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Central Khutbah: “The Best Days of the Year – The Greatest Opportunity for Believers”

The Prophet of Allah, encouraging Muslims to do good deeds during these days, said regarding the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah: “There are no days during which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days,” referring to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah…

The companions said: “Not even jihad in the way of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad in the way of Allah!” He continued: “Except for a man who goes out in jihad in the way of Allah, fighting with his body and wealth, and returns with nothing.” (Bukhari and others). Are we now aware of the importance of the time approaching us? A time that many have not lived through and would give everything they possessed to experience this great season once more. Is this the only argument that indicates the value of these days?, someone might ask. No.

There are many other arguments that indicate the value of these days. The importance of these days is also highlighted by a hadith of the Prophet of Allah: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah, nor days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days, so multiply in them the remembrance of Allah by saying ‘La ilaha illallah’ (there is no god but Allah), ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest), ‘Alhamdulillah’ (praise be to Allah).” (Hadith reported by Imam Tabarani with a good chain of narrators, as confirmed by Sheikh Albani.) The significance of these days is also indicated by the fact that Allah the Exalted swears by this time in the Quran: “By the dawn! And by the ten nights!” (Al-Fajr, 1-2). Ibn Kathir mentioned in his commentary on this verse the words of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, saying that these are the nights of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. We have often mentioned in texts that Allah’s oath by one of His creations indicates the greatness of that creation. Allah the Exalted swears only by great and precious creations. It is permissible for Allah the Exalted to swear by one of His creations, whereas His creations are only allowed to swear by Allah (any of His names) or one of His attributes.

As humans, in our curiosity, we ask: Is there any wisdom in Allah choosing these ten days? Islamic scholars have tried to provide an answer to this. Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in “Fath”: “I think the reason for the distinction of the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah is that they combine all the fundamental acts of worship: prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage, and this is not the case with any other time.”

Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah and if they are better than the last ten days of Ramadan, he replied: “The days of the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are better than the last ten days of Ramadan, but the nights of the last ten days of Ramadan are better than the nights of the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” Imagine that the days ahead of us are better than the days of the last ten days of Ramadan, which we try to maximize!

The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is the most honored day of the year, the Day of Arafat. It is also one of the greatest pillars of Hajj. This day brings with it certain peculiarities:

It is a day of forgiveness and salvation from the fire of Hell. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “There is no day of the year when Allah frees more of His servants from the fire of Hell than the day of Arafat.” (Muslim)

Fasting on this day erases the sins of the past and the current year: “Fasting on the day of Arafat erases the sins of the past and the current year.” (Muslim)

On this day, Allah the Exalted boasts to the angels about the pilgrims and says: “Look at My faithful servants, they have come to Me disheveled and dusty from every distant pass.” (Ahmad)

This day is a day of supplication and seeking forgiveness, a day when the pilgrim who has left all his obligations and dedicated himself solely to worship, traveling a long distance to seek Allah’s pleasure, has forgotten the world and daily obligations. Therefore, a special message to anyone who has the opportunity to be a pilgrim on this day is not to lose a single moment of this day, from the afternoon until sunset, without glorifying Allah the Exalted, seeking forgiveness, or making supplications.

This day is also associated with the greatest Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, which is more valuable than Eid al-Fitr: “The most valuable day to Allah is the day of sacrifice (Yawm an-Nahr).” (Ahmad)

Talking about the days of sacrifice would not be complete without mentioning the case of the great prophet, Ibrahim, peace be upon him, and his trial and the test he was subjected to. The outcome of this test was what could be expected from such a great man – he passed with the highest grade possible. This event should not be just a beautiful story. On the contrary, it is mentioned in the Holy Book to be a lesson for the generations after him. We are not asked to make sacrifices of such magnitude, but we often fail the tests. So, when we experience a trial, or when we have to sacrifice something for the faith, let us not think that this is the greatest sacrifice, but remember Ibrahim, peace be upon him, and his sacrifice to understand that our sacrifice is insignificant compared to his. A sincere believer is one who responds to the commands of his Lord with the conviction that it is good and beneficial for him, regardless of what others may think.

(Central khutbah by the religious leader Hafiz Hilmija Redžić on June 7, 2024, at the “Centre Islamique Medina” in Wiltz)

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