HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THESE ARE THE BEST 10 DAYS OF THE ENTIRE YEAR?
Ever wondered why we don't possess the same urge to strive for good deeds in these days as we do in Ramadan? Is not this hadith sufficient to spark up this urge and yearning? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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" (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).
Imagine! Even those deeds which are less preferred, in these days are more beloved to Allah than superior deeds done at other times - even Jihaad, which is one of the most superior of all deeds! SUBHAN ALLAH! ALLAH'S MERCY IS ENDLESS! THE QUESTION IS, ARE WE WILLING TO STRIVE FOR IT? The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul-Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul Tahajud (late night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on (Lilatulqadr) the night of power" [This is related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi].
With regards to fasting, that should only be done on nine of first ten days of Dhul Hijjah; the tenth day is the day of Eid when it is haraam to fast as is indicated by the marfoo' hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him): He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] forbade fasting on the day of (Eid) al-Fitr and the day of al-Nahr (the day of sacrifice, i.e., Eid al-Adha). Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1992; Muslim, 827. The scholars are unanimously agreed that it is haraam to fast on these days. Righteous deeds on these ten days are better than on others. What can we DO during these days?
1) Indulge in Dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Our beloved Prophet (saw) said: "There are no other days that are greater before Allah (T), or that good deeds are more beloved to Him in them, than these Ten Days, so say in plenty Tahleel (laa ilaaha illa 'Llaah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and Tahmeed (al-Hamdu lillaah)." [Ahamd & at-Tabarani; authentic] So, while driving to work, running your errands, or enjoying your daily, leisurely walk, moisten your tongue with the praises of Allah.
2) Fast. This should be easy since the days are sooo short and we still have sweet, fresh memories and habits of Ramadan. So, lets set a target (e.g. 5 fasting days out of 9) and stick to it. And remember- this deed becomes easy especially when we think about the enormous reward in store for us. One of them is- one day of fast distances us 70 years away from hellfire! So, treat yourself with this noble deed especially on the day of Arafah as fasting on this day expiates our sins of the past year and the coming year.
3) Perform Hajj and Umra. Most of the lucky ones are already on their way. May Allah grant them all a Hajj Mabroor. Ameen.
4) Do any good deed you can think of: read the Qur'an, do dua, forbid the evil and enjoin good, give charity, smile at your neighbor, be extra nice to your parents/family, pray tahajud, pray with khushoo & fear, make a sacrifice just for the sake of Allah (anything at all), make someone's day? and list goes on & on.
5) Forsake sins. All the 'not to do deeds' fall under this category. Ask yourself: 'What am I am doing that Allah dislikes?'... and then leave it. Spice up these days with a variety of virtuous deeds. Surprise your family and friends with your exceptional, cheerful behavior; strengthen your bond with your Rabb and discipline your inner desires & traits. This is an occasion in which...Allah's love is intensified, the reward is multiplied and the time is limited. Seize it!