The month of Dhul Hijjah has always been a notable event on our calendar. As a child, my first real memory of this month was the year my parents made the pilgrimage. More recently I feared having to leave my own kids to perform our pilgrimage and since performing Hajj a few years ago, this blessed month has a special place in my memory and in my heart.
While the pilgrimage is the ultimate act to perform during these Blessed days, we shouldn’t restrict God’s mercy and blessing to the pilgrims alone, especially during times of adversity where we find ourselves unable to visit the Holy Lands at all. The pandemic has deprived millions of people of this great ritual and has reminded Muslims around the world of what a privilege the pilgrimage is. The Blessings of this month transcend the plains of the holy lands and we should all be striving to achieve more in them.
Eid-Ul-Adha has always lacked the enthusiasm and zeal with which we anticipate and celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr each year and I believe this is closely linked to the manner in which we spend the days leading up to it. Every year that passes, though, there seems to be more emphasis placed on the significance of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and I find that with each year, our awareness increases, Alhamdulillah. A stark contrast to my own childhood memories of the month of Dhul Hijjah which was more pilgrimage-centric.
We spend an entire month sacrificing, reforming, reflecting and reciting in Ramadan which leaves us with a true appreciation of the celebration of Eid-Ul-Fitr. We need to apply this to Dhul Hijjah and in particular, these blessed 10 days so we can also earn the joy and blessings of the celebration of Eid-Ul-Adha.
10 tips for the greatest 10 days of the year:
- Reciting more Quran
- Reading and Reflecting on the meaning of the Quran
- Visiting the Musjid more often
- Optional prayers throughout the day/night
- Increased charity
- Reading and seeking Islamic Knowledge
- Increased Dhikr and the remembrance of Allah – particularly Tahleel, Takbeer, and Tahmeed*
- Optional Fasting – at least fasting on the day of Arafah.
- Hajj activities with the family**
- Teaching the kids about Hajj and the importance of Udhiya/Qurban
Think about how you spent the last ten nights of Ramadan… and do it again!
The pandemic has taught us to appreciate the little things. It’s reminded us of how fragile the world is and how precious life can be. We might not be able to visit the Holy Lands right now but these Blessed days are a good opportunity to draw closer to Allah so perhaps when the dust settles, we might be invited to answer the call to Hajj again and reacquaint ourselves with the Lands of revelation.
* Tahleel = La Ilaha Illallah, Takbeer = Allahu Akbar, Tahmeed = Alhamdulillah
** Check out some of our previous years Hajj activities here.
May we all benefit from the Blessed days of Dhul Hijjah and may the efforts of those who are performing Hajj be accepted.