Finding YOURSELF as a Mother

You hear it all the time- mothers expressing that they don’t know who they are anymore after having children- and it makes total sense to feel this way. However, remember that it doesn’t have to be this way forever.

Here are a few suggestions to help you find yourself after becoming a mother:

Change Your Thinking

The way we think impacts how we feel, that’s why it is key to keep in mind that raising children does not mean our life has come to an end; rather your life has changed- and that’s okay!

It’s easy to slip into the mindset that children will prevent you from living life to your fullest, that you won’t be as social as you once were, traveling will be harder, or that you don’t have time for self care anymore; however, don’t lose sight of what you are gaining.

Children will bring joy into your life, you’ll get to see them reach important milestones, grow into kind adults- all of which will give you a fulfillment you will get otherwise.  

Finding Peace In Prayer

It’s beautiful how a time of chaos (i.e amidst kids crying and throwing tantrums) can be combated by a few moments of peace through prayer! When you’re stressed, praying will give you that break your mind and body so desire.

No longer will your mind be stressed, instead it will be focused on Allah subhanu wa taala and you will find yourself doing back to finding the true meaning of this life- pleasing Allah.

How wonderful is it that, during five times a day, your mind and soul is in a state of peace and content via prayer?

Do What You LOVE

You may feel tired and exhausted as a mother, but don’t forget to go back to the things you once loved to do, even if it’s just for half an hour a day or once a week.

If you love reading, treat yourself to a new book; if you love to just be with friends, then schedule a coffee date with them whenever you can. It really is the simple things that will allow you to feel like your old self again!

Find Alternatives

Often times, we may want to do something, but then think, “wait a minute, how can I do this as a mother with children?” The solution is to find alternatives!

For example, if you love to travel, then know that you still can, but it would be best to look for child friendly resorts that can accommodate your children’s needs. If you are missing going to events, then look for events that have on-site babysitting options available. If you feel lonely and want to interact with more adults, but find it difficult to go anywhere with your children, then you may want to consider going to places like an indoor playground, that will keep your children busy while you chat with the other mom’s.

Do Things Together

More so than not, mothers may feel that they are not meeting their personal goals, compared to as they once were prior to having children. But what about achieving your personal goals with your family? This a great way to not only get things done, but to also feel good about yourself.

For instance, if your goal is to workout and eat healthy, then put on a fitness DVD and exercise with your children at home- I have tried this and it’s an excellent way to spend time with your children, plus they are burning off their energy and you are burning calories 😉 Also, get your children involved in cooking healthy foods, like whole wheat pizza where they get to select their own toppings!

I pray that these tips will be of some use for mothers who are struggling to find themselves after having children! I personally know of the struggles we face as parents, but taking note of the blessings that come with parenthood- that is a huge blessing in itself!

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What’s Happening to my Dua?

hear to us. He is waiting for us to ask Him so that He can fulfill it for us. But, are we worthy of His favor? Have we surrounded ourselves and our lives with activities that push us away from this Mercy of Allah? The answer is a resounding yes, at least for most of us. Let’s see why:

  1. Haraam Income:

The Messenger of Allah SAWSmentioned a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty, and who spreads out his hands to the sky saying, “O Lord! O Lord!” while his food is haram, his drink is haram, his clothing is haram, and he has been nourished with haram, so how can [his supplication] be answered? 1

If every single penny we earn is from haraamsources or is based on interest, how can we expect AllahSWT to accept our dua’?

AllahSWTforbade us from riba, yet we consume it as if nothing is wrong! Allah SWT says that He and His MessengerSAWSwill be at war with those who eat riba on the Day of Judgement, 2 but even this does not deter us from giving it up!

How sad is our state that we cannot give up something so small just for the pleasure of Allah SWT, but we expect AllahSWTto forgive every sin that we commit and answer our dua’. Selfish we are! 

How sad is our state that we cannot give up something so small just for the pleasure of Allah, but we expect Allah to forgive every sin that we commit and answer our dua’. Selfish we are!2

  1. Heedlessness in dua’:

Eyes closed, hands raised, lips in motion, words tumbling out of our mouth in a hurry, yet our mind and heart is in a different world. Our thoughts and the words that are racing through our tongue do not match. If this is the level of ‘seriousness’ we employ to ask Allah SWT to fulfill our wishes, I believe the outcome is not a surprise!

