Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam which requires a Muslim to perform pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a lifetime; if physically and financially capable. To perform the pilgrimage, Muslims are urged to follow the steps taken by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who followed the traditions of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Muslims go for Hajj during the month of Dhul Hijjah (12th month of the Islamic calendar) and the day of Eid Al Adha is on the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah. There are many virtues of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and the etiquette of Eid Al Adha that every Muslim should know.
1. The new month starts with the sighting of the moon
Sighting the new moon is an indication for a new month in the Islamic calendar. Traditionally, the early Muslims would go out to sight the moon before announcing the beginning of the month. This is clearly indicated in the Qur’an when Allah said (interpretation of the meaning):
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, ‘They are the measurements of time for the people and for Hajj.’…” Surah Al Baqarah (2:189)
2. The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are better than any other days of the year
Although the last ten nights of Ramadan remain the best nights of the year because within it is Laylatul Qadr (better than a thousand months), the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the best ten days of the year. If one missed Ramadan, this is the time to catch up on good deeds! During this time, Muslims praise Allah, increase in worship, sacrifice for the sake of Allah, give charity, and perform many other rituals and good deeds during hajj and/or outside of hajj.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“‘There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.’ The people asked, ‘Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?’ He said, ‘Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah, 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.'” Saheeh Al Bukhari
3. A time for worship and praise
Since the beginning of hajj, worshiping and praising Allah has been the focus of hajj. This is not limited to only those going for the pilgrimage.
“And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], ‘Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].'” Surah Al Baqarah (2:125)
4. Performing Hajj expiates sins
This is the time when pilgrims go to Makkah for hajj. This is a great act of worship as it expiates sins and grants the opportunity for entering Jannah (paradise).
It was narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“From one Umrah to the next is an expiation for whatever came in between, and an accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”
Al Bukhari and Muslim
In another narration, it was mentioned, “Whoever does Hajj and does not utter any obscene speech or do any evil deed, will go back as his mother bore him.“ Al Bukhari and Muslim
Fasting during the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah is recommended.
Hunaydah ibn Khaalid narrated from one of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him),
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast nine days of Dhul Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashoora’ and three days of each month; the first Monday and two Thursdays.”
Imaam Ahmad; Sheikh Al Albani classified it as saheeh (authentic)
Regardless of the authenticity of the hadith, because this period is of high status, it’s a perfect time to accumulate as many good deeds as possible. Fasting is definitely one of the best deeds that get us closer to Allah. Even if you don’t fast for the whole nine days, try to at least fast on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah (Arafaah).
This is a time to feed those who are less fortunate.
“That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them (sacrificial) animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.” Surah Al Hajj (22:28)
Since these days are some of the most blessed days of the year, one can take advantage by giving charity of various kinds to help others for the sake of Allah.
7. Sacrificing an animal
Sacrificing an animal isn’t limited to those performing the pilgrimage. It is actually the sunnah to do so even if one isn’t going for hajj. Of course, that is if one is capable. The animal should be sacrificed after the prayer of Eid Al Adha.
Whoever offers a sacrifice after the prayer has completed his rituals (of Eid) and has followed the way of the Muslims. Saheeh Al Bukhari
Sacrificing an animal during this time is encouraged for those who have the means to do so.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Udhiyah is Sunnah mu’akkadah for the one who is able to do it, so a person should offer the sacrifice on behalf of himself and the members of his household.” Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/661.
The one sacrificing an animal should abstain from cutting his hair or nails beforehand.
It was narrated by Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
When you see the new moon of Dhul Hijjah, and one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him refrain from (removing anything) from his hair or nails. Saheeh Muslim
According to another version, “Let him not remove anything of his hair or skin.“
The one who sacrifices an animal should keep some and give some in charity.
The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said concerning the udhiyah (sacrifice):
Eat some, store some and give some in charity.
Etiquette of Eid Al Adha
Some of the etiquette of Eid Al Adha are:
1. Doing ghusl (shower with prescribed steps) before the Eid salah (prayer)
2. Not eating till after the salah
3. Praise Allah as much as possible by saying “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Wa lillah il-hamd” which means “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no God by Allah (no God worthy of being worshipped). Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and to Allah is praise.”
4. Greet the Muslims with warm wishes such as, “Eid Mubarah” (may you have a blessed Eid) and/or “Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum” [may Allah accept this (worship) from us and from you]
5. Adorn yourself with clean clothes (no extravagance or clothing that does not respect the usual rules of Islam), smell good (no perfume for women outside the home)
6. Going to the salah while praising Allah, taking one route, and taking a different one while returning
If you’re going for hajj, keep us all in your prayers. If you’re not going for hajj, this is still an opportunity to get closer to Allah while doing extra good deeds. If there’s anything else you would like to add, be sure to comment below. May Allah guide, protect, and forgive us all.