Dhul Hijjah

How do the first ten days of the Month of Dhul Hijjah differ 
from other days of the year?

Praise be to Allaah Who has created Time and has made some 
times better than others, some months and days and nights better 
than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy 
towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous 
deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the 
Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, pre-
pare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the 
Day of Judgement .

This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the oppor-
tunity to correct ones faults and make up for any shortcomings 
or anything that one might have missed. Every one of these spe-
cial occasions involves some kind of worship through which the 
slaves may draw closer to Allaah, and some kind of blessing 
though which Allaah bestows His favour and mercy upon whom-
soever He will. The happy person is the one who makes the most 
of these special months, days and hours and draws nearer to his 
Lord during these times through acts of worship; he will most 
likely be touched by the blessing of Allaah and will feel the joy of 
knowing that he is safe from the flames of Hell. (Ibn Rajab, al-
Lataaif, p.8)

The Muslim must understand the value of his life, increase his 
worship of Allaah and persist in doing good deeds until the mo-
ment of death. Allaah says

“And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the 
certainty.” [al-Hijr 15:99]

The mufassireen (commentators) said: “ ‘The certainty’ means 

Among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of 
Dhu’l-Hijjah, which Allaah has preferred over all the other days 
of the year. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his 
father) reported that the Prophet (.) said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more 
beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people 
asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, 
“Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, 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 noth-
ing.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457)

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) also 
reported that the Prophet (.) said:

“There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allaah, 
nor greater in reward, than a good deed done during the 
ten days of Sacrifice.” He was asked, “Not even jihaad 
for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for 
the sake of Allaah, 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.” (Reported by al-
Daarimi, 1/357; its isnaad is hasan as stated in al-Irwaa’, 

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 Ramadaan. But the last ten nights of Ramadaan are 
better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr (“The Night of

Power”), which is better than a thousand months. Thus the vari-
ous reports may be reconciled. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/412)

You should know, my brother in Islaam, that the virtue of these 
ten days is based on many things:

Allaah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by some-
thing is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allaah says:

“By the dawn; by the ten nights.” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]

Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier 
and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of 
Dhu’l-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.” 
(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413)

The Prophet (.) testified that these are the best days of this 
world, as we have already quoted above from saheeh ahaadeeth .

The Prophet (.) encouraged people to do righteous deeds be-
cause of the virtue of this season for people throughout the 
world, and also because of the virtue of the place - for the Hujjaaj 
(pilgrims) to the Sacred House of Allaah.

The Prophet (.) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh 
(“Subhan-Allaah”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”) and 
Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”) during this time. ‘Abdullaah ibn 
‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported 
that the Prophet (.) said:

“There are no days greater in the sight of Allaah and in 
which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than 
these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of 
Tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allaah”), Takbeer and Tahmeed.”

(Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that 
it is saheeh)

These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on 
which Allaah perfected His Religion. Fasting on this day will ex-
piate for the sins of two years. These days also include Yawm al-
Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and 
the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way 
unlike any other day.

These ten days include the days of sacrifice and of Hajj.


Question: What must the Muslim avoid during these ten 
days if he wants to offer a sacrifice?

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 of-
fered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (.) said:

“When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if any one 
of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cut-
ting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.”

According to another report he said:

“He should not remove anything from his hair or skin.” 
(reported by Muslim with four isnaads, 13/146)

The Prophet’s instruction here makes one thing obligatory and 
his prohibition makes another haraam, according to the soundest 
opinion, because these commands and prohibitions are uncondi-
tional and unavoidable. If a person does any of these things de-

liberately, he must seek Allaah’s forgiveness but is not however 
required to offer (an extra) sacrifice in expiation; his sacrifice will 
be acceptable. 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. The state of ihraam is so important that 
it is permitted to cut one’s hair if leaving it will cause harm. There 
is nothing wrong with men or women washing their heads during 
the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (.) only 
forbade cutting the hair, not washing it.

The wisdom behind this prohibition from cutting his hair etc. for 
the one who wants to offer a sacrifice, is so that he may resemble 
those in ihraam in some aspects of the rituals performed, and so 
that he may draw closer to Allaah 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 Allaah will save him in his entirety 
from the Fire. And Allaah knows best.

If a person has cut his hair or nails during the first ten days of 
Dhu’l-Hijjah because he was not planning to offer a sacrifice, 
then he decides later, during the ten days, to offer a sacrifice, then 
he must refrain from cutting his hair and nails from the moment 
he makes this decision.

Some women may delegate their brothers or sons to make the 
sacrifice on their behalf, then cut their hair during these ten days. 
This is not correct, because the ruling applies to the one who is 
offering the sacrifice, whether or not he (or she) delegates some-
one else to carry out the actual deed. The prohibition does not 
apply to the person delegated, only to the person who is making 
the sacrifice, as is indicated in the hadeeth. The person who is

sacrificing on behalf of someone else, for whatever reason, does 
not have to adhere to this prohibition.

This prohibition appears to apply only to the one who is offering 
the sacrifice, not to his wife and children, unless any of them is 
offering a sacrifice in his or her own right, because the Prophet 
(.) used to sacrifice “on behalf of the family of Muhammad,” 
but there are no reports that say he forbade them to cut their hair 
or nails at that time.

