Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Virtues of the First Ten Days of Zulhijjah

The Virtues of the First Ten Days of Zulhijjah

By Shaykh Abdullah Ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Jibreen

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is His Servant and Messenger.

By His wisdom, Allāh Subhanahu wa ta`ala gave preference to some places and times over others. For Muslims, Friday is the best day of the week, Ramadhān is the best month of the year, “Laylat al-Qadr” is the best night in Ramadhan, and the day of “`Arafah” is the best day of the year. Likewise the first ten days of the month of “Zulhijjah” are the blessed days for Muslims. There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allāh than these ten days.

Allāh says:  “By the daybreak, by the ten nights, by the even and the odd, by the passing night – is this oath strong enough for a rational person?” [Al-Fajr 89:1-5] Scholars differed on what is meant by the “ten nights”. But most of them agreed that the ten nights refer to the first ten days of Zulhijjah. In another verse Allāh says: “… to attain benefits and mention God’s name, on specified days.” [Al-Hajj 22:28] Most of the Quran commentators view that the specific days are the ten days of Dzul-Hijjah.

On the merits of the first ten days, Ibn Abbās (radiyallāhu`anhum) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  of said: "There are no days in which righteous deeds done in them are more beloved to Allāh than these days, ie the ten days (of Zulhijjah). They said: O Messenger of Allāh, not even Jihād in the path of Allāh? He said: Not even Jihād in the Path of Allāh, the Most High, except if a man goes out (for Jihād) with his self and his wealth, then he doesn't return with anything from that." [Al-Bukhārī, Abu Dawūd and others; the exact wording is that of Abu Dāwūd]

These texts and others indicate that these ten days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadhān. But The Last Ten Nights of Ramadhān are better, because they include Laylatul-Qadr ("The Night of Power"), which is better than a thousand months. Thus the various reports may be reconciled. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 5/412].

Allāh swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allāh says"By the dawn; by the ten nights" [Al-Fajar, 89:1-2]. Ibn `Abbās, Ibn Al-Zubair, Mujahid and others (radiyallāhu`anhum) of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to The First Ten Days of Dzul-Hijjah. Ibn Kathir (rahimahullāh) said: "This is the correct opinion." [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 8/413]  In another verse Allāh says: “… to attain benefits and mention God’s name, on specified days.” [Al-Hajj 22:28] Most of the Qur’an commentators view that the specific days are the ten days of Zulhijjah.

Thus, the ummah should not allow these ten days Zulhijjah be passed without noticed as there are great virtues attached to it because time is passing quickly. Allāh says: “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it, And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.” [Al-Zalzalah, 99:7-8]

In what follows are suggested ideas on how to make the best use of the first ten days of Dzul-Hijjah:

The Types of Deeds in These Ten Days:

1. Perform Haj and Umrah: These are the best of deeds that may be done. A number of Ahādith indicates the superiority of Haj and Umrah. One of which is the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said:   “Performance of ‘Umrah is an expiation of the sins committed between it and the previous `Umrah, and the reward of the Haj which is accepted by Allāh, the Most High, is nothing but Paradise.” [Al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

2. Observe Fasting in the First Nine Days. Observing it as many as possible as Allah enables for one to fast; especially the Day of Arafah. The importance of The Day of Arāfah is related to the amount of forgiveness and mercy bestowed by Allah on His pilgrims.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  spent the day at the `Arafah until almost sunset. Then Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said:  “O Bilal! Ask the people to be quiet and listen to me.” Bilal bin Rabah (radiyallāhu’anhu) stood up and asked the people to be quiet and listen to Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) . When they were quiet, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)    said: “O People! A little while ago Gabriel (`alayhissalam) came to me, gave me salutations from Allāh, and informed me that Allāh has forgiven those who spend the Day at Arafah…”  At this, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu’anhu) stood up and asked:  “O Allāh's Messenger! Is this for us only?”  Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said:  “This is for you and for all those who will come after you, until the Day of Judgment…” ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) exclaimed: “How plentiful and blissful Allāh’s bounties are!”   [At-Targhib wat-Tarhib]

There is no doubt that the act of fasting is one of the best deeds, and it is from what Allāh, the Most High, has chosen for himself, as in the Hadith Qudsī: “Fasting is for Me, and it is I who give reward for it. Verily, someone gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for My sake...” [Al-Bukhārī, Muslim, Mālik, at-Tirmidzi, Nasā`ie and Ibn Mājah]

Abu Sa’id al-Khudrī (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “No servant (of Allāh, the Most High) fasts one day in the Path of Allāh, except that Allāh, the Most High, removes his face from the Fire because of it (the distance of travelling) seventy years.” [Al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

2.1. On the day of Arafah, the non-pilgrims are highly recommended to maintain fasting: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  was asked about fasting on The Day of Arāfah, whereupon Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said:  “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year.”   [Muslim]; Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)   also said:  “Allāh frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day. Allāh comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels: ‘What do these people want and seek?!'”   [Muslim]; Abu Qatadah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Fasting the Day of Arafah will be credited with Allāh by forgiving one’s sins of the previous year and the following year.” [Muslim]

Do not observe fasting on the tenth day because it is an ‘Eid day and it is prohibited to fast that day. But Good deeds are rewarded abundantly in these first ten days; and as fasting is a good deed, it is recommended to fast these nine days.

