1. Make Sincere Repentance
Allah Almighty loves those who repent to Him in complete submission. The act of sincere repentance to Allah with intention to never return to His disobedience and sin is very dear to Him Almighty. Return to Allah by giving up all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes. Be regretful of your sins and disobedience and resolve to never return to sin and to firmly adhere to the path which Allah loves.
Allah Almighty says, “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” [Al-Qasas 28:67]
2. Fast all nine days and especially on the 'day of Arafah'
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, relates: “There are four things that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, never abandoned: fasting the day of ‘Aashooraa’, fasting the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah, fasting three days of every month and praying the two Raka’s before the dawn prayer.” [Ahmed and An-Nasaa’ee] Note that “the first ten” means the first nine days since the tenth will be the ‘Eed (i.e. the day of sacrifice).
3. Perform Dhikr and Takbeer(remembrance of Allah)
Let’s begin with a simple yet effective action – increasing your dhikr. We have been commanded to praise Allah constantly in these ten days.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are no days on which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allah than on these ten days, so recite much Tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah), Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (saying Alhamdu Lillaah).” (Ahmad -Saheeh)
Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijja, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. (Bukhari)
Takbeer at this time is a Sunnah that has mostly been forgotten, especially during the first few days. So, say it in the masjid, in your home, on the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah. Revive the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten and earn great rewards for doing so.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Tirmidhi- Hasan)
4. Stand the Night in Prayer
Seeking Allah’s forgiveness and humbling ourselves in front of Him in supplication and prayers during the latter part of the night is an act of worship that is very beloved to Allah Almighty.
Allah Almighty calls out to His servants in the latter part of the night: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
Abdullah bin Salam said: “When the Prophet (ﷺ) came to Al-Madinah, the people rushed to meet him, and it was said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has come! The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ ) has come! The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has come!’ Three times. I came with the people to see him, and when I saw his face clearly, I knew that his face was not the face of a liar. The first thing I heard him say was when he said: ‘O people! Spread (the greeting of) Salam, feed others, uphold the ties of kinship, and pray during the night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise with Salam.” Sunan Ibn Majah
We should seize this opportunity and beg Him Almighty for His Divine Generosity and Mercy. We should ask Him as our Prophet (PBUH) taught us “Our Lord, bless us with the best of this world and the best of hereafter and save us from the fire of Hell.”
5. Return to Book of Allah(The Quran)
Muslims will earn great rewards for reciting the Quran and implementing it in their daily life routine. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said: “Verily the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Ten Rewards for each letter recitation from Quran: Hadith related to this is stated in a way that: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” (Tirmidhi). So, increase the recitation of Quran to get these rewards.
Muslim will get the level in Paradise based on Quran memorization in this life: If you want to get higher rank in Paradise then memorize and recite Quran effectively. The Holy Prophet (SAW) stated related to it as: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: Read and elevate (through the levels of the Paradise) and beautify your voice as you used to do when you were in the dunyaa! For verily, your position in the Paradise will be at the last verse you recite!”(Abu Dawood).
Establish a beautiful relationship with the book of Allah starting in these ten days of Dhul-Hijja. Recite its verses and you will win its blessings. Understand its message. Implement the commandments of this book in your life. This relationship with the Quran will open for you the doors of wisdom and happiness in your life. This will ultimately lead to guidance and success in this life and the Hereafter.
6. Increase in doing ALL good deeds
If you are not able to perform Hajj this year, occupy yourself during these blessed days by any and every possible good deed. Every act that is done with sincerity for the pleasure of Allah Almighty will bring you closer to Him.
“So, whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it; and whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.“ [Al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]
7. Fast the 'Day of Arafah'
The ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar) is the Day of ‘Arafah. It is the day when pilgrims stand on the land of ‘Arafah to pray. On this day, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting, according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), The Prophet (PBUH) used to fast on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijja and he said: “Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah (ninth Dhul-Hijja) is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year.” (Muslim)
In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, said:
“Four things the Messenger of Allâh never neglected: Observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura, ‘Arafat, three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning “. Muslim
Whoever is performing Hajj, there is no fast for him or her on the day of ‘Arafah. That is undeniably a blessing for him/her because of the hardships of the pilgrimage. Umm Al-Fadl, may Allah be pleased with her, reported: “The companions doubted whether the Prophet (PBUH) was fasting on the day of Arafah or not(while in Hajj). She decided to prove to them that he was not, so she said, ‘I sent to him milk, which he drank while he was delivering the khutbah (sermon) on ‘Arafah.’ “ Recorded by Al-Bukhari
8. Perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)
“And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah“. [Noble Quran 2:196]
”O you who believe! Give you response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life”.
