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When to worry about the spiritual health of ones heart?

An important habit that we all need to cultivate in ourselves is that of assessing ourselves and our actions constantly.
We need to ask ourselves whether we are engrossed in certain sinful behaviors but our habits, a carefree attitude, our intoxications with certain desires, or not fearing Allah has made it difficult to escape the traps of those behaviors.
In such situations, use whatever light of truth that remains in your heart to pause and assess the gravity of your behaviors.
Follow that light and you will find a way out. Consider the following advice by Ibn Al-Qayyim:
When the servant becomes heedless of the consequences of sin, he finds pleasure in satisfying unlawful desires.
This pleasure in disobedience is evidence of his ignorance of the Greatness of the One whom he disobeys, and his ignorance of the evil consequences of sins and evil actions.
His pleasure with sin has concealed all of this from his sight. In fact, his pleasure with sin is more harmful to him than perpetrating the sin itself. The believer can never have any pleasure from sin. He cannot have complete satisfaction with it.
On the contrary, he would not even pursue it, except with grief in his heart. But the intoxication of the desires obscures one from feeling this remorse.
When the heart becomes empty from such grief and one is happy with sin, then one should question his faith and weep for the death of his heart. If it were alive, he would be sad for the perpetration of any sin, big or small.
The evil effects of sin, more often than not, go unnoticed in us and in our brothers and sisters in Islam.
Diligence in constant self-evaluation is necessary in leading us away from sin and its destructive ends.
One can do this by focusing on the following:
1. The fear of dying before making tawbah.
2. Remorse about the good that was missed because of the disobedience of Allah.
3. Working seriously to regain what has been missed.
If one becomes completely heedless then one becomes persistent, which results in constant disobedience with the intention of performing the sin again and again. This by itself is another sin that could be far greater than the first.
Part of the punishment for sin is that it leads to a greater sin, then another, and so on until it completely and certainly destroys the person if he does not repent.
Source: The State of Repentance Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah, Madaarij as-Saalikeen)

The Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah

Assalam Alaikum warahmatullahe wa barakatuh,

Bismillaher Rahmaner Rahim

There are tons of reasons why you wouldn’t want to pass up this opportunity. Do you know which one? The first ten days of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah.

It’s that time of the year again, the last month of the lunar calendar for the year 1431 after the Hijrah of the Prophet Muḥammad, ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is the time when more than two million people from all around the globe will be meeting together for at least five days in the plains of Makkah, Mina, ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah to perform their sacred journey to Makkah, known to us as al-Hajj, the pilgrimage. What bonds them together? One thing: al-Islam.

If you are already reading this, most likely you are not going to Hajj. And if you’re there already, then what on earth are you doing wasting your time online? Go to the Haram and enjoy your ṭawāf.

There are two chances in life: the one which you have already missed and the one which you don’t want to miss. What you already have is no longer a chance, its reality.

Therefore, for those of us who were unable to be there in Makkah, why should we value these special days of the year? Here are my top five reasons.

Allah subahanahu wa ta’ala valued these days so much that he swore by them in the Qur’an. And If Allah swore by something, then it is definitely profound and of the greatest value. Allah says:

والفجر وليال عشر
“by the dawn, and by ten nights” AlFajr 89:1-2

Ibn Kathīr rahimahullah, in his tafsir, referred to these ten days as the ten days of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah. He also attributed this opinion to Ibn ʿAbbās, Ibn Az-Zubayr and others of the righteous predecessors.

The good deeds performed during these ten days are most rewarded, more than any other time of the year.
Ibn Abbas narrated the Messenger salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

(مَا مِنْ أيَّامٍ العَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ فِيهِنَّ أحَبُّ إلى الله مِنْ هَذهِ الأيَّامِ العَشْرِ) ، فقالُوا يا رسولُ الله: ولا الجِهَادُ في سَبِيلِ الله؟ فقالَ رسولُ الله : ( ولا الجِهَادُ في سَبِيلِ الله، إلاّ رَجُلٌ خَرجَ بِنَفْسِهِ ومَالِهِ، فَلَمْ يَرْجِعْ من ذَلِكَ بِشَيْءٍ).

