The First Ten Nights of Dhul Hijja! Why are they sacred?
Updated: Jul 8
We all have heard that the first ten Nights of Dhul-Hijjah are the best days of the year. Scholars refer to the Quranic chapter 87 verses 1-3 in support of this assertion. It reads: "Consider the daybreak and the ten nights. Consider the multiple and the One! Consider the night as it runs its course! Considering all this - could there be, to anyone endowed with reason, a [more] solemn evidence of the truth?
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 that the ten nights refer to days also because Ramadan's last ten nights are more blessed than any other days as those have 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 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 the 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.
010. Thank Allah
This explanation limits the commonly held belief that the first ten days are the most blessed ones, and does not give reasons for this. First, if the Quran refers to ten nights, it means night and not day. In chapter 89, the Quran first alludes to the pre-Islamic period, when people spent the first ten nights of Dhul Hijja in merrymaking and debauchery. They would surround the Kaaba naked and indulge in gambling and drinks. Therefore, the Quran reminded the people, the assembly for Hajj is not for this purpose. If people want to understand the fate of those who indulge in these kinds of behavior, they should check human history to know that those nations choosing that route hurt and destroyed them.
The chapter further elaborates that they indulged in this behavior, neglecting their responsibilities towards those who were helpless, neglected, and marginalized and had no regard for 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 on undergoing 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, which is the most significant assembly of human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, status, wealth, knowledge, caste, color, dress, or creed. The Quran describes this yearly experiment in human unity and dignity as the most exciting moment of human existence. Thus, by describing the first ten days as the best in the year, the Quran reminds 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 pride are 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,
Unity is the foundation of a faith-based community, and integration is the goal every nation and community should aspire to. Therefore, this experience is open to all who believe in monotheism and stand for the unity of humanity, the dignity of human beings, peace, and harmony between all sectors of human society.
During the first ten nights of Hajj, people get an opportunity to prove that they can overcome their differences and live in peace and with humility.