Actions for the first eight days of Dhul Hijjah
There are certain recommended acts that are encouraged during the first eight days of Dhul Hijjah, as well as recommended actions for the following few days.
As the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are virtuous days, the reward of doing good in these days is also multiplied.
Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) 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.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.86]
Reading the Qur’an
There is reward for reciting each letter of the Qur’an
Narrated Muhammad bin Ka’b Al-Qurazi: “I heard ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud saying: ‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “(Whoever recites a letter) from Allah’s Book, then he receives the reward from it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say that Alif Lam Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” [A Jami’ al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2910]
Giving charity is extremely beneficial.
O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.) [2:254]
Believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allah’s Way), theirs will be a great reward. [57:7]
Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If one give in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly earned money –and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money –Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain. [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.491]
Fasting is recommended
It is recommended to fast during the first nine days as they are very virtuous days. (The following narration may not be authentic, but the general goodness of this month is sufficient to do this rewardable action of fasting)
Abu Hurayrah relates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer Salatul Tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr].” [A Jami’ al-Tirmidhi Hadith 758]
Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated from his wife on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, Ashura’ and three days of every month, that is, the first Monday (of the month) and Thursday. [Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2431]
Hafsah narrated that there were four things the Prophet (ﷺ) never omitted: fasting on Ashura’, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah and three days every month, and praying two rak’ahs before dawn. [Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2070, Nasa’i transmitted it]
Dhikr and Supplications (Subhaan Allah, Al-hamdu Lillaah, Allahu akbar, La ilaha ill-Allah)
The Prophet (ﷺ) commanded us to recite a lot of tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allah”), tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), takbeer (“Allahu akbar”) and tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allah”) during this time.
Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allah”), Takbeer and Tahmeed.” [Reported by Ahmad, 7.224]
These supplications should be read loudly by men, but quietly by women.
“That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)…” [al-Hajj 22:28]
The majority of scholars agree that the “appointed days” are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because of the words of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father): “The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of Dhu’l-Hijjah).”
Al-Bukhari said, “Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah used to go out in the marketplace during the ten days and say Takbeer, and the people would say takbeer when they said takbeer.’’ [Tafseer ibn Katheer]
It is also a good idea to seek repentance during this time, because of the virtues of this time. Repentance should be made at all good times, but the opportunity to seize upon it now should not be missed. Similar to people making new year’s resolutions, except that the resolution is not just for the sake of a resolution, it is rather for the pleasure of Allah.
Fasting on the day of Arafah: The ninth day
The day of Arafah is specifically singled out as a day for fasting
Fasting on the day of Arafah is specifically singled out as a day that the prophet (ﷺ) used to fast upon. This is only for those people that are not on Hajj.
Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated from his wife on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) who said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, Ashura’ and three days of every month, that is, the first Monday (of the month) and Thursday. [Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2431]
Fasting on the day expiates for sins of the previous and coming year
The reward for fasting on the Day of Arafah is the expiation of sins for the previous year and the year to come.
Abu Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of ‘Ashurah is an expiation for the year preceding it.” [Sahih Muslim Hadith 2602]