3. At-Takbīr (Allāh Akbar) and adhkār (the remembrance of Allāh through different words of praise and glorification) in these (ten) days.

Allāh says: "And mention the name of Allāh on the appointed days" [Yusuf, 12:28]; "...Then when you leave Arafat, remember Allah (by glorifying and praising Him) at the Mash ‘ar il-Haram. And remember Allah (by invoking Allah for all good) as He has guided you..." [Al-Baqarah, 2:198]

There are two Takbir. At-Takbīr al-Mutlaq (the Takbīr (Allāhu Akbar) which is unrestricted to specific times or any specific form) at all times of night and day until the time of the Eid Prayer. Secondly, at-Takbīr al-Muqayyad (the Takbīr which is done at a particular time and in a specific manner) is legislated, and it is done after the (five) obligatory prayers that are performed in congregation. This begins from Dawn (Fajr) on the Day of Arafah (the 9th of Zulhijjah) for those not performing Haj, and from Noon (Dzuhur) on the Day of Sacrifice (10th of Zulhijjah) for those performing Haj (pilgrims); and it continues until Asar prayer on the last day of the days of Tash-rīq (13th of Zulhijjah).

3.1. This Takbīr should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent: It is reported about Ibn` Umar and Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhum) that: “the two of them used to go out to the market place during the ten days (of Zulhijjah) saying: Allāhu Akbar, causing the people also to say it.” (Al-Bukhārī) The idea behind reminding the people to recite Takbīr is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in syari’ah for doing this.

Verily, it is the Sunnah for everyone to say the Takbīr individually. And this is (generally) applicable to Dzikir and supplications, except if the person does not know what to say. In that case he may repeat after someone else until he learns (the words to be said). It is also permissible to make Dzikir with all the different wording of Takbīr and Tahmīd and Tasbīh and the rest of the Islamic legislated supplications (from the Qur'an and Sunnah).

3.2. The Takbir includes Takbīr al-Muqayyad:  “Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar Lā Ilāha illa 'llah Wa 'llahu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar Wa li'llahil-hamd.” Ishāq narrates the Tābi'ien used to say it in these ten days they. It is a beloved act to recite this Takbīr in loud voice in places like, the Masjids, the markets, the houses, the streets and other places, because Allāh, the Most High, Says: "... that you may magnify Allāh for His Guidance to you" [Surah al-Hajj, 22: 37]

But the Takbīr should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. The idea behind reminding the people to recite Takbīr is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in syari’ah for doing this.

Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam): "Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward."[At-Tirmidzi, 7/443: a hasan hadith].

3.3. Dzikirullah: reciting a lot of Tasbih. It is Sunnah to say: Tasbih ("Subhān Allāh"), Tahmid ("Al-hamdu Lillāh"), Tahlīl ("Lā ilāha ill-Allāh") and Takbīr ("Allāhu akbar") during the first ten days of Zulhijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allāh and mention His name out loud.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu), narrated that Rasūlullāh (Sallallahu `alayhi wasallam) said:  “There aren't any days greater, or any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah, the Most High, than these ten days (of Zulhijjah) So, increase in them saying of Tahlīl (Lā Ilāha illa Allāh), and Takbīr (Allāh Akbar) and Tahmīd (al-Hamdu li-llāh)”[Ahmad]

‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: I met Ibrāhīm(`alayhissalam) on the Night of Ascension (Isra’ and Al- Mi’raj), and he said to me: `O Muhammad, conveys my greetings to your Ummah, and tell them that Jannah has a vast plain of pure soil and sweet water. It is a plain levelled land, treeless plain and the seeds are: Subhān-Allāh, Al-hamdu lillāh, Lā ilāha illallāh and Allāhu Akbar (Allāh is free from imperfection; Praise be to Allāh; There is no true god except Allāh; and Allāh is Greatest).'' [At-Tirmidzi in his takhrij says: “Then say: `Lā- hawla-wa-lā-Quw-wata illā-billāhil-‘Ali-yil ‘Azim (there is no change of a condition nor power except by Allāh, The Most High, the Most Great) in the same manner’.”] [This is recorded by At-Tirmidzi (3462)].

