In the name of Allah,
All praises be to Allah, All Prayers and Blessings of Allah be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.
Selection is one of Allah's enactments in this universe. Allah (SWT ) selected some prophets, angels, months and days to be better than others. For example, Allah (SWT) selected the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah to be better than any other days. Let us know their virtues and the best righteous deeds we can do during them.
Their virtues mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah
1) Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Qur'an what can be translated as: "And (by) the dawn and (by) the ten nights ." (TMQ , Surat al-Fajr 1-2)
Their virtues mentioned in ahadith
Ibn-Kathir said: "The ten nights are the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah as stated by Ibn-Abbas, Ibn-al-Zubair, Mujahid, and many others scholars, both past and present."
2) Ibn-Abbas reported that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH ) 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 (SAWS) said, "Not even jihad (struggle)?" 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." (Related by al-Bukhari)
3) Jabir reported that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "The best days are the (first) ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah)." (Related by Ibn-Habban and Abu-Ya'la and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albani)
4) Al-Awza'i said, "I have been told that the reward of good deeds on any of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah is equal to that of a battle in Allah's sake during which the person fasts the day and guards during night, unless the person meets martyrdom." (Related by al-Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-Iman and its sanad 'chain of narrators' to al-Awza'i is valid).
5) Abu-al-Duha said, "Masrouq was asked about the dawn and the ten nights and he said that they are the best days of the year." (Related by Abdur-Razzaq in his compiled book)
6) Mujahid said, "No good deeds done on other days of the year are superior to those done on the (first) ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. They are the ten days Allah perfected for prophet Musa (Moses) (AS )." (Related by Abdur-Razzaq in his compiled book)
Second: Recommended Righteous Deeds
There have been many narrations that indicate the worshipping efforts exerted by our predecessors during these days. Said ibn-Jubair "exerted his best efforts in worship once the first ten days Dhul-Hijjah started until he almost could not." He used to advise people not to sleep a lot during these nights and spend them in prayer.
The following are the most important righteous deeds that can be done during these days:
1) Fasting: Hunaydah ibn-Khalid reported from his wife on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (SAWS) who said, "The Prophet of Allah (SAWS) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of `Ashura’ (10th of Muharram) and three days of every month, that is, the first Monday (of the month) and Thursday." (Related by Abu-Dawud and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albani)
Fasting on the Day of `Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah) is particularly important:
Abu-Qatada al-Ansari (RA ) reported that the Prophet of Allah (SAWS) was asked about … fasting on the Day of `Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah), whereupon he said, It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year." (Related by Muslim)
2) Remembrance of Allah:
Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Qur'an what can be translated as: "That they may witness (things) profitable to them and mention the Name of Allah on days well-known.” (TMQ, Surat al-Hajj 28)
Ibn-Abbas said that the "days well-known" are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah while the "prescribed number of days" are the Days of Tashriq (11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah). Ibn-Omar and Abu-Hurairah used to go to the marketplace reciting takbir (saying: "Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]") and people followed their example.
Abu-Hurairah reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said, "The one who is able to offer a sacrifice but he does not should not attend our mosque." (Related by Ibn-Majah and ranked as hadith hasan by al-Albani)
4) `Umrah: (lesser pilgrimage)
In his tafsir (interpretation) book, Ibn-Jarir mentioned that Ibn-Omar said he would like to perform `umrah in Dhul-Hijjah better than in the twenty (that is the last ten days of Ramadhan and the first ten days of Muharram).
5) Du`a' (supplication):
In his book The Two Eids al-Firyabi mentioned that Abu-Musa al-Ash'ari said that the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the "days well-known" mentioned in the Noble Qur'an and supplications are granted during them.
The Prophet (SAWS) said, "The best thing Allah likes is supplication." (Related by at-Tirmithy and ranked as hadith hasan by al-Albany)
One should be certain that he will never be deprived of the goodness of supplication. The Prophet (SAWS) said, "The Muslim whose supplication does not include sin or break of kinship ties shall be granted one of three things: his supplication is granted, kept for him in the hereafter or protects him of bad things the equal of which." The companions then said, "We shall supplicate more and more." "Allah is more," said the Prophet (SAWS). (Related by Ahmad and ranked as hadith hasan sahih by al-Albany)
6) Khatmah (completing of one reading of the whole Qur'an):
The Prophet (SAWS) said, "Whoever reads one letter of Allah's Book shall have a hasana and each hasana has its tenfold. I do not say that Alif, Lam, Mîm is one letter but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter, and Mîm is a letter." (Related by at-Tirmithy and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albany)
Try your best to have at least one khatmah during these ten days. Let the ayahs of the Qur'an heal your heart. Contemplate each ayah, word and letter. Mathematically speaking, if one letter is tenfold in reward and you recite three parts of the Qur'an daily, it is half a million hasana as a daily net profit.
