Download PDF: Zul Hijjah – The 12th Month of Islamic Calendar
The reason for naming this month Zul Hijjah is quite obvious, because Hajj takes place in this blessed month. The first ten days in this month have been referred to in the Quran as “Ayyaam Ma’lumaat”, in other words, “The known days”. These are also considered as very blessed days with the Almighty azza wa jall. On the first day of this month, the marriage between Hadrat Sayyidah Bibi Fatimah May Allah have mercy on her and Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him took place.
- The eighth day of this month is called ‘Yaume Tarweeyah” On this day, the Arabs used to also feed their camels water in excess so that they do not feel thirsty until the day of Arafah. In other words, “Tarweeyah” signifies something which is well thought out or planned.
- On the eighth of this month, the first dream was seen by Nabi Ebrahim alaihis salaam where he was instructed to slaughter his son, Nabi Ismail alaihis salaam in the Path of Allah azza wa jall. Hence the name tarweeyah. In other words, he carefully pondered on this dream. The ninth day of this month is called the day of Arafah. It is also said that Nabi Ebrahim alaihis salaam saw this dream again on the ninth and realised that this was the Divine Instruction of the Almighty azza wa jall.
- This is also the day when the Hajj is performed.
- The tenth day of this month is called Yaume Nehr because this the day when the qurbani or sacrifice of Nabi Ismail alaihis salaam occurred.
- It is also the day when Muslims in general also perform the Qurbani.
- Thereafter, the eleventh, the twelfth and the thirteenth days are called Ayyame Tashreeq.
- On the fourteenth of this month, Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him sacrificed his ring while in Salah.
- On the twenty seventh of this month the tragedy of Harra took placed when the forces of Yazeed attacked Madina shareef.
- On the twenty eighth of this month, Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him became the leader of the Muslims.
(Ajaa’ibul Makhluqaat. 46)
The Khilaafah of Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him
After the Holy Prophet peace be upon him had left this world, the first three leaders in Islam were Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Hadrat Sayyiduna Umar and Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on them. After the martyrdom of Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on him, this position remained unfulfilled for three days. The people then began to force Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him, and at the beginning, he refused to do so. However, when the Ansaar and Muhaajireen continued to plead to him, he decided to accept this heavy responsibility. Hence, three days after the martyrdom of Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on him he accepted this position while everyone was within the premises of Masjidun Nabawi shareef.
Obviously, the first responsibility was to find the murderers of the third leader of the Muslims but besides his wife, there were no other witnesses that could clearly point out the murderers. She did however mention the name of Mohammed bin Abu Bakr and two other people whom she had never seen before. When Mohammed bin Abu Bakr was called forward, he mentioned that he had entered the house to kill Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on him but when the great leader mentioned something to him, he left the house in embarrassment.
As for the other two people who had actually martyred Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on him, he also claimed that he had never seen them before. Hadrat Sayyidah Naa’ilah May Allah have mercy on her, the wife of Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on him also admitted that Mohammed bin Abu Bakr did not take part in the killing of Hadrat Sayyiduna Uthman May Allah have mercy on him. There was an intense search for the killers but even after this, they could not be found. There were different names given by different people and this only created more confusion. Obviously, with so much of confusion going on all around him, Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him who was the most learned Muslim in that period could not carry out the law as demanded by Islam. After all, there had to be absolute certainty in such an affair and no one was actually aware of who had killed the Muslim leader.
If we look at the law in the present day and age, until and unless there is zero doubt, only then would a court decision be given. Such was the state which faced Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali May Allah have mercy on him.
When in power, he displayed immense simplicity
Even though booty and spoils of war was coming from all directions for the Muslims in Madina shareef, yet, the first four leaders of Islam continued to display simplicity in their everyday life. As a matter of fact, at times, they did not even have anything to eat in their homes.
The Excellence of Zul Hijjah
As we have studied previously, this is also one of those four sacred months. There is immense reward in increasing one’s ibaadah in this month. This ibaadah can be in all forms. Nafil Salah, fasting, reading the Quran, Tasbeeh, Tahleel, Takbeer, charity etc. There is also immense barakah in the first ten days of this month and the Almighty azza wa jall has also alluded to this in the Quran. In the hadith shareef also there are many excellences mentioned in this regard.
Hadrat Sayyidah Umme Salmah May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him has stated that, “When the ten days of Zul Hijjah enter, and some of you intend to perform Qurbani, then he should not touch his hair or body with anything.”
In another report, it is mentioned, “Do not cut hair and do not clip nails”. In another report it is mentioned that, “When a person sees the moon of Zul Hijjah and he intends to perform the Qurbani, then he should not shave the head or clip the nails.”
(Muslim, Mishkaat p. 127)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him has stated that, “There is no deed better liked by Allah azza wa jall than in the ten days (of Zul Hijjah).” The Ashaab asked, “O Prophet of Allah! Even in the days when we are in Jihad in the Path of Allah azza wa jall?” He replied, “Even in the days when you are in Jihad on the Path of Allah azza wa jall except for that person who leaves taking his possession and life and he returns with nothing, (in other words, this person who went for Jihad did not return alive and obviously did not return with any of his possessions. This person’s status is something else).
