*Reminder: Eid al-Adha is expected to be on either the 28th or 29th June 2023! We offer Qurbani in 24 locations from £30 - order now to fulfil your obligation!*
Dhul-Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic lunar year and one of the four sacred months ordained by Allah (swt). This is the month of Hajj, 'Arafah, Eid al-Adha and Udhiya (Qurbani), so it is filled with important events for the whole Ummah!
But there are also several significant historical events which have occurred in Dhul-Hijjah over the last 14 centuries, since the Prophet (saw) first began to carry the message of Islam. In this article, we will cover seven events which took place in Dhul-Hijjah during the lives of the Prophet (saw) and the Sahabah.
We have listed the dates according to the Islamic calendar. In chronological order:
6th year of Prophethood: Hamzah (ra) became a Muslim
It was recorded by Ibn Hisham that, one day, the Prophet (saw) was sitting on the hill of Safa when Abu Jahl passed by and began accusing him, while the Prophet (saw) remained silent, until Abu Jahl picked up a stone and struck the Prophet's head with it so it began to bleed. Abu Jahl then left to sit in the assembly place of the Quraish.
Later, Hamzah bin Abdul-Muttalib (the Prophet's uncle) happened to pass by the same way, on his way back from a hunting expedition, his bow hanging from his shoulder. A female servant who had witnessed the whole incident informed Hamzah (ra) of what had happened and he was so angered that he rushed to the Ka'bah and struck Abu Jahl on the head with his bow, saying, 'You have been abusing Muhammad! I too follow his religion and profess what he preaches!'
Other men came to help Abu Jahl but he sent them away, saying, 'Leave Abu Umarah alone; by Allah, I did shamelessly abuse his nephew'. [Ibn Hisham]
The fact that Abu Jahl backed down before Hamzah (ra) was an indication of how much strength and power Hamzah (ra) would bring to the followers of Islam - his presence alone deterred even Abu Jahl from saying anything.
6th year of Prophethood: Umar (ra) became a Muslim
And subhanAllah, just three days after this Lion of Islam became Muslim, Umar bin Al-Khattab followed suit! He was also a man of courage and determination, feared and respected among the Quraish. He was committed to the existing traditions of Makkah, yet admired the determination of the Muslims and was therefore uncertain about the religion of Islam [The Sealed Nectar]. In fact, Ibn Ishaq reported that Umar (ra) had actually begun to believe in Islam earlier, after hearing the Prophet (saw) reciting Sura Al-Haqqah - yet he persisted in opposing its message.
Then one day, he decided upon killing the Prophet (saw). He was literally walking towards the Prophet's house with his sword in his hand when he was intercepted by a man who questioned him about what he would do if the Prophet's tribe decided to avenge his death and suggested that Umar take care of his own family first. At this point, Umar learned that his own sister and brother-in-law had converted to Islam!
He immediately went to their house and, upon hearing the Qur'an being recited, he lost his temper and began to beat his brother-in-law and even struck his sister Fatimah (ra) when she attempted to stop him. Then she said, 'Yes, we are Muslims, we believe in Allah and His Messenger (saw), so do what you will!'
When Umar heard these words and saw the blood on his sister's face, he stopped and asked her to bring him the Qur'an she had been reciting. His brother-in-law instructed him to make wudu and afterwards, Umar (ra) began to read the page, which contained verses from Surah Ta-Ha. He read until the fourteenth verse and then asked them to tell him where Muhammad (saw) was.
The Prophet (saw) was at this time holding a secret meeting in the house of one of his Sahabah (ra). Umar (ra) headed for that house, still carrying his sword, and knocked on the door. When the Sahabah (ra) saw Umar (ra) through the gap in the door, they turned back in worry, but Hamzah (ra) dispelled their fears and said, 'Let him in'.
When Umar (ra) walked in, the Prophet (saw) came forward and caught him by his garment and scabbard, asking him why he was here. Umar (ra) replied, 'O Messenger of Allah, I come to you in order to believe in Allah and His Messenger and that which he has brought from His Lord (i.e.) the Qur'an'.
