Dhu'l-Hijjah or alternatively Zulhijja (Arabic: ذو الحجة; properly transliterated, also called Zil-Hajj) is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar. It is a very sacred month in the Islamic calendar, one in which the Hajj (pilgrimage) takes place as well as the Festival of the Sacrifice.
"Dhu al-Hijjah" literally means "Possessor of the Pilgrimage" or "The Month of the Pilgrimage". During this month Muslim pilgrims from all around the world congregate at Mecca to visit the Kaaba. The Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth and the tenth of this month. Day of Arafah takes place on the ninth of the month. Eid al-Adha, the "Festival of the Sacrifice", begins on the tenth day and ends on sunset of the 13th.
According to Islamic traditions, the first 10 days of Dhu al-Hijjah are the most blessed days in which to do good deeds:
Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhu al-Hijja)." Then some companions of the Prophet said, "Not even Jihad?" He replied, "Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah's sake) and does not return with any of those things." (Reported by Tirmidhi)
Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast the first nine days of this month, owing to their perceived virtue:
- Amr bin Shuaib reported from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah said:
In Dhu al-Qi'dah (Islamic month), there will be fight among the tribes, Muslim pilgrims will be looted and there will be a battle in Mina in which many people will be slain and blood will flow until it runs over the Jamaratul Aqba (one of the three stone pillars at Mina). The man they seek will flee and will be found between the Rukn (a corner of the Kaaba containing the Black Stone) and the Maqam of Prophet Abraham (near Ka'ba). He will be forced to accept people's Bay'ah (being chosen as a Leader/Caliph). The number of those offering Bay'ah will be the same as the number of the people of Badr (Muslim fighters who participated in the Battle of Badr at time of Prophet Muhammad). Then, the dweller of Heaven and the dweller of the Earth will be pleased with him.
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Dhu al-Hijjah migrates throughout the seasons. Since the month must begin and end when the moon is sighted, the estimated start and end dates for Dhu al-Hijjah are as follows:
- 1427 AH – First day: December 22, 2006; last day: January 19, 2007. Due to sightings in Saudi Arabia, Dhu al-Hijjah officially started on December 21, 2006 in Saudi Arabia. Several countries follow Saudi Arabia regarding the implementation of the Islamic Calendar.
- 1428 AH – First day: December 11, 2007; last day: January 9, 2008. Due to sightings in Saudi Arabia, Dhu al-Hijjah officially started on December 10, 2007 in Saudi Arabia. Several countries follow Saudi Arabia regarding the implementation of the Islamic calendar.
- 1429 AH – First day: November 30, 2008; last day: December 28, 2008
- 1430 AH - First day: November 19, 2009; last day: December 17, 2009
- 1431 AH - First day: November 7, 2010; last day: December 6, 2010
- 1432 AH - First day: October 28, 2011; last day: November 25, 2011
- 1433 AH - First day: ~October 17, 2012; last day: ~November 14, 2012
- 1434 AH - First day: ~October 6, 2013; last day: ~November 4, 2013
- 1435 AH - First day: ~September 25, 2014; last day: ~October 24, 2014
- 1436 AH - First day: ~September 14, 2015; last day: ~October 13, 2015
- 1437 AH - First day: ~September 3, 2016; last day: ~October 1, 2016
Special Days of Dhu al-Hijjah
- The first 9 days of Dhu al-Hijjah for fasting
- The first 10 nights of Dhu al-Hijjah for standing (Qiyaam) in Tahajjud
- The 8th, 9th and 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah as the days of Hajj
- The 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah as the Day of Arafah
- Takbirut Tashreeq is observed from the 9 Dhu al-Hijjah till 13 Dhu al-Hijjah
- The 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah as the Night of Eid
- Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) begins on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and ends on sunset of the 13th Dhu al-Hijjah
Prescribed acts of worship
The following acts have been prescribed for the first nine days of Dhu al-Hijjah
- A person should give extra charity Sadaqah in these 10 days
- Better your Salaah in these days
- Spend time in the Masjid
- Perform voluntary Nafl prayer at home
- Recitation, Memorization and Reading of the Qur’an
- Fasting the first nine days sawm
Reward for Fasting and Tahajjud
The Prophet of Allah said: There are no days more beloved to Allah that he be worshipped in them than the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah, fasting every day of them is equivalent to fasting a year; and standing every night of them (in Salaah) is equivalent to standing on the Night of Qadr. [Tirmizi 758]
The reason for the 10 days being distinguished is due to the combination of worship in this period of Salaah, fasting, charity, Takbir and Hajj. In no other time do these great deeds combine.
Fasting on 9 Dhu al-Hijjah
From the first nine days of Dhu al-Hijjah, it is particularly recommended to fast the Day of Arafah (9th Dhu al-Hijjah) as expiation of the sin of two years:
Abu Qatada narrates that Muhammad was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah. He said: as for the fasting on the Day of Arafah, I anticipate that Allah will forgive the year (i.e. the sins of the year) after it and the year before it [Tirmizi 749].
Trimming Hair and Nails
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After sighting the moon of Dhu al-Hijjah one should not remove the hair of the head, underarms or below the navel and nor should the person trim their nails until having offered their Qurbani sacrifice. Once sacrifice has been completed, may one attend to these matters.
The Prophet has said: whoever sees the crescent of Dhu al-Hijjah and wants to slaughter a sacrifice, he should not take from his hair and nor his nails [Tirmizi 1523]
A Muslim is legislated by the Sunnah to remove under arm hair and pubic hair on a weekly basis; not doing after a 40-day period is considered sinful in the Sharia. After 40 days, hair removal would be considered compulsory upon a person; in the 10 days of Dhu al-Hijjah such a person will be compelled to adhere to the Sunnah of hair removal rather than the Mustahabb action of non-removal as the Muslims are the only religion to follow the sight of the moon it is very well known among many countries
General Islamic Events
- 9 Dhu al-Hijjah, Day of Arafa
- 10-13 Dhu al-Hijjah, Eid al-Adha is observed by Muslims on the hajj and around the world in commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) for God.
- 18 Dhu al-Hijjah, martyrdom of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan
Islamic Events For Shi'ah
- 01 Dhu al-Hijjah, Nikah (marriage) of Ali and Fatimah – (2 years before Hijra)
- 07 Dhu al-Hijjah, martyrdom of Shī‘ah Imām, Muhammad al-Bāqir ‐ (114 A.H.)
- 08 Dhu al-Hijjah, Husayn ibn ‘Alī began his journey to Karbalā from Mecca
- 09 Dhu al-Hijjah, martyrdom of Muslim ibn ‘Aqīl and Hani ibn Urwah in Kufa. It is also a day of supererogatory fasting. – (60 A.H.)
- 15 Dhu al-Hijjah, birth of Twelver Imām, ‘Alī al-Naqī - (214 A.H.) [Disputed date]
- 18 Dhu al-Hijjah, Shī‘ah Muslims celebrate the event of Ghadir Khumm
- 19 Dhu al-Hijjah, Fatimah went to Ali's house after their marriage
- 23 Dhu al-Hijjah, martyrdom of Meesam Tammar – friend of Ali – (60 A.H.)
- 23 Dhu al-Hijjah, martyrdom of two sons of Muslim ibn ‘Aqīl in Kufa. (60 A.H.)
- 24 Dhu al-Hijjah, event of al-Mubahalah took place. (Eid al-Mubahila)
- 24 Dhu al-Hijjah, some historians mention that the Hadith, Ahl al-Kisa, event was also on the same day prior to Muhammad setting out for Mubahila
- 24 Dhu al-Hijjah, supplication day and giving of alms with the ring by Ali, In reply verse, "Verily your Walee is Allah; and His Messenger and those who establish Salaat, and pay Zakaat while they be in Rukoo. (Maa-Idah: 55)" was revealed
- 25 Dhu al-Hijjah, sura Al-Insan or Hal Ata, or Dahar, which records the giving of alms to orphan's, the destitute and travellers by Fatima Hassan and Hussain was revealed.
- 25 Dhu al-Hijjah, Ali becomes the Caliph of Islam – (35 A.H.)
- Islamic Prayer Times for Makkah
- Islamic-Western Calendar Converter (based on the Arithmetical or Tabular Calendar).
- Hadith on Dhul-Hijjah