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The First 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah, the Days of ‘Eid and Sacrifice—The Best Days of the World
Allah has made for the believers mawāsim (seasons) throughout the year wherein they can increase in worship and nearness to Allah — for this reason, Allah has made some times of the year more virtuous and excellent than others — just as Allah has made some places more virtuous than others so that people may excel in obedience to Allah and in taqwā and compete in acts of piety.
From those virtuous times is the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah followed by the three days of Tashreeq. The month of Dhul-Hijjah is a great and virtuous month — at the beginning of this month, the pilgrims for Hajj head towards Makkah and the Sacred House of Allah (Baytullāh Al-Harām) so as to fulfil the rites of Hajj seeking the reward of Allah and forgiveness for their sins so that they may return to their homes unburdened like the day their mothers had given birth to them, free of sins.
The pilgrims go out to Minā on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, then the following day (the 9th), they move to the plains of ‘Arafah and spend the day in dhikr and du’ā, then in the evening, they move to Muzdalifah and spend the night there. The following morning is the Day of Nahr, the day of ‘Eid, the day of the major rites of Hajj — they stone the Jamratul-‘Aqabah, they sacrifice their animals, they clip and shave their heads, they make Tawāf of the Ka’bah and Sa’ee between As-Safā and Al-Marwa — and then return to Minā for two or three days, stoning the three Jamarāt daily.
The Excellence of the Ten of Dhul-Hijjah
Allah swore by the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah — and He (the Most High) does not swear by a thing except that it is tremendous and honourable in the sight of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. He said:
“By the dawn, and by the ten nights (i.e. the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” (Al-Fajr: 1-2)
These ten days are the best days for a person to perform righteous deeds and show obedience to Allah through acts of piety such as prayer, dhikr, fasting, sadaqah and sacrifice.
Jābir bin Abdillāh narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
أَفْضَلُ أَيَّامِ الدُّنْيَا أَيَّامُ الْعَشْرِ
“The best days in the world are the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah).” (Ibn Hibbān, Al-Bazzār, declared saheeh by Al-Albāni in Saheeh Al-Jāmi’, no. 133)
Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ الْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ فِيهَا أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ الأَيَّامِ ” . يَعْنِي أَيَّامَ الْعَشْرِ . قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلاَ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” وَلاَ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ رَجُلٌ خَرَجَ بِنَفْسِهِ وَمَالِهِ فَلَمْ يَرْجِعْ مِنْ ذَلِكَ بِشَىْءٍ
“There are no days during which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten,” meaning the ten of Dhul-Hijjah. They said: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihād in Allah’s cause?” He replied: “Not even Jihād in Allah’s cause, except for the man who left out with life and his wealth and does not return back.” (Abu Dawud, no. 2438 and graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)
Al-Bayhaqi reported from Mujāhid that, “Once the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah began, Sa’eed bin Jubayr (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) would exert himself in obedience to Allah such that it was almost beyond his capacity.” (See Al-Irwā of Al-Albāni, no. 890)
Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)
These are days of plentiful Dhikr (glorifying Allah and remembering Him). Allah stated:
وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ
“And they mention the name of Allah on the known days.” (Al-Hajj: 28) And these are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. And Allah (the Most High) said:
وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْدُودَاتٍ
“And remember Allah during [specific] the numbered days.” (Al-Baqarah: 203) This verse refers to the days of Tashrīq, the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.
It is legislated for the men to raise their voices with Allah’s remembrance. As for the woman then she raises her voice to the extent that she can hear herself and those surrounding her ― such that it is a low voice different to the men. The following is from the Takbeers recited by the Sahābah:
الله أكبر الله أكبر لا إله إلا الله
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, lā ilāha illallāh
الله أكبر الله أكبر ولله الحمد
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, walillāhil-hamd
Or one may increase the takbīr (الله أكبر) in the first line to three Takbīrs.
The takbīrāt are not be made in unison as we hear on loudspeakers and in some mosques. Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azīz Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh) stated: “As for the recital of the Takbīr in unison then it is not legislated in the Sharī’ah―it is an innovation (بدعة)―their recitation in a united voice is an innovation, not legislated in the religion.”