If a person was planning to offer a sacrifice, then he decides to go 
and perform Hajj, he should not cut his hair or nails if he wants 
to enter ihraam, because the Sunnah is only to cut hair and nails 
when necessary. But if he is performing Tamattu’ [whereby he 
performs ‘Umrah, comes out of ihraam and enters ihraam anew 
for Hajj], he should trim his hair at the end of his ‘Umrah be-
cause this is part of the ritual.

The things that are described above as being prohibited for the 
person who is planning to offer a sacrifice are reported in the 
hadeeth quoted above; the person is not forbidden to wear per-
fume, have marital relations, wear sewn garments, etc.

Concerning the types of worship to be performed during these 
ten days: one must understand that these days are a great blessing 
from Allaah to His slave, which is appreciated properly by the 
actively righteous. It is the Muslim’s duty to appreciate this bless-
ing and make the most of the opportunity, by devoting these ten 
days to paying more attention to striving hard in worship. Among 
His blessings to His slaves, Allaah has given us many ways in 
which to do good and worship Him, so that the Muslim may be 
constantly active and consistent in his worship of his Lord .

Among the good deeds which the Muslim should strive to do 
during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are:

Fasting. It is Sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah
because the Prophet (.) urged us to do good deeds during this 
time, and fasting is one of the best of deeds. Allaah has chosen 
fasting for Himself, as is stated in the Hadeeth Qudsi:

“Allaah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for 
him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the 
One Who will reward him for it.’ ” (Reported by al-
Bukhaari, 1805)

The Prophet (.) used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Hu-
naydah ibn Khaalid reported from his wife that some of the wives 
of the Prophet (.) said:

“The Prophet (.) used to fast on the ninth of Dhu’l-
Hijjah, on the day of ‘Aashooraa´, on three days of each 
month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of 
each month.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i, 4/205 and by Abu 
Dawud; classified by al-Albaani as saheeh in Saheeh Abi 
Dawud, 2/462)

Takbeer. It is Sunnah to say Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”), Tah-
meed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allaah”) 
and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allaah”) during the first ten days of 
Dhu’l-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the 
street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allaah 
and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a 
proclamation of the greatness of Allaah, may He be exalted.

Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should re-
cite them quietly .

Allaah says:

“That they might witness things that are of benefit to 
them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also 
some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the 
name of Allaah on appointed days, over the beast of cat-
tle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)...” [al-
Hajj 22:28]

The majority of scholars agree that the “appointed days” are the 
first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because of the words of Ibn ‘Ab-
baas (.): “The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of 

The Takbeer may include the words:

“Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allaah; wa Al-
laahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, 
Allaah is Most Great, there is no god but Allaah; Allaah 
is Most Great and to Allaah be praise)…”

…as well as other phrases.

Takbeer at this time is an aspect of the Sunnah that has been for-
gotten, especially during the early part of this period, so much so 
that one hardly ever hears Takbeer, except from a few people. 
This Takbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the 
Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evi-
dence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased 
with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten 
days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would re-
cite Takbeer when they heard them. The idea behind reminding 
the people to recite Takbeer is that each one should recite it indi-

vidually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Sharee‘ah for doing 

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 (.):

“Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgot-
ten 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.” (Reported by al-
Tirmidhi, 7/443; this is a hasan hadeeth because of cor-
roborating asaaneed)

Performing Hajj and ‘Umrah. One of the best deeds that one 
can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the Sacred 
House of Allaah. The one whom Allaah helps to go on Hajj to 
His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in 
the words of the Prophet (.):

“An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Para-

Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are be-
loved by Allaah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever 
is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed 
time by worshipping Allaah, praying (salaat), reading Qur`an, re-
membering Allaah, making supplication (du‘aa´), 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.

Sacrifice. One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer 
to Allaah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing

a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the 
sake of Allaah .

Sincere repentance. One of the most important things to do 
during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allaah and to give 
up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming 
back to Allaah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that 
He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up imme-
diately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere 
firmly to the Truth by doing what Allaah loves.

If a Muslim commits a sin, he must hasten to repent at once, 
without delay, firstly because he does not know when he will die, 
and secondly because one evil deed leads to another.

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 suc-
cess, in sha Allaah. Allaah says:

“But as for him who repented, believed and did right-
eous deeds, then he will be among those who are suc-
cessful.” [al-Qasas 28:67]

The Muslim should make sure that he does not miss any of these 
important occasion, because time is passing quickly. Let him pre-
pare himself by doing good deeds which will bring him reward 
when he is most in need of it, for no matter how much reward he 
earns, he will find it is less than he needs; the time of departure is 
at hand, the journey is frightening, delusions are widespread, and

the road is long, but Allaah is ever watchful, and to Him will we 
return and render account. As the Qur`aan 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]

There is much to be gained, so make the most of the opportunity 
afforded by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to 
do good works, before death strikes, before one can regret one’s 
negligence and failure to act, before one is asked to return to a 
place where no prayers will be answered, before death intervenes 
between the hopeful one and the things he hopes for, before you 
are trapped with your deeds in the grave.

O you whose hard heart is as dark as the night, is it not time that 
your heart was filled with light and became soft? Expose yourself 
to the gentle breeze of your Lord’s mercy during these ten days, 
for Allaah will cause this breeze to touch whomever He wills, and 
whoever is touched by it will be happy on the Day of Judgement. 
May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his Family and 

* Note: all verses are interpretations of the meaning of Allah’s 

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