Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) narrates: Rasulullah (salallahu alaihi wasalam) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days” (i.e the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah). (Bukhari) In another Hadith Ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Rasulullah (Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam) 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, except in the case of Mujahid who goes out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari)
But why are these days so special in the sight of Allah?
Hafiz Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani(Rahimahullah) mentions: The reason why the first ten days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah are distinguished is due to it being the time in which the foundational worships are collectively carried out i.e. salat, fasting, charity and hajj are carried out in conjunction with one another. These acts are not carried out collectively in any other days. (Fath al-Bari)
Recommended acts for the opening ten days of the month:
Fasting- the first nine days or as many as one can keep.
Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated upon the authority of his wife who said, “Some of the wives of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasalam) told me that the Messenger of Allah used to fast the Day of Ashoorah, the first nine days of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, and three days out of every month”. (Ahmad, Nasa’i)
(Remembrance of Allah). This can be done by saying the takbir (Allahu akbar), the tahmid (al-hamdu li-Allah), the tasbih (subhana al-Allah) and the tahlil (la ilaha illa al-Allah). We can do this whilst cooking, walking, working, sitting etc.
During these blessed days there is a great opportunity to benefit from the extra benevolence unveiled from Allah, hence; one should set side time to repent for all sins- minor and major. Rasulullah (salallahu alaihi wasalam) said, “The one who repents from sins is like he who has no sin”. (Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi)
Refraining from sins-
One must be mindful of every type of sin, from the violation of the rights of Allah, to the rights of the creation of Allah, including sins of the physical body and sins of the tongue.
Increase in righteous acts in general-
These are days in which any righteous deed is more beloved in the eyes of Allah Azza wajal and more virtuous than if the very same acts were to be performed in the normal days of the year. This could include:
Recitation of the Qur’an:
Often after the month of the Ramadan one loses the habit of reciting the Qur’an regularly. Use these days to increase in the recitation of the beautiful words of Allah Azza wajal to re-establish daily recitation.
Supplicating to Allah:
This is a believer’s link to conversing with Allah. One should use these days to express ones gratitude and ask for ones lawful worldly needs as well as salvation in the hereafter.
Spending from your wealth in the path of Allah for the cause of Islam.
Lastly let’s not forget the virtues of spending the night in prayer and its sweetness in Ramadan. Why not revive this beautiful act of worship during these nights as well?! During the last third of every night, Allah Azza wajal calls out to us: 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)
Let us not miss out on this golden opportunity and let us seize the chance NOW and expose ourselves to His Divine Generosity and Mercy, ask Him to forgive us and guide us and set aright all our affairs. He will surely listen.