Allah Subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has blessed His righteous servants with periods of time within which they can increase in good deeds to attain great rewards. One of these opportunities is the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar, in which the Hajj is performed). Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this season and because of the virtue of the place – for the Hujjaaj (pilgrims) to the Sacred House of Allah.

1.The excellence of these ten days have been mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah Subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in the Qur’an:

“By the dawn and by the ten nights … “ [Al-Qur’an 89:1-2]

Ibn Kathir said that ”the ten nights“ referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbas, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujahid and others. Rasulullah (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) said, “There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the companions listening) said, “Not even Jihad?”  Rasulullah (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) said, ”No, not even Jihad except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything.” [Recorded by Imam al-Bukhari]

2.Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (Subhan-Allaah), Tahmeed (Al-hamdu Lillaah) and Takbeer  (Allaahu akbar) during this time. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (radiallahu anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal ofTahleel (La ilaaha ill-Allaah), Takbeer and Tahmeed.” (Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that it is saheeh). Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.

3.These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah). Allah Subhanahu wa ta ‘ala perfected His Religion on this day. Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years. These days also include Yawm al-Nahar (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.

4.The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” According to another report he said, “He should not remove (literally touch) anything from his hair or skin.” (reported by Muslim with four isnaads, 13/146)

5.It is highly encouraged to perform the obligatory acts at their prescribed times (as early as possible) and to increase oneself in the supererogatory acts, for indeed, this is what brings a person closer to their Lord. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Upon you is to increase in your prostration to Allah, for verily you do not prostrate to Allah with even one prostration, except that He raises you in degrees and decreases your sins because of it.” [Reported by Muslim]

6. Fasting has been mentioned as one of the acts of righteousness where Hanbada ibn Khalid reports on the authority of his wife who reports that some of the wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ”The Prophet, upon whom be peace, would fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day of Ashura and three days in every month.” [Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nisa’i and others]

7.Performing Hajj and ‘Umrah. One of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the Sacred House of Allah. The one whom Allah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”

8.Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, making supplication (du’aa’), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

9.One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the sake of Allah.

10.Sincere repentance is one of the most important things to do during these ten days. Sincerely repenting to Allah and giving up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing what Allah loves.