May Allah (swt) bless the pilgrims who heading towards Makkah and grant them all, Hajj Mabroor. Ameen.
Among the many blessings of Allah (swt), are that the Hajj season falls during a very cool and pleasant time of the year this year, and Inshallah next year as well.
During the first 10 days of Dhull Hijjah, rewards are multiplied many times, and sins are forgiven much more. These are the days in which Allah (swt) gives us yet another chance to worship Him, to ask for forgiveness and correct our faults and make up for our shortcomings.
Just like the last ten nights of Ramadan are the best ten nights out of the whole year, the Ulama tell us that out of the 365 days of the year, these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best days of the year and the most beloved to Allah (swt), as they combine acts of worship in a way unlike any other times.
The Prophet testified to that. He said: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even going out to fight for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." (Bukhaari)
The question is, what do I do on these magnificent days and how can I make the most of this perfect, golden, golden opportunity to earn rewards and Jannah?
Obviously, Hajj is one of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days. However for those of us who were not invited to His House this year, there are still many, many good deeds that one can do and earn the Pleasure of Allah (swt)
Some of these are:
1) Fast all nine days and especially fast the Day of 'Arafah:
The Prophet said: "Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah's pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years." (Bukhari, Muslim)
Just imagine, if you fast these nine days (fasting on Eid is haram), how far your distance will be from hell!
The Prophet used to fast on the ninth day of Dhu'l-Hijjah and he said: "Fasting the Day of 'Arafah (ninth Dhul-hijjah) is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and an expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year." (Muslim)
2) Do a lot of Dhikr and Takbeer:
The Prophet said: "There are no days on which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allaah than on these ten days, so recite much Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah), Takbeer (saying Allaahu akbar) and Tahmeed (saying al-hamdu Lillaah)." (Ahmad -Saheeh)
Ibn 'Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. (Bukhari)
Takbeer at this time is a Sunnah that has mostly been forgotten, especially during the first few days. So say it in the masjid, in your home, on the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allaah. Revive the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten and earn great rewards for doing so.
The Prophet said: "Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward." (Tirmidhi- a hasan hadeeth)
Obviously, men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.
3) Stand in Night Prayers:
Remember the virtues of spending the night in prayer, and its sweetness in Ramadan?! Why not revive this beautiful act of worship during these nights as well?!
Remember, how in the last third of every night, Allah Almighty calls out to us, His servants:
Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him? (Bukhari, Muslim)
Why do we miss this golden opportunity? So, seize the chance NOW and expose yourself to His Divine Generosity and Mercy, ask Him to forgive you and guide you and set things aright. He will surely listen.
4)Make Sincere Repentance:
One of the best and most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah (swt) and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin right away because we do not know when we will die, and also because one evil deed leads to another.
But what does 'repentance' exactly mean?
It means that you come back to Allah and give up all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes.... that you regret whatever you did in the past, giving it up immediately and be determined never ever, to return to it, and resolve to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing whatever Allah (swt) loves.
5) Come back to the Qur'an:
It is time now to dust off your copy of the Qur'an and return to its refuge.Make it a daily habit, using these 10 days the beginning of a strong and beautiful relationship with it. Read it with meaning, understand it, and then implement it and change your lives for the better, as much as you can. Remember that reading one letter of the Qur'an earns you 10 rewards. In this way, reading Surat Al-Fatihah,which doesn't take more than two minutes will give you more than one thousand rewards! This is on ordinary days, so what about these magnificent days! Certainly the reward will be far greater, Insha Allaah.
6) Generally increase in doing ALL good deeds:
We should strive in doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allaah and will bring us closer to Him. So if we are not able to go to Hajj this year, we should occupy ourselves during these blessed days by worshipping Allaah, praying extra prayers, reading Qur'aan, remembering Allah (swt), sending Salaams on the Prophet , making dua, giving charity, honoring our parents, upholding ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.
You may be unable to do Hajj this year, and you may feel sad because you are deprived of the great reward of Hajj. But you can achieve a similar reward in whatever place you may be.
The Prophet said: "Whoever prays Fajr Prayer in congregation, and then sits and remembers Allah until the sun rises, then (after a while) prays two rak'as, he will gain a reward equal to that of making perfect Hajj and Umrah." [He repeated the word "perfect" thrice.] (At-Tirmidhi)
Isn't that easy, Alhamdulillah?
8) Slaughter an animal and distribute the meat:
Ibn Umar said: The Prophet lived in Madeenah for 10 years and every year he slaughtered an animal." (Ahmad-Saheeh by al-Albaani)
9) Attend Eid prayers:
But remember that Eid prayer is a form of worship and we shouldn't be doing things that are unIslaamic (especially) during these times.
10) Thank Allah (swt):
One of the biggest forms of worshipping Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala is to thank Him, deeply, sincerely and continuously. After all, it is He who gave you every single thing that is in you, on you or around you. In fact, you wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for the Mercy of your Creator. So thank Him for ALL that He gave you, the Islaam that He gave you, the very life He gave you. And thank Him for the chance that He gives you in these ten days, to ask for forgiveness and guidance.
Alhamdulillah, there is much to be gained in these coming days. So make the most of this perfect opportunity offered by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to do good deeds and appreciate this blessing and make the most of it, striving hard in worship.