, unless he has offered the Qurbani. [Ibn Majah, Chapter on clipping nails, Hadith no: 3187]
Why it is Mustahab for a sacrificer not to cut his hair and nails during the first ten days?
Apparently it looks strange that after sighting the moon of Zul Hijjah, clipping the nails and cutting the hair have been forbidden. The reason is not far to seek. Almighty Allah has appointed during these days the splendid worship of the Hajj and a very large number of the Muslims remain engaged, by the grace of Allah, in this worship at this time. It seems, as if, the House of Allah is charged with a magnetic power which is attracting to itself from all sides the sons of Tawheed (Muslims) and thousands of men are arriving there every moment from all comers of the world and are assembling round the House of Allah. Allah has granted these pilgrims the honor of performing the Hajj. These Pilgrims have been ordered that when they are advancing towards the House of Allah, they should be dressed in lhram which is the prescribed uniform of that sacred House. Again, the Shari ah has imposed many restrictions on the pilgrims while in lhram. e.g., they cannot put on stitched garment, nor apply scent nor cover their faces. etc., that they should not clip their nails nor cut their hair is also one of these restrictions. As for those who are not participating in the worship (Hajj) of the House of Allah, by visiting it, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has, in order to enable such persons also to qualify for Allah’s mercy, ordered that they should try to achieve some likeness to the pilgrims of the House of Allah by imitating them in leaving their nails unclipped and their hair uncut. This is a way to attain some similarity to those actually performing the Hajj.
Our Dr. Hazrat M. Abdul Hayi Arfi Sahib used to say that Allah’s mercy is always in search of an excuse to descend on His servants. When Allah has commanded us to attain some similarity to the Hajj Pilgrims, it only means that He wants to bestow on those who attain this similarity some part of the mercy and blessings which He showers on the Hajj Pilgrims, so that when the clouds of Allah’s mercy rain on these servants of Allah on the plain of Arafah, a part of these clouds may overtake us also with its munificent showers. Thus, the attainment of this similarity, is a great blessing. Dr. Arfi Sahib frequently recited this couplet of Hazrat Majzoob:
تیرے محبوب کی یا رب شباہت لے کر آیا ہوں
حقیقت اس کو تو کردے میں صورت لے کر آیا ہوں
Meaning: O my Lord! I have come to you with an assumed similarity to your beloved. I have brought the form only, kindly turn it into reality. It is not at all unlikely that Almighty Allah may turn this form into reality by the blessing of His beloved Prophet ﷺ. It is hoped that you and we shall not be deprived, God willing, of the clouds of mercy that pour down there.
3) The 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah “Arafah” !
The 9th day of the month of Zul Hijjah is called “Youmul Arafah” (The Day of ‘Arafah) . This is the
date when the Hujjaj (Hajj pilgrims, plural of Haji) assemble on the plain of ‘Arafat, six miles away from Makkah al-Mukarramah, where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of Hajj, namely, the “Wuqoof of ‘Arafat (the stay in ‘Arafat).
4) The Fast of Yawmul Arafah
For those not performing Hajj, it is Mustahab (desirable) to fast on this day according to their own Calendar. It sometimes occurs that the date of 9th Zul Hijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. In such cases, Muslims of each country should observe Youmul Arafah according to the lunar dates of their own country.
For example, if Youmul Arafah is being observed in Saudi Arabia on Friday, and in Pakistan on Saturday, Pakistani Muslims should treat Saturday as Youmuul Arafah and should fast on that day if they desire to benefit from the fast of Youmul Arafah. The fast of Youmul Arafah has been emphasized by the Holy Prophet ﷺ as a Mustahab (desirable) act, According to a Hadith, the fast of this day become a cause, hopefully so, of forgiveness for sins committed in one year.
As already mentioned, these ten days are so auspicious that a day of fasting on one of these days is equal, in the matter of reward, to fasting for the whole year; and one item of worship in one night of this period is equal to worship in the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr). A Muslim must devote himself to worship and good deeds during these days to the best of his ability. The ninth of Zul Hijjah is the Day of Arafah during which Allah has prescribed for the Hajj Pilgrims to stay on the plain of Arafat which is the most essential part of the Hajj. He has also prescribed for us optional fasting specially on the ninth day. The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said about this fast: “I have every hope from Almighty Allah that the fasting observed on the day of Arafah, by a Muslim will become, an expiation for his sins committed or to be committed during one year in the past and One year in the future”. [Ibn Majah, Book of Fasting, Hadith no: 1734]
Only the Minor sins are forgiven !
