Allah has created some nights better than others and the first 10 of Dhul Hijjah are often understood to be some of the most powerful. These nights are a period of worship and an opportunity to gain proximity to Allah and attain his blessings.
There are several actions recommended to be done by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
1. Keep fasts on the first 9 days of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah (not on the 10th). In a tradition from Imam Musa Kazim (as), if a person fasts on the first nine days of Dhu al-Hijjah, Allah (swt) gives him the reward of a lifetime of fasting.
2. Recite the following dua’a taught by Imam Ali (A.S.) the first 10 days of this month.
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU A’DADAL LAYAALEE WAD DUHOOR
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU A’DADA AMWAAJIL BUH’OOR
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU RAH’MATUHU KHAYRUN MIMMAA YAJMA-O’ON
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU A’DADASH SHAWKI WASH SHAJJAR
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU A’DADASH SHAA’-RI WAL WABAR
LAA ILAAHA ILLLLAAHU A’DADAL H’AJARA WAL MADAR
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU A’DADA LAMH’IL U’YOON
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAHU FIL LAYLI ID’AA A’S-A’SA WAS’-S’UBH’I ID’AA TANAFFAS
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU A’DADAR RIYAAH’I FIL BARAAREE WAS’ S’UKHOOR
LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAHU MINAL YAWMI ILAA YAWMI YANFAKHU FIS’ S’OOR …
3. In the nights of the first 10 days, between the Maghrib and Ishaa Salaats, pray a 2 Raka’t Salaat. The reward of offering this prayer is to participate in the rewards of those who go for Hajj. In every Raka’t, after the recitation of Surah Al Faatiha, recite Surah Al Ikhlaas and the following verse (7:142) :
WA WAA—A’DNAA MOOSAA THALAATHEENA LAYLATAN’W WA ATMAMNAAHAA BI—A’SHRIN FATAMMA MEEQAATU RABBIHEE ARBA—E’ENA LAYLAH WA QAALA MOOSAA LI—AKHEEHI HAAROONAKH—LUFNEE FEE QAWMEE WA AS’LIH’WA LA TATTABIA’—SABEELAL MUFSIDEE
4.The eighth of Dhu al-Hijjah is called the Tarwiyah Day. To observe fasting on this day brings about a great reward. According to a narration, it erases the sins of sixty years. Shaykh al-Shaheed (the martyr) has said that it is recommended to bathe oneself on this day.
Dhu al-Hijjah is also a month of mourning for the Shias as our beloved 5th Imam Muhammad al Baqir (as) was martyred within this month. There was much to learn from him as can be seen through the simple advice he gave to Umar bin Abdul Aziz, saying:
- Do not ever celebrate any occasion with excessive happiness which makes you forget the barriers of halal and haram.
- Never let anger overcome you in such a way that you forget what is halal and haram.
- Never usurp anyone’s property.
Another reason for mourning is the anniversary of the death of Muslim bin Aqeel who is known as the first martyr in the name of Kerbala, for when the people of Kufa called upon Imam Hussein (as), Muslim was sent as a representative of the Bani Hashim to Kufa.
During his time in Kufa, Muslim ibn Aqeel used to lead the prayers in the Great Mosque of Kufa. When he led Salaat-ul-Maghrib, 30,000 people were following him. The support for Muslim ibn Aqeel in Kufa had become a major threat for Yazid and his governor, Ubaydallah ibn Ziyad. During evening prayers, people were sent from the court of the governor publicly announcing that anyone found supporting Muslim ibn Aqeel will be tortured and put to death.
When Muslim ibn Aqeel finished Salaat-ul-Maghrib, 30,000 had reduced to 18 only. When Hazrat Muslim completed the Isha prayers and turned back, he found the mosque empty except for one person, Hani Ibn Urwah, at whose house Muslim was staying as a guest. Muslim ibn Aqeel had only one thing on his mind now, which was to inform his master Imam Husayn (AS) about the treachery and betrayal of the people of Kufa.
With Muslim completely isolated in Kufa, a ferocious battle took place - Muslim on one side, all alone, and over 500 soldiers on the other side, who were fully armed. Kufa had never seen such a battle before - Muslim defeated the army of 500. More troops were called and it was decided that it would be impossible to capture Muslim unless he was tricked. A pit was dug and covered with leaves. While fighting, Muslim fell into the pit and was captured.
Muslim was ordered to be taken to the roof of the palace to be executed and his body thrown to the ground. He was mercilessly killed on 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, 60 AH , the day when Muslims were getting ready to celebrate the festivities of Eid al Adha. Thus he became the first martyr of the epic battle of Karbala. He is buried in Kufa and thousands of people go annually to visit his grave and pay their respects.