Saturday, August 26, 2017

Why are these days sacred?The first Ten Days of Zil Hijja 

We all have heard that the first ten days of Zil hijja are the best days of the year. In support of this assertion, a reference of the Quran chapter 89 verse 1-3 is given "By the dawn and by the ten nights. Moreover, there is a consensus of scholars on the authority of  Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Az-Zubair, Mujahid that "the ten nights"   are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah,
The scholars explain by the ten nights Allah meant days because the last ten nights of Ramadan are more blessed than any other days as in those days occur the night of power. The scholars further quote the hadith of the Prophet saying:  “There is no deed that is better in the sight of Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of Al-Adha”. It was asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for Jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Al-Bukhari)
During these days the following acts are recommended:
1. Perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)
2. Fast all nine days and especially on the ‘Day of Arafah’
3. Perform Dhikr and Takbeer
4. Stand the Night in Prayer
5. Make Sincere Repentance
6. Return to Book of Allah (The Quran)
7. Increase in doing ALL good deeds
8. Slaughter an animal and distribute the meat (Sacrifice)
9. Attend Eid prayers. 10. Thank Allah
This explanation limits the understanding of the commonly held belief that the first ten days are the most blessed ones and does not give reasons for this. First of all, if the Quran is making a reference of ten night, then it means night and not day. In chapter 89 the Quran first, is alluding to the pre-Islamic period when the first ten nights of Zil Hijja were spent in merrymaking and debauchery. People would surround the Kaaba naked and indulge in gambling and drinks. The Quran is reminding the people the assembly for Hajj is not for this purpose and if people want to understand the fate of those people who indulged in these kinds of behavior, they should check human history that would explain to them that nations that have chosen that route hurt and destroyed them.
The chapter further elaborates that they indulged inthis behaviorr neglecting their responsibilities towards those who were helpless, neglected and marginalized and who had no regard to the life yet to come. The Quran, then concludes the chapter by asserting, that if people want to have a peaceful exit from this world and a comfortable entrance into the next world, they should focus more undergoing the purification during these ten days to reorient them to the divine values of caring and sharing.
The Quran makes this allusion in the context of the Hajj that is considered the biggest assembly of human beings regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, status, wealth, knowledge, caste, color, dress or creed. The Quran is describing this annual experiment in human unity and dignity as the most significant moment of human existence. Thus through describing the first ten days the best in the year, the Quran is reminding the people that the essence of all faiths is the unity of humanity and its dignity and Hajj is an occasion when this unity and dignity is vividly visible. During these ten days, men, women, children animals and all other creations of God are safe. During this period people show utmost humility and sincerity towards each other and celebrate the oneness of humanity,
An argument can be made that if this is the noble goal than it must be made available to all. Well, this experience is open to all who believe in the idea of monotheism as explained by all the prophets and reaffirmed by Prophet Muhammad and who stand for the unity of humanity, dignity of human beings, peace and harmony between all sectors of human society.

Thus one may conclude these the first 10 days including nights of zil hijja are the best days of the year because during this time people prove to themselves that they can overcome their differences for the unity of humanity and live in peace and with humility with each other.

1 comment:

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