It is necessary to clarify here that some people who are not well-informed of religious subjects think on the basis of such Ahadith that when the sins committed during the past year and to be committed during the future year stand forgiven, as if they are on one year’s leave and they are free to do whatever they please. It must be noted that the concessions so granted in the various Ahadith relate only to minor sins.
For example, during ablution the sins committed by the limbs being washed are pardoned: one sin is pardoned at each step and his status is raised by one degree when a Namazi goes to the mosque for prayer: similarly it has been said about fasting during Ramazan that one year’s sins of the man fasting are pardoned. Remember that the sins mentioned in all such Traditions are only the minor sins. As for major sins, according to the rules of the Shariah they are not forgiven except by repentance. Almighty Allah has, however, the sole authority to pardon all sins whether minor or major unconditionally. Even after repentance only such sins are forgiven as are committed against the rights of Allah. Sins committed against the rights of the servants of Allah cannot be forgiven. Unless the rights usurped or violated of a servant are compensated or condoned by the claimant. In short, all these Ahadith about the forgiveness of sins relate to minor sins only and not to major sins.
5) Takbir al-Tashreeq
As from the Fajr of the 9th Zul Hijjah up to the Asr prayer of the 13th, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the Takbir of Tashreeq in the following words:
الله أكبر الله اكبر لا اله الا الله والله اكبر الله اكبر و لله الحمد
Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd.
According to authentic Islamic sources, it is obligatory on each Muslim, to recite this Takbir after every obligatory (Fard) salah. For women also, it is commendable though not obligatory. Whether you are performing Salah with Jama’ah (collectively) or on your own (individually) makes no difference. You must recite the Takbir. However, male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice, while females should recite it in a low voice.
Takbir Tashreeq is obligatory for women also
The Takbir Tashreeq is prescribed for women as well, but which being generally ignored. Women generally forget to recite the Takbir Tashreeq. As regards men who offer their prayers in the congregation in the mosque, they necessarily recite the Takbir. This is, however, not a common practice among women. There are two opinions about its imposition on women as a compulsory duty (wajib). Some Ulama’ say that it is wajib and some say that it is only Mustahab (desirable) for women. The more reliable opinion is that the Takbir Tashreeq is a compulsory duty for women as well. They should also recite this Takbir after every Farz prayer five days from the Fajr prayer of the Day of Arafah till the ‘Asr prayer of the Thirteenth of Zul Hijjah. Men are required to recite it loudly but women should recite it in a low tone. Women should be mindful of this duty. As women generally omit this duty I advise them to hang a card-plate with an inscription of the Takbir at the place where they pray in their houses, and they should recite it without fail after the concluding salam, because this is wajib for them also. [Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah, Vol 11, P:190, Shami, Vol 11, p:179
6) Hajj: Some important rules about it
The most important way of worship performed in this month is “Hajj”, one of the four pillars of Islam. The Muslims from every part of the world assemble in Arabia to perform this unique way of worship. Hajj is worship which requires at least five days be performed in its proper way. There are detailed rules for different acts of Hajj for which separate books are available, and the present book does not aim at explaining all these details. However, some basic information about its obligation is being given here:
1. Hajj is obligatory on every adult Muslim who can afford to go to Makkah during the Hajj season, whether on foot or by any other carriage.
2. if a person can travel to Makkah to perform Hajj, but he cannot travel to Madinah, Hajj is obligatory on him also. He can perform Hajj without visiting Madinah.
It is obligatory for women to accompany a mahram while performing Hajj
3. A Muslim woman cannot travel for Hajj unless she is accompanied by a Mahram (i.e. husband or relative of a prohibited degree like son, father, brother, etc.) If she does not find any Mahram to accompany her, Hajj is not obligatory on her until she finds one. However, she must make a will that in case she dies before performing Hajj, his heirs should arrange for her “Hajj e Badal” out of her leftover property. 4. Hajj is obligated only once in one’s life. After performing the obligatory Hajj; one is not required to perform it again. However, he can perform the Nafl (optional) Hajj as many times as he or she wishes.
Source: Islam aur Daur e Hazir kay Shubhat o Mughalty and Islamic Months, By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani.