Not a moment of this life should be wasted in the disobedience of Allah; One should always be conscious of his accountability to Him

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Abu Barzah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Man’s feet will not move on the Day of Resurrection before he is asked about his life, how did he consume it, his knowledge, what did he do with it, his wealth, how did he earn it and how did he dispose of it, and about his body, how did he wear it out.”
[At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary:
1. This Hadith, first of all, highlights the importance and value of this transitory life, every breath of which is invaluable. Not a moment of it should, therefore, be wasted in the disobedience of Allah because one shall also be made to account for it.
2. Man shall also be answerable for his knowledge. Here, we find an inducement for acquiring religious knowledge because that alone is beneficial for him. He should make use of his knowledge for winning the pleasure of Allah. If he does not do that then he must think about the justification for not doing so. He must also think how he would be facing Allah on the Day of Resurrection.
3. The question in respect of wealth raised in this Hadith clearly shows that one should earn wealth by legitimate means only and spend it strictly in a lawful manner. If he takes to unfair means of income or squanders it, he will be sinful and required to account for the violation of the Divine injunctions.
4. One should protect his body from everything that is unlawful and force himself to submit to the Divine injunctions. When he is asked to account for neglecting them, it will be difficult for him to escape the consequences of accountability.
In short, this Hadith makes one conscious of the accountability so that one keeps it all the time in view so that he will be saved from humiliation on the Day of Resurrection. How nice would it really be if one bears the accountability of the Day of Resurrection always in mind!
[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 407]

The more aware a Muslim is of Allah’s Magnificence, the greater shall be the terror in his heart for his punishment and hope of His Mercy

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Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “I see what you do not see and I hear what you do not hear; heaven has squeaked, and it has right to do so. By Him, in Whose Hand my soul is, there is not a space of four fingers in which there is not an angel who is prostrating his forehead before Allah, the Exalted. By Allah, if you knew what I know, you would laugh little, weep much, and you would not enjoy women in beds, but would go out to the open space beseeching Allah.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:
1. This Hadith also highlights the importance of fear of Allah because the more awareness a Muslim has of the Majesty and Magnificence of Allah, the greater shall be the terror in his heart for His punishment and hope of His Mercy. With this state of mind, he will perform greater acts of obedience and abstain more rigidly from sins.

2. The Hadith also mentions the heaven teeming with angels who are all the time prostrating before Allah in worship. When this is the condition of the angels, who do not slack for a moment in the obedience of Allah, how important it is for man to worship Him because he is all the time violating commands of Allah. It is, therefore, incumbent on man to obey Allah and always seek His Help and Refuge.

[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 406]

The least tortured man on the Day of Resurrection will think that he is the most tortured when he is not

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Nu`man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The least tortured man on the Day of Resurrection is one underneath whose feet will be placed two live coal, and his brain will be boiling, and he would think that he is the most tortured, while he is the least tortured.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:

According to the narration in Muslim, the straps of shoes to be worn by the inhabitants of Hell would be of fire which will make their brains boil like a cooker placed in an oven. Some narrators have stated that the man alluded to will be Abu Talib, the real uncle of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and his most kind and sympathetic supporter. But since he had died as a polytheist, he will be sent to Hell. May Allah save us from it.

[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 398]

When one is fearful or anxious, he should seek the help of Allah and frequently recite “Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal Wakil”

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Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “How can I feel at ease when the Angel of the Trumpet (Israfil) has put his lips to the Trumpet and is waiting for the order to blow it.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) perceived as if this had shocked his Companions, so he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) told them to seek comfort through reciting: `Hasbunallah wa ni`mal-Wakil [Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of  affairs (for us)].”  [At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:
1. This Hadith tells us about the fear of Allah and the fright of the Hereafter entertained by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions. It has a lesson for us that how, in spite of being innocent and having the assurance of the forgiveness of Allah, they were always fearful of Allah and the horrors of the Day of Resurrection. As against them, we are immersed in sins, neglect and violate the Divine injunctions day and night but even then we have neither the fear of Allah nor the fright of the Day of Resurrection.

In the event of fear and anxiety one should seek the help of Allah and frequently recite the Verse of the Noble Qur’an “Hasbunallahu wa ni`mal Wakil” [Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).]  (3:173).