Abu Musa (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said to me, "Shall I not guide you to a treasure from the treasures of Jannah?'' I said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allāh!'' Thereupon he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said, "(Recite)‘Lā hawla wa lā quwwata illa billāh (There is no change of a condition nor power except by Allāh)’.'' [This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

3.4. The best supplication is that of the Day of ‘Arafah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: "The best supplication is that of the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best thing that I and other Prophets before me said, is: ‘Lā ilāha illa allāhu wahdahu la sharīka lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai'iñ qadīr (There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belong the sovereignty and all praise. He has power over all things.)’.” [Al-Tirmidzi]

4. At-Tawbah (repentance) and abstaining from disobedience and all types of sins, since forgiveness and mercy are the results of deeds. Disobedience is the cause of being far away from Allah and repulsion, while obedience is the cause of being near to Allah and His love.

In the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) he reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily Allāh has a sense of Ghaira (a sense of honour and prestige, and the anger caused by its violation), and Allāh's sense of ghaira is provoked when a person does that which Allāh has prohibited.” (Al-Bukhārī and Muslim)

Repentance at special times is very important because in most cases people’s thoughts turn towards worship at these times, and they are keen to do good, which leads to them recognizing their sins and feeling regret for the past. Repentance is obligatory at all times, but when the Muslim combines sincere repentance with good deeds during the days of most virtue, this is a sign of success, in sha Allāh. Allāh says"But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful." [Al-Qasas, 28:67]

5. Doing plenty of voluntary (nawafil) righteous deeds of worship. For the non-Hujajj  performers should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allāh, praying (solāt), reading Qur`an, remembering Allāh, making supplication (du’ā), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

Verily, these are amongst the deeds that are multiplied in these days. It is during these days that even deeds that are less preferred are superior and more beloved to Allāh than superior deeds done at other times. (These deeds are superior) even to al-Jihād - which is one of the most superior of all deeds.

In a hadith Qudsi Allāh promised a great reward for offering extra acts of worship. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:"Allāh said, 'I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him."  [Al-Bukhari]

5.1. Solāt: Solāt is the first matter that will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the solāt. It is the pillar of Islam that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  mentioned after mentioning the testimony of faith, by which one becomes a Muslim. Prophet’s (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: "The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the solāt. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad."[Recorded by al-Tabarāni; Sahih]

The  Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was asked by a man about the most virtuous deed; he did it for several times; the first three times the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  repeatedly answered it"The solāt";  then on the fourth occasion he stated, "Jihad in the way of Allāh."  [Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban]

5.2. Jama`ah at the Masjid: It is mustahabb to perform the five daily Solāt in the masjid. The ummah must be keen to perform it in congregation as Allāh says: “…And bow (in ruku’) with those who bow” (Al-Baqarah: 43), and the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “He who hears the Adzan and does not respond, his Solāh is not accepted, except with the congregation, unless he has a (valid) excuse” [Ibn Majah] The excuse is either fear, sickness or rain.

If time permissible after Solāt Fajar, sit in the masjid, recite a juz' of Al-Qur’an. Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  also said: “If one of goes to the masjid and learns a verse or reads two verses from the Book of Allāh, is better for him than owning two she-camels, (reading) three are better than (owning) three, (reading) four are better than (owning) four and so on [Muslim] and also, “Let him who wants to attain love for Allāh and His messenger read from The Book of Allāh”. Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said: “He who recites a letter from the Book of Allāh will get a reward and each of these rewards will be multiplied ten times. I do not mean ‘Alif Lam Mm’ is one letter, but rather ‘Alif” is a letter, ‘Lam is a letter and ‘Mim’ is a letter” [At-Tirmidzi].

One may also make dua’, or recite some Adhkār (remembrance of Allāh). Then offer a two raka’at before you return home. If you do so, you are reviving a tradition that Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu `alaihi wasallam) used to do, a tradition which has been neglected by many Muslims.

5.3. Observe more Nawafil Solāt during these virtuous ten days of Zul-Hijjah. It is a path to goodness which Allāh loves. Many hadiths mentioned the virtues of optional Solāt.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “Solah is the best thing that one can do, so perform as many as you possibly can” [At-Tabarani] and he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)    also said: “Two light raka’ahs which you may think as insignificant to add to you deeds, is better for you than possessing the whole world” [Ibn Al-Mubarak]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said “Prostrate as much as you can, because whenever you prostrate, Allāh elevates your rank by a degree and wipes out a sin from your record” [Muslim]. In another narration: “Whenever a servant prostrates to Allāh, Allāh writes a reward for him, wipes out one of his sins and elevates his rank by one degree; so prostrate as much as you can [Ibn Mājah].

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated Rasulullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “The son of Adam could not do anything more beneficial for himself than Solāt; reconciliation (between Muslims) and being well mannered” [Al-Baihaqi and others].  Solāt, reconciliation and being well mannered lead to righteousness that the son of Adam can do, yet we see some people slighted it. A woman was praised in the presence of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  for her Solāt, fasting and other good deeds; her only flaw was that she harmed her neighbours. Upon hearing the praise, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said:“She is from the people of the Fire” [Ahmad]. So, let us repent, reform our situation and improve our manners.

