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What Is Dhul Hijjah?

What Is Dhul Hijjah?

What Is Dhul Hijjah?
Let’s learn about Dhul Hijjah!

The best 10 days of the year will be upon us very soon insha’Allah: the first ten days of the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah! But what is Dhul Hijjah? What do you know about this sacred month and how can you maximize the blessings of these special days? Let’s find out!

What is Dhul Hijjah?

Dhul Hijjah

Meaning of Dhul Hijjah

Dhul Hijjah (in Arabic ذُو ٱلْحِجَّة) literally means “the possessor of pilgrimage” (i.e. “the month of pilgrimage”). This month marks the Hajj (pilgrimage), one of the five pillars of Islam.

The month of Dhul Hijjah is among the four sacred months in which fighting and war were prohibited unless the enemy initiated the fight. The four sacred months are Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab. During these months, Allah’s SWT bounties are multiplied, and so are opportunities to earn rewards.

Dhul Hijjah is regarded as one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar. In this month of increased spirituality, two highly unique, interrelated rituals take place: Hajj and Eid ul Adha, both of which are done to please Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and grow closer to Him.

The Islamic sacred rituals of Hajj commence on the eighth day of Dhul Hijjah at al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and finish on the twelfth (or thirteenth) day, which also corresponds with the end of Eid ul-Adha, which lasts three days.

The annual Hajj pilgrimage concludes with Eid al-Adha. Eid ul-Adha is the most important of Islam’s two Eids. It is a reminder and a celebration of Prophet Ibrahim’s ﷺ total submission to Allah SWT through his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail ﷺ, in order to carry out Allah’s SWT commands that he witnessed in his dreams. It is also a celebration of Allah’s SWT relief upon humankind to unequivocally put an end to human sacrifice.

Chronological order in the Hijri calendar

Dhul Hijjah is the twelfth and the last month of the Islamic calendar. This month comes after Dhul Qa’dah (the 11th month) and before Muharram (the 1st month).

 

When will Dhul Hijjah take place this year?

Since the Hijri calendar is shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Dhul Hijjah occurs at different times of the year. In 2024, Dhul Hijjah is expected to begin on the evening of June 6th, 2024 insha’Allah.

Hajj starts on the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah, which should fall on June 14th.

The Day of Arafah (9th day of Dhul Hijjah) should therefore fall on June 15th this year.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “There is no day on which Allah sets free more slaves from Hell than He does on the Day of ‘Arafah.” (Riyad as-Salihin 1277)

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There is no day on which Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He draws closer and closer, then He boasts about them before the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3014)

Abu Qatadah رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about the observance of Saum (fasting) on the day of ‘Arafah. He said, “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year.” (Riyad as-Salihin 1250)

Eid Al Adha is most likely to start on the evening of June 15th this year. This Eid is celebrated on the 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah.

Aishah رضی اللہ عنھا narrated: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “(‘Eid) al-Fitr is the day on which the people break the fast, and (‘Eid) al-Adha is the day the people offer sacrifices.” (Reported by at-Tirmidhi)

Please check with your local mosque for exact dates.

Mentions of Dhul Hijjah in the Quran and Sunnah

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to educate his companions about the virtues of the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.

Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet ﷺ said: “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.” (Tirmidhi)

Dhul Hijjah isn’t mentioned by name in the Quran. However, scholars explained that some verses refer to this month specifically. According to Ibn Abbas, the verse “Remember Allah during the well-known days” from Surah Al Baqarah relates to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, as related by Bukhari:

وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْدُودَاتٍ (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:203)

Also, when Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى swore by 10 days in the Holy Quran, scholars explained it to be the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah:

وَالْفَجْر وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ

“By the Dawn; By the ten nights” (Surah Al-Fajr, 89:1-2)

Dhul Hijjah was also mentioned among the four Holy months in the Quran:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ

“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months [in a year], so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred [ i.e. the 1st, the 7th, and the 11th months of the Islamic calendar.]” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:36)

Significance of Dhul Hijjah in Islamic History

The Farewell Pilgrimage (حِجَّة ٱلْوَدَاع) in year 10 after Hijrah was the last, and only Hajj performed by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. During this pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ delivered what would later become known as the Farewell Sermon, in which he (SAWS) focuses on the fundamentals of faith but also gives a universal message of equality, peace, and justice, and calls onto the believers to forgive, respect women’s rights and and preserve the sanctity of life and propery. Read the sermon here.

 

Hajj

What is Hajj?

Hajj is the most significant pilgrimage in Mecca. It is the fifth pillar of Islam. Hajj is a religious requirement that all Muslims must complete at least once in their lifetime if they have the financial and physical resources to do so.

Allah SWT commanded Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to declare Hajj to the people, and they would come on foot or on camels from every remote area.

As a result, Muslims from all over the world gather together in the name of Allah SWT every year to revive the Hajj rites, following in the early paths of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his followers.

