Allah Ta'ala takes a Qasm (oath) by the first ten nights of Zul Hijjah:
وَالۡفَجۡرِۙ وَلَيَالٍ عَشۡرٍۙ
“By the dawn, and [by] the ten nights.”
[Surah Al-Fajr 89:1-2]
When Allah Ta'ala is taking a Qasm on the blessedness and status of these nights, there can be no doubt of the greatness of these nights.
Allah Ta'ala is the Creator of the Universe, and Allah Ta'ala has created the days and the nights. Regarding the hours of the days and nights, there is no question of different hours. Each day has a fixed twenty-four hours. We describe certain days of our lives as “memorable” and “enjoyable”, and we describe certain days of our lives as “miserable” and “sad”. This alludes to the actions or the happenings of that day, which made the day memorable or miserable.
Certain days become distinguished for us due to the actions that transpired on those days.
As far as Shari'ah is concerned, there is no such thing as the day itself having any misfortune. There is no “bad-luck” day —as people may regard some days. Our deeds make a day good or bad. If we engage in good deeds; perform our Salaah, fulfil the rights of Allah Ta'ala and the creation, take care of the poor, fast, engage in Zikrullah, Tilawah, Dua and other righteous deeds, then that day is a good, bright day. If we spend the day in evil deeds —in Zina, watching porn, swearing, stealing, dealing in interest or engaging in other vices, we have made the day a bad, “dark” day. Such a day is not a blessed day for the person because he disobeyed Allah Ta'ala on that day.
Allah Ta'ala chose these days and nights of Zul Hijjah for Ibaadah. Furthermore, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) —who was the most truthful, and received Wahi (revelation), also informed us of the speciality of these days and nights and how to occupy our time, whereby we gain the maximum profits of this period —this peak period for the Ibaadah of Allah Ta'ala.
Not only did Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) present to us the greatness of these days and nights, but he also practically demonstrated the actions that should be carried out during this very Mubarak time.
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was sinless. No one can engage in more Ibaadah, Zikr, Da'wah, and other good as he did; yet look at how he would stand for hours and hours in Salaah —until his Mubarak feet would swell; look at how he would place his head in Sajdah for so long that his beloved wife, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would fear that his soul had departed. Despite all the responsibilities entrusted to him, he would give time exclusively for the Ibaadah of Allah Ta'ala.
Whatever he invited to, he practised.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.”
The people asked: “Not even Jihad for Allah?”
He said: “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah Ta'ala), and came back with nothing.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also directed us towards how to occupy our time:
“No days are as weighty by Allah, and so liked by Him than good deeds which are carried out in the first ten days of Zul Hijjah. So during these days, increasingly read: Subhanallah, La ilaaha illallaah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar.”
Furthermore, Rasulullah (sallallaahu' alayhi wa sallam) said:
“On no days is the worship of Allah desired more than in the first ten days of Zul Hijjah. The fast of each of these days is equal to the fast of a whole year, and the Ibaadah (worship) of each of these nights is equal to the Ibaadah of Laylatul Qadr.”
We have to search for Laylatul Qadr in Ramadaan, and here Allah Ta'ala is giving us the rewards of Laylatul Qadr on each of these nights of Zul Hijjah –indicating their blessedness and greatness.
Sadly, we have become of those who ask: Is it Fardh? Is it Waajib?
We have learnt the definition of the Fiqh terms, such as Fardh, Waajib, and Sunnah, so that whatever is not Fardh, we may leave it out.
This is our attitude: If something is Nafl, Mustahab or Ghair Muakkadah – we leave it out. We do not include it in our timetable; if it is there, we strike it off -once we learn that it is optional and can be left out, and there is no sin in not carrying it out.
The Sahabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) did not have this weak approach to Deen, this offhand attitude to Deen and this laziness in practising on Deen – as we have. They strived in even those actions which were optional. Their sound intellect and deep understanding were evident in the fact that their entire lives were sacrificed upon the Sunnah. They spent their lives seeking Allah Ta'ala's Pleasure and Jannah, raising the flag of Islam wherever they went.
How different we are! Our condition becomes apparent when we see how our lives are sacrificed for Dunya, for what is temporary and what will be left behind when we depart from this world.
Nabi (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“The intelligent one is he who suppresses his desires and practises for what is after death, and the foolish one is he who makes his nafs follow its desires and (he) places (baseless) hope on Allah.”
In the light of this Hadith, we can gauge which category we fall into.
Unfortunately —and very sadly, we look at the bare minimum regarding Ibaadaat. Why do we not settle for the bare minimum regarding our clothing, cars, homes and other material items? Why are we not content with the basic necessities of life, like how we are satisfied with the bare necessities of Deen?
