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Another sacred season is here

Dhul-Hijjah, which is the twelfth and last month in the Islamic lunar calendar, is here. It is the month during which pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj),…

Dhul-Hijjah, which is the twelfth and last month in the Islamic lunar calendar, is here. It is the month during which pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj), which is the fifth pillar of Islam, is performed. Muslims are also required to observe Eidul Ad-ha and offer animal sacrifices on the tenth day of this month. One of the virtues of Dhul-Hijjah is its mention as one of the months during which war is prohibited; thus making it a sacred month. Other months (al-Ash-hurul Hurum) in which war is prohibited include Dhul-Qa’dah (which is the month preceding Dhul-Hijjah); Muharram (which is the month succeeding Dhul-Hijjah); and the month of Rajab. Allah (SWT) states in Qur’an 2: 217 “They ask thee concerning fighting in the prohibited month; Say: Fighting therein is a grave (offence)…” 

The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, according to the Prophet (SAW), is a virtuous season. In an announcement by the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, Thursday June 30, 2022 was declared 1st Dhul-Hijjah. Today, Saturday July 2, 2022 is, therefore, the third day of Dhul-Hijjah, 1443AH. It is reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said “No days are as virtuous and beloved to Allah in the observance of righteous deeds as these days (i.e. the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah)”. When this was heard, some people asked the Prophet (SAW) whether the virtuousness of these ten days supersedes fighting (Jihad) for the cause of Allah. The Prophet (SAW) replied in the affirmative; explaining that the virtues in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah exceed those of fighting in Allah’s cause except for a man who left home to fight in the cause of Allah with his life and wealth but returned with nothing (of his wealth). 

The Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) encourages Muslims, who can, to observe voluntary fast during the entire period of this sacred season (1st to 9th of Dhul-Hijjah ( and morning of 10th). It is also reported on the authority of Ibn Umar (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) “No day is greater in virtue and more beloved to Allah for a believer to engage in (Allah’s) worship than the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Muslims are, therefore, exhorted to do much of Tahlil (saying of: La ilaha illa llah); Takbir (saying of: Allahu Akbar); and Tahmid (saying of: Alhamdu lillah). The credit is ours if, during this holy season, we increase the rate of our recitation of the holy Qur’an. Ibn Abbas (RA) explains that the verse “…And celebrate the name of Allah through the days appointed” as cited in Qur’an 22:28 refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. 

Imam Bukhari relates that Ibn Umar (RA) and Abu Hurayrah both used to glorify Allah (SWT) saying “Allahu Akbar” even as they went to the market during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Imam Attirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi all relate on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the virtues of worshipping Allah in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are beloved to Allah (SWT) so much that fasting for a day in the period is equivalent to fasting for a year just as standing in worship for a night during this period is equated to standing in worship on the Night of Power (Laylat ul-Qadr). 

The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is usually the Arafat Day in which Muslims on pilgrimage to Makkah stand on mount Arafat to glorify Allah. This is another special and virtuous day in Islam. The Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) encourages believers to observe voluntary fast on this particular day. Fasting on Arafat day is, however, exclusively for non-pilgrims (i.e. Muslims who are not performing Hajj). All the six authentic compliers of hadith (except Buhari and Tirmidhi) relate on the authority of Abi Qatadah (RA) that fasting on Arafat Day expiates for two years of sins. The Arafat day this year comes up on Friday, July 8, 2022. 

On the cutting of hair or nails during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, Imam Muslim reports that the Prophet (SAW) said, “If one of you intends to sacrifice an animal on the day of Eidul Ad-ha, then he/she should not cut the hair and the nails (until after offering the sacrifice on the Eid day)”. However, scholars opine that it is not haram (forbidden) to cut the hair or nails if necessities arise. Observing this Sunnah helps believers to achieve greater reward as their hair and nails will be counted as good deeds along with the hair of their sacrificial animal.

We encourage Muslims to, during these ten days; spend in charity and share with the poor part of what Allah has given us. The intention behind the act of kindness, not the amount is what matters. Allah states in Qur’an 65:7 “Let the man of means spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are limited should spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him…” Charity in the language of the Qur’an is “a beautiful loan to Allah”. What a beautiful ‘loan’ when Allah returns it to us!

As Muslims, it pays for us to take good advantage of this season with the same enthusiasm and commitment we usually demonstrate in the last ten days of Ramadan.  It is a season of worship; and a season to get closer to Allah (SWT) with acts of sincere devoution. Dhul-Hijjah is an opportunity for us to seek Allah’s intervention in the critical challenges that are bedevilling us as a nation including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, inflation, and unemployment. 

Let us observe fast in this virtuous season of Dhul-Hijjah and engage much in the glorification of Allah’s beautiful names. Let us turn to Allah (SWT) in true repentance from our sins; promising to, henceforth, remain righteous and obedient servants. Let us pray to Allah (SWT) to guide our leaders aright; giving them the wisdom to find feasible solutions to our collective and individual challenges. May Allah (SWT) guide us to take advantage of the sacred days in Dhul-Hijjah, amin.