The Prophet (PBUH) said, “There is no deed that is better in the sight of Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) 10 days of Al-Adha”. It was asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for Jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari.
Allah (SWT) blessed the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) with opportunities to reap rewards and blessings every day of the year. The last 10 nights of Ramadan (the month of fasting) are among the most blessed nights of the year; in particular Laylatul-Qadr (the night of power) is extremely sacred. Similarly, the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijja (the 12th Islamic calendar month) carry special status during the blessed month of “Pilgrimage.” The above Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) spells out the importance of these 10 days in the sight of Allah (SWT) and the amplified reward for all good deeds during this blessed season.
Just like the last 10 nights of Ramadan are the best 10 nights out of the year, these first 10 days of Dhul-Hijja are the best days of the year and the most beloved to Allah as they combine acts of worship in a way unlike any other time.
Hence, the mind boggling questions are: “How do we make the most of this season of blessings?”, “What deeds can I perform to attain His pleasure?”
The following are some examples of the acts of worship that will help us gain His pleasure.
- Perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Obviously, Hajj is one of the best deeds that one can do during these 10 days. However, for those of us who were not invited to His House this year, due to financial constrain, there are still many more ways to earn the pleasure of Allah.
- Fast all nine days and especially on 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) 70 years.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijja and he said: “Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah (ninth Dhul-Hijja) is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year.” (Muslim)
- Perform Dhikr and Takbeer
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are no days on which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allah than on these 10 days, so recite much Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (saying Alhamdu Lillaah).” (Ahmad -Saheeh)
Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out in the marketplace during the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijja, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. (Bukhari)
Takbeer at this time is a Sunnah (practice of the Prophet) that has mostly been forgotten, especially during the first few days. So, say it in the masjid (mosque), in your home, on the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah. Revive the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten and earn great rewards for doing so.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) 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- Hasan)
- Stand the Night in Prayer
Seeking Allah’s forgiveness and humbling ourselves in front of Him in supplication and prayers during the latter part of the night is an act of worship that is very beloved to Allah (SWT).
Allah Almighty calls out to His servants in the latter part of the night: “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?” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
We should seize this opportunity and beg Him for His Divine Generosity and Mercy. We should ask Him as our Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us “Our Lord, bless us with the best of this world and the best of hereafter and save us from the fire of Hell.”
- Make Sincere Repentance
Allah loves those who repent to Him in complete submission. The act of sincere repentance to Allah with intention to never return to His disobedience and sin is very dear to Him. Return to Allah by giving up all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes. Be regretful of your sins and disobedience and resolve to never return to sin and to firmly adhere to the path which Allah loves.
Allah says, “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” (Al-Qasas 28:67)
- Return to Book of Allah (The Quran)
It is time to dust off your copy of the Quran. Establish a beautiful new relationship with the book of Allah starting in these 10 days of Dhul-Hijja. Recite its verses and you will reap its blessings. Understand its message. Implement the commandments of this book in your life. This relationship with the Quran will open for you the doors of wisdom and happiness in your life. This will ultimately lead to guidance and success in this life and the Hereafter.
- Increase in doing ALL good deeds
If you are not able to perform Hajj this year, occupy yourself during these blessed days by any and every possible good deed. Every act that is done with sincerity for the pleasure of Allah will bring you closer to Him.
“So, whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it; and whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.“(Al-Zalzalah 99:7-8)
- Attend Eid prayers
Attending Eid prayers is from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). We should be keen in practicing this Sunnah and performing it according to the teachings of our Prophet(peace be upon him). Eid is a time of joy and happiness and we should be inclusive of all of our brothers and sisters who may not be as fortunate to have enough to enjoy this blessed occasion.
- Slaughtering of ram
Slaughtering of animal is one of the rites of Eid-il-Adha and it’s traditional for adherents to see the imam raised the knife after slaughtering at the eid ground. ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that it is part of the etiquettes of Eid for Muslims to witness the slaughtering of ram by the imam before Muslim faithful can slaughter theirs. Anybody that slaughters his ram before the imam has not slaughtered for the sake of Eid. Hence it will not be accepted by Allah.
Confirming this, Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) said in an authentic narration, “Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before the Imam, let him slaughter another in its place, and whoever didn’t slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allah.”
In Islam, animal slaughtering is symbolic, confirming the obedience and submission to Allah as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim. Allah (SWT) dedicates a surah (chapter) to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in the Qur’an (chapter 14), where the story of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, when God ordered him to do so, was narrated.
The story of Ibrahim and Ismail
The Prophet Ibrahim (May Allah’s peace be upon him) was without an offspring until 70. Despite being childless, he remained steadfast on the Path of Allah, until Allah granted his prayers. Qur’an narrates, “My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.” Allah (SWT) gave him glad tidings of a forbearing boy, named, Ismail. “And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allah). So, look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, in sha’Allah (if Allah wills), you’ll find me of As-Sabirun (the patient).
The verses continue, “Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); We called out to him; “O Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the dream! Verily, thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers)…And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (a ram).” Surah As-Saffat (Q37: 100-106)
That’s the story of Eid, the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar after Eid-il-Fitr. How Allah, in His Majesty, replaced the slaughtering of Ismail with a ram for Ibrahim at the time of sacrifice. Generations after generations, Allah raised Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the zeal of all Prophets and Messengers, from among the Arabs, the progeny of Ismail and Ibrahim. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also asked by his Companions about Qurbani (the sacrifice of Eid), he said, “It is the Sunnah (Path) of your father, Ibrahim (A.S).”
