The Appointed Days Are Here

The Appointed Days Are Here November 12, 2010

Dear mothers and sisters,

Ramadan was a fleeting visitor that vanished as suddenly as it appeared, leaving us with sweet memories and mountains of reward or regrets. The month left us heart-broken, each for our own reasons. Some of us missed out on the great month, failing to invest in its nights and days. Others savored every moment, growing closer to Allah and increasing their worship. In those few special days, we lived with Allah, the Generous, the Giving; only He knew our sorrow when the month disappeared. But now, Allah is giving us a salve to ease our sorrow and bring back that happiness.  It is a blessed gift, a fresh opportunity to erase our sins and cleanse ourselves. It is also a second chance, for those who felt Ramadan slip through their fingers. The Prophet (saw) said, “Perform good year-round.  And seek out the breaths of Allah’s mercy. For Allah has breaths of His mercy—they touch whom He wills of His servants.” Such a breath of mercy has arrived, like a gentle breeze that suddenly rushes through us.

We are now amidst the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah, days that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) preferred over all other days of the year: “There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than in these ten days.”  The companions asked him, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?”  He replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake Allah—except for a man who goes out with his self and wealth, and returns with neither” (sahih). May the peace and blessings be upon you, O Prophet of Allah! You are always giving us extra chances. No one should let this chance for forgiveness slip through his fingers and then regret losing it when regret can do no good. Allah Himself ordered us to increase our remembrance of Him in these days: {And to Remember the name of Allah through the Days appointed.} (al-Haj, 28)

What are the “appointed” days?  They are none other than the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah, as Ibn ‘Abbas explained. While the opportunities for reward are countless, there are some special actions you can do to draw closer to Allah during the ten days of Dhu Al-Hijjah.

1. Dhikr. This act of worship requires no effort, and can be done any time and any place. All that is required is presence of mind and heart. The Prophet (saw) said, “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah, nor days in which deeds are more beloved to Allah than in these ten days.  So fill them with the praises of ‘la ilah illa Allah’, ‘Allah Akbar’, and ‘alhamdu lilah” (sahih).  Dear brother and sister, engage in these blessed remembrances frequently, just as your beloved Prophet asked.

2. Fasting. Can there be a greater deed than fasting purely for Allah’s sake?  The Prophet (saw) taught us about fasting and its great virtue: “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will place between him and the Hellfire a trench equal to the distance between the sky and the earth” (sahih).  Do not forget the reward of fasting the day of Arafah alone.  The Prophet (saw) said, “Fasting the day of Arafah erases the sins of two years: the previous year and the coming one.”

3. Charity. Our brothers and sisters who made it to Hajj this year have spent selflessly from their wealth and energy to fulfill their obligation to Allah.  Do not hold back your own wealth and time.  Give generously and try to earn a position with those who will be shaded by the throne of Allah on the Day of Judgment. Remember, {You shall not attain righteousness until you give from that which you love!} (Aal ‘Imran, 92).

4. Quran. Make sure, dearest sister, to fill these blessed moments with the Quran.  Read it with devotion, ponder its meanings, and involve your heart.  Listen to this stirring description by Allah: {Allah has revealed the greatest of messages—a Book, consistent within itself, oft-repeated:  sending a shiver through the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the remembrance of Allah.} (al-Zumar, 23)

5. Qiyam al-Layl. Due to its worth in the sight of Allah, the reward for the extra night prayers has been kept secret: {No soul knows what delights of the eye lie hidden for them—a reward for what they used to do!} (al-Sajdah, 17) The Prophet (saw) taught us that these night prayers “are the path of the righteous before you, a source of closeness to your Lord, a guard against wrong, an eraser of sins, and a cure for your bodies” (sahih).  That is why the Prophet (saw) would never allow a night to pass without a soothing dose of qiyam.

6. Dua’. Wherever you are and whatever state you are in, remember to turn constantly to Allah and never tire of asking Him for your needs in this life and the Hereafter.  The Prophet (saw) told us that “Dua’ is the essence of worship.” So, worship Allah in these days by turning to Him and asking Him. Dear sisters, as great as these ten days are, Allah has especially singled out the ninth day, the Day of Arafah. So you too, mark it and make it special.  Increase your acts of worship, your remembrance, and your supplication throughout this great day.  This is a day in which salvation from the hellfire is within your reach. The Prophet (saw) said, “There is no day in which Allah liberates more servants from the hellfire than the Day of Arafah” (sahih). The ten days of dhul-hijjah began on Sunday, Nov 7th  and will end with Eid on Tuesday Nov. 16th. The day of Arafah will be on Monday, Nov. 15th.

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