7) Project of a Hundred-Weight of Hasanaat:
Abdullah ibn-Amr ibn-al-'As reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said, "If anyone prays at night reciting regularly ten ayahs, he will not be recorded among the negligent; if anyone prays at night and recites a hundred ayahs, he will be recorded among those who are obedient to Allah; and if anyone prays at night reciting one thousand ayahs, he will be recorded among those who receive huge rewards (literally: muqantreen." (Related by Abu-Dawud and ranked as hadith hasan sahih by al-Albany)
Every night with one thousand ayahs means more kantars in the Paradise. Only reciting the last two parts of the Noble Qur'an shall suffice in this case.
8) Love that takes You into Paradise:
The Prophet (SAWS) said, "There are worshipers of Allah who are not prophets or martyrs but are envied by both prophets and martyrs on the Day of Judgment due to their superior level." The companions asked, "Who are they?" and the Prophet (SAWS) said, "They are the people who love each other for Allah's sake without having kinship ties or mutual interest. By Allah, their faces shall be as light and they shall be in a light. They shall not fear when people fear and they shall not grieve when people grieve." Then the Prophet (SAWS) read this ayah: "Verily, the patrons (Or: the pious worshippers of Allah) of Allah surely will have no fear on them, nor will they grieve." (TMQ, Surat Yunus 62)" (Related by an-Nasa'y ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albany) Adopt the slogan "I love you for Allah's sake". Invite your friends for iftar. Do not forget them while supplicating. Call and tell them you love them for Allah's sake.
9) Maintaining the ties of kinship:
The Prophet (SAWS) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should unite his bond of kinship (i.e. keep good relation with his kith and kin)." (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
If your kith and kin are far away so you cannot visit or if you are so busy, call then and maintain your kinship ties. The Prophet (SAWS) said, "Maintain you kinship times if only by salutation." (Related by Ibn-Habban under trusted narrators and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albani)
10) Visiting the Ill:
The Prophet (SAWS) said, "When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim at dawn, seventy thousand angels keep on praying for him till dusk. If he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels keep on praying for him till the morning; and he will have (his share of) reaped fruits in Jannah (Paradise)." (Related by at-Tirmithy and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albany)
Do not deprive yourself of such reward. If none of your friends or relatives is ill, go and visit any hospital and take a friend with you.
11) Joy Project:
Abdullah Ibn-Omar reported that "a man asked the Prophet (SAWS): "who is the person Allah loves most?" The Prophet (SAWS) said, "The person Allah loves most is the one most beneficial for people and the best of good deeds is to cause joy to a Muslim by relieving him from a problem, paying his debt, or feeding him. I prefer to help a brother in fulfilling his need more than i`tikaf (seclusion for worship) in this Masjid, that is al-Madinah Mosque." (Related by Ibn-Abu-a-Donia and ranked as hadith hasan by al-Albani)
Choose a poor family and pay its debt or give it a part of your money or some food. Your reward shall be great from your Creator.
12) Project of Waiting Prayer at the Mosque: Abdullah ibn-Amr ibn-al-'As said, "One day we prayed Maghrib (sunset) prayer with the Prophet (SAWS). Some left and some remained after the prayer. The Prophet (SAWS) came hurrying and out of breath and said, "Be happy, your Lord has opened one door of the sky and prides you the angels saying, "look at my worshippers, they have completed one faridah (obligatory act) and are waiting for another." (Related by Ibn-Majah and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albani)
13) Learning Session at the Mosque:
Abu-Umamah reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said, "Whoever goes to the mosque just to learn or teach a good thing shall have the reward of one complete and valid hajj." (Related by Ibn-Majah and ranked as hadith hasan sahih by al-Albani)
14) Clearing Repentance:
Abu-Tawil he asked the Prophet (SAWS): "Is there repentance for the person who has committed all types of sins and left nothing?" The Prophet (SAWS) asked him: "Have you embraced Islam?" Abu-Tawil said, "I declare that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." The Prophet (SAWS) said, "If you do good deeds and avoid bad deeds Allah will turn your previous bad deeds into good ones." "Even my major sins and evil-doing?" "Yes," said the Prophet (SAWS). Abu-Tawil kept reciting takbir until he could no longer be seen. (Related by al-Bazzar and at-Tabarani and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albani)
15) Easy Actions, Multiple Rewards:
This can be accomplished through da`wah (calling to Islam and good deeds). You can fast only one day during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah but get the reward of one thousand days by telling people the importance of these days. You can complete one khatmah of the Noble Qur'an but you gain the reward of tens and tens. The more you exert effort in telling others the greater your reward will be.
The Prophet (SAWS) said, "The one who guides to goodness shall have the same reward as the one who does it." (Related by Ibn-Habban and ranked as hadith sahih by al-Albani)
16) Paradise Palaces:
Lady Umm-Habibah (the wife of the Prophet (SAWS)) reported Allah's Prophet (SAWS) as saying: "A house will be built in Paradise, for Muslim who prays in a day and a night twelve rak`ahs (unit of prayer); and she added: "I have never abandoned (observing them) since I heard it from the Prophet of Allah. Some of the other narrators said the same words with some variations.
May Allah guide us and grant us the best in this world and the best in the hereafter
This is culled from www.rasoulallah.net