The first nine days of Dhul Hijjah (the ninth month in the Muslim calendar) are upon us, a most blessed time leading up to the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Millions are converging in Makkah and its surrounding areas for the pilgrimage. For other Muslims worldwide, these days are blessed as well, with promises of multiplied rewards for good deeds done during these days. We are encouraged to fast, especially on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah – the day of Arafat. This is the day when pilgrims performing the Hajj gather on the plains of Arafat outside Makkah to pray, which is considered to be the heart of the Hajj.
In the emphasis on Ramadan and fasting, the importance of Dhul Hijjah can get put on the backburner. But these days leading up to the holiday of Eid ul Adha are as significant, if not more, than Ramadan and its holiday of Eid ul Fitr. This holiday commemorates the story of the Prophet Abraham, who was asked by God to sacrifice his son as a testament of his belief and loyalty. That son was replaced by a sheep at the last minute.
Whereas in Ramadan, Muslims gather worldwide as a community to fast, pray, meet for iftaars and Tarawih prayers and extoll the beauty and importance of Ramadan in social media, that sense of community online and offline can feel less in Dhul Hijjah. But why should it? Let’s come together and encourage each other to reflect and pray and to reap the blessings of these days.
Share your stories with us here at Altmuslim. What do you find beautiful, difficult or peaceful about these days? What are your Eid ul Adha traditions? Are you doing anything special to grow more spiritual during this time? Do you feel a disconnect in your community? Do you have some news or political analysis amplified by the days of Dhul Hijjah? Have you performed the Hajj? Do you want to go for the Hajj? Tell us about it. Share your stories and reflections with us.
Here’s the important stuff you need to know: Please send your submissions to Dilshad D. Ali (managing editor of the Muslim Channel and editor of Altmuslim at Patheos) at email@example.com. As a guideline, please try and keep submissions no longer than 800 words. We will be editing your pieces as needed. We will also need a short two-line bio about you (with any relevant links or social networking links). If the piece you submit has been published elsewhere, please provide the original link.
For inspiration – here’s an Eid ul Adha poem from one of our favorite poets – Jalaladdin Rumi
It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?
Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you’re equal portions clay
and water, thick mud.
Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.
You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.
You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name God,
As the priest does with knife when he offers an animal.
Bismillah your old self
to find your real name.