What Is the Significance of the First 10 Days of Dhul Hijjah?

Worship, Good Deeds, and Repentance

Mid adult man reading Koran, Mina, Saudi Arabia

 Fuad Kamal/Getty Images

Dhul Hijjah (the Month of Hajj) is the 12th month of the Islamic lunar year. During this month the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as hajj, takes place. The actual pilgrimage rites occur on the eighth to 12th days of the month.

According to the Prophet Muhammad, the first 10 days of this month are a special time for devotion. During these days, preparations are underway for those who are undertaking the pilgrimage, and most of the actual pilgrimage rites occur. In particular, the ninth day of the month marks the Day of Arafat, and the 10th day of the month marks the Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). Even for those who are not traveling for the pilgrimage, this is a special time to remember Allah and spend extra time in devotion and good deeds.

The significance of the first 10 days of Duhl Hijjah is that followers of Islam get the opportunity to sincerely repent, get closer to God, and combine acts of worship in a way that is impossible at any other time of the year.

Acts of Worship

Allah attaches great importance to the 10 nights of Duhl Hijjah. Said the Prophet Muhammad, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.” The people asked the prophet, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause [of Allah], and came back with nothing.”

It is recommended that the worshiper fast during the first nine days of Duhl Hijjah; fasting is prohibited on the 10th day (Eid ul-Adha). During the first nine days, Muslims recite the takbeer, which is the call of Muslims to cry out, "Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest; all praises are for Allah only." Next, they recite the tahmeed and praise Allah by saying, "Alhamdulillah" (All praise belongs to Allah). They then recite the tahleel and declare oneness with Allah by saying, "La ilaaha il-lal-laah" (There is none worthy of worship except Allah). Finally, worshipers declare tasbeeh and glorify Allah by saying, "Subhanallah" (Glory be to Allah).

Sacrifice During Duhl Hijjah

On the 10th day of the month of Duhl Hijjah comes the obligatory offering of the Qurbani, or the sacrificing of livestock.

“It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches Allah. It is their piety that reaches Allah.” (Surah Al-Haj 37)

The significance of Qurbani is traced back to the Prophet Ibrahim, who dreamed that God ordered him to sacrifice his only son, Ismail. He agreed to sacrifice Ismail, but God intervened and sent a ram to be sacrificed in Ismail's place. This continued act of Qurbani, or sacrifice, is a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to God.

Good Deeds and Character

Performing as many good deeds as possible, an act beloved by Allah brings great reward. 

"There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days." (Prophet Muhammad)

Do not swear, slander, or gossip, and make an extra effort to be courteous to your friends and family. Islam teaches that having respect for parents is second in importance only to that of prayer. Allah rewards those who perform good deeds during the first 10 days of the month of hajj, and he will grant your forgiveness for all of your sins.