  1. Zina:

Some of us ask Allah SWT to accept our dua’while committing the most heinous of sins. Sins that we are very careful to commit in secret. Yet, we forget that our Lord is watching us when we are at it! So strict is the command about zina, that Allah SWT instructs us not to even approach it, let alone fall into it. 3  And when the zaani 4has committed this shameful act, he turns to Allah SWT with this heavy pile of evil deeds asking for His bounties! SubhanAllah! Doesn’t his face drop in shame before lifting it to face Allah SWT?5

  1. All Sinful Deeds:

Backbiting, gossiping, lying, cheating, causing distress to others and so on are actions that are forbidden by Allah SWT. But we expect Him SWTto answer our prayers while we continue to disobey Him!

What audacity do we have to stand before our Lord and ask Him SWTfor His bounties when we are doing exactly the opposite of what He has instructed us!

But There Is Hope……

There is another side to the question that we began with. Those who are obedient to Allah SWT, who are sincere in their actions, who abstain from sins fearing the punishment of Allah SWTand who do good seeking the pleasure of their Lord do not despair if your dua’ is not answered!

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, ‘When is the help of Allah?’ Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:214)

(26Oct)Blog Post-Inside poster-duaThis is just a test. And no one in his right state of mind would want to fail this test as the rewards are humungous! If the Messenger of Allah SAWS, the one who AllahSWT has Himself consoled in the Qur’an 6 is being tested, where do we stand O Muslims? Do not give up, for our Lord is with us.Let the tears of sincerity flow; make dua’ with utmost trust in Allah SWT. Know that He will never let you down!1

Prophet MuhammedSAWSsaid, “When Allah loves a servant, He tests him,”7

Also, in a hadith qudsi, AllahSWTtells Jibreel to delay the response to the dua’ of a servant because AllahSWT loves hearing his voice!2 8

Remember, our dua’s do not go waste. Scholars have pointed out that when Muslims make dua’, it is heard and accepted but this acceptance, however, can be in a number of different ways.

Either Allah will respond and fulfill the desire of the person who made the dua’, or He will ward off some evil from him because of the dua’, or He will make something good easy for him to attain because of it, or He will save it with Him for him on the Day of Resurrection when he will be most in need of it.” 9

Ask, Even If It Were For A Broken Shoe Lace….1.

Ibn Rajab rahimullah said:

…..Allah likes His slaves to ask Him for everything that is in their spiritual and worldly interests such as food, drink, clothing etc, and to ask Him for guidance and forgiveness. In the hadeeth Thabit Al-Bunani narrated that the Messenger of Allah SAWS said:“Let one of you ask his Lord for his every need, until he asks Him for salt, and asks Him for the strap of his sandal when it breaks.” 10 it says: “Let one of you ask his Lord for everything that he needs, even a lace for his shoe if it breaks.” Some of the salaf used to ask Allah in their prayers for everything, even salt for their dough and food for their sheep. In al-Israa’eeliyyaat it is narrated that Moosa alayhisalaam said: O Lord, I have some worldly needs but I feel too shy to ask You. He said: Ask Me even for the salt for your dough and food for your donkey.

Whatever a person needs, if he asks Allah for it, then he has demonstrated his need of Him, and that is something that Allah loves. Some of the salaf would feel too shy to ask Allah for their worldly needs, but following the Sunnah is better. 11

Brothers and sister in Islam, ask AllahSWT! The ProphetSAWShas told us:

Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty.212

As for those of you who have drowned in the glitter of this worldly life and have strayed far away from the commands of Allah SWT, repent to the Merciful and seek His Forgiveness. Maketawbah and turn to Allah SWT in sincere repentance.

Don’t you want to taste the sweetness of Allah’s miracles in your life too?

Have you experienced the miracles of dua in your life? What advice would you like to give to others reading this article? Please share your views in the comments section below. :)

References:

  1.   Muslim ↩
  2.  Surah al Baqarah, 2:278-279 ↩
  3.   Surah al ‘Isra, 17:32 ↩
  4.   A male fornicator; zaaniya(f) ↩
  5.   Applies to both male and female ↩
  6.  Surah ash-Sharh, 94: 1-8 ↩
  7.   Tirmidhi ↩
  8.   Tabrani ↩
  9.   Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, islamqa.info↩
  10.   Hasan (Darussalam): Jami` at-Tirmidhi; Book 48, Hadith 244 ↩
  11.   Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (1/225): http://islamqa.info/en/98196 ↩
  12.   Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi ↩

Showing Kindness to non-Muslims in an Era of Islamophobia

How do we deal with Islamophobia in this day and age? Let’s read this article to find out.

Prophet Muhammad SAWS said: “All creatures are like a family (dependents) of God: and He loves most those who are kindest to his family.” [1.  Narrated by Anas. Mishkat al-Masabih,3:1392; quoted from Bukhari]

The above hadith teaches Muslims to be kind to non-Muslims because they are Allah’s creation.