Ma sha Allah, the Prophet's and Sahabah's takbeer could be heard at the Ka'bah! [The Sealed Nectar]
Now that Umar (ra) was Muslim, he would insist upon the Muslims praying in Al-Haram Al-Sharif itself, instead of hiding away in secret.
Then he and Hamzah (ra) went out leading two groups of Muslims, in broad daylight, and they prayed near the Ka'bah.
The Prophet (saw) named Umar (ra) 'Al-Faruq' which means 'the one who distinguishes truth from falsehood' - because Umar (ra) refused to allow the people on the Truth to hide from the people of falsehood. [This was narrated in Tarikh Umar bin Al-Khattab, written by Al-Jawzi]
SubhanAllah, he was truly a strength for the Muslims, and in fact, the Prophet (saw) had made du'a for exactly this, supplicating, 'O Allah! Give strength to Islam through either of the two men you love more: with Umar bin Al-Khattab or with Abu Jahl bin Hisham'. [Tirmidhi]
And now, in sacred Dhul-Hijjah, Allah had answered this du'a, bringing Umar (ra) into His religion to join Hamzah (ra).
13th year of Prophethood: The Second Pledge of 'Aqabah took place
During the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th Dhul-Hijjah), a group of people from Yathrib secretly pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (saw), in a pact that is known as the Second Pledge of 'Aqabah. [The Sealed Nectar]
In fact, this was not the first contact between the Prophet (saw) and the people of Yathrib. In the 11th year of Prophethood, six people from Yathrib accepted Islam during the Hajj season, and in the following year, the First Pledge of Aqabah took place during Dhul-Hijjah, in which twelve men from Yathrib affirmed their faith in Allah and His Messenger (saw).
However, the Second Pledge of Aqabah is also known as the Great Pledge of Aqabah, for it was a truly historic night!
Ibn Hisham reported that Kab bin Malik, one of the leaders of the Ansar, said, 'That very night, we slept with our people in our camps. After a third of the night had elapsed, we began to leave quietly and met in a hillock nearby. We were 73 men and two women [and] we gathered in the hillocks waiting for Allah's Messenger, until he came in the company of his uncle Abbas…'
In sacred Dhul-Hijjah, this group of Ansar made a historic pledge: to obey the Prophet (saw) in difficulty and ease, to spend (for Allah) in plenty and in scarcity, to enjoin good and forbid evil, to serve Allah fearing no one's censure and to help the Prophet (saw) when he came to them, protecting him from anything they would protect themselves, their spouses and their children from.
According to Ibn Hisham, while they were making this pledge, one of the Ansar interrupted and said, 'O Messenger of Allah! There are agreements between us and the Jews which we would then sever. If Allah grants you power and victory, should we expect that you would not leave us, and join the ranks of your people (i.e. the Quraish)?' The Prophet (saw) smiled and replied, 'No, it would never be; your blood will be my blood. In life and death, I will be with you and you with me. I will fight who you fight and I will make peace with those whom you make peace with'.
This was thus the beginning of a beautiful and powerful relationship between the Prophet (saw) and the Ansar. In fact, the Prophet (saw) would later describe the Ansar as his 'inner garments' [Bukhari] - i.e. they were that close to him.
Moreover, between the Makkan Muslims and the Ansar, the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood would soon flourish and they would become the epitome of loving each other for the sake of Allah. In just a few months, the Makkan Muslims would become the Muhajirun (Emigrants), and the Ansar would welcome them into their homes in Madinah, sharing with them everything they owned.
Their legacy of helping refugees who were fleeing persecution continues to this day. And it all began in sacred Dhul-Hijjah.
10 AH: The Prophet (saw) gave his Farewell Sermon
The Prophet (saw) performed Hajj only once in his lifetime, not long before he passed away. On this occasion, he gave what is today the most famous Dhul-Hijjah khutbah, filled with beneficial lessons.
It began, 'O people, listen to what I say, for indeed I don't know whether I will ever meet you at this place after this year'.
This Hajj is known as The Farewell Pilgrimage, while the khutbah the Prophet (saw) gave after sunset on the Day of 'Arafah is known as the Farewell Sermon. It is a long speech, but here are a few key quotes:
- 'Your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred as this day, this month and this city'. These words reiterate that the blood of a Muslim holds more value with Allah than even the Ka'bah, highlighting the importance of protecting and saving lives.
