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

[throughbitsnpcs] fasting on the day of arafah.png

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)

Only those who fast would enter the gate of Rayyan on the Day of Resurrection

 

[throughbitsnpcs] Rayyan.png

Sahl bin Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying:

“In the Paradise, there is a gate called Rayyan, through which only the people who fast would enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else would enter along with them. It would be proclaimed: ‘Where are the people who used to fast so that they should be admitted into it?’ And when the last of them would enter, it would be closed and no one would enter it.” (Sahih Muslim (Eng. Trans.) Book 6, Hadith 2569)

A variation of this hadith of the same narrator is the following:

“In Paradise there is a gate called Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection the call will go out saying: ‘Where are those who used to fast?’ Whoever is among those who used to fast will enter it, and whoever enters it will never thirst again.” (Sunan Ibn Majah (Eng.) Vol. 1, Book 7, Hadith 1640 – Graded Hasan (Darussalam))

 

Fasting on the Day of Ashura

[throughbitsandpcs] Ashura article

‘Ashura’ commemorates the day that Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh.

Fasting on Muharram 10, known as the Day of ‘Ashura’, expiates for the sins of the past year. When the Prophet (ﷺ) arrived in Madinah, he found that the Jews there fasted on Muharram 10 and asked them the reason for their fasting on this day. They said: “This is a blessed day. On this day, Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy [in Egypt] and so Prophet Musa (Moses) fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah.”

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “We are closer to Musa than you are.”

He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari)

The following year, Allah commanded the Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan, and the fasting of ‘Ashura’ became optional. It is also reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) intended to fast on the ninth and tenth.

Ibn ‘Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of ‘Ashura’ and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honor.” The Prophet said, “When the following year comes, Allah willing, we shall fast on the ninth.” The death of the Prophet came before the following year. (Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Thus, according to scholars, you may choose to fast ‘Ashura’ on three days (ninth, tenth, and eleventh); two days (ninth and tenth); or one day only (the tenth). The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Fasting the day of ‘Ashura’ (is of great merits), I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year.” (Muslim)

But this expiation of minor sins comes only if you avoid major sins. It is a big mistake to rely on fasting a single day to “wipe your slate clean.” If you neglect your daily Prayers or the fast of Ramadan, or if you backbite, lie, commit adultery or other major sins, fasting on ‘Ashura’ alone will not atone for your sins.

The great scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (b. 691 AH/1292 CE) wrote: This misguided person does not know that fasting in Ramadan and praying five times a day are much more important than fasting on the Day of Arafah and the Day of ‘Ashura’, and that they expiate for the sins between one Ramadan and the next, or between one Friday and the next, so long as one avoids major sins. But they cannot expiate for minor sins unless one also avoids major sins; when the two things are put together, they have the strength to expiate for minor sins. Among those deceived people may be one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins, because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or check on his sins, but if he does a good deed he remembers it and relies on it.


Note: You may hear of some customs associated with ‘Ashura’ such as cooking and eating certain foods on that day, wearing kohl or henna, or even merrymaking. Others consider this a day of mourning and wailing in honor of the Prophet’s grandson Al-Husayn, who was killed in battle on that day. The scholar Ibn Taymiyah (b. 661 AH/1263 CE) stated that all of these are bid’ahs (reprehensible innovations) that should be avoided.

Take advantage of this opportunity to bring yourself closer to Allah on ‘Ashura’ by fasting and praying for forgiveness.

A fasting person must give up bad behavior completely

Abandon falsehood and action

Bad behavior such as lying, cheating, backbiting, slandering, etc., are haraam even out of Ramadaan and should be avoided all the more in this sacred month.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “If anyone does not abandon falsehood and action in accordance with it, Allah has no need that he should abandon his food and drink.”

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting).”

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: “Fast is a shield; when one of you is fasting, he should neither behave in an obscene manner nor foolishly. If a man fights or abuses him, he should say: I am fasting, I am fasting.”

(Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol.2, p.648, no. 2355-6)

(Sahih Buhkari, Book of Fasting, Chapter 8)

Tasting food, the use of siwak, and cooling oneself while fasting

Tasting food while fasting

There is no harm in tasting the food if there is a need for it. This is done by the person [tasked with iftar preparation] placing it on the tip of his tongue so he may know its sweetness and saltiness; however, he should not swallow any of it. Rather, he should spit it out or expel it from his mouth and his fast will not be corrupted by that.

But we should remember that it is disliked to taste food unnecessarily because this carries the risk of the fast being broken. An example of cases where it is necessary to taste food includes a mother chewing food for an infant when she has no other way to feed it.

(Fasting According to the Sunnah, Muhammad Zulfiqar, The Ruling on Tasting Food)


وَبَلَّ ابْنُ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا ثَوْبًا، فَأَلْقَاهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَهُوَ صَائِمٌ. وَدَخَلَ الشَّعْبِيُّ الْحَمَّامَ وَهُوَ صَائِمٌ.
وَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ لاَ بَأْسَ أَنْ يَتَطَعَّمَ الْقِدْرَ، أَوِ الشَّيْءَ.
وَقَالَ الْحَسَنُ لاَ بَأْسَ بِالْمَضْمَضَةِ وَالتَّبَرُّدِ لِلصَّائِمِ.
وَقَالَ ابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ إِذَا كَانَ صَوْمُ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلْيُصْبِحْ دَهِينًا مُتَرَجِّلاً.
وَقَالَ أَنَسٌ إِنَّ لِي أَبْزَنَ أَتَقَحَّمُ فِيهِ وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ. وَيُذْكَرُ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ اسْتَاكَ وَهُوَ صَائِمٌ.
وَقَالَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ يَسْتَاكُ أَوَّلَ النَّهَارِ وَآخِرَهُ، وَلاَ يَبْلَعُ رِيقَهُ.
وَقَالَ عَطَاءٌ إِنِ ازْدَرَدَ رِيقَهُ لاَ أَقُولُ يُفْطِرُ.
وَقَالَ ابْنُ سِيرِينَ لاَ بَأْسَ بِالسِّوَاكِ الرَّطْبِ. قِيلَ لَهُ طَعْمٌ. قَالَ وَالْمَاءُ لَهُ طَعْمٌ، وَأَنْتَ تُمَضْمِضُ بِهِ. وَلَمْ يَرَ أَنَسٌ

Ibn ‘Umar moistened a garment and put it on while he was fasting. Ash-Sha’bi went into the hammam (olden days bathroom for shower).

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “There is no harm in tasting the pot or something.”

Al-Hasan said, “There is no harm in someone fasting rinsing out his mouth and cooling himself.”

Ibn Mas`ud said, “When one of you is fasting, morning should find him with his hair oiled and combed.”

Anas said, “I had a (water) tub in which I could sit while I was fasting.”

It is mentioned that the Prophet ﷺ used to clean his teeth [with siwak] while he was fasting.

Ibn ‘Umar said, “He cleaned his teeth at the beginning and end of the day without swallowing his saliva.”

‘Ata’ said, “I do not say that saliva breaks the fast.”

Ibn Sirin said, “There is no harm in using a moist siwak.” He was told that it had a taste and replied, “Water has a taste and yet you rinse your mouth out with it.”

Anas, al-Hasan, and Ibrahim did not see any harm in someone fasting using kohl (a preparation used especially in Arabia and Egypt to darken the edges of the eyelids).

(Saheeh al-Bukhari, Book of Fasting, Chapter 25: Taking a bath by a person observing Saum)

NOTE: This is a Mu’allaq (suspended/hanging) Hadith of Bukhari, but it is connected along with Sahih Ibn Shaiba’ and Bayhaqi and the chain goes on..it makes it Sahih.


Abdullah bin Amir bin Rabi’ah narrated from his father who said: “I saw the Prophet – (a number of times) such that I was not able to count – using the Siwak while he was fasting.”