The Quran reminds us to be kind to non-Muslims as long as they do not harm us:

Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you due to (your) religion, and have not driven you from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.” (Quran, 60:8)

Learn from each other

The Quran teaches that AllahSWT created different groups of people so that they can learn about one another:

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another…”(Quran 49:13)

Terrorism has no place in Islam

Terrorism is totally against the teachings of Islam. To kill an innocent person is like killing all of humanity:

…If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or for corruption (done) in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind… (Quran, 5:32)

Self defense

Quran teaches that fighting is only done in self-defence and must stop if the enemy desires peace:

“Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits.” (Quran 2:190)

…But if they cease, then let there be no hostility except against those who practice oppression.” (Quran 2:193)

“But if the enemy inclines towards peace, you (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah… Even if they intend to deceive you, remember that God is sufficient for you…” (Quran 8:61-62)

If fighting must occur for self defense, prisoners of war should be treated with kindness.

About captives of war, the Prophet said, “They are your brothers! Offer them what you eat and drink!” 1

After the Battle of Badr, prisoners of war were brought. Among them was al-Abbas. He did not have a shirt on, so the Prophet looked for a shirt for him. It turned out that a shirt of Abdullah bin Ubayy was the right size, so the Prophet gave it to al-Abbas to wear and compensated Abdullah with his own shirt. [3.  Bukhari]

Free will

The Quran states that all people have the right to choose their religion and that it is God’s will that people have different religions.

Islamic Scholar Muhammad Abdel Haleem writes: “Nowhere in the Quran is changing people’s religion given as a cause for waging war. The Qur’an gives a clear instruction that there is no compulsion in religion (Quran 2:256). It states that people will remain different (Quran 11:118), they will always have different religions and ways and this is an unalterable fact (Quran 5:48) – God tells the Prophet that most people will not believe “even if you are eager that they should” (Quran 12:103).” 2

Islamophobia

Islamophobia is prejudice and discrimination towards Muslims due to their religion. The above hadith encourages kindness as a means to please God. Therefore, kindness is the primary solution for Islamophobia. The Quran states:

“Good and Evil deeds are not alike. Repel evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend.” (Quran 41:34)

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid reminds us how the Prophet SAWS responded to ill treatment:

“Remember the Prophet. The Prophet was subject to horrible insults and hate crimes in his lifetime. He remained steadfast, patient and tolerant in the face of this Islamophobia. We must model this same behavior.” 3

Imam Mujahid recommends kindness to neighbors as a solution:

Instead of a term of distance like “Non-Muslims” use a term of relationship like “neighbors” when referring to our neighbors. The Prophet said, “Jibril kept recommending treating neighbors with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance to the neighbors.” (Bukhari and Muslim). Given this level of familiarity and closeness we should have with our neighbors, it is amazing the way we keep ignoring them, especially in neighborhoods with large, vibrant mosques and Islamic centers.” 4

Over to you. Please share with us in the comments section on ways to tackle Islamophobia.

  1.  Muslim ↩
  2.  http://www.islamicity.org/4270/war-and-peace-in-the-quran/ ↩
  3.  http://www.soundvision.com/article/14-ways-you-can-fight-islamophobia ↩
  4.  http://www.soundvision.com/article/five-values-to-remember-in-the-fight-against-islamophobia ↩

Are There Two prophet Muhammad ?

“Hassan your food is getting cold”, Habeebah called, as her six year old son was glued to his Quran She snatched the Quran from him angrily. 
“I’ve told you I’m late for work!” What are you looking for? For the past week you’ve been inseparable from this Quran,”Habeebah said as she helped her son to adjust his school uniform.
“Mom, I can’t seem to find my answer , perhaps you can help me.” Hassan said. 

“Okay but eat first and we can talk in the car.” she replied. 
On the way to school he asked “Mum, may I ask my question now? ”

“Of course “,Habeebah replied. 

“Mum, are there two Muhammad ?”
“What did you say?”

“Are there two Muhammad ?”, he repeated.

“Who taught you this heresy?”, Habeebah asked angrily. Hassan knew his mum’s temper and started shaking. 
“Our new teacher taught us that… ” Habeebah interrupted

“So, your new teacher has been feeding you this nonsense!, Hassan said, “No he said…..” “Shut up!!” Habeebah  interjected” 
“I will go and see him myself! I’d rather go to work late than allow this heresy to continue.”
When they got to the school, Habeebah walked straight to the headteacher’s office and demanded that the teacher be sacked because the teacher was leading the children astray with heresies so the teacher was summoned to the office but he denied ever telling the children that there were two Prophet Muhammad 
So Hassan now in tears, was summoned and asked:
“Why do you think there are two Prophet Muhammad ”

 Still crying he said: 
“Our teacher told us that Prophet Muhammad is our leader and his followers behave exactly like him. He said Prophet Muhammad does not steal, lie, fight or stay away from salat or prayers and his followers are the same.”

