Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) reported that Rasoolullahﷺ said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allahﷻ than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allahﷻ ?” He said, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allahﷻ , except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause and came back with nothing.” (Bukhari).
Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) also reported that Rasoolullahﷺ said: “There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allahﷻ nor greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of sacrifice.” He was asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allahﷻ ?” He said, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allahﷻ , except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause and came back with nothing.” (al-Darimi).
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 Ramadan. But the last ten nights of Ramadan are better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. Thus the various reports may be reconciled. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 5/412).
Reasons behind the virtues of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah
- Allahﷻ swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allahﷻ said: “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2].
- Rasoolullahﷺ commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbih (Subhan-Allah), Tahmid (Al-hamdu Lillah) and Takbir (Allahu Akbar) during this time. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (RA) reported that Rasoolullahﷺ said, ‘There are no days greater in the sight of Allahﷻ and in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahlil (La ilaha ill-Allah), Takbir and Tahmid.” (Musnad Ahmad).
- These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafah the day on which Allahﷻ perfected His Religion. Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years. These days also include Yawm al-Nahar (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the Day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.
Things to avoid in Dhul Hijjah
Question: What must the Muslim avoid during these ten days if he wants to offer a sacrifice?
The sacrifice refers to the Udhiya which is done by those who have not gone for Hajj. Udhiya is Wajib on anyone who is eligible to pay Zakat.
Narrated Al-Bara (R), ‘I heard Rasoolullahﷺ delivering a Khutba saying, “The first thing to be done on this day (first day of Eid ul Adha) is to pray; and after returning from the prayer we slaughter our sacrifices (in the name of Allahﷻ ) and whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunna (traditions).”
Abu Hurairah (R) reported that Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Whoever can afford it but does not offer a sacrifice, let him not come near our prayer place.” [Ibn Maajah]
Abu Hurairah (R) reports that Rasoolullahﷺ said that any Muslim who is financially capable of offering a sacrificial animal on the Day of Eid al-Adha, but does not do so, let him not approach the Eid prayer place of Muslims nor pray with the people, because the Muslim should not neglect this ritual while he is able to offer it. Offering the sacrificial animal is a great act of worship and a rite that should be observed on the day of Eid al-Adha. The majority of scholars said that it is a confirmed act of Sunnah.
The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because Rasoolullahﷺ said: “When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” According to another report he said: “He should not remove (literally, touch) anything from his hair or skin.” (Muslim)
Whoever needs to remove some hair, nails, etc. because it is harming him, such as having a broken nail or a wound in a site where there is hair, should do so, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with men or women washing their heads during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because the Rasoolullahﷺ only forbade cutting the hair, not washing it.
The wisdom behind this prohibition of the one who wants to offer a sacrifice from cutting his hair etc., is so that he may resemble those in ihram in some aspects of the rites performed, and so that he may draw closer to Allahﷻ by offering the sacrifice. So, he leaves his hair and nails alone until the time when he has offered his sacrifice, in the hope that Allahﷻ will save him from the Fire. And Allahﷻ knows best.