Allah SWT emphasized the importance of Hajj in terms of rewards. Our Prophet ﷺ explained to his companions that, “He who came to this House (the Ka’bah) (with the intention in performing Hajj) without speaking or committing indecencies, would return (free from sin) as on the day his mother bore him.” (Muslim)

Hajj Rituals

Every year, pilgrims travel to Mecca for Hajj during the month of Dhul Hijjah. Before entering Mecca, pilgrims cleanse themselves with ablutions and prayer. Men next put on two seamless white robes, which signify human equality as well as ritual cleanliness. Women wear modest clothes that draw no attention. They thus enter the sacred state of ihram.

Pilgrims first arrive in Mecca to perform tawaf (circumambulation) around the Ka’bah reciting adkhar (remembrances of God). The pilgrims will then normally leave to spend the day at Mina’s tent city, where they will stay until the next morning praying and reading the Quran.

Pilgrims assemble in the Arafah mount on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah to spend Arafah Day, the climax of Hajj. Then, as the sun begins to set, pilgrims head towards Muzdalifah, where they will spend the night. They then return to Mina to conduct the first “rami,” which involves tossing seven stones at the Jamarat pillars.

Finally, pilgrims arrive in Mecca to conduct the back-and-forth walk (sa’i) between Safa and Marwa, followed by the last tawaf of the Ka’bah, known as the Farewell Tawaf at Masjid al-Haram.

 

References of Hajj in the Quran and Sunnah

Hajj in the Quran

There are numerous references to Hajj in the Quran, whether by name or by mentioning some of the rites, rituals, virtues or history of this pilgrimage. Some of these references are mentioned below:

وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ

“And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass” (Surah al-Hajj, 22:27)

In the following ayah, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى lists the things that are forbidden in order for Hajj to be performed correctly, emphasizing that Allah knows every good we do during this period:

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ

“Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:197)

Here, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى states that whoever enters the place of Ibrahim (Maqam Ibrahim عليه السلام) around the Ka’bah is safe and secure due to Allah’s divine protection. And anyone who is capable of going must submit.

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

“In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibrahim. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto away. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from the need of the worlds.” (Surah Aali-‘Imraan)

 

Hajj in the Ahadeeth

Hajj was also immensely mentioned in narrations. As reported of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:

“One who comes to this House for Hajj and avoids all lewdness and sins, he returns as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This Hadith below also indicates that attending Hajj will wipe away all of your sins, no matter how great or minor they were before Hajj:

“O Amr! Do you not know that embracing Islam washes away all sins committed before it (during disbelief)? And that migration (Hijrah) washes away all sins committed before it. And that Hajj wipes out all sins committed before it” (Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ told us of the ultimate virtue of Hajj, which, when accepted, has no less of a reward than Paradise!

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه reported that the Prophetﷺ, said: “‘Umrah is an expiation for the time between it and the previous ‘Umrah, and an accepted Hajj has no less a reward than Paradise.” (Al-Bukhaari, Muslim)

 

No Hajj for you this year?

6 Ways To Make The Most Of Dhul Hijjah

 

1. Make sure to fulfill your obligatory acts first

We all want to do extra, especially during those special, blessed times of year, but remember that the most important – all year-long – is to make sure that we fulfill our obligatory religious duties, such as praying five times a day and on time, paying our Zakah, making up fasts we have missed during Ramadan (if our health allows), fulfilling the rights of our family members and neighbors. Whatever extra we do is great, but we have to make sure our basis is covered insha’Allah!

2. Fast as much as possible

Fast the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah, and especially on the 9th day, the Day of Arafah.
Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about the observance of Saum (fasting) on the day of ‘Arafah. He said, “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year.” [Muslim]

3. Engage in the remembrance of Allah SWT (Dhikr)

  • Takbeer: Allahu akbar (Allah is Greater)
  • Tasbeeh: SubhanAllah (Glorified is Allah)
  • Tahleel: laa ilaaha ill-Allah (There is no deity except Allah)
  • Tahmeed: Alhamdulillah (All praise is to Allah)
  • Morning and evening adhkar (Just Google “Hisnul Muslim”, it has everything you need!)

4. Read the Qur’an to the best of your ability

Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” [At- Tirmidhi]

If you are not able to read the Quran in Arabic, try listening to it instead, as well as reading or listening to translations and commentaries. You should also consider starting a Quran class to learn how to read Arabic insha’Allah! Check out our classes at StudioArabiya.com!

5. Offer the sacrifice of a livestock animal (Qurbani)

This is the sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Allah SWT says in the Qur’an, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches God but your piety. He has subjected them to you in this way so that you may glorify God for having guided you.” (Surah Al-Hajj, 22:37). Nowadays there are plenty of opportunities to do this online, with trusted local and international nonprofit organizations. Among others: Islamic Relief, Helping Hand for Relief and Development, Muslim Aid, Penny Appeal.

6. Do other good deeds, and lots of them!

Give in charity, offer extra prayers, spend quality time with your family, help others in need, ask for forgiveness, make dua for others, be kind and respectful, be mindful of what you say (including via social media or texts). Strive to be the best version of yourself.

Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (ﷺ) replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” [Al- Bukhari].

 

May Allah SWT allow us all to make the most of these special days and accept these acts of worship from us, and may Allah SWT accept the Hajj of all pilgrims who are currently performing it and allow us all to visit His House for Hajj very soon, Ameen!

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