5.4. The excellence of Sunnat Al-Rawatib: Umm Habibah (radiyallāhu `anha) narrated on the virtues of Sunnat Al-Rawatib that The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said:  "Whoever is regular with The Twelve Raka’at of Solah Sunnah, Allāh will build a house in Paradise (as follows): Four raka`at before and two after the Solah Dzuhur; Two after the Solah Maghrib; Two after the Solah `Ishā’; and two before the Solah Fajar."     (Narrated by at-Tirmidzi No. 415 (Sahih) and by others.)

5.5. The excellence of Tahajjud: Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  has said: The best of solat, after the prescribed solat, is solah in the depths of the night (Tahajjud), and the best of fasting after the month of Ramadhān is fasting the month of Allāh, Muharram.” [Muslim] In another narration `Abdallāh Ibn `Amr(radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)    said: “The most beloved of solah to Allāh is the solah of Dawud (`alaihissalam), and the most beloved of fasts to Allāh is the fast of Dawud (`alaihissalam). He used to sleep for half of the night, then get up and pray for a third of the night, then sleep for a sixth of the night, and he used to fast every other day.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)    described the way to perform Solāt: “The night Solāh is done two (raka`at) at a time”[Al-Bukhari] and in another narration: “The optional Solāt at night and during the day is done two raka`at at a time” [Ahmad, Ibn Mājah and others].

Salman al-Farsi (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  as saying: "Observe the night prayer (Tahajjud), it was the practice of the righteous before you and it brings you closer to your Lord and it is penance for evil deeds and erases the sins and repels disease from the body."  [Narrated by, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasā`ie and Ibn Mājah: Sahih]

5.6. Maintain Family Relations: Visit your relatives even for a few minutes. If they live far away, give them a call. Do not forget your parents. Be kind to them, visit them, and attend to their needs. Some new Muslims think that after their conversion, they should cut off their family members. Allāh orders Muslims to be kind to their parents even if they are non-Muslims. This occasion might be a good opportunity to talk about Islam to your non-Muslim parents.

5.7. Offer Charity: Make it a daily habit to help the needy. Look for humanitarian organizations in your neighborhood and help them in any way you can. Sadāqah or voluntary charity is indeed a virtuous deed; In fact, it is considered as a proof of one’s īman (faith). Sadāqah is not restricted to giving part of our wealth or material possessions or any special deed of righteousness. Islam considers all good deeds as sadaqah that would increase our īman

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  as saying: Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allāh adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allāh elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” [Muslim, 6264]

Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari, (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: Cleanliness is half of faith. Alhamdulillāh (Praise be to Allāh) fills the scale. Subhān Allāh (Glory be to Allāh) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allāh) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth. Solāt is a light. Charity is proof (of one’s faith). Patience is brightness and Al-Qur’an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.” [Muslim, 432]

Abu Dzarr Al-Ghifari (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “For every bone of the son of Adam a charity must be given each day. Every Tasbihah [saying Subhān Allāh (Glory be to Allāh)] is a charity, every Tahmidah [saying Al-hamdu Lillāh (Praise be to Allāh)] is a charity, every Tahlilah [saying Lā ilāha ill-Allāh (There is no god but Allāh)] is a charity, every Takbirah [saying Allāhu Akbar [Allāh is Most Great]) is a charity, enjoining what is good is a charity, forbidding what is evil is a charity, and two raka`at offered in the mid-morning (Duha) is most rewarding.” [This is recorded by Muslim, 720]

5.8. Try to Do Something New this Year. If you used to recite a part of the Qur’an last year, try to finish reading the whole Qur’an this year. Try to pick some verses everyday and check the books of Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) to reflect on their meaning in order to derive lessons from them in your daily life. If you do not read Arabic, I recommend Muhammad Assad’s translation of the Qur’an. If you are well-versed in the Qur’an recitation, try to teach a group of new Muslims how to read the Qur’an correctly. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “The best amongst you are those who learn the Qur’an and then teach it” [Bukhari].

