By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
Dear brothers and sisters, In Shaa Allah we will soon have one of these golden opportunities and embrace a noble guest that will stay with us for ten days. That guest is the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. The ten great and blessed days. Allah Almighty favoured them over the other days. He the Almighty took an oath by them in His Great Book, Al-Qur’an. He said:
“By the dawn. And by ten nights.” [Qur’an, 89: 1-2]
And Allah Almighty designated them for His remembrance:
“That they may witness [i.e., attend] benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known [i.e., specific] days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals.” [Qur’an, 22: 27]
These known days are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. And Allah Almighty has chosen that performing righteous deeds during them is more virtuous than any other days. As was narrated in Sahih Bukhari that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are no ten days during which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days (meaning the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah) They said: Not even striving in the cause of Allah (jihad)? He said: Not even striving in the cause of Allah (jihad), unless a man goes out with himself and his wealth and does not bring anything back.” [Bukhari]
Respected brothers and sisters, in these blessed ten days make plenty of remembrance of Allah Almighty, for your Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) commanded you to do so. As is in the Hadith of Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) who said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are no days greater with Allah in which the righteous deeds performed in them are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days, so make plenty of Tahlil, Takbir and Tahmid.” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]
And Abu Hurairah and Ibn Umar used to go the marketplace in the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) and make Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) and the people would follow them in making Takbir.
And sacrifice (Udhiyyah/Layyah) is a virtuous act and thankful endeavour. And an expenditure for the sake of Allah that will be reimbursed. Also, the person sacrificing an animal benefits from its meat. And Allah Almighty’s appreciation for it. For He Almighty is the one who bestowed it and He is the one Who compensates for it and He does not take from it anything. Allah Almighty said:
“Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good.” [Qur’an, 22: 37]
And whoever intends to offer a sacrifice should refrain from cutting his hair and nails starting from the first night preceding the ten days for what was related in the Hadith narrated by Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever wants to offer a sacrifice when Dhul-Hijjah begins, let him not remove anything from his hair or nails.” [Muslim]
Dear servants of Allah, we should take advantage of the virtuous and blessed times that Allah Almighty has singled out for His great rituals. Therefore, we magnify them just as our Lord the Exalted magnified them. And we single them out for extra acts of worship. And it is a loss and what a loss if we are neglectful of these ten days and do what Allah Almighty has prohibited. And perhaps these ten days will be the last blessed season that we will come across in our lives. Death may strike us at any moment. Allah the Most High said:
“The Day every soul will find what it has done of good present [before it] and what it has done of evil, it will wish that between itself and that [evil] was a great distance. And Allah warns you of Himself, and Allah is Kind to [His] servants.” [Qur’an, 3: 30]
Muslim brothers and sisters, there are many virtues of these great days. And some of them have characteristics that others do not have, like the day of Arafah and the day of Sacrifice. And let me discuss about the day of Arafah and what it contains of virtue. So that we know its value, its honour and its sanctity. So that we do not waste a moment of it.
And when Arafah is mentioned, the eyes well with tears at the sight of the pilgrims, while they are in Arafah, invoking and supplicating Allah. Rejoicing over them, being happy for them and longing for the sacred sites.
Indeed the day of Arafah is from the days of the sacred months. And it is from the ten favoured days. And it is from the known days indicated in the Qur’anic verse:
“That they may witness [i.e., attend] benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known [i.e., specific] days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals.” [Qur’an, 22:28]
And Allah Almighty took an oath by it in His Noble Book that indicates its virtue and significance.
