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How to spend the days of Haj for non-pilgrims


Amal Al-Sibai Of all the days of the year, worship is most beloved to Allah during these first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah and during the month of Ramadan.

It is easy to feel like we missed the bandwagon of worship if we are not planning to go for Haj this year. We see video clips of the Indonesian pilgrims in Jeddah airport chanting salutations upon the Prophet (peace be upon him), the rain that poured on Mount Arafat last week, and the white tents in Mina preparing for the arrival of the pilgrims, yet many of us are not going for Haj. Some of us may feel that we have no part in this beautiful season of worship.

Do not get discouraged, there is much you can do to stay focused and to feel the splendor of these blessed days, and to earn great rewards. Do not let these days slip by you simply because you are not a pilgrim this year.

Allah reminds us in the Holy Qur’an that there are certain seasons of increased worship and that we should be aware of these days and rituals.

In the Chapter on Haj, we read the following verse, {That (is so). And whoever honors the symbols (i.e. rites) of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.} (Chapter 22, verse 32)

So the pious will honor these blessed days.

What to do in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah for the non-pilgrims:

First and foremost, keep yourself in check especially when it comes to the obligatory prayers. Offer the prayers without delay or laziness.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “On the Day of Judgment, a slave will be questioned about his prayers first. If his prayers are good, his other deeds will be good, too. If his prayers are bad, his other deeds will be bad, too.” (Tabarani)

The importance of prayer cannot be emphasized enough, and if you have been struggling with your prayers, now is a good time to be more diligent with your prayers, and stick to it. And for the men, try your best to offer the five daily prayers in congregation in the mosque.

Take more time for the prayer, and add on the voluntary prayers if you have not already developed this good habit. Pray two units of voluntary prayer before fajr prayer, four before and two after dhuhr, two after maghrib, and two after ishaa.

A ritual of worship that a non-pilgrim can perform which is greatly rewarded by Allah is fasting. Try your best day to fast every day this week, and especially the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, which is the day of Arafat, coinciding with August 31st this year.

Fasting on the day of Arafat expiates the sins we have committed in the previous year. And even if we are not standing on Mount Arafat on that day, we must still mention Allah’s name, seek forgiveness, supplicate, and engage in tasbeeh (saying subhan Allah), takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar), and tahleel, (saying there is no God but Allah).

Make duaa as much as possible on this day. Free yourself on this day from all social obligations in order to spend it in worship.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “There is no other day on which Allah frees a larger number of His slaves from the Fire of Hell than the Day of Arafah.” (Sahih Muslim)

Read the Holy Qur’an during these blessed days. If the demands of family, work, and friends have been keeping you from reading the Holy Book, take the opportunity of the coming days to read more frequently. Spend time reading books of tafseer, or explanation of the meanings of the verses of the Qur’an. We do not want to be among the people that Allah described in the Holy Qur’an as having closed hearts, because they do not contemplate and reflect on Allah’s words.

{Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon (their) hearts?} (Chapter 47, verse 24)

Read about the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his noble character. Give yourself an assignment to even memorize a certain number of the Prophet’s sayings.

Give. Give in charity to the poor, weak, sick, orphans, widows, refugees, someone drowning in debt, and anyone in need. Seek these people out and give generously. On the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah, sacrifice an animal and distribute the meat to families in need and to your neighbors.

Avoid doing that which would displease Allah, from looking to what is forbidden, listening to what is forbidden, saying what is unlawful, or going to places that Allah dislikes His faithful servants to be in.

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