6. The slaughtering of a sacrificial animal (`Adhiyah) is also legislated for the Day of Sacrifice (10th) and the Days of Tashrīq (11th, 12th and 13th). This is the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrāhīm when Allāh Almighty, redeemed Prophet Ibrāhīm's son, Ismail by the great sacrifice (of an animal in his place). It is authentically reported that The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  slaughtered (sacrificed) two horned rams, black and white in colour, and said Takbīr (Allāhu Akbar), and placed his foot on their sides (while slaughtering them). [Al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu`anha) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “If you see the Hilal (new moon) of Zulhijjah, and any one of you wants to make a sacrifice, then he should not cut (anything) from his hair and his nails.”[Muslim and others]. And in one narration, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)  said: “Then he should not cut (anything) from his hair, nor from his nails, until he performs the sacrifice. Perhaps this is because of the similarity with the one who is bringing a sacrificial animal for slaughter (in Hajj). As Allāh, the Most High, said: And do not shave your heads until the Hady (sacrifice) reaches the place of sacrifice... ”

The apparent meaning of this prohibition is that it is particularly for the one whom the sacrifice is for, and does not include the wife or children, unless there is an individual sacrifice for one of them. There is no harm in washing the head, or scratching it, even if hairs may fall out.

7. ‘Eid celebration.  It is incumbent for the Muslim (who is not performing Haj) to make every effort to perform the Solatul `Eid wherever it is performed, and to be present for the Khutbah and benefit. Eid celebration is a day of thankfulness and performing deeds of righteousness. So, it must not be make a day of wildness, pride and vanity. One should not make it a season for disobedience and increase in the forbidden things like music and singing, uncontrolled amusement, intoxicants and the like - those things which could cause the cancellation of the good deeds done in these days (of Dzul-Hijjah).

8. Obedience to Allāh. After what has been mentioned, it is fitting that every Muslim, take advantage of these days by obeying Allāh, remembering Him, thanking Him, fulfilling all the obligatory duties, and staying away from the prohibited things. One must take full advantage of this season, and the open display of Allāh's gifts, to attain the pleasure of his Lord.

It is Allāh alone who grants success and the guidance to the Straight Path. May the blessings of Allāh and peace be upon Muhammad, all righteous followers, his family, members of his household and all the companions.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Adapted with modification from “The Superiority and Virtue of the First Ten Days of The Month of Zulhijjah and the Deeds Legislated in it” by Shaykh Abdullah Ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Jibreen published in the Gulf Times March 1999]

Friday, October 14, 2011

Errors in Solāh Should Be Avoided

Errors in Solāh that Should Be Avoided

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-'ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger.

Solāh is one of the most important pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) warned that the first thing man will be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection is solāh.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, "I heard the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saying: 

“The first act of worship man shall be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection is solah. If it was performed correctly [1], man shall certainly succeed and prosper, if it is not, he shall certainly lose and fail. If, however, man's solāt was incomplete, the Lord, the Exalted, would say (to His Angels), "See if my slave performed supererogatory (nawafil) solāh to make up what he had missed of the obligatory solāh. The rest of man's deeds will be reckoned in the same manner” [2].

Buraidah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The covenant [3] which is between us and those (who embrace Islām) is solāh. Whosoever neglects it, becomes an unbeliever” [4]. 

On the other hand, Allāh has prepared great rewards for the believers who observe solah and are particular about it. Perfect solah effaces sins. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Have you considered, a river running by the door of you in which he bathes five times a day; would any of his dirt stay on him? They said "None of his dirt would stay on him." The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said So does Solāh; therewith Allāh eliminates sins” [5.] 

Therefore, it is very important to be regular on Solāh, and perform it correctly. One may perform solāh according to the way he was taught by the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) that only who must be followed. 

The traditions quoted in every issue of Ad-Deen an-Nasīhah, are authentic. Everyone should hold to the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), doing otherwise would expose himself to destruction. 

There are some common errors committed by Muslims in their Solāh. These errors must be avoided in order Allāh would accept this act of worship and reward us for it. 

1) Wearing pants, or garments that hang below the ankles. 

This is one of the sins. Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “There are three people whom Allāh shall not speak to on the Day of Resurrection, nor shall he look at them, nor shall he purify them, and they shall have a painful torment: One whose garment hangs down below his ankles, almanān[6], and (a merchant) who sells of his merchandise by means of false oath”[7]. 

Some people think that wearing clothes that hang below the ankles is not a sin if they abstain from doing so while praying only. Others think that wearing such a garment is a sin only if it is worn out of pride; otherwise, they believe there is no harm in doing so. However, the above and many other traditions indicate clearly that wearing clothes that hang below the ankles (for men) is a grave sin regardless of whether such garments are worn out of habit or pride. There are other authentic traditions that emphasize wearing clothing that hangs below the ankles out of pride entails harsher punishment. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The part of the garment which hangs below the ankles is (punishable by) Fire (on the Day of Resurrection)” [8]. 

It is common to see brothers folding up the hems of their pants for prayer. However, as soon as prayer is completed, they unfold their pants. The belief that wearing garments that hang below the ankles is prohibited during solāh only is a misconception commonly held by many Muslims. Such Muslims are unaware that the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) forbade praying with folded clothes [9]. Based on this prohibition, scholars have agreed that praying with folded sleeves or pants is unlawful. 

2) Consuming food of bad smell such has garlic or onion, or smoking [10] before coming to solāh.