“There are no days during which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days. The companions asked: not even jihad in the cause of Allah? The Messenger of Allah replied: Not even jihad in the cause of Allah except for the one who went to fight taking himself and his wealth but did not return with either of them.” (Bukhari and Tirmidhi.)

The Blessings of the Days of ‘Arafah

These ten days host one special day in which there are so many blessings. It is the day of ‘Arafah, the ninth day of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah and the day preceding the ‘Id day. Some of the blessings of ‘Arafah are:

  • Fasting that day expiates the sins of two years, the previous one and the coming year. (Muslim)
  • It is a day in which Allah completed the revelation of the religion, perfected this bounty bestowed upon us and was satisfied with Islam as our religion. This was mentioned in Sūrat’l-Mā’idah 5:3. (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • It is the day when Allah AlMighty descends, in a manner that suits His Majesty, to the closest heaven and shows his pride to the angels about the presence of the pilgrims. (Muslim)
  • In this day Allah promises the pilgrims to bestow his mercy on them and forgive their sins so that when they return home they return free of sins just like the day when their mothers gave birth to them. (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • It is a day when many people will be emancipated from the fire of Hell.

The season of the ten days of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah is a festivity of worship. No other days of the year hold so many diverse acts of worship as done in such a short time, not even in Ramadan. And here is a list of some of what good deeds are done during these days in Makkah and elsewhere around the globe:

  • Hajj and multiple Umrahs by millions of people.
  • The sacrifice of the dunya and this world for the sake of attending the Hajj.
  • The display of humility, humbleness and devotion in the actual rituals of Hajj.
  • Tawaaf around the Ka’bah and Sai’ between the two hills of Safa and Marwa.
  • Abundance of Dhikr, the praise of Allah especially takbeer and tahleel and what other pilgrims say the most, Talbiyah.
  • Fasting for the non-pilgrims.
  • Being extra charitable.
  • Offering the hadi’y and udhiyah or qur’ban the sacrifice of livestock and feeding the poor.
  • The inclination towards repentance.
  • The engagement in long du’a or supplications as a sign of humility and humbleness.
  • Maintaining the prayers in the sacred sites al-Haram in Makkah and the Masjid of the Prophet in Madinah.
  • The recitation of the Qur’an.

The ten days of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah also host the greatest day of the year, Yum-an-Nahr the day of the sacrifice, the 10th which is the actual day of ‘Id. The Messenger of Allah said:

(إنَّ أَعْظَمَ اْلأيَّامِ عِنْدَ الله تبارك وتعالى يَوْمُ النَّحْرِ ثُمَّ يَوْمُ الْقَرِّ)

“The best day with Allah is yum-an-Nahr, the day of sacrifice and then yum-al-qarr (the day that follows, when the pilgrims reside in the camps of Mina for worship).” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood and an-Nasa’iee).

So, now that you know the significance of this season, what do you need to do?

Some suggestions to make the Best of the Ten Days:

  • Increase your level of worship during the day and during the night.
  • Try to achieve one khatma of the Qur’an (reading it from cover to cover).
  • Keep your tongue moist with dhikr and praise of Allah wherever you are.
  • Maintain a state of ṭahārah and wuḍū’ at all times.
  • Make most of your dhikr Takbīr (like the one you recite on ‘Id day).
  • Fast a few days while the days are short and cold, particularly the 9th, the day of ‘Arafah.
  • If you haven’t paid for the qurban (sacrificial animal) yet, make sure to do so. Perhaps you should donate one to those who are most in need of it in areas such as Pakistan and Gaza.
  • Wake up before Fajr time and pray Qiyam-ul-Layl.
  • Pray your Fardh salat on time.
  • Make sure you don’t miss any of the Nafl and Sunnah prayers.
  • Give charity and help those who are less fortunate prepare for the Eid day.
  • Share the spirit of the season and be cheerful with all people.

There is so much you can do for the ten days of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah, but you are the one who knows your schedule better than any one else. Make sure to make this season a priority and may Allah grant you all Jannatul Firdous.

Remember, there are two chances in life: the one you already missed, and the one you don’t want to miss. So don’t miss out on the ten days of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah.

By: Yaser Birjas