Fasting in Dhul-Hijjah
One of the wives of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُ تِسْعَ ذِي الْحِجَّةِ وَيَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ وَثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ أَوَّلَ اثْنَيْنِ مِنَ الشَّهْرِ وَالْخَمِيسَ
“The Prophet used to fast the nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day ‘Āshoorā and three days of each month, the first Monday of the month and Thursday.” (Abu Dawud, no. 2437, saheeh)
Fasting ‘Arafah ― the 9th Day of Dhul-Hijjah
Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَنْ يُعْتِقَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ عَبْدًا مِنَ النَّارِ مِنْ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَإِنَّهُ لَيَدْنُو ثُمَّ يُبَاهِي بِهِمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ فَيَقُولُ مَا أَرَادَ هَؤُلاَءِ
“There is no day on which Allāh frees more of His servants from the Hellfire than He does on the Day of ‘Arafah. Indeed He draws close and then He boasts of them to the Angels and He says: ‘What is it that they want?’” (Muslim, no. 1348) In a narration, Allah stated: “Bear witness my Angels that verily I have forgiven them!” (Graded saheeh by Al-Albani in Saheeh At-Targheeb, no 1154)
It is from the Sunnah to fast the day of ‘Arafah. The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated:
“Fasting the day of ‘Arafah expiates the sins of the previous year and the coming year.” (Muslim) This encouragement is for those who did not travel to Hajj — as for those who are present at ‘Arafah, it is disliked for them to fast as Ibn Khuzaymah explained in his Saheeh.
The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said regarding the Dhikr of the Day of ‘Arafah:
خَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَخَيْرُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي
لاَإِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَشَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْـمُــلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“The best supplication is that of the Day of Arafat—and the best that I and the Prophets before me have said is: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, He has no partner. His is the dominion and His is the praise, and He is able to do all things.” (At-Tirmidhi, and graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)
The Day of Nahr (Slaughter), ‘Eid Al-Adhā (Sacrifice) and the Three Days of Tashreeq
The day of Nahr is greatest day of the year. Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
أعظم الأيام عند الله يوم النحر، ثم يوم القَرِّ
“Indeed the best or the greatest day with Allah is the Day of Sacrifice, then the day of rest.” (Abu Dawūd and An-Nasā’ī, graded saheeh by Al-Albani)
In a narration, he said: “This is the greatest day of Hajj (yawn Al-Hajj Al-Akbar)” (Abu Dawūd, graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)
It is the Day of ‘Eid just as the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
إِنَّ يَوْمَ عَرَفَةَ وَيَوْمَ النَّحْرِ وَأَيَّامَ التَّشْرِيقِ عِيدُنَا أَهْلَ الإِسْلاَمِ وَهِيَ أَيَّامُ أَكْلٍ وَشُرْبٍ
“The day of Arafat, the day of sacrifice and the days of Tashriq are our ‘Eid, O people of Islam, and they are days of eating and drinking and the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah.” (Muslim, Abu Dawūd, An-Nasā’ī, Ahmad and declared saheeh by Al-Albāni, Saheeh Al-Jāmi’, no. 2689)
So throughout these days, Allah is plentifully remembered. It is reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah and Al-Hākim that, “’Ali (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) would make the takbīrs after Fajr on the day of ‘Arafah until ‘Asr on the last day of Tashreeq and he would make it after ‘Asr also [on that day].” (See Al-Irwā, no. 653-654)
The ‘Eid Sacrifice is an emphasised Sunnah
The Ud’hiyah (sacrifice on ‘Eid Al-Adhā) is an emphasised Sunnah that is legislated for both men and women and some scholars held that is was an obligation, so one should not leave the sacrifice if he is able. It is accepted from a man for himself and his household, even if there are many people who live under his roof and his care.
Likewise, it is accepted from a woman for herself and her household. That is due to the fact that Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) used to sacrifice two horned rams every year, they were white in colour mixed with some blackness. He sacrificed one ram for himself and his family ― and the other ram on behalf of those in his ummah who worship Allah alone yet were not able to sacrifice, as occurs in a report of At-Tirmidhi (no. 1504):
هَذَا عَمَّنْ لَمْ يُضَحِّ مِنْ أُمَّتِي
“This is on behalf of those who did not sacrifice from my Ummah.”