Angels and the praying people are bothered by offensive smell. On the contrary, one should wear perfume, if available before coming into mosques. Jabir bin Abdullah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: He who eats from the smelly plant [garlic or onion], let him come not near our mosque; the angels are bothered by that which bothers men [11]. 

3) Proceeding to mosque for solāh with brisk walk, or even running for fear of missing part of the solāh. 

This may disturb those who are already in prayer. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When solāh has already started, do not walk quickly to join in. Proceed calmly and reposefully; then join in whichever part you catch up, and complete whichever part you missed (i.e., soon after the imām ends the solāh)” [12]. 

4) Articulate Takbīr al-Ihram when joining solāh while rukū'. 

Many of those who come late to the mosque and join in prayer which is already in progress, rush to take the same posture, while people are in rukū', and say takbīr al-Ihram, or the opening takbīr of the solāh while ruku’ for fear of missing that raka'ah. Takbīr al-Ihram is to be pronounced when one is standing upright, only. 

5) Articulate the niyyah in  audible voice. 

The seat of the intention is the heart. Mumbling words such as "I intend to perform solāh such solāh or such number of raka`at, or I intend to fast, or do such act of worship or another," just before starting observing solāh is a bid`ah which was practiced neither by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) nor his companions, nor by their followers. 

Uttering the above words of niyyah allows shaitān to put irrelevant words in the mouth of the person who utters the niyyah. Do you remember at one time or another that once you stood up for Solāh Dzuhur and discovered yourself saying, "I intend to perform solāh four raka`at of `Ishā’," or when you were standing for Solāh Asar you made your intention to perform Solāh Fajar instead? This confusion is from shaitān. Had you kept silent, shaitān would have no chance of confusing you. 

6) Neglecting raising the hands in the opening takbīr of solāh and before and after rukū', and upon standing up for the third raka`ah. 

`Abdullah bin `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said, "I saw the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) raising his hands to the level of his shoulders, upon starting solāh, and before bending for rukū' and when he stood up again” [13]. 

Raising hands with every takbīr, subsequent to the first takbīr in janazah, `Eid or rain solāh is not recommended. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to put his hands on his chest (while standing in prayer) [14]. 

7) Neglecting the opening du`ā of solāh, ta’awwudz, and basmalah. 

T'a`awwudz is saying "Aūdzu billahi min ashshaitān ir-rajim" and basmalah is saying "Bismillāh hirRahmān irRahīm." 

8) Neglecting praying facing a sutrah. 

The sutrah is an object, such as a wall, or a post, which a person faces while praying. Or any other object which a person places to serve as a sutrah, by putting it on the ground in order that no one may cross in front of him while praying. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Pray facing a sutrah, and let no one cross in front of you while praying. If he insists, then prevent him by force because he is accompanied by shaitan” [15]. 

And he (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When one of you prays facing a sutrah, let him pray close to it so that shaitān may not be able to nullify his solāh” [16]. 

The above tradition indicates clearly that shaitān crosses in front of a praying person who performs solāh without a sutrah, causing his solāh to be null and void without being aware of it. Even if one performs solāh in an open field, he should place a sutrah in front of him. 

Allāh says: (Verily) He (the shaitan) and his own people see you while you do not see them [17]. 

9) Reluctance to stand in the front line in congregational solāh

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Were people to realize the value of making adzān (the call for solāh), and the great reward (for doing so) and the virtue of standing in the first line (in congregational solāh), and had no choice but to make a draw (to decide who makes adzān or stands in the first line) they would have justifiably done so. And were people to know the significance of coming early to (congregational) solāh, they would have raced with one another (to reach the mosque first). And if they were to know the great reward (for coming to mosque) for solāh Isha' and Fajar, they would have come even if they had to crawl (i.e. even if they were disabled, they would have come crawling for fear of missing its great reward.)” [18]. 

10) Gazing upward during solāh, or looking at the imām, right or left. 

This may cause loss of concentration. We are commanded to lower our gaze, and look at the point at which the head rests during sujūd. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) warned: “Let those who raise their gaze up during solāh stop doing so, or else their sights would not return to them. [i.e. lose their eyesight]”. (Muslim) 

11) Leaving gaps in lines of congregational prayer. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded: “Straighten your lines, level your shoulders and block the gaps. Shaitān passes through [line] gaps” [19]. 

12) Reciting Surah al-Fatihah fast without pausing after each verse. 

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to pause after each verse of this surah [20]. 

13) Fidgeting during solāh, or looking at a watch or fiddling with one's fingers, clothes or moving feet or other parts of the body restlessly. 

All of this diminishes the reward for solāh. Submissiveness is a condition of acceptance of solāh. Allāh's command signifies: And stand [in solāh] to Allāh submissively [21]. 

