In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Alhamdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
I bear witness that there is no (true) God except Allah alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His abd (Servant) and Messenger.
“O you who have believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Ali-Imraan, 3:102)
“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah through whom you demand things from one another, and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever-watchful over you.” (An-Nisaa, 4:1)
“O you who have believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory.” (Al-Ahzab, 33:70-71)
Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad’s (SAW) guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the Fire.
Servants of Allah!
The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, the month of the Hajj pilgrimage, are a virtuous and blessed time for performing good deeds and remembering Allah. The good deeds performed during these ten days are greater than all others, except for someone who shows exemplary bravery and is martyred in a just and legitimate cause for the sake of Allah.
Ibn Abbas reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: No good deed is better what is done on these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.Then some companions of the Prophet said, “Not even jihad in the cause of Allah?” The Prophet said: Not even jihad in the cause of Allah, except in the case of a man who goes out with his life and wealth in danger and returns with nothing.” (Sahih Bukhari 926)
My respected people!
Allah also swears by the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, which indicates their great importance for us. Allah the Most High said:
“By the dawn and the ten nights…” (Surah Al-Fajr 89:1-2)
It is recommended to increase our supplications, praise of Allah, and acts of charity during these first ten days. Allah the Almighty said:
“That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over what He has provided for them of animals. So eat of them and feed the poor and downtrodden.” (Surah Al-Hajj 22:28)
Muslims should increase the declaration of the oneness of Allah (tahlil), the exaltation of Allah (Takbir), and the praise of Allah (tahmid). This is to say the following supplications:
“La ilaha illa Allah: There is no God but Allah.”
“Allahu Akbar: Allah is the greatest.”
“Al-Hamdulillah: All praise is due to Allah.”
Ibn Umar reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said: “There is no days greater and more beloved to Allah than these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, so increase in them your declaration of the oneness of Allah, your exaltation to Him, and your praise of Him.” (Musnad Ahmad 5423)
It is an obligation to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once for those who are able to do so.
Allah Exalted be He said:
“Due to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House for whoever is able to find a way.” (Surah Ali Imran, 3:97)
Brothers and Sisters!
Proper performance of the Hajj pilgrimage will result in the complete expiation and purification from sin.
Abu Hurairah reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said: Whoever performs the pilgrimage to this house without having intimate relations or committing wickedness, then he will return pure like the day he was born from his mother.” (Sahih Bukhari 1723)
And know that, it was not the regular practice of the Prophet to fast during the first ten days of the month Dhul-Hijjah.
Aisha reported that:
“I never saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, fasting during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” (Sahih Muslim 1176)
However, the Prophet would sometimes fast during the first nine days of the month as also reported.
Hunaidah ibn Khalid reported that:
“Some of the wives of the Prophet said that the Prophet, peace and blessings by upon him, would fast for nine days during the month of Dhul-Hijjah and on the day of Ashura.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 2437)
It is highly recommended to fast on the day of Arafat for those not performing the Hajj pilgrimage, as it is expiation and purification from sins. The day of Arafat is the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah.
Abu Qatadah reported that:
“A man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “What is your view about fasting on the day of Arafat?” The Prophet said: I consider it with regard to Allah that it expiates the sins of the previous and upcoming years.” (Musnad Ahmad 22115)
It is not recommended to fast on the day of Arafat for those who are performing the Hajj pilgrimage, although it is permissible to do so, in order that they have more strength to perform supplications.
Abu Najih reported that:
“He asked ibn Umar about fasting on the day of Arafat for those who are at Arafat. Ibn Umar said: I have performed the Hajj pilgrimage with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he did not fast it. I performed it with Abu Bakr and he did not fast, with Umar and he did not fast, and with Uthman and he did not fast. I do not fast it, nor do I command it or prohibit it.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 751)
Imam At-Tirmidhi said that:
“The practice among the majority of scholars is that it is recommended to break fasting on the day of Arafat in order for a man to have strength to supplicate, but some of the scholars would fast on the day of Arafat while at Arafat.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 750)
A Muslim should not fast on Eid-ul-Adha or the following three days (Ayyam at-tashriq) because these are the celebrations for eating, drinking, showing gratitude, and remembering Allah.
Uqbah ibn Amir reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The day of Arafat, the day of sacrifice, and the three following days are our celebrations for the people of Islam, so they are days of eating and drinking.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 773)
Servants of Allah!
It is also desirable and highly recommended for anyone who will be sacrificing an animal for eid al-Adha to avoid cutting their hair or nails from the beginning of the month of Dhul-Hijjah until after the animal is slaughtered.
Therefore, as Muslims we should increase our good deeds of prayer, fasting, and charity during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. If it is possible we should perform the Hajj pilgrimage, but if it is not possible then we should fast on the day of Arafat.
Brothers and Sisters!
To conclude our Khutbah (Sermon) I will say, Allah the Almighty said:
“Surely Allah commands Justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion, He instruct you, so that you may be reminded.”
“And remember Me (Allah); I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”
“And without doubt, remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds you do.”
And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace be upon him, his family and all his Companions.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul Hijjah 1st, 1437 AH (September 2nd, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.