“Okay, that’s true but that is not enough reason for you to believe that there are two prophet Muhammad  “, the headmistress said, wiping Hassan’s face. Hassan continued: 
“My mum says she is a Muslim ,she keeps singing: “I am a muslim and Islam is my choice”but mum still fights. I saw her take daddy’s money last month and when daddy asked her, she lied about it. Also we have not been to mosque  nor prayed for about five months. Just this morning, she fought with daddy and was very rude to him so I’ve been thinking that Mummy’s Muhammad is a different  Muhammad from my teacher’s Muhammad; that’s why I kept searching my Quran to see if I would find my mummy’s Muhammad  in there…….
By this time, Habeebah was in tears and both the headmistress and Hassan’s  teacher were looking down in embarrassment!
Abeebah was so ashamed that she could not look into her son’s eyes…….. 
Does your character and behaviour make people question whether you serve a different Allah
Are You an example of Prophet Muhammad ; SAW)

Think about this!
Have a great day

VIRTUES OF THE FIRST 10 DAYS OF DHUL HIJJAH

Praise be to Allah Who has created Time and has made some times better than others, some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, prepare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the Day of Judgement.

This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct one’s faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that one might have missed. Every one of these special occasions involves some kind of worship through which the slaves may draw closer to Allah, and some kind of blessing through which Allah bestows His favour and mercy upon whomsoever He will. The happy person is the one who makes the most of these special months, days and hours and draws nearer to his Lord during these times through acts of worship; he will most likely be touched by the blessing of Allah and will feel the joy of knowing that he is safe from the flames of Hell. (Ibn Rajab, al-Lataa’if, p.8)
The Muslim must understand the value of his life, increase his worship of Allah and persist in doing good deeds until the moment of death. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty.”[al-Hijr 15:99] The mufassireen (commentators) said: “‘The certainty’ means death.”
Among the special seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which Allah has preferred over all the other days of the year. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for therefore cause, and came back with nothing.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allah, nor greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of Sacrifice.” He was asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Reported by al-Daarimi, 1/357; its isnaad is hasan as stated in al-Irwaa’, 3/398).
These texts and others indicate that these ten days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadaan. But the last ten nights of Ramadaan are better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr (“the Night of Power”), which is better than a thousand months. Thus the various reports may be reconciled. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/412).
You should know, my brother in Islaam, that the virtue of these ten days is based on many things:
Allah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: “This is the correct opinion.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) testified that these are the best days of this world, as we have already quoted above from saheeh ahaadeeth.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this season for people throughout the world, and also because of the virtue of the place – for the Hujjaaj (pilgrims) to the Sacred House of Allah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allaah”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”) and Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”) during this time. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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-Allaah”), Takbeer and Tahmeed.” (Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that it is saheeh).
These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on which Allah perfected His Religion. Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years. These days also include Yawm al-Nahar (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.

These ten days include the days of sacrifice and of Hajj.
What must the Muslim avoid during these ten days if he wants to offer a sacrifice?
The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” According to another report he said: “He should not remove (literally, touch) anything from his hair or skin.” (reported by Muslim with four isnaads, 13/146)
The Prophet’s instruction here makes one thing obligatory and his prohibition makes another haraam, according to the soundest opinion, because these commands and prohibitions are unconditional and unavoidable. However, if a person does any of these things deliberately, he must seek Allah’s forgiveness but is not required to offer (an extra) sacrifice in expiation; his sacrifice will be acceptable. Whoever needs to remove some hair, nails, etc. because it is harming him, such as having a broken nail or a wound in a site where there is hair, should do so, and there is nothing wrong with that. The state of ihraam is so important that it is permitted to cut one’s hair if leaving it will cause harm. There is nothing wrong with men or women washing their heads during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) only forbade cutting the hair, not washing it.
The wisdom behind this prohibition of the one who wants to offer a sacrifice from cutting his hair etc., is so that he may resemble those in ihraam in some aspects of the rituals performed, and so that he may draw closer to Allah by offering the sacrifice. So he leaves his hair and nails alone until the time when he has offered his sacrifice, in the hope that Allah will save him in his entirety from the Fire. And Allah knows best.
If a person has cut his hair or nails during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah because he was not planning to offer a sacrifice, then he decides later, during the ten days, to offer a sacrifice, then he must refrain from cutting his hair and nails from the moment he makes this decision.
Some women may delegate their brothers or sons to make the sacrifice on their behalf, then cut their hair during these ten days. This is not correct, because the ruling applies to the one who is offering the