14) Holding the Qur`an and reciting from it by the muqtadi in congregational prayer to check the imām's recitation. 

This act distracts the person who is doing so and prevents him from concentration. It is a dispraised act during solāh. 

15) Racing with the imām, or moving with or before him in congregational solāh. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Move not before the imam does. When the imām says. Allāhu akbar, you say, Allāhu akbar. When he says, waladh-dhāllīn' you say, āmīn. In another narration, he said: Surely the imam is there to be followed” [22]. He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) also said: “Does not the one who raises his head before the imam does fear that Allāh would transform his head into a donkey's head” [23].

16) Lowering the head excessively, or pushing it up, and arching the back during rukū'. 

The head must be kept in normal position, while the back must be straight during rukū' to form with legs a right angle. 

17) Sticking the arms to the sides of the body, in rukū' or sujūd, and sticking the belly to the thighs in sujūd. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Let not one of you support himself on his forearms (in sujūd) like the dog. Let him rest on his palms and keep his elbows away from his body” [24]. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to keep his arms away from his body during rukū' and sujūd that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen [25]. 

18) Praying while part of the back is exposed. 

This happens to those who wear tight and short shirts or tight pants; when they bow or prostrate part of their backs are exposed. Such part of the body is awrah, or the part which must be covered always. Exposing part of the back during solāh renders solāh null and void. 

19) Neglecting ta'mīn (to say 'Āmīn) loudly when the imām recites the concluding verse of Surah al-Fātihah, "waladh-dhāllīn". 

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded: “When the imām says, 'waladh-dhāllīn', say 'Āmīn', because the angels also say, 'Āmīn', and the imām says, 'Āmīn'. He whose āmīn coincides with the āmīn of the angels, Allāh forgives his past sins” [26]. In another narration, the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: Then say, 'Āmīn', Allāh loves you” [27]. 

20) Resting only the tip of the head on the floor during sujūd. 

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “I am commanded to prostrate on seven bones the forehead and the nose, the two hands [palms], the two knees, and the two feet” [28]. Applying the above command necessitates resting the forehead and the nose on the ground during sujūd. 

21) Hasty performance of prayer which does not allow repose and calmness in rukū' or sujūd. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saw a man who did not complete his rukū' [bowing], and made a very short sujūd [prostration]; he said: “If this man dies while praying in this manner, he would die upholding a religion other than the religion of Muhammad.” Abu Hurairah, (radiyallāhu`anhu), said: “My beloved friend, Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) forbade me to perform postures of prayer copying the picking of a rooster; (signifying fast performance of prayer), moving eyes around like a fox and the sitting like monkeys (i.e. to sit on thighs)” [29]. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “The worst thief is the one who steals from his own prayer. People asked, 'Messenger of Allāh! How could one steal from his own prayer?' He said: By not completing its rukū' and sujūd” [30]. 

To complete rukū' is to stay in that posture long enough to recite 'Subhāna rabbiyal Adzīm' three times, slowly, and 'Subhāna rabbiyal-‘ala' three times, slowly, in sujūd. He also announced: “He who does not complete his rukū' and sujūd, his prayer is void” [31]. 

22) Sitting in tawarruk position in the last raka`ah of Fajar and Solāh al-Juma`ah. 

It is praiseworthy to take tawarruk position only in the last raka`ah of Solāh Dzuhur, Asar, Maghrib and `Ishā’. Tawarruk is described in Sahih al-Bukhari as resting the body, during sitting position, on the left thigh and putting the left foot under the right leg, while setting the right foot upright; and supporting the body by the left hand with which the left knee is grasped. See the accompanying diagram, which was hand-drawn (not copied) after looking at "The Reliance of the Traveler." 

23) Moving the two palms upon saying, 'Assalamu ‘alaikum warahmatul-lāh' to end prayer. 

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saw some of his companions doing so. He objected: “Why do I see you moving your hands like the tails of wild horses. They never did that again” [32]. 

24) Counting tasbīh with the left hand. 

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to count tasbīh on the fingers of his right hand after solāh. `Abdullah bin Amr (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, (There are) two good deeds, any Muslim who does them shall enter Jannah but few are those who do them: to say, "Subhānallāh" ten times, and "Alhamdulillah" ten times, and "AllāhuAkbar" ten times. And I have seen the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) counting them on his hand. lbn Qudamah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his right hand for tasbīh [33]. 

The above hadīth indicates clearly that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used only one hand for counting tasbīh. No Muslim with sound mind would imagine that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his left hand for counting tasbīh. `Aishah, (radiallāhu`anha), said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used his left hand only for Istinjā', or cleaning himself after responding to the call of nature. He never used it for tasbīh. Yasirah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded women to count tasbīh on their fingers

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “They (the fingers) will be made to speak, and will be questioned (on the Day of Resurrection.)”[34]

The above hadīth indicates that it is preferable to count tasbīh on the fingers of the right hand than to do so on masbahah (rosary). 