“And [by] the witness and what is witnessed.” [Qur’an, 85: 3]
And it is the day of perfecting the religion and completing the favour. As is in the Hadith of Umar Bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that Tariq Bin Shihab narrated that:
“A Jewish man came to Umar Bin Al-Khattab and said: ‘O Commander of the Believers! There is a Verse in your Book which you recite; if it had been revealed to us Jews we would have taken that day as a holiday.’ He said: ‘Which Verse is that?’ He said: ‘This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. [Qur’an, 5: 3]’ Umar said: ‘I know the place where it was revealed and the day on which it was revealed. It was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) at Arafah, on a Friday.” [Bukhari]
And it is also an Eid for the Muslims. As in the Hadith narrated by Uqbah Bin Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The day of Arafah and the day of sacrifice and the days of At-Tashriq are our Eid, people of Islam, and they are days of eating and drinking.” [Sahih Al-Jami’ of Albani]
And it is the day of boasting about the people who are at Arafah as was indicated in the Hadith of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Indeed Allah boasts to the occupants of the heavens about the people of Arafah. He says to them: “Look at my servants who have come to me disheveled, dusty.” [Sahih Al-Jami of Albani]
And it is the day of ransoming from the fire as indicated in the Hadith narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“There is no day on which Allah ransoms more servants from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He draws closer and closer, then He boasts about them before the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?” [Muslim]
And it is the day of supplicating. And the day of moistening the tongues and hearts with the phrase of Tawhid as indicated in the Hadith related by Talhah Bin Ubaidullah Bin Kariz that Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“The best supplication is that of the Day of Arafah, and the best that anyone can say is what I and the Prophets before me have said: Laa ilaaha illallahu wahdahu laa sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa alaa kulli shai’in qadir. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone, Who has no partner. His is the dominion and His is the praise, and He is Able to do all things.” [At-Tirmidhi]
The apparent is that the merit of supplication is not restricted to those staying in Arafah only. Acceptance is more hopeful for them than others due to them wearing Ihram and being in the purest of places. At the same time, supplicating with the phrase of Tawhid in the Hadith is not specific to the people of Arafah. Rather, people throughout the world should say it a lot on that great day.
And it is as if supplicating plentifully through the phrase of Tawhid on the Day of Arafah is to confirm the fulfillment of the covenant that Allah Almighty took from mankind before their existence on earth. And it is mentioned in the Hadith of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Allah took the covenant from Adam’s back in Na‘man, that is Arafah, and brought forth from his loins all his offspring whom He created and scattered between His Hands like atoms. He then turned to them saying, “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.” Or [lest] you say, “It was only that our fathers associated [others in worship] with Allah before, and we were but descendants after them. Then would You destroy us for what the falsifiers have done?” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]
So it is appropriate for the tongues of believers to recite the phrase of Tawhid on that great day. Also, on Arafah, Muslims wherever they are should make plenty of remembrance and supplication.
So – servants of Allah – strive in remembrance and supplication. Perhaps the Mercy of Allah will touch you on the Day of Arafah. So a person should not deny themselves Allah’s favour and goodness on that great day.
And for those performing Hajj, is the triumph of staying in Arafah – the greatest pillar of Hajj. Nonetheless, for those not performing Hajj is fasting on that great day. And fasting it expiates the sins of two years as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Fasting the day of Arafah, I anticipate, will expiate for the sins of the previous year and the year after it.” [Muslim]
Respected servants of Allah, the Eid of Adha is the biggest and best Eid of the Muslims. Because it is within the best and most noble days. And it contains the most and greatest devotional rites. And sacrifice is ordained in it and it is among the best and most honourable of deeds. And it is from the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as was related in the Hadith of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) sacrificed two black-and-white rams and I saw him putting his foot on their sides and pronouncing the Name of Allah and proclaiming His greatness. He slaughtered them with his own hand.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
And let us avoid the sacrificial animals that have defects. For it is an offering for the sake of Allah. And let us choose the best and fattest animal as Abu Umamah Bin Sahl said:
“We use to fatten the sacrificial animals in Madinah, and the Muslims would gain weight.”
And whoever decides on the Day of Sacrifice or afterwards to sacrifice can do so. Likewise, someone who initially could not afford to sacrifice but then found enough money to do so can also sacrifice. And one sacrificial animal is sufficient for one household. And it is a worship and a means of getting closer to Allah. And boasting and bragging are not permissible.
And it is not permitted to fast on the days of tashriq, which are the three days after Eid (the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) for what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said about them:
“The days of tashriq are days of eating and drinking and remembrance of Allah.” [Muslim]
Dear brothers and sisters, the season has come upon you. So be cautious of neglecting it. The season has come upon you, so be among the forerunners and not among the laggards. So perhaps Allah will glance at you with mercy. And rectify your wife and children. And perhaps Allah will glance at you with mercy and open for you through one righteous deed doors of righteous deeds that you were not able to perform previously. And perhaps Allah will glance at you with mercy and accept your supplication and rectify your religious affairs, your worldly affairs and your hereafter.
We are living in an honoured period and a blessed season. And soon the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah will arrive. And they are blessed days and the best time to gain goodness and righteous deeds. Allah Almighty singled them out with characteristics and distinguished them with virtues.