[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 409]

To save oneself from the humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, one should lead a life of faith and fear of Allah

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Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (sallallaahualayhi wa sallam) saying, “The people will be assembled on the Day of Resurrection barefooted, naked and uncircumcised.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will the men and the women be together on that Day; looking at one another?” Upon this, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahualayhi wa sallam) said, “O Aishah, the matter will be too serious for them to look at one another”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:

This Hadith mentions the horrors and torments of the Day of Resurrection. It is that a Muslim should never be unmindful of the preparations for the Hereafter nor should he ever lose sight of the fact that he has to appear before Allah on the Day of Resurrection and account for all his actions. In order to save himself from the humiliation on that Day, he should lead a life of Faith and fear of Allah. Those who do not do so and lead a life free from fear of Allah and torments of the Hereafter will have no hesitation in disobeying Allah, which will inevitably lead them to humiliation, disgrace and heavy punishment in the Hereafter.

[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 411 – slightly modified without distorting the main idea]

Virtues of the Day of Arafah

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Praise be to Allah The Exalted.

The Day of Arafat is like a small gathering to a great rehearsal. It is one of the greatest mercies of Allah that He gives every pilgrim the chance to rehearse the Day of Judgement, the day of the great gathering.

The Ihram clothing removes all differences of wealth, importance or social status and then everybody is just by himself, just the way we will be buried one day.

“And every one of them will come to Him alone (without any helper, or protector or defender).” (Maryam 19:95)

Pilgrims stream to the place of gathering as all humans will do on the day of resurrection

“Then unto their Lord they all shall be gathered.” (Al-An’am 6:38)

Here, we face our Lord in silent prayer and we ask Him for forgiveness for all our sins. It is a situation where people present their lives, their good deeds and their bad deeds to their Lord. Many realize that they showed up unprepared, empty handed.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Nothing will be placed in the balance on the day of Resurrection which will weigh more heavily than good manner and attitude.”

“I created not the jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone.” (adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

On Arafat Day, Allah gives us the chance to experience how it will be like on the Day of Judgement when we have to give account for our lives.

“And warn them O’ Muhammad of the day of grief and regrets, when the case has been decided, while now they are in a state of carelessness, and they believe not!” (Maryam 19:39)

Arafat shows us the reality of life. This worldly life is just temporary and it is not proper for any human being to be forgetful about Paradise and Hellfire. In order to save us from the hellfire, we need to accept and live by the teachings of the Glorious Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Islam does not only bring the message of the Hereafter; it is intended to guide us in this life. At the end of the Day of Arafat all pilgrims leave in one direction, going towards Muzdallifa. On the day of Judgment this will be different. Some will go to Paradise, but the fast majority will go to hellfire. Arafat is the reminder to choose our destination, before it is too late.

“And we created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the fire!

Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds as those who associate partners in worship with Allah and commit crimes on earth?

Or shall we treat the pious as the disbelievers?” (Sad 38:27-28)

Because the day of Arafat serves as a yearly reminder to us about the final day of Judgement, it is important to know what exactly are the virtues of this day. Why is it so important?

1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allah’s Favor was completed

In Al-Saheehayn it was reported from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an ayah in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an ‘Eid (festival).” ‘Umar said, “Which aayah?” He said: This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [al-Ma’idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]. ‘Umar said, “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ). It was when he was standing in ‘Arafah on a Friday.”

2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Yawm ‘Arafaah (the day of ‘Arafah),Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyaam al-Tashreeq (the 3 days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking.” This was narrated by the authors of al-Sunan. It was reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “It – i.e., the ayahThis day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of ‘Arafah, both of which – praise be to Allah – are Eids for us.” 

3. It is a day by which Allah swore an oath

The Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm ‘Arafah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of ‘Arafah].”  [al-Burooj 85:3].

It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of ‘Arafah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as sahih by al-Albaani)

It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allah swore in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):

And by the even and the odd” [al-Fajr 89:3]. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The even is the Day of al-Adha [i.e., 10thDhoo’l-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of ‘Arafah [i.e., 9th Dhoo’l-Hijjah].” This is also the view of ‘Ikrimah and al-Dahhaak.

4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years

It was reported from Abu Qutadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah. He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” (Narrated by Muslim)

This (fasting) is mustahabb (recommended) for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of ‘Arafah, because the Prophet (ﷺ) did not fast on this day in ‘Arafah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah in ‘Arafah.

5. It is the day on which Allah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam

It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., ‘Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., plolytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ [al-A’raf 7:172-173 – interpretation of the meaning].” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. And there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.

6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there:

In Sahih Muslim it was narrated from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”

 It was reported from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of ‘Ishaa’ on the Day of ‘Arafah, about the people of ‘Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as sahih by al-Albaani.

 And Allah knows best.

Superiority of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

superiority of 10 days

Just like the last ten nights of the holy month of Ramadan are the best ten nights out of the year, these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar in which Hajj is performed) 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.

