Zulhijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Literally, it means “hajj.” Obviously, this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of “hajj” is performed in this month, which gives it special significance. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below:
First Ten Days:
The first ten days of Zulhijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. The Holy Prophet( PBUH)has said, “One day fasting during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the “Lailatul-Qadr”. Every Muslim should avail of this wonderful opportunity by performing during this period as much Iba’dah (acts of worship) to Allah as he or she can.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH), said “No days are as important with Allah and so liked by Him for good deeds than the first ten days of Zil Hijjah. So in these days increasingly read:
TAKBEER (Allahu Akbar).
The 9th day of Zulhijjah:
The 9th day of Zulhijjah is called ‘Youmul – “Arafah’ (The Day of ‘Arafah). This is the date when the Hujjaj (Haji pilgrims, plural of Haajj) assemble on the plain of ‘Arafat, six miles away from Makkah al-Mukarramah, where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of hajj, namely, the ‘Wuqoof of’Arafat (the stay in ‘Arafat).
Hazrat Abu Qataadah al-Ansari was asked about the Saum (fast) on the day of Arafah (i.e. the 9th Zil Hijjah).
He said, “It compensates for the minor sins of the past year and the coming year.”
The Fasting of Youmul ‘Arafah:
For those not performing hajj, it is mustahabb (desirable) to fast on this day according to their own calendar. It sometimes occurs that 9th Zuihijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. In such cases, Muslims of each country should observe ‘Youmul ‘Arafah according to the lunar dates of their own country.
For example, if ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ is being observed in Saudi Arabia on Friday, and in Pakistan on Saturday, Pakistani Muslims should treat Saturday as ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ and should fast on that day if they desire to benefit from the fast of ‘Youmul’Arafah’.
The fast of ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ has been emphasized by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as a mustahabb (desirable) act. According to a hadith, the fast of this day becomes a cause, hopefully so, of forgiveness for sins committed in one year.