When a believer reflects on the virtues of these ten days, it reinvigorates his heart and soul towards the obedience of Allah, the Exalted and Most High, worshipping Him in the best fashion, and turning to Him in the best possible way.
From the virtues of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah is that Allah Almighty selected them as the best days of the year as indicated in authentic Hadiths. Just as the last ten nights of Ramadan are the best nights of the year. And Allah creates what He wills and chooses. So He made the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah the best days.
And from the characteristics and virtues of these days is that Allah took an oath by them to honour them and elevate their importance.
And from the virtues of these days is that they are the best days for the righteous deeds. For there is no better time to draw closer to Allah through acts of worship like these honoured virtuous days.
And from the virtues of these ten days, is that the principal acts of obedience come together on these days and they do not come together on any of the other days of the year. In these days are Prayer, Fasting, Hajj, Zakah and other great worships, acts of obedience and deeds for drawing closer to Allah. And these acts of worship do not occur at the same time except during this honourable and virtuous time.
And from their virtue, is that Allah Almighty made it a season for Hajj to His sacred house. And He made distinguished days within them. In these ten days is the Day of Tarwiyyah which is the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah. And it is the day when pilgrims go from Makkah to Mina proclaiming the call of Hajj:
“Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner.” [Muslim]
And during these ten days is the Day of Arafah. And it is the best day on which the sun rises. And for those not performing Hajj there is great reward in fasting it as was narrated by Abu Qatadah that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Fasting on the Day of Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
And in these ten days is the Day of Sacrifice. And it is the best day in the sight of Allah as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The best day in the sight of Allah is the Day of Sacrifice.” [Sahih al-Jami’]
These are some of the virtues of these great and virtuous days. So what will we put worth? Will our condition on these days be like the other days of the year? Have we realised the value of these days and their place and virtue? Or are they and the rest of the days of the year equal? Will our hearts be moved in these days to repenting, turning to Allah and eagerness to obey Him?
Traders of this worldly life do not let a profitable season pass by just like that. Rather they prepare for it in the best possible fashion by buying goods, displaying merchandise, spending time and exerting great efforts. And this is a profitable season for traders of the hereafter. So what will our state be within these ten days?
Indeed the weakness of a person’s Iman (faith), and his accumulated sins deprive him of goodness. So we should receive these ten days with repentance to Allah. And make the most of these ten days by being diligent and striving in worship. And turning to Allah in the best fashion and making plenty of supplication.
And making much remembrance of Allah the Almighty. For these ten days are a great season for the remembrance of Allah, as Allah Almighty said:
“And mention the name of Allah on known [i.e., specific] days.” [Qur’an, 22: 28]
Ibn Abbas and others said that the known days are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
It is incumbent upon us to safeguard these virtuous times with much remembrance of Allah – the Exalted and Most High – and plentiful supplications and seeking forgiveness. And adherence to acts of obedience and worship, especially the obligatory ones.
For this reason, the Muslim should give particular attention on these ten days to going to the congregation early for the five daily prayers and offer them on time, with devotion and humility, with tranquility and remembrance of Allah, hoping for the mercy of his Lord and fearing His torment.
Dear brothers and sisters, be conscious of Allah Almighty. And be mindful of Him in public and private, and while seen and while unseen. Be mindful of Him like the one knowing that his Lord hears him and sees him.
Allah Almighty has made Eid the conclusion and ending of these blessed ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. It is a celebration for Muslims to rejoice with great joy for what Allah has facilitated for them in these ten days of acts of obedience, worships and deeds to draw nearer to Him.
For that reason, Muslims meet on the day of Eid, whether they performed Hajj or not, and congratulate one other with what the noble companions said:
“May Allah accept from us and you.” [See Tamam Al-Minna of Albani, page 354]
And this is a phrase that has impact, weight, and standing among those who competed in worship and acts of obedience.
And as for the one who comes on the day of Eid, lost and neglectful, overwhelmed by sins and misdeeds, then on what is he congratulating? And on what basis is it said to him: may Allah accept from us and you?
For that reason, we should take the day of Eid into account by preparing righteous deeds and acts of obedience. So that we rejoice on the day of Eid for having performed them seeking to draw closer to Allah in the best possible fashion.
The wise person is the one who controls himself, and works for what is after death. And the heedless person is the one who follows his desires and has wishful hopes of Allah.
Lastly, I ask Allah, the Most High to grant us success and enable us to be correct in what we say or write.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul-Qa’dah 20, 1444 AH (June 09, 2023).
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