(Sahih Bukhari shareef. Mishkaat shareef. 138)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah May Allah have mercy on him narrates that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him has stated that, “There is no more beloved Ibaadah to Allah azza wa jall than that which is performed in the ten days of Zul Hijjah. In these days, one day of fast is equal to one year of fast. One night of ibaadah is equal to one year of ibaadah.”
(Mishkaat shareef. 128)
This is the reason that Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’eed bin Jubair May Allah have mercy on him used to inform everyone not to turn off the light during these ten nights. He used to also advise his servants to remain awake and also to perform ibaadah.
(Ghunyatut Taalibeen. 2/25)
Fasting on these nine days
There is immense reward for fasting in the first nine days of this month. Hadrat Sayyidah Hafsah May Allah have mercy on her narrates that the Holy Prophet peace be upon him never used to leave out four things.
- Fasting on the day of Ashurah.
- Fasting on the (nine days) of Zul Hijjah.
- Fasting three days in a month and
- Two rakah before the Fard of Fajr Salah.”
(Mishkaat shareef. 180).
Hadrat Sayyiduna Sufyan Thouri May Allah have mercy on him narrates that, “One night I was in one of the grave yards in Basrah. I saw a very bright light appear from one of the graves. I was extremely surprised when I saw this. Suddenly I heard a voice telling me, “O Sufyan! if you have kept the fast in the nine days of Zul Hijjah, then from your grave also, a bright Nur like this would appear.”
(Nuzhatul Majaalis. 1/144)
Hadrat Sayyidah Ayesha May Allah have mercy on her narrates that there was once a person who used to like singing and music (in the time of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him). However, when the moon was seen for the month of Zul Hijjah, he used to keep fast (for the next nine days). The Holy Prophet peace be upon him then called him and asked, “Why do you keep fast on these days?” He replied, “O Prophet of Allah azza wa jall! These are the days of Hajj and I wish that I am also included in the dua of the Hujjaj.”
The Holy Prophet peace be upon him declared, “For every day you keep fast, you will receive the reward for freeing one hundred Muslim slaves, giving hundred camels in charity and giving one hundred horses in the path of Allah azza wa jall (for the purpose of Jihad). For keeping fast on the days of Tarweeyah, you will receive reward equal to freeing a thousand slaves, giving one thousand camels in charity and giving one thousand horses in the path of Allah azza wa jall. For keeping fast on the day of Arafah, you will receive reward equal to freeing two thousand slaves, giving two thousand camels in charity and giving two horses in the path of Allah azza wa jall. You will also receive reward (as if you had kept fast) of the past year and the coming year.”
(Ghunyatut Taalibeen. 2/25)
Fasting on the day of Arafah
Among these days, the day of Arafah is indeed a very auspicious day. Fasting on this day eliminates the sin of the past year and the year coming. This is however only for that person who is not in Hajj. As for the person who is in Hajj, it is recommended that he does not keep fast so that he does not become lethargic in fulfilling his Hajj obligations.
(Ma Thabata min Sunnah. 179)
One pious person saw in his dream that the day of Qiyamah had been established. He relates, “I then saw ten Nur in front of my friend and in front of me, I only saw two nur. I was very surprised by this. Suddenly it was told to me that my friend had kept the fast on the day of Arafah for ten years, hence there are ten Nurs in front of him and you had only kept this fast for two years, this is why there are only two Nur in front of you.”
(Nuzhatul Majaalis. 1/144)
Excellence of the Day of Qurbani
There is no doubt that every day of these ten days is certainly highly excellent and auspicious. However, the tenth day is considered as the most auspicious. As a matter of fact, the Almighty azza wa jall has also sworn by this day. Every good action performed on this day certainly carries with it, immense reward. However, on this day the greatest reward is kept for the act of Qurbani.
The Holy Prophet peace be upon him has stated that, “There is nothing more beloved to the Almighty azza wa jall on the day of Qurbani from the children of Adam alaihis salaam but the spilling of blood (of the animal sacrificed). This same animal will appear on the day of Qiyamah with its horns, its hair etc. And without doubt, the blood of the animal is accepted in the Divine Court of the Almighty azza wa jall even before it falls on the ground.”
(Tirmidi shareef, ibn Maja shareef, Mishkaat shareef. 128)
Once the blessed companions asked the Holy Prophet peace be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah azza wa jall! what is this Qurbani?” He replied, “This is the sunnah of your father Ebrahim alaihis salaam.” The blessed companions then asked, “What reward will we get for this?” He replied, “For every hair (on the animal), you will get one reward.” The blessed companions then asked, “What is the reward in the wool?” He replied, “For every hair in the wool, you will get one reward.”
(Imam Ahmed, Ibn Maja, Mishkaat shareef. 129)
From this hadith shareef we come to understand that the greatest and most noble of deeds on the day of Qurbani is the Qurbani itself. It is Waajib upon every able Muslim male and female who has the means to perform the Qurbani.