Following Allah’s injunctions…
It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning of sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: That’s why Allah says, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)
Every Muslim is expected to exhibit piety, especially when it comes to sharing of ram meat. The meat should be shared according to Islamic injunction, specifically between three people; one’s own family, friends and the poor, who could not afford to buy. It is however disheartening to see today’s Muslims who ignore this ruling and follow their self desires. While some abhor the meat for number of days, while it’s expected to be distributed within three days, others run into debt all in the name of slaughtering ram, whereas Allah does not place burden on His servants. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) slaughtered three rams, where he said, “One for me and my family, another one for my Companions and the third for my ummah (community) who can’t afford to slaughter a ram.”
…Shaytan, the Accused Devil
The successes recorded by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) didn’t come on a platter of gold. He went through trails from Shaytan, the accused Devil when attempting to sacrifice his son, Ismail. According to the Qur’an, Devil appeared to him three times at a site called Al-Jamara and tried to tempt him away from Allah’s orders. At each of the appearances, Angel Jibril (Gabriel) told Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to pelt the devil. Thus, the basis of the significance and rite of hajj ritual. All three Jamarat pillars in Mecca represent Shaytan and the three times that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was seduced by the devil when he was going to sacrifice Ismail. Throwing small pebbles at the pillars symbolize Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) rejection of Shaytan’s whispers. Pilgrims are expected to fling pebbles on the Al-Jamara, on the Day of Eid, after descending from Mount Arafat.
There are lessons to learn from the story of Mount Arafat. Many might wonder why the need for ascending and descending the Mount? First, Yaomal- Arafat (Day of Arafat) is arguably the best day of the year, just like the month of Ramadan, being the best month in the Islamic calendar.
It is a granite hill where Prophet Ibrahim stood to call people to the part of Allah, chatted “Allahuma Labayke” (At your service, Oh, Allah). It was also at the plains of Mount Arafat that the first man to be created, Adam re-united with his wife Hawwa (Eve) after they were sent out of Paradise by Allah. Because of it importance, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also stood and delivered the farewell sermon to the Muslims who accompanied him to Hajj towards the end of life. According to the rite of Hajj, pilgrims are expected to spend the whole day on Arafat, supplicating to Allah to forgive their sins, and chanting, “Allahuma Labayke” (At your service, Oh Allah) several times.
Meanwhile, the Moon Sighting committee of Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday September 15, 2015, as the first day of Dhul Hujjah. The beginning of the “great 10 days” in Islam.
The day of A’rafah is Wednesday, September 23, 2015. While the first day of Eidul Adha, otherwise known as Ileya is Thursday, September 24, 2015.
DOS AND DON’TS OF EID AL-ADHA
1 – Taking a bath before going out for the prayer
Al- Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said that the Muslims were unanimously agreed that it is recommendable to take a bath for the `Eid prayer.
The reason it is desirable is the same reason for taking a bath before Jumu`ah and other public gatherings. Rather, on `Eid the reason is even stronger.
2 – Eating after the prayer on `Eid al-Adha
On `Eid al-Adha it is recommended not to eat anything until one comes back from the prayer, so he should eat from the udhiyah (sacrifice) if he has offered a sacrifice. If he is not going to offer a sacrifice, there is nothing wrong with eating before the prayer.
3 – Takbir on the Day of `Eid
This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of `Eid because Allah says:
(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)
The time for Takbir on `Eid Al-Adha begins on the first day of Dhul-Hijjah and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of Tashriq.
4 – Offering Congratulations
The etiquette of `Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people, no matter the wording, such as saying to one another “Taqabbala Allah minna wa minkum” (May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “`Eid mubarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.
It was narrated that Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: When the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) met one another on the day of `Eid, they would say to one another, “May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you.”
Undoubtedly, these congratulations are among the noble characteristics among the Muslims.
5 – Adorning oneself on the occasion of `Eid.
It was narrated that Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) had a cloak which he would wear on the two `Eids and on Fridays.
So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for `Eid. With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for `Eid, because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-Mahram men. It is also haram for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship.
6 – Going to the prayer by one route and returning by another.
It was narrated that Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “On the day of `Eid, the Prophet used to vary his route.” (Al-Bukhari)
It was said that the reason for that was so that the two routes would testify for him on the Day of Resurrection, for the earth will speak on the Day of Resurrection and say what was done on it, both good and bad. And it was said that it was in order to manifest the symbols of Islam on both routes, or to manifest the remembrance of Allah.
Countless innovations have been introduced to the celebration, depending on countries. Below are some of the don’t; forbidden practices muslims must eschew during Eid.
1) Count-down using gregorian calendar.
Some ignorant muslims stand up in the night counting down to 12 midnight (am) using gregorian calendar. It’s not allowed in Islam. it is the practice of non-believers.
2) Special night prayer on eve of Eid
Standing up on Salah eve to have special prayers is not allowed in Islam. Muslims are to wake up for these prayers whether or not it is the day of eid. Attaching special importance to the prayer on this day is disallowed.
- Attending unlawful Eid fiesta.
This act is very common in Nigeria, where muslim male and female intermingle; mix-up together all in the name of fiesta and entertainment. At such function, some serve alcoholic drinks! That is haram, whether with Muslims or non-Muslims. If you do this, you are reducing your blessings of the day and sinning against Allah (SWT).
- RASHEED ABUBAKAR