The first ten days of the month of Zul Hijjah are significant days in Islam.
The ahadith declare them to be the most excellent and the most significant days, and worship in these days including zikr and recital of the Holy Quran have greater merit.
Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “There are no days in which a good deed is more pleasing to Allah than these ten days (of Zul Hijjah).” The Sahabah asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Is not jihad equal (to the deeds of these days)? He said, “Yes”, even jihad is not equal (to the deeds performed in these days) except for the one who goes out for jihad with his life and property and he doesn’t return with any of these (that is he becomes shaheed).
It is also reported by Sayyidina ibn Abbas (ra) that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “No day is greater in the sight of Allah and no (good) deed done in these days is more beloved to Allah that in the first ten days of Zul Hijjah. Hence, you should do more tasbeeh, tahleel, takbeer, and tahmeed, during these days”.
Abu Harayrah (ra) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There is no day which is greater in the sight of Allah, than the ten days of Zul Hijjah. Fasting on each day is like a year’s fasting and vigil (in worship) on each night is like the standing (in worship) on Laylatul Qadr.
Umm Salamah (ra), the Mother of the Faithful, reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When the month of Zul Hijjah begins and one of you intends to offer sacrifice then he must not cut his hair or pare his nails.”
NOTE: THE ULEMA HAVE SAID THAT NOT TO SHAVE YOUR HAIR OR CLIP YOUR NAILS DURING THESE DAYS WHEN YOU INTEND TO OFFER SACRIFICE IS MUSTAHAB. IF YOU DO CUT YOUR NAILS OR HAIR THERE IS NO SIN ON YOU. BUT IF YOU ABSTAIN FROM CUTTING YOUR HAIR OR NAILS YOU WILL BE REWARDED, INSHA ALLAH.
The aforementioned ahadith teach us that the first ten days of Zul Hijjah are very meritorious. A pious deed done during these days is more dear to Allah than a deed done on any other day during the rest of the year. So much so that jihad in the path of Allah which is the top most deed in Islam also is not equal to the deeds done on these days. Therefore we must devote ourselves greatly to the worship of Allah during these days and give up unnecessary worldly pursuits. We must make more zikr, recite more of the Quran and glorify Allah more than our regular habit.
In the second hadith we are told to do more tasbeeh, tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed.
Tasbeeh means to say the words: subhanallah
Tahleel means to say the words: la ilaaha illallaah
Takbeer means to say the words: Allahu akbar
Tahmeed means to say the words: al-hamdulillah
In addition to these phrases the ulema say we should also make much istighfaar and recite much durood on the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
The third hadith mentions that if we fast on these days we will receive the reward of fasting for one year for each day. As for the nights, if we stand in worship then we will insha Allah receive the reward of laylatul Qadr. Now just think in Ramadhan we only have the chance to catch laylatul Qadr once. And then we don’t know which night it will be. But during the first ten nights of Zul Hijjah we have ten chances to catch it and we know for sure which nights they will be.
Finally, on the ninth of Zul Hijjah, hadith says that a fast on this day gets the reward of removing all of the past year’s sins and all of the next year’s sins. Remember, this means the minor sins only, as one has to make complete taubah before the major sins are forgiven.