Do we require a very luxurious car to get from one place to another? Is this a necessity? Yes, it is permissible if the person has a correct intention and there is no pride, arrogance or boasting. Unfortunately, we choose the best in material commodities but do not seek the best in spiritual commodities: Al-Baaqiyatus Saalihaat (the everlasting, enduring good deeds). Allah Ta'ala presents to us with what is better – so we profit tremendously.
“Wealth and children are the adornments of this worldly life, but the everlasting good deeds are far better with your Lord in reward and hope. ”
[Surah Al-Kahf 18:46]
Allah Ta'ala is seeking from us the best of deeds, not the best of material possessions:
“˹He is the One Who created death and life to test which of you is best in deeds, and He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving..”
[Surah Al-Mulk 67:2]
What was the purpose of these virtues, which are related to these Ahadith?
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) loved the Ummah. He wanted every Ummati to enter Jannah with the maximum rewards. These virtues were presented to us so that we may appreciate and work to achieve all the rewards attached to these days and nights.
We want maximum profits on worldly investments. We appreciate the person who directs us to the right investments —because that will yield large profits and big returns. We value such friendship and welcome such excellent advice. However, we do not appreciate Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) nor consider his priceless advice and guidance, which will earn us the vast and immense profits of the Aakhirah (Hereafter).
Ibadah yields Sawaab (rewards), which is the currency of the Aakhirah. This is what we need to take with us.
When we travel in the world, we require a specific currency. Not every type of currency will be accepted in a country.
If a person takes Zimbabwean Dollars, this money will be useless and will not be accepted in any other country. Moreover, we will require a massive suitcase to carry these dollars. When I went to Zimbabwe, a few dollars made me a millionaire. At one stage, a hundred-billion-dollar and a hundred-trillion-dollar bill were the currency in Zimbabwe, but that amount could not even purchase a bus ticket.
Our condition is that we are travelling towards the Hereafter, but we are not accumulating the much-needed currency of the Hereafter. We have very little —and we will require much currency. Nothing except good deeds will help us.
Suppose we accumulate only the Rands, Dollars and Pounds of this world and give no attention to securing that wealth which will make us rich in the next life. In that case, we will find ourselves to be paupers —full of regret and remorse for having wasted the opportunity to become rich in the true sense of the word.
These blessed days and nights manifest Allah Ta'ala's great love for us. Out of His Infinite Generosity, He gives us these beautiful opportunities whereby we multiply our rewards and gain the bounties of Jannah with ease, insha Allah.
Additionally, Allah Ta'ala's floodgates of Mercy and Forgiveness are wide open —and are not restricted to only the Hujjaj; rather, it is for the entire Ummah.
Of course, these fasts are not in the category of the Ramadaan fasts, which are Fardh. These fasts are Nafl.
So, if a person has many responsibilities or his health is ailing — and fasting will weaken him or prevent him from fulfilling his duties, then the person should not fast; there is no sin.
However, we should be desirous that if we had the ability, we would have kept these fasts – and on just that good intention, the rewards are secured, insha Allah.
If we can keep two or three or at least the fast of the 9th of Zul Hijjah, then let us try and gain the rewards, insha Allah.
If a person does not engage in any extra deeds, then the least he should do is abstain from all sins. Do not spend this Mubarak time displeasing Allah Ta'ala.
Let it not be that our attitude is: We do not care. We will not give up our sins. We will continue as we like.
How will we then face Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) on the Day of Qiyamah? If he has to hold our garments and say: You claimed to be my Ummatis, and you want the drink of Kauthar? – But where did you spend those days and nights? How did you spend those days and nights, despite me informing you of their blessedness?
How will we answer?
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (rahmatullah ‘alayh) related that Allah Ta'ala rewards a person for honouring and appreciating these ten days and nights.
Some of the rewards mentioned are:
1) Barakah in one's life: Allah Ta'ala grants so much in a little time. It may be a short life span, but the person achieves much in his time. We see this in the lives of our Akaabir, who were able to do great works of Deen in their lives.
2) Barakah in one's Rizq: There will be blessings, whether a little or a lot.
3) Protection of wealth, property and children.
4) Forgiveness of sins
5) The pangs of death become easy.
6) The scale of good deeds will be weighty
7) Protection from Hell.
8) Increase in stages in Jannah
For the friends of Allah Ta'ala, these days are like another Ramadaan to enjoy. For them, this is another occasion to take from Allah Ta'ala's treasures and enjoy the abundant Anwaar.
Come, let us join the ranks of Allah Ta'ala's close and beloved friends by appreciating these great opportunities and enjoining the great profits in both worlds. Let us give up sins and move toward Allah Ta'ala's obedience and pleasure.
May Allah Ta'ala grant us the understanding and Tawfiq (ability) to carry out good A'amal, Aameen.
 Sahih Bukhari
 Musnad Ahmad
 This was around 2008 – 2009 when the Zimbabwean currency became very weak.