So the least one should sacrifice is one goat (or sheep or ram) and that will suffice him and his family. Abu Ayyūb Al-Ansāri (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said:
كَانَ الرَّجُلُ فِي عَهْدِ النَّبِيِّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يُضَحِّي بِالشَّاةِ عَنْهُ وَعَنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ فَيَأْكُلُونَ وَيُطْعِمُونَ ثُمَّ تَبَاهَى النَّاسُ فَصَارَ كَمَا تَرَى
“A man in the time of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would sacrifice one sheep for himself and his household ― they would eat from it and feed others. Then later, people started boasting with their sacrifices as you can see.” (Ibn Mājah, no. 3147, graded authentic by Al-Albāni)
It is allowed for seven families (or seven people) to share in the sacrifice of a cow or camel. Jābir bin Abdillāh (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) stated:
الْبَقَرَةُ عَنْ سَبْعَةٍ وَالْجَزُورُ عَنْ سَبْعَةٍ
“A cow is shared between seven and a camel is shared between seven.” (Abu Dāwūd, no. 2808, graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)
The ud’hiyah (sacrifice) is to to be performed on the day of Nahr which is the first day of ‘Eid, 10th of Dhul-Hijjah and on the days of Tashreeq, i.e. 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. Any of these days is allowable for sacrifice. The sacrifice is to be performed every year.
Ahmad and Ibn Hibbān reported from Jubayr bin Mut’im that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “All the days of Tashreeq are for slaughtering.” (Hasan, see As-Silsilah, no. 2467).
It is not allowed for the one offering the sacrifice to cut any of his/her hair or to clip their nails. This is due to the saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “When the month of Dhul-Hijjah begins, and one of you intends to make a sacrifice (ud’hiyah), then let him not take anything from the hair of his body, or his nails until he has sacrificed.” (Muslim, no. 1977 from Umm Salamah) The time begins from sunset, the night before the first day of Dhul-Hijjah.
So, the cattle are the following animals: Camels, cows (or buffalo), sheep and goats ― whether male or female, even though the male animal is better as a sacrifice.
As for the ages, then in all categories, the animal should be of Thaniyy age. A Thaniyy animal is one that is old enough to lose its front teeth permanently.
For a camel (الإبل): Five years old and entered into its sixth year.
For a cow (البقر): Two years old and entered into its third year.
Sheep (الضأن): One-year-old and entered into its second year.
Goat (المعز): One-year-old and entered into its second year.
Any animal less than these ages is not acceptable as a sacrifice except in the case when one finds it difficult to acquire a sheep of thaniyy age, then he is permitted to sacrifice a jadha’ (الجَذَعُ) which is a sheep that has reached six months in age. This is due to the saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam):
لَا تَذْبَحُوا إِلَّا مُسِنَّةً، إِلَّا أَنْ يَعْسُرَ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَذْبَحُوا جَذَعَةً مِنَ الضَّأْنِ
“Do not sacrifice except a mature animal unless that is difficult upon you―then you should sacrifice a jadha’ah (younger) sheep.” (Muslim, no. 1963)
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimīn (rahimahullāh) states that it is not allowed to send money for Ud’hiyah (‘Eid sacrifice) overseas as a means of feeding meat to the poor. People send the price of their sacrifice (Ud’hiyah) overseas to poor countries and the meat is given to the poor. This behaviour in the most part is due to their ignorance of what the Sharī’ah intends and ignorance of the Sharī’ah ruling in this matter. It is not from the Sunnah, nor is there proof that the Sahābah would do it. So avoid it and perform the sacrifice in your communities and eat from the meat and share it — and this is from the great distinguishing signs of Islam and the Sunnah. Allah stated:
وَالْبُدْنَ جَعَلْنَاهَا لَكُم مِّن شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ لَكُمْ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ ۖ فَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا صَوَافَّ ۖ فَإِذَا وَجَبَتْ جُنُوبُهَا فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ وَالْمُعْتَرَّ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرْنَاهَا لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ – 22:36
“And the cows, oxen, or camels driven to be offered as sacrifices ― We have made for you as among the symbols of Allah, therein you have much good. So mention the Name of Allah over them when they are drawn up in lines for sacrifice. Then, when they are down on their sides after slaughter, eat thereof, and feed the poor who does not ask, and the beggar who asks. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may be grateful.” (Al-Hajj: 36)
Sunnahs of ‘Eid
Read a complete guide to the ‘Eid prayer and the Sunnahs of ‘Eid
From the Sunnah of ‘Eid Al-Adhā is not to eat until after the prayer. Buraidah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said: “The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would not leave home on the day of Fitr until he had eaten and he would not eat on the day of Adhā until he had prayed.” (Reported by Ahmad and others) Shaikh Taqiyyud-Deen Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) said: Allah preceded the prayer before the sacrifice in His saying: (فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ) “So pray to your Lord and offer the sacrifice.” So the Sunnah is to pray before sacrificing on ‘Eid Al-Adhā.
