As we enter the month of Zulhijjah on the night of 21 July 2020, we are reminded that Rasulullah s.aw. mentioned, ‘The best days of this world are these ten (first 10 days of Zulhijjah).’ [Narrated by al-Bazzaar]
This is the month in which Muslims all around the world perform a once-in-a-lifetime obligatory ibadah – that is the hajj, or pilgrimage. This act of worship is considered as one of the five pillars of Islam and is compulsory for those who are able to perform it.
It is of utmost sadness when it is informed that there will be no pilgrimage for non-Saudis this year, due to the current situation. Scheduled visits to the holy land of Makkah have to be postponed. The hearts of Muslims yearn to perform such a ritual. However, we must be reminded that ensuring the wellbeing of ourselves in these trying times is just as important.
Although the act of hajj cannot be performed this year, we will still be going through the very special month of Zulhijjah. There are still so many practices that we can perform to enliven this blessed month. Here are a few of them:
1 – Qurban
Qurban refers to the ritual sacrifice done on Eidul Adha and the Days of Tashriq (31st July – 3rd August 2020). Qurban linguistically means to be closer (towards Allah). It is a practice that signifies one’s full obedience and sincerity in worshipping Allah.
Sheep, camels, cows and goats that fulfill the requirements of Qurban are slaughtered on these days and it is recommended that a portion of the meat is given to the needy. This depicts and encourages Muslims to act upon sympathy and mercy while helping others.
In the Shafi’i school of thought, it is sunnah mu’akkadah (highly recommended) for those who wish to perform this ritual to not clip their fingernails and trim their hair from the 1st day of Zulhijjah (Maghrib of 21st July 2020) until the day of their qurban.
2 – Increase the amount of ibadah on the first 10 days of Zulhijjah
It has been narrated by Imam an-Nasa’i and Abi Daud that amongst the days which the prophet would fast on are the first 10 days of Zulhijjah (21st – 30th July 2020). Alternatively, Muslims can perform any good deeds to uphold the significance of these days.
The Prophet s.a.w said, ‘No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Zulhijjah).’ Then some companions asked, ‘Not even Jihad?’ He replied, ‘Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.’
3 – Fast on the day of Arafah
The day of Arafah falls on the 9th of Zulhijjah (30th July 2020). It is the day before Eidul Adha. On this day, pilgrims are obliged to proceed to an area that includes a plain and a hill called the Arafah, giving this day the name that it is known for.
As for non-pilgrims, it is sunnah to fast on this day.
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اَللَّهِ - صلى الله عليه وسلم -سُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ. قَالَ: ” يُكَفِّرُ اَلسَّنَةَ اَلْمَاضِيَةَ وَالْبَاقِيَةَ”
‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah. He replied, “Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” [Narrated by Imam Muslim]
The expiation (of sins) in this hadith refers to only the minor sins. Major sins are not expiated, and require the doer to perform taubah instead.
4 – Perform Eid prayers
This is performed on the morning of 10th Zulhijjah (31st July 2020). According to the Shafi’i school of thought, it is sunnah to perform it, be it alone or in congregation, at a communal space or at home. It is also sunnah to listen to the 2 khutbahs delivered afterwards.
5 – Takbir
This practice can be performed beginning from after the Fajr prayers on the day of ‘Arafah (30th July 2020) until Asar of the last day of Tashriq (3rd August 2020).
It is a common practice for the takbir to be recited continuously during the night of Eidul Adha until the Eid prayer is performed. Otherwise, the takbir is recited after each daily prayer from the Day of Arafah (30th July 2020) onwards.
This serves as a reminder for us; although we are not able to perform Hajj this year, this should not dampen our spirits in enlivening and filling these blessed days of Zulhijjah with various ibadahs.
On top of these sunnahs that are done only in this month, there are also many other ibadahs that can be performed all year round as well. This includes fasting on Mondays, Thursdays and the white days (13th, 14th & 15th) of each lunar month and giving charity.
Let’s benefit our moments in this blessed month of Zulhijjah and hope that pilgrimage can be performed once again soon!