The Islamic calendar is adorned with sacred months, each carrying its own significance and blessings. Among these esteemed months is Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Dhul Hijjah holds immense holiness and is particularly revered due to its association with the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, known as Hajj. This month presents Muslims with a unique opportunity for spiritual growth, worship, and reflection, as emphasized in the Quran and Hadith. Let us explore the sanctity of Dhul Hijjah and the virtues it holds for believers, as supported by the divine scriptures and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are considered the most blessed days of the entire year, as mentioned in the Quran: “By the dawn, and by the ten nights” (Quran 89:1-2). Scholars, such as Ibn Abbas, Ibn Kathir, and others, have identified these ten nights as the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. This divine declaration underscores the importance of these days and serves as a reminder for Muslims to seize the opportunity for increased worship and devotion.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also emphasized the virtues of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. He said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days” (Sunan Ibn Majah). This Hadith encourages Muslims to engage in acts of worship, such as fasting, recitation of the Quran, voluntary prayers, giving charity, and seeking forgiveness during this blessed period.
Moreover, the performance of Hajj, which takes place during Dhul Hijjah, is a pinnacle of spiritual devotion for Muslims. Allah mentions the importance of Hajj in the Quran: “And Hajj to the House [Ka’bah] is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses” (Quran 3:97). The pilgrimage to Makkah is a means of purifying the soul, seeking forgiveness, and demonstrating unity and equality among Muslims.
For those unable to perform Hajj, the month of Dhul Hijjah still offers opportunities for worship and reflection. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged fasting on the Day of Arafah, which falls on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah. He said, “Fasting on the Day of Arafah expiates the sins of the previous year and the coming year” (Sahih Muslim). This Hadith highlights the immense reward and purification attained through fasting on this auspicious day.
Additionally, the act of Qurbani (sacrifice) during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah holds great significance. It is derived from the actions of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son Ismail (AS), as mentioned in the Quran: “So, We gave him the good news of a forbearing boy. And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, ‘O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.’ He said, ‘O my father, do as you are commanded'” (Quran 37:101-102). This act of obedience and submission is commemorated by Muslims worldwide, symbolizing their readiness to sacrifice for the sake of Allah and their commitment to helping those in need.
In conclusion, the month of Dhul Hijjah is a cherished time of spiritual elevation, worship, and reflection, as highlighted in the Quran and Hadith. Muslims are encouraged to seize the blessings of the first ten days, engaging in acts of devotion, seeking forgiveness, and renewing their commitment to Allah. Whether through the performance of Hajj, acts of worship, or charitable endeavours, Muslims can embrace the sanctity of Dhul Hijjah and strive to make the most of its blessings, as prescribed by the divine scriptures and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).