The method of takbīr of Ibn Mas’ūd (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) on the day of ‘Eid was:
اللّه أكبر • اللّه أكبر • اللّه أكبر • لا إله إلّا اللّه • اللّه أكبر • اللّه أكبر • وَللّهِ الحمد
It is from the Sunnah to beautify oneself for the ‘Eid Prayer with the best garments one has due to the hadeeth of Jābir: “The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would adorn himself with a garment that he would wear on the two ‘Eids and on the day of Jumu’ah.” (Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah in his Sahīh) It is reported from Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) that “he would wear his best garments on the two ‘Eids.” (Reported by Al-Bayhaqi with a good isnād)
Women must wear the correct hijāb over her house clothes according to the Sharī’ah―which is a khimār over which she wears a jilbāb. She does not apply make-up or wear perfume or high-heels in public.
Nāfi’ said: “Ibn ‘Umar would leave the home on the day of Fitr and Adhā and would say the takbīr out aloud until he reached the place of prayer. Then he would make the takbīrs until the imām arrived. He would make takbīr with his takbīr.” (Reported by Ad-Dāruqutni and others with a sāhih chain of narration).
Note: Calling out the takbīrs in unison as a congregation as one voice is an innovation (bid’ah) ―it is not established from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) or his Companions. What is correct is that each person makes takbīr individually. (See also Majmū’ Al-Fatawā of Ibn Uthaimeen, 16/288)
If ‘Eid falls on the same day as Jumu’ah, then the one who prayed ‘Eid is not obligated to attend Jumu’ah
Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) narrated from Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that he said: “The ‘Eids have come together on this day of yours, so whoever wishes not to offer Jumu’ah, the ‘Eid prayer is sufficient for him. But we shall offer the Jumu’ah prayer, inshā’-Allāh.” (Abu Dawūd, 1073)
‘Eid is a day of joy and allowance
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) stated that when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) migrated to Madinah, he saw that the people celebrated two specific days annually. So the Prophet asked, “What are these two days?” They informed him that these were days of celebration of festivals fro the era of jāhiliyyah. So he said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَبْدَلَكُمْ بِهِمَا خَيْرًا مِنْهُمَا يَوْمَ الأَضْحَى وَيَوْمَ الْفِطْرِ
“Indeed Allah has replaced these days with days better than them: the Day of Adhā and the Day of Fitr.” (Abu Dāwūd, no. 1134)
‘A’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: “Abu Bakr entered our home (on the day of ‘Eid) and there were two girls from the Ansār with me, singing about the day of Bu’āth.” She said: “But they were not really singers.” Abu Bakr said: “The sounds of Shaytān in the house of the Prophet?” That was on the day of ‘Eid. However, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “O Abu Bakr, every people has its celebration and this is our celebration.” (Ibn Mājah, no. 1898)
Women and girls are allowed to beat a simple hand drum and sing innocent songs.
Muslims visit their friends and family to share this joyous occasion – they eat and drink together and they share gifts. Segregation between men and women is a must in Islam. Women beat the ‘duff’ (a simple drum), and sing pleasant songs, young girls enjoy singing the most! There is a great community spirit and no one is left out – the elderly are shown kindness and respect, the young are given toys.
A Warning to the Muslims about Disobeying Allah on ‘Eid
Muslims must avoid opposing the Sunnah and keep away from sins on the days of ‘Eid such as:
―Men allowing trousers or thawbs to extend below the ankles.
―Shaving the beard.
―Forbidden celebrations with harām food, drink and musical instruments.
―Listening to pop-music, hip-hop, bhangra, Hindi songs and Muslim singers.
―Making videos and taking photographs of people (and of women especially) and then displaying them on social media. This is a huge door to evil and fitnah.
―Imitating the unbelievers in their celebrations and practices.
―Women uncovering (not wearing the correct garments) in public.
―Women leaving the home with make-up, high-heels and perfume in public.
―Flirting and courting between men and women.
―Unrelated men and women mixing freely in homes. Please read “Mind map illustration showing the mahrams (male chaperones) of a woman for travel and sittings”
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Beautifully elaborated article