(Jami at-Tirmidhi, Book on Fasting, Chapter 29)

Imam Ahmad:

“I prefer that he should avoid tasting food, but if he does that it will not affect him and there is nothing wrong with that.” [Ref: Al-Mughni, 4/359]

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah:

“Tasting food is makrooh (i.e., a disliked/offensive act) if there is no need to do that, but it does not break the fast.”
[Ref: al-Fataawa al-Kubra 4/474]

Imam al-Nawawi ash-shaf`i (the teacher of Ibn taymiyyah who died in 728 A.H) answers some questions about fasting:

Question: Does the fast break if one: Tastes the food without swallowing it? Bite bread without swallowing it? Gather saliva in the mouth to swallow it later? Unintentionally open the mouth and a fly flies into it? If one harvest oats or rye and dust falls into the mouth? Water enters the stomach while he gargles or if he blows out water from the nose without exaggeration?

Answer: “None of these acts break the fast.” (Fatâwâ al-Imâm an-Nawawî, p. 55)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen:

“The fast is not invalidated by tasting food so long as one does not swallow it, but you should not do that unless there is a need for it; in that case if a little of it reaches your stomach by accident your fast is not invalidated.”

(Fataawa al-Siyaam p. 356)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen:

“It is makrooh to taste food such as dates, bread, and soup, unless there is a need to do that, in which case it is fine. The reason for that is that some of this food may go down into the stomach without a person realizing, so tasting this food exposes him to spoiling the fast. Also he may be desiring the food a great deal, so he tastes it in order to enjoy it, and he may swallow it, then some of it goes down into his stomach. Examples of necessity are when a cook needs to see how salty or sweet the food is, and so on.” 

(al-Sharh al-Mumti’ 3/261)

There is a gate in Jannah for those who observe Saum

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Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet ﷺ said, “In Jannah there is a gate which is called Ar-Raiyan through which only those who observe Saum (fasting) will enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.” [Muslim].

Commentary:

This Hadith tells us about the special distinction of those who observe Saum. “Only those who observe Saum” signify the faithful who not only observe Saum during the month of Ramadan but also frequently observe voluntary fasts over and above the obligatory ones, otherwise Saum of Ramadan are compulsory for every Muslim. Similar is the case of the people of Salat, people of Sadaqah and people of Jihad, who have been mentioned in the preceding Ahadith otherwise all Muslims are on par so far as the Salat, Sadaqah, etc., are concerned.

(Riyad Us-Saliheen, Virtues, Chapter 217, No. 1217)

Prohibition of Uninterrupted Fasting (Wisal)

Prohibition of Wisal

There are several authentic Hadiths that prohibit Al-Wisal, which means continuing the fast through the night to the next night, without eating. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that Allah’s Messenger said: “Do not practice Al-Wisal in fasting.” So they said to him, “But you practice Al-Wisal, O Allah’s Messenger!”

The Prophet replied, “I am not like you, I am given food and drink during my sleep by my Lord.” So, when the people refused to stop Al-Wisal, the Prophet fasted two days and two nights (along with those who practiced Wisal) and then they saw the crescent moon (of the month of Shawwal). The Prophet said to them (angrily): “If the crescent had not appeared, I would have made you fast for a longer period.”

That was as a punishment for them (when they refused to stop practicing Al-Wisal). This Hadith is also recorded in the Sahihayn.

The prohibition of Al-Wisal was also mentioned in a number of other narrations. It is a fact that practicing Al-Wisal was one of the special qualities of the Prophet, for he was capable and assisted in his practice of it. It is obvious that the food and drink that the Prophet used to get while practicing Al-Wisal was spiritual and not material, otherwise he would not be practicing Al-Wisal. We should mention that it is allowed to refrain from breaking the fastfrom sunset until before dawn (Suhur).

A Hadith narrated by Abu Sa`id Khudri states that Allah’s Messenger said: “Do not practice Al-Wisal, but whoever wishes is allowed to practice it until the Suhur.”

They said, “You practice Al-Wisal, O Messenger of Allah!” He said: “I am not similar to you, for I have One Who makes me eat and drink during the night.”

This Hadith is also collected in the Two Sahihs.

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Chapter 2: Al Baqarah, Verses 142 to 252)