Allah, in His infinite Mercy and Wisdom, in Surah Al-Fajr, ayah 2, swears by the daybreak and the ten nights in which He has given an opportunity to gain great reward. It is the time of the year when excitement in the heart of a believer stirs as he seeks any opportunity to do good and hastens towards it. What’s so special about this time of the year?

It’s the First Ten Days (and Nights) of the month of Dhul Hijjah. It is reported by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah…” (Al-Bukhari).

These first ten days coincide with the days of Hajj as the pillars are performed by the hujjaj in and around Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Though you may not be participating in these rites of Hajj alongside them as they enter the state of ihram, walk around the Ka’aba, visit the tents of Mina, sleep in the plain of Muzdalifah, stone the Jamaraat, Muslims all over the world should unite in solidarity with them and set aside time and effort to increase in worship and performing good deeds. Why miss out on the immense rewards when we can gain the pleasure of Allah without the visa this Hajj season. Here is a checklist of the deeds you can do:

Best 10 Days Checklist:

__Make constant Dikhr – La ilaha il Allah, Subhan Allah, Alhamdulilah, Allahu Akbar

__Recite the Takbeeraat  – Allahu Akbar x4 La ilaha il Allahu wAllahu Akbar wa lilahil hamd

__Thank Allah – you are a Muslim, clothed, fed, sheltered and mobile

__Fast – “Fasting is a Shield…” (Al-Bukhari)

__Make du’a – for yourself, your family, your community, your nation, your ummah

__Recite the Qur’an – and memorize it, contemplate it, understand it, exemplify it

__Give in Charity – money, time, talent, energy, smiles

__Call/Meet Family Members – they have the greatest rights on you

__Perform Acts of Kindness– praise your spouse, comfort the elderly, gift your neighbour, thank the mailman

__Offer Nawafil Prayers (Ishraq/Tahajjud) – even if the last time you did was in Ramadan

__ Show Good Ikhlaaq The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: There is nothing heavier than good character put in the Scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu Dawood)

__ Be a Good Doer– Forgive First, Spread Salaams, Do Someone Else’s Chores, Visit the Sick, Recycle – “…Allah is with the Muhsineen – Good Doers” (Surah A’nkaboot ayah 69)

Fasting the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah is highly recommended and a source of tremendous reward but the ninth day, or Yaum al ‘Arafah, has been especially noted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as an opportunity for seeking repentance. Abu Hafsah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year” (Muslim). In Makkah, the hujjaj stand at ‘Arafah, the Mountain of Mercy, calling upon Allah, seeking His mercy and forgiveness. Likewise, Muslims not performing hajj can follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and revive this Sunnah of fasting as well as being forgiven for past and future sins.

The last and final day of Dhul Hijjah is the day of Eid. The hujjaj stone the pillars of jamaraat and offer sacrifice. Near and far, in your local neighborhoods and in your home countries Muslims participate in the ritual of slaughtering an animal as sacrifice. Eid ul Adha is a day of feasts, spending time with family, exchanging gifts and sharing the meat of sacrifice with those less fortunate. These deeds, if done with the right intention, can be a source of great reward on the last day of what are considered the “Best Ten Days of the Year”. The one who is eager to do what is most loved to Allah, he hastens to take advantage of these days. May Allah make us from those who benefit from the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and give us manifold reward for even an atom’s weight of good done in it. Ameen. How will you spend these ten days?