- 'Verily, I have left among you the Book of Allah; if you hold fast to it, you shall never go astray'. These words were a powerful reminder to both the Sahabah and ourselves that, even after the loss of our Prophet (saw) and the ceasing of Revelation, Allah has given us a Book which will remain with us until the Last Day, as a guidance and a light.
- 'O people, your Lord is One and your father Adam is one. There is no favour of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness'. In his Farewell Sermon, the Prophet (saw) made sure to emphasise the principles of equality and unity, and that no person is more deserving or favoured than another, because Allah values righteousness (Taqwa) above all.
After finishing his khutbah, the Prophet (saw) asked, 'And you will be asked about me - what are you going to say?' The people replied, 'We bear witness that you conveyed the Message and fulfilled your mission'. Then the Prophet (saw) raised his forefinger skywards and then moved it down towards the people, saying three times, 'O Allah! Bear witness'. [Muslim]
The next day (the day of Eid), the Prophet (saw) gave another khutbah, in which he repeated many points from the day before as well as adding more, concluding by asking Allah to bear witness and commanding the people to convey this khutbah to anyone who wasn't present.
10 AH: The religion of Islam was perfected
This took place straight after the Farewell Sermon on the Day of 'Arafah - but it deserves its own section to emphasise its significance!
On the best night of the year, Laylat al-Qadr in Ramadan, Allah first revealed to us the Qur'an. And on the best day of the year, the Day of 'Arafah in Dhul-Hijjah, Allah perfected our religion of Islam.
As soon as the Farewell Sermon was completed, Allah revealed:
The Prophet (saw) had been conveying the message of Islam for 23 years and now Allah had perfected and completed the religion. SubhanAllah, if it is emotional for us to read this, how moving must it have been for people hearing it from the Prophet (saw) himself!
A Jewish man said to Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra), 'O Commander of the Faithful! There is an ayah in your Book which you recite - if it had come to us the Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival)'.
Umar (ra) said, 'Which ayah?'
He said, 'Today I have perfected for you your religion and completed upon you My blessing and I have chosen for you Islam as [your] religion'.
Umar (ra) replied, 'We surely know that day and the place where it was revealed upon the Prophet (saw). He was standing at ‘Arafat on a Friday'. [Bukhari]
23 AH: Umar (ra) was martyred
Umar (ra) became Muslim in Dhul-Hijjah and, at the age of 63, he also passed away on 26th or 27th Dhul-Hijjah (according to Adh-Dhahabi). He was martyred after being stabbed while leading the Fajr prayer, due to a personal dispute.
The man who stabbed him was a craftsman who used to make grindstones, and he brought Umar (ra) a complaint about his master deducting four dirhams from him every day. Umar (ra) had said to him, 'Fear Allah and be good to your master', and he later spoke to the master to ask him to reduce the amount of money he was taking from him. But the man was not aware of this and was angered, thinking that Umar (ra) was not listening to his complaint and was treating him unjustly. So he waited behind Umar (ra) at Fajr and, after Umar (ra) had said the takbeer to begin the prayer, he stabbed him with a poisoned dagger.
The man then stabbed thirteen other people (seven of whom were martyred), before someone threw a cloak over him; realising he was caught, he killed himself.
Everyone in the front rows had witnessed this incident, but in the other parts of the masjid people were saying 'SubhanAllah', as they could not hear Umar (ra) anymore. Umar (ra) took the hand of Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (ra) and made him lead the prayer and, once they had finished, he said, 'O Ibn Abbas, see who killed me'. The identity of the murderer was then revealed.
Umar (ra) was carried to his home where he later passed away. While he was dying, he selected six of the Sahabah to choose the next ruler: Ali (ra), Uthman (ra), Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (ra), Sad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), Zubair ibn Al-Awwam (ra) and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah (ra). These were all from among the people who had been promised Jannah by Allah.
Umar (ra) gave them three days to choose a ruler and they elected Uthman (ra) within that time.
