For many of us who are not performing our Hajj this year, how can we reap the benefits of this blessed month, these blessed ten days, and most importantly, the day of Arafah?
The following are some of the acts that we can perform to gain the merits of these blessed days.
On the day of Arafah, any act of worship we do will result in more good rewards, so let’s increase our remembrance of Allah. We can do this at any time of the day, during virtually any activity. The Prophet s.a.w said,
ما مِن أيَّامٍ أَعظَمَ عِندَ اللهِ، ولا أَحَبَّ إلَيهِ مِنَ العملِ فيهِنَّ مِن هذِه الأَيَّامِ العَشرِ؛ فأَكثِرُوا فيهِنَّ مِنَ التَّهليلِ، والتَّكبيرِ، والتَّحميدِ
"There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahlil (La Ilaha Illallah), Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmid (Alhamdulilllah)."
(Musnad Imam Ahmad)
Remembering Allah brings about great benefits such as spiritual well-being, tranquillity and softening of the heart. Allah says,
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ
"Those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.”
(Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:28)
Prophet s.a.w urged us to increase our good deeds during the first ten days of Zulhijjah. Fasting is highly encouraged during the first nine days. On the tenth day of Zulhijjah, Hari Raya Aidiladha is celebrated.
Allah has chosen the reward of fasting for Himself, as is stated in the Hadith Qudsi: Allah says:
كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ له إلَّا الصَّوْمَ، فإنَّه لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ
“All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, it is for Me and I shall reward him for it."
Fasting on the day of Arafah for non-pilgrims is a highly recommended Sunnah which entails a great reward; Allah forgives the sins of two years. It was narrated from Abu Qatadah r.a that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he replied:
إِنِّي أحْتَسِبُ على اللهِ أنْ يُكَفِّرَ السنَةَ التي قَبلَهُ، والسنَةَ التي بَعدَهُ
"It expiates for the past and coming years.”
Imam An-Nawawi mentioned in his book al-Majmu’, “With regard to the ruling on this matter, Imam As-Syafi’i and his companions said: It is mustahabb (sunnah) to fast on the day of Arafah for the one who is not in Arafah. As for the pilgrim who is present in Arafah, Imam As-Shafi’i and his companions said (in one of the prominent books of the Shafi’i legal school of thought) al-Mukhtasar, ‘It is mustahabb (sunnah) for him not to fast.”
Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the hajj. Above all, the Prophet s.a.w did not fast while he stood before Allah offering supplications in Arafah. On the other hand, those who are not performing their hajj may observe fasting to gain the merits of the blessed day.
Another useful tip to bear in mind while observing our act of worship is not to limit it to just ritual activities, but to educate ourselves on the significance of the action and its impact, both on a personal and communal level. Utilise this time to stay away from non-beneficial activities and focus on strengthening our relationship with Allah and with other human beings.
One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed. We should try our best to stop disliked acts immediately and be determined never to return to them, but to adhere firmly to the truth by doing what Allah loves. If we commit a sin, we must hasten to repent at once, without delay, due to two main reasons. Firstly, due to the fact that we do not know when we will die, and secondly because one evil deed usually leads to another.
When we combine sincere repentance with good deeds during the days of most virtuous, this will increase the rate of success as we focus on gaining Allah’s pleasure and sincerely regret our past sins. Rasullullah s.a.w mentioned in a Hadith Qudsi where Allah s.w.t would say to the angels:
“My slaves have come to Me, looking dishevelled, from every deep valley hoping for My mercy, so if your sins were equivalent to the amount of sand or the drops of rain or like the foam on the sea I will forgive them. So go forth My slaves, having forgiveness and for what or who you have interceded for.”
(narrated by Imam At-Tabrani)
It is encouraged to devote ourselves to supplicating on the day of Arafah, seeking Allah’s help and guidance. Dedicate the supplication for ourselves, our parents, family, loved ones and community persistently, sincerely putting our full trust in Him. We should not feel disappointed or dejected if the answers to our supplications are delayed. Our Prophet s.a.w said,
خَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَخَيْرُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
"The best supplication is the one made on the Day of Arafah, and the best supplication of which I and the Prophets before me have made was, “There is no god but Allah, He is One, without partner, to Him belongs the dominion and all praises, and He is Omnipotent over all things"
As we increase our servitude for the Almighty, hoping for His forgiveness and mercy, let us also remember to maintain good relations with the people who are close to us and the community at large. There is no good for the humble servant who disconnects from the reality that Allah has placed upon him. Simple acts of good character may even play a big part in manifesting the pleasures of Allah s.w.t. May we attain the best of rewards and given acceptance on the blessed day of Arafah.