25) Shaking hands with other praying people right after fardhu prayer is over, saying, 'taqabbala-llah', or 'haraman' 

This is a bid`ah which was never practiced by the Prophet's companions or their followers, (radiyallāhu`anhum). 

26) Raising hands for duā' soon as prayer is over. 

This was not the practice of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). The Sunnah is to start with dzikir soon after solāh is over. Thawban (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) concluded his solāh, he would beg forgiveness from Allah [i.e Astaghfirullāh! (I beseech Allāh for forgiveness,] thrice and then would recite: "Allāhumma Antas-Salāmu, wa minkas-salāmu, tabārakta ya Dzal-Jalali wal-Ikram (O Allah, You are the Grantor of security, and security comes from You. You are Blessing, O You Who have majesty and nobility)!'' (Imam) Al-Awza`ie, one of the narrators of this Hadith, was asked: "How forgiveness is to be sought?'' He answered: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to say: `Astaghfirullāh! Astaghfirullāh! (I beseech Allāh for forgiveness, I beseech Allāh for forgiveness)'.'' [35]. 

The best forms of duā’ are those authentically related to the Prophet, (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). Insha' Allāh, we will publish the authentic duā’ masnūn, soon. 

27) Walking away right after taslīm, at the end of solāh, and neglecting dzikir. 

Dzikir is reciting Subhānallāh 33 times, Alhamdulillāh 33 times Allāhu Akbar 33 times, reciting Lāilāha illallāh 10 times reciting ayat al-Kursi [i.e. verse 255 of surah 2, al Baqarah], or other authentic dzikir. 

28) Crossing in front of a person performing solāh. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) warned: “Were the one who crosses in front of a praying person to know the consequences of doing so, he would have waited for forty better than to cross in front of him”[36]. The forty cited in the hadith may be days months or even years. Only Allāh knows best.

29) Neglecting solāh when one is sick or ill. 

Solāh is one of the most important pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) never neglected it during his sickness, nor while combating enemies. Solāh must be performed regardless. If one cannot perform ablution for one legal reason or another, then he must perform dry ablution tayammum by patting with his palms a dusty surface, then wiping the face and hands. If he cannot stand up in the Solāh, he may perform Solāh while sitting or lying down on his side. Otherwise, it is enough for him to perform Solāh by moving his eyes up for rukū' and down for sujūd, and complete the rest of the prayer postures in the same manner. 

30) Praying in a graveyard. 

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: Solāh not in graveyards, nor sit on graves [37]. 

The format of Solāh is enjoined by the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). No imām or a scholar has the right to alter it by adding to or deleting from it. There is no book of authentic hadith or Prophetic tradition reporting that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded men to pray in one way, and women in another. He commanded: Solāh as you saw me performing Solāh [38]. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) did not differentiate between men and women in prayer. 

Some scholars opine that it is better for women to gather themselves in sujūd. As everybody knows, prayer is an act of worship, and like every other act of worship, there must be a textual proof for it in the Qur'an or the authentic Sunnah. Let us pray to Allāh, extolled be His glory, seeking His forgiveness, and asking him to guide us to the straight path. Āmīn. 



[1]It should be borne in mind that performing prayer correctly means performing it in accordance with the traditions only, not according to the madzhab to which a person adheres.
[2]Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidzi.
[3]This tradition refers to the covenant which Allāh has taken from Muslims, through His Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and made mandatory on them praying five times a day. Neglecting salah is apostasy.
[4]Sunan an-Nasā'ie and Sunan Ibn Mājah
[5]Sunan an-Nasā'ie
[6]Almanān is a person who gives out gifts only to reproach the recipient for what he has given him.
[7]Sahih Muslim. The above hadīth refers to a merchant who swears falsely that he is not making a profit in his merchandise or that it cost him too much in order to convince the customer to buy it.
[8]Sahih al-Bukhari
[9]Sahih Muslim
[10]It must be borne in mind that smoking is harām, and that smoking just before coming to mosques is even worse.
[11]Sahih Muslim.
[12]Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
[14]Al Bukhari, Abu Dawūd and others.
[15]Ibn Khuzaimah
[17] Al-A’raf, 7.27
[18]Sahih Muslim
[19]Imam Ahmad and others.
[20]Abu Dawūd
[22]Sahih Muslim
[26]Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
[27]Sahih Muslim
[29]Imam Ahmad and at-Tayalisi
[30]At-Tabrāni and al-Hakim
[31]Abu Dawūd and others.
[32]Abu Dawūd & an-Nasā'ie
[33]Abu Dawūd
[35] [Muslim]
[36]Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim
[37]Sahih Muslim and others
[38]Sahih al-Bukhari
[Via Quran and Sunnah Society]