[All of the above is from the biography of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) by Dr Ali Saballi]
SubhanAllah, right until he passed away, Umar (ra) was devoted to Allah and the Prophet's Ummah. He made sure the Muslims finished praying Fajr before seeing who had stabbed him, and his first concern was who would lead the Muslims and keep them united after he was gone. It was truly a reflection of how he had lived since becoming a Muslim: dedicating his time and wealth to Allah's cause, risking his life, protecting the Muslims and carrying the message of Islam far and wide.
As mentioned earlier, the Prophet (saw) named Umar (ra) 'Al-Faruq', or 'the one who distinguishes truth from falsehood'. He was a man so firmly upon the Truth that Allah's Messenger (saw) said, 'O Ibn Al-Khattab! By Him in Whose Hands is my life, never does Shaitan find you going on a way, except that he takes a way other than yours' [Bukhari]. He was feared by his opponents and he was protective over those he was responsible for, right until the end of his life.
35 AH: Uthman (ra) was martyred
Historians unanimously agree that Uthman (ra) passed away in Dhul-Hijjah in either 35 AH or 36 AH, although the exact date is disputed. Tabari recorded it as 18th Dhul-Hijjah on a Friday morning and the majority view is that he was 82 years old.
He was martyred in his own home, just after praying and reading Qur'an. He was aware that he would be killed that day, as he had seen the Prophet (saw) in his dream and he had said: 'O Uthman, break your fast with us tonight'. Thus, Uthman (ra) fasted the next day and he was martyred that morning. [Bayhaqi]
We will not go into detail about the reasons for the rebellion and the assassination of Uthman (ra), as that is an entire article within itself. Instead, we will recall some of the virtues of Uthman (ra).
Uthman (ra) was one of the earliest followers of the Prophet (saw), becoming Muslim after the da'wah (invitation) of Abu Bakr (ra). He was very close to the Prophet (saw) and would later marry his daughter Ruqayyah (ra). After she passed away, he married another of the Prophet's daughters, Umm Kulthum (ra), and she also passed away a few years later. Uthman (ra) was thus known as Dhun-Noorain (the one with the two lights).
Uthman (ra) was deeply attached to the Qur'an and he was the one who compiled it into the written form which we use today, to ensure that there was a standard format which no one would dispute over. One of his most beautiful sayings was, 'If our hearts were pure, we would never be tired of the speech of Allah' [Hilyat al-Awliya] - and indeed, he passed away while he was reading the Qur'an.
Uthman (ra) was also a highly generous person. He once bought a well from a Jewish person in Madinah and would allow people to collect water from it for free, thus lifting a financial burden off the Muslims.
Another one of his well-known virtues was his modesty or shyness, as the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Modesty (haya) is part of faith and the most modest (person) of my Ummah is Uthman'. [Ibn Asakir]
Along with Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra) who returned to Allah before him, and Ali (ra) who came after him, Uthman (ra) was one of the rightly-guided rulers who succeeded the Prophet (saw). He was also one of the ten people guaranteed Paradise by the Prophet (saw). [Tirmidhi]
The two martyrs were Umar (ra) and Uthman (ra), both of whom passed away in sacred Dhul-Hijjah.
SubhanAllah, the above article covers so many significant events from the lives of the Prophet (saw) and the Sahabah (ra) - all of which happened in sacred Dhul-Hijjah! There is so much inspiration we can gain from this history, from following the legacy of the Ansar by supporting refugees, to supporting Muslims to pray in public like Umar (ra), to learning from the generosity of Uthman (ra) and providing clean water to those in need.
Check out Part Two of this series to see incidents which occurred in Dhul-Hijjah throughout Muslim history, including the theft of the Black Stone and how one man's Hajj catapulted West Africa into being a centre of Islamic learning...
Before you go, here are three things you NEED to do this Dhul-Hijjah:
- Read our article about The Benefits of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah, to learn essential Sunnah tips.
- Automate your donations with The Best 10 Days, so you don't miss giving charity during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
- Order your Qurbani before Eid al-Adha on 28th or 29th June 2023. (We offer Qurbani from £30 in 24 locations, including Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan).
- Visit our Dhul Hijjah contents page, where you can read all our latest resources on Dhul Hijjah and Qurbani.
Muslim Hands is an award-winning charity, established in 1993 to provide emergency relief and tackle the root causes of poverty. We hope this article was useful to you - please share with friends and family, so they can benefit as well!