[Noble Quran 8:24]
Clearly, Hajj is one of the best deeds that a Muslim can do throughout these ten days. However, for those of us who were not preforming Hajj this year, there are still many more conducts to earn the pleasure of Allah Almighty. One of the most amazing things about Hajj is that, if your Hajj is (Mabroor) accepted from you, your sins are completely erased, and you are once more as pure as a newborn. The good news is if you intended to perform Hajj this year, and as Hajj from outsider is not possible, insha Allah you will get the same reward, as Allah Almighty rewards us by our intention. Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him), reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention”. Also Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: We accompanied the Prophet (PBUH) in an expedition when he said, “There are some men in Al-Madinah who are with you wherever you march and whichever valley you cross. They have not joined you in person because of their illness.” In another version he said: “They share the reward with you.’‘ [Muslim]
9. Slaughter an animal and distribute the meat (Sacrifice)
Eid sacrifice (Al-Udhiya) is a Sunnah of Islam recommended for any Muslim who can do it. This is the opinion of most of the scholars of Islam. It is also one of the good deeds of Islam as ‘Aisha narrated from the Prophet as saying: “No son of Adam has done any deed on the Day of Immolation more likable to Allah than shedding blood (slaughtering the Eid sacrifice).
Ibn Umar said: “The Prophet (PBUH) lived in Madinah for ten years and every year he slaughtered an animal.” (Ahmad-Saheeh by al-Albaani)
Also, It was narrated from Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah and one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him refrain from (removing anything) from his hair or nails.” (Muslim)
Refraining from cutting the hair and trimming the nails is a sunnah, but it does not invalidate the sacrifice in anyway, even if the person knew that he was doing this after the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah.
Once the person learns about the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah, he or she is advised to refrain from cutting hair and trimming nails, and there is neither fear nor doubt for the validity of the sacrifice and he or she will get the reward of following the sunnah.
When do the sacrifices (Qurbani) happen?
Qurbani takes place after the Eid prayer on Eid-ul-Adha, from 10th till before end of 12th day of Dhul Hijjah.
Any sacrifice made before the Eid prayer is counted as a charity (Sadaqah), not as the obligatory Qurbani; if you do this, you must still perform the Qurbani after Eid prayer.
Jundab bin Sufyan Al-Bajali reported:
“I witnessed the Prophet (saw) on the Day of Nahr (or Eid day). He (saw) said, “Whoever slaughtered the sacrifice before offering the Eid prayer, should slaughter another sacrifice in its place; and whoever has not slaughtered their sacrifice yet, should slaughter now’“. (Bukhari)
10. Eid Prayers
Attending Eid prayers is from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). We should be keen on practicing this Sunnah and performing it according to the teachings of our Prophet (PBUH). Eid is a time of joy and happiness and we should be inclusive of all our brothers and sisters who may not be as fortunate to have enough to enjoy this blessed occasion. The Prophet (peace be upon him) even ordered that women who were in their periods, and were as a result exempt from prayer, attend it, but were not to take part in the prayer itself. They attend to share in its blessings and in the joy of the community, which clearly indicates its importance.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reports The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go out to pray the Eid prayer of al-Fitr and al-Adha in the open space.’ Related by al-Bukhari, It is recommended to offer the Eid prayer in an open space. Apparently, this to publicize this Islamic tradition. It is permissible to offer it in a large mosque when there is need for that, such as severe weather conditions or other factors.
11. Thank Allah
Allah Almighty said: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” (2:152)
One of the biggest forms of worshiping Allah Almighty is to thank Him, deeply, sincerely, and continuously. After all, it is He who blessed you with all that you have. In fact, you would not even be here if it were not for the Mercy of your Creator. So, thank Him for ALL that He gave you: the blessing of Islam, the blessing of life and every blessing you possess. Thank Him for the opportunity to experience these ten days. Ask Him for His mercy, forgiveness, and guidance.
Alhamdulillah, there is much to be gained in these coming days. So, make the most of this perfect opportunity offered by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to do good deeds and appreciate this blessing and make the most of it.
12. Be a People Person
Allah Almighty said: “And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah. Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing”.(2:83)
Visit or contact your neighbor and ask how they are doing. Bake a pie for them. Speak to people in a good manner, give charity and assistance to needy, even just a smile. Be extra nice to those at home. Spend time with your family. Have productive discussions, share something new that you learned, teach the youngsters, and just listen to what they have to say and be as a friend to them.
The possibilities of earning abundant reward are quite endless. Be creative and just keep the intention of pleasing Allah Almighty in your mind.
13. Kinship and friendship relation
Allah almighty said: “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.” (17:23-25)
Make sure to value your relationship with your parent and your relative in general. Keep and repair your relationship with them.
Abu Huraira reported: A man asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “Who is most deserving of my good company?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said, “Your father.” Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī &, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 25
If you have not called a specific relative in a while, make a short, five-minute call. Do not make it long and end up wasting your time and theirs. Keep it sweet and simple, ask how they are doing, and share something beneficial.