The famous hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad mentions about the best good deeds is one that really gives us a time to reflect; and why the best good deeds are the ones that are performed in the ten days. Prophet Muhammad said:
“There is no deed more greatly rewarded deed in the sight of Allah than the good deed that is done in the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.”
“Not even striving in the path of God?”
Not even striving in the path of God unless someone goes out with themselves and their wealth and they don’t come back with anything of it. (Al-Bukhari)
Now let’s give some context to this. First of all, for those who are tuning in, jihad doesn’t mean terrorism; this doesn’t mean killing innocent people; this is referring to a noble struggle. The Prophet Muhammad is mentioning here a person that went out and lost everything, meaning they sacrificed their lives, wealth and everything.
Some of the scholars say that this hadith is referring to Mus’ab ibn Umayr who became Muslim; and as he became Muslim, he was persecuted in Makkah.
This was the richest and wealthiest man, the trendsetter of Makkah; a young man that everyone looked to, who had the most expensive smelling scents, who had the most expensive clothes…
And he was persecuted, run out of Makkah, migrated to Madinah with the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, he was the one that introduced Islam to the people of Madinah.
And then Mus’ab was killed in the battle of Uhud and they couldn’t even find enough cloth to cover his entire body.
This man, who literally sacrificed everything, is the manifestation of this.
The Best Good Deeds
What does this mean for us when we’re talking about the ten days of Dhul Hijjah?
Prophet Muhammad said that the good deeds that are done in these ten days are better than not just jihad, but they are the best form of jihad.
In this situation, Prophet Muhammad is saying that the good deeds of these ten days surpass the good deeds done in any other days of the year. So this is another interpretation of the hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is saying:
Any good deed done in these days is better than a good deed done in any other ten days of the year.
And this is similar to the Prophet’s mentioning the superiority of dhikr to jihad in certain context narrations.
In another hadith when Prophet Muhammad was asked what is the best deeds, he mentioned to have faith in Allah; and then he was asked:
Jihad in the cause of Allah.
Then he was asked:
So the Prophet Muhammad is saying that there is a superiority of these good deeds. Any good deed that you do in these ten days would surpass even the best of good deeds even at the best of times.
What you start to see with the companions of Prophet Muhammad is that they took these ten days very, very seriously that they push themselves in ways that they would not typically push ourselves today.
The Way of the Companions
Ramadan kind of creates this feeling where everyone is together, everyone is performing all types of things together, but in these ten days, you typically don’t see people exerting themselves the way that they would in Ramadan because there isn’t a community exertion.
However, you find from the companions, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, says that Ibn Abbas who narrates the hadith… that he used to disappear in these ten days; he was so busy with his good deeds in these ten days that no one could reach him in these ten days.
It is really beautiful that he’s the one who narrates the hadith from Prophet Muhammad about the virtues of these ten days and that he was the person that you couldn’t reach in these ten days because of how he would busy himself!
Why Are they So Special?
The question is, why? What makes these ten days so special? What makes good deeds in these ten days so special?
Scholars mentioned a few reasons. One of them is that Allah completed the religion in these ten days, where Allah says:
Today I have perfected your religion for you; and I have completed my favor upon you and chosen Islam for you as your religion. (5:3)
Because Allah perfected the religion within these ten days that in and of itself, signifies its virtue.
Ibn Hajar also said that:
“All of the good deeds are combined in these ten days in a way that they are not in any other time.”
In all of the five pillars of Islam, you have an element within these ten days: you have hajj, shahadah, the prayer obviously, fasting, charity…
So, all the good deeds have the manifestation within these ten days and you can’t find that in any other ten days of the year.
2 Things to Do
So what do we take from this in these ten days?
Imam Hassan Al Basri was asked:
“What is the best things that we can do in these ten days?”
“The first thing, don’t lose your obligations.”
Because these ten days celebrate the obligations of the pillars of Islam, so don’t lose your obligations.
And the second thing is increasing your good deeds because the good deeds that are done in these ten days are unlike the good deeds done at any other time.
We ask Allah to fulfill our obligations, avoid those forms of disobedience and to increase those good deeds.