Amirul Hajj of Lagos State, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, has called on Muslims to take advantage of first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah (the 12th Islamic calendar month) to maximise their rewards through increased good deeds.
The days, he noted, carry special status within the blessed month of pilgrimage, making a reference to an Hadith (saying) of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Hadith spells out the importance of the 10 days in the sight of Allah, with increased reward for all good deeds during the blessed season.
While addressing pilgrims from the state in Makkah, Abdullateef asked them to make the most of the period to pray for themselves, relatives and the entire country.
He made the call at the unveiling of the special arrangement for the movement of pilgrims to Muna, Muzdalifah and Arafah for the Hajj rites.
He said: “Just as the last 10 nights of Ramadan are the best nights of the year, the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah remain the best days of the year. They are the most beloved to Allah as they combine all acts of worship, unlike any other time.”
Abdullateef, who is Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, implored pilgrims and, indeed, all Nigerians to use the period of the blessed period to solicit Allah’s favour for Nigeria.
He said: “According to Prophet Muhammad, Hajj is one of the best deeds that could be performed during these 10 days, especially the Day of Arafah keeps one’s face away from the (Hell) fire for a distance covered by a journey of 70 years.
“Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah for those who are not performing Hajj is an expiation for (the sins of) the previous year and for (the sins of) the coming year.’’
“You (Nigerians) should, therefore, intensify your efforts by praying for the country, the president and those at the helm at all levels of governance.
“After praying, let us work collectively to complement government efforts to ensure sustainable development in the country.”
Quoting Prophet Muhammad, the Amirul Hajj asked those who intend to offer animal sacrifice to refrain from cutting their hairs and nails or removing anything from their skin, within the 10 days till after the sacrifice has been offered.
“Once you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if you want to offer a sacrifice, then you should stop cutting your hairs and nails until after the sacrifice,” he said.
He listed virtuous acts that could be engaged in to include constant chanting of words of exhortations, standing in prayers at night, making sincere repentance, reading the glorious Qur’an and spreading good deeds.
The Amirul Hajj informed pilgrims that the State government had secured tent B plus for the use of pilgrims at Muna during the hajj exercise.
Abdullateef thanked the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his consistent support for the state’s pilgrims.
“We have made arrangements for the provision of beds space within our tent. Securing Tent B plus for pilgrims from Lagos State didn’t come from the blue but as a result of the doggedness of Governor Ambode to ensure that our people perform Hajj rites with ease. May Allah continue to be with him,” the Amirul Hajj said.