The excellence of these ten days has been mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

1. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“By the dawn and by the ten nights … “  [Al-Fajr 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.

2. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

“There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the companions listening) said, “Not even Jihad?” He, peace be upon him, 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]

3. Allah says:

” … and remember the name of Allah in the appointed days.” [Al-Baqarah 2:203]

Ibn Abbas and Ibn Kathir said this means in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

4. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:

“There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah than those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlil (to say la illaha illallah), takbir (to say allahu akbar), and tahmid (to say alhamdulillah).” [ Reported by at-Tabarani in al-Mu’jum al-Kabir]

5. With regards to the noble companion Sa’id bin Jubair, when the days of Dhul-Hijjah began, he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity until he was unable to increase any more. [Reported by ad-Darimi]

6. Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari:

“The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine.”

**Note: It is recommended to fast on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, especially on the 9th which is the blessed day of Arafat. The 10th of Dhul Hijjah is the day of Eid al-Adha and it is prohibited to fast on that day.

Fasting on the day of Arafat expiates the sins of two years

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The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have been classified as the best 10 days of the year, and the Day of ‘Arafat, on which Allah perfected His religion has been classified as the best day of the year according to some scholars.

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) said: “The most excellent day of the week is the day of Jumuah (Friday), by the agreement of the Scholars. And the most excellent day of the year is the day of an-Nahr. Some of them said that it is the day of Arafat. However, the first opinion is the correct one, since it is related in the Sunan collections that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The most excellent days with Allah is the day of an-Nahr, then the day of al-Qarr (the day that the Muslims reside in Mina).”  [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Irwa al-Ghaleel (no: 2018). Related by Abu Dawood no: 1765].” [Majmoo al-Fatawa vol: 25, pp. 288]

The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar) is the Day of ‘Arafat, since it is on this day that millions of pilgrims set out for the plains of Arafat after sunrise to attend the Khutba of Arafat and perform their Dhuhr and Asr salat combined as was the Sunnah of Rasool Allah (ﷺ). Thereafter they engage in supplication to Allah from Dhuhr to Maghrib, seeking forgiveness of their Lord before setting off for Muzdhalifah.

On this day of Arafat, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting as it is mustahabb (highly recommended), in preparation for the three-day festivity following ‘Eid ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s (willingness of sacrifice). When asked about the fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, the Prophet Muhammad said,

“It expiates the sins (Minor) of the past year and the coming year.”  [Muslim (no. 1162)]

Abu Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘Ashura, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.”  [Reported by all except al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi]

But, this does not mean that one can continue to commit sin in the upcoming year, rather it portrays the virtue of fasting on the day of ‘Arafat, and the blessings to be obtained therein.

In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, said:

“Four things the Messenger of Allah never neglected: Observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura,‘Arafat, three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning.”  [Muslim]

These statements are proof that fasting on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day before ‘Eid ul-Adha was a lifelong practice of the Prophet (ﷺ) as his wife reported.

There are some reports that fasting is prohibited on the Day of ‘Arafah. However, it must be understood that this refers to a person performing the Hajj. If a person is on the Hajj, there is no fast for him or her on the day of ‘Arafah. That is undoubtedly a blessing for him because of the hardships of the pilgrimage. In a saying reported by Umm al-Fadl, may Allah be pleased with her, she said:

“The companions doubted whether the Prophet (ﷺ) was fasting on ‘Arafah or not. She decided to prove to them that he was not, so she said, ‘I sent to him milk, which he drank while he was delivering the khutbah (sermon) on ‘Arafah.'” [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the Hajj, while they are primarily concerned with their pilgrimage. Above all, the pilgrim would not be fasting anyway because he is travelling.

The fact that not all of the Muslims are required to go to Hajj every year is a mercy and source of ease from Allah to His servants. He has made Hajj binding once in a lifetime and not binding every year. However, it is a communal obligation occurring every year. This is different from fasting, which is an individually binding obligation on every Muslim, every year.

Because the month of Dhul-Hijjah is a season of worship, it bring along blessings, benefits and opportunities to correct one’s faith and make up for shortcoming. This special opportunity involves a kind of worship, which brings the slave closer to his Lord. And Allah bestows His blessings and Favours on whom He wills. The fortunate person is he who makes good use of these special months, days, and hours, while worshiping Allah. He is most likely to be touched by the blessings of Allah. Rewards of good deeds are multiplied in these days. [Ibn Rajab, al-Lataa’if pp. 8]

For non-pilgrims, it should be remembered that not only should you fast on this day, but make sure to ask Allah for all of your prayers. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The best dua is the dua of Arafat.” (Tirmidhi)