Marhaba Dhul-Hijjah!

Hajj season is upon us as today starts the first day of the ten holiest days of any month in the year. It is Dhul Hijjah, a time for us to intensify our worship. Though much emphasis is put on Ramadan, its last ten days, and its Eid, there aren’t any days more blessed than these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The Prophet Mohammed (saws) said: “There aren’t any days greater, nor any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah Most High, than these ten days. So, increase in them the saying of Tahleel (La ilaha il Allah), and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah)” (Ahmad). He (saws) also said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things” (Bukhari).

Perhaps it is because these first ten days are a period of sacrifice in order to remember the important things in life. Prophet Ibrahim (as) spent these days willing to sacrifice his then-only son, Ismail (as). Ibrahim’s (as) wife, Hajar, spent these days sacrificing her health in order to find water for a crying baby Ismail (as). It is a sacrifice for those Muslims who have journeyed from all parts of the world to one central place for the sole purpose of worshiping Allah alone. And it is a sacrifice for us still at home, fasting the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah in order to have sins past and present forgiven as the Prophet (saws) said: “Fasting the Day of Arafat (the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah) will be credited with Allah by forgiving one’s sins of the previous year and the following year” (Muslim).

So whether at hajj or home, we have been given a great opportunity to sacrifice our time to remember the example of those noble prophets who have paved the way for us. The Prophet Muhammad’s (saws) Last Sermon was given on the Day of Arafat, seventy-two days before his death during his one and only pilgrimage to the Sacred House–and his message rings loud and clear to this day, urging us to make the most of not only these ten days, but the rest of our lives in service to the Divine.

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