Friday, October 28, 2011

Making the Most of The Blessed Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Allah’s sacred month of Dhu’l-Hijjah is upon us. It is a blessed and important month and one of the four sacred months in which the sin is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.

Here’s  a brief guide to help you to prepare for the best days of the year.

1.      Read the Qur’an:
Plan to complete the recitation of the Qur’an within these 10 days. If you read three juz a day, it can be accomplished. It is not difficult. Ask Allah to make it easy for you.

2.      Increase in Nawafil Prayers:
You can increase in Nawafil prayers by praying:

a] Salât Dhuha: Also known as al-Awwâbeen, may be offered as 2, 4, 6 or 8 rak’ât, prayed after the sun has risen and before the time for Dhuhr approaches. [Muslim, 1238]

b] 4 rak’ât before ‘Asr – The Prophet [sall-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: “May Allâh have mercy on those who pray four rak’ât before ‘Asr prayer.” [At-Tirmidhî, 395 – classed as hasan by al-Albânî in Sahîh al-Jâmi 3493]

c] Tahhiyatul masjid: Greet the masjid with two rak’ât: “If any one of you enters a mosque, he should pray two rak’ât before sitting.” [Al-Bukhârî & Muslim]

d] Al Sunnan Al Rawatib: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “A house will be built in Heaven for one who prays 12 Rak'aat in a day and evening as follows: 4 Rak'aat before and 2 after the Dhuhr Prayer, 2 after the Maghrib Prayer, 2 after the ‘Ishaa’ Prayer and 2 before the Fajr Prayer." Narrated by at-Tirmizi under No. 380.

e] Qiyâm al-Layl: With this prayer, we hope that Allâh will illuminate our graves; will bestow nûr on our faces; will cancel our bad deeds, bi-idhnillâh. Pray at least 2 rak’ât. If you are able to follow the Sunnah, then pray all 11 rak’ât [including witr].

3.          Makes lots of Dhikr:

 Do a lot of dhikr, especially in these days. “There are no days greater in the sight of Allâh…” [Ahmad, 7/224 ]
 So what did the Prophet [sall-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam] tell us to do in these days? That, we need to make the dhikr of tahlîl, tahmîd & takbîr. [Tahlîl [“Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh”], Tahmîd [“Alhamdulillâh”] and Takbîr ["Allâhu Akbâr"]. Ahmad, 7/224

As soon as the announcement of Dhul-Hijjah is made, start your dhikr:
 “Allâhu Akbâr, Allâhu Akbâr, lâ ilâha ill-Allâh, Wallâhu Akbâr. Walilâhilhamd.”

For women, when you are in your homes, raise your voices. You will remind your children, husbands, brothers, etc. Make it like a habit so that you will find yourself doing dhikr automatically. While walking, reclining, working, eating, just keep doing dhikr.
 Send a lot of blessings and salâm upon the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam consistently.

4.      Istighfâr:
Is it possible to gain 1.5 billion hasanât in one minute?  How many Muslim’s are there today? 1.5 billion? By making istighfâr [seeking forgiveness] for all Muslim’s, you can gain 1.5 billion hasanat. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam is reported to have said that when a person seeks forgiveness for all believers, Allâh will write for him a hasanât for every one of those believers. [Classed as hasan by al Albânî ]

Just say ‘Astaghfirullâh’ for yourself and for all the believers, from your heart. Allâh [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] is forgiving & generous.
 Indeed, rahamât are falling down like rain. So try to be under those rahamât. Keep saying ‘astaghfirullâh’, ‘astaghfirullâh’, astaghfirullâh’, keep insisting on it till Allâh forgives you. Start from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah.

5.      Fasting:
 Fast as much as you can during these blessed days. If you can fast all of these days, then do so. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allâh, or greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” Allâh loves the good deeds in these days. Allâh loves siyâm. Put these two beloved things together. You are the doer of the things Allâh loves. He [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] will Love you, bi-idhnillâh.

Regarding fasting on the day of ‘Arâfah, the Prophet [sall-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: “Fasting the day of ‘Arafâh, I hope, will expiate the sins of the year before it and the year to come…” [Muslim, 1976]. So how does this happen? Does this mean that we can fast on that day and for the rest of the year we can do whatever we want of bad deeds? No! It implies that Allâh [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] will help us to abstain from sins. And, if you commit a sin by mistake, He [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] will cancel it due to His promise.

6.      Charity:  Spending for the sake of Allâh!
 Only Allâh knows how many trials & calamities have been pushed away from us, our family and loved ones as a result of our sadaqâh. Allâh knows how many times relief and ease has come to us due to the sadaqâh we gave. Therefore, give in the way of Allâh, as much as you can. Don’t leave any raised hands return empty. Show Allâh that you love Him by spending from that which you love. Show Allâh [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] that all these things mean nothing besides gaining His ridha [pleasure].

 Don’t look and remind yourself of what you have already spent in the past. If Allâh wills, He [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] has accepted and written it for you. Now, think of how you can outdo that sadaqâh during these days. Spend from what you love and Allâh will love you.

7.      Preserve the Ties of Kinship:
 Preserve the ties of kinship for: “No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise.” [Sahîh Muslim]
 If it is difficult for you to call or meet every relative, then send them a message. But write with your heart and with the right intention.

8.      Make the du’â:
“O Allâh, help me to remember You, to give You thanks, and to perform Your worship in the best manner.” [Sahîh Abû Dâwûd, 1/284]

These were just a few of the wonderful things we can do during these best days of Dhul-Hijjah. Therefore, if we want Allâh’s help with these deeds and our schedule for them, we need to do a lot of tawbah. The Salaf as-Sâlih used to say that they would feel prevented from qiyâm al-layl due to their sins. They knew that when they want to do ‘ibâdah and they are unable to do it, it is due sins. So, what do we need to do? A lot of istighfâr with tawbah, real Tawbah! Ask Allâh for help.

 Remember that in these special days and nights, Allâh is sending His special mercy. Do you think that this special mercy will reach everybody? Do you think that it will reach the one who is in front of the TV watching a movie? Or listening to music? Or do you think it will reach the one who is making sujûd, rukû’, tilâwah, making istighfâr, etc.?

We have to show Allâh that we want this special mercy. We need to make ourselves eligible for it.

Wishing you the best
Zakia Usmani

[inspired by a lecture by Shaykh Muhammad Hassan Yaqub from].

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