Bismillah wa-salaatu wa-salaamu 'ala Rasulullah wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi ajmaeen
As-salaamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!
Inna alhamdulillah! Indeed Allah is praised whether we praise Him or not. Yet humbly we praise Him. We seek His aid; we seek His forgiveness and we seek refuge with Him from the evil within ourselves and from the consequences of our deeds. Whomever Allah guides, none can misguide; and whomever Allah misguides, none can guide. I bare witness before all that there is no god, no diety, no object, no personality, no entity worthy of worship except Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And I bare witness before all that the slave and final Messenger of Allah; the best of men, the most pious of men; the best example, influence, model, methodology and pattern for humanity to follow; the one whom Allah sent as a Mercy to the whole of creation (rahmatul lil 'alameen) is none other than Muhammad ibn Abdullah salallahu 'alayhi wa alihi wa salaam. Amma ba'd.
Brothers and sisters in Islam, as Believers, we are most privilaged and honored by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to have upon us the first 10 days of the sacred month of Dhul Hijjah. As we should know, not all days are created equal. Allah has preferred some days over others and He, azza wa jall, has decreed some days be superior over other days. And it is these 10 days that Allah ultimately preferred and declared for them superiority over all other days. Therefore, the good deeds, amilu salih, are of a worth and value far greater in the Sight of Allah than when the same deeds are performed on any other day of the year.
And so it is strongly preferred that we increase in our good deeds during these 10 days; observing the naf'l (voluntary acts), maintaining an ahklaq, -a behavior and conduct, a control over ourselves, our tounges and our anger- that is complimentary, representative or in accordance to the Sunnah of ar-Rasulullah salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam so that we might be purified, forgiven and compensated in a way Allah, ar-Rahman, never so does during any other day outside these first 10.
Ibn Abbas radiallahu 'anhu narrated that our beloved Rasul salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam said of these 10 days: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." It was asked: "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?" He salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam replied: "No, not even Jihad fisabillah, except for the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause -and returned with nothing."
Allah azza wa jall magnified the hasanat for the acts of simply pronouncing tasbih (subhan'Allah), takbir (Allahu Akbar), tahleel (la ilaha ill Allah) and tahmeed (alhamdulillah). Abdullah ibn Umar radiallahu 'anhu reported that Muhammad salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam said: "There are no days greater in the Sight of Allah and in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during them recite much of tahleel, takbir and tahmeed."
Additionally, I doubt there is a more suitable time than on these blessed 10 days to observe az-zuhd and/or al-wara'. What could make us to understand these terms? Zuhd can be considered abstinence from worldly pleasures which distract one from Allah and their Akhirah. Wara' is to avoid certain parts of the halal which you fear may lead you to engage in something haram. Nothing to me describes and clarifies so concisely these terms than the explanation given by Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah rahimullah who said: "Az-Zuhd entails abandoning what does not bring about benefit in the Hereafter. Al-Wara', abandoning a part of the permissible for fear of falling into the impermissible, entails abandoning what you fear of its consequences in the Hereafter." So let us, in'sha'Allahu ta'ala, practice az-zuhd on these passing superior days so we might have the dunya removed from our hearts and placed into our hands where it belongs.
Glory to these days Allah has exalted. Let us honor our Lord and ourselves by honoring these days through the prescribed acts in hopes of attaining honor and Mercy from our Rabb. Let's take special care on the 9th day, the anniversary of which Allah completed His revelation, al-Qur'an, on His Messenger salallahu 'alayhi wa alihi wa salaam. Allah sent down what means:
"This day have I perfected for you your deen (i.e. system or way of life, religion, etc.), completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your deen." -Surah al-Ma'idah ayah 5
After which no wahy of the Qur'an proceeded. The 9th day, Yawm-ul-Arafah, if fasted upon will expiate for the sins of two years. Allahu Akbar!
Glad tidings to those who are embarking Hajj and intend to sacrafice bismillah. May Allah accept from you all, bless you all and your families and increase you always in the good and grant you Jannah al-Firdows. Ameen.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
La ilaha ill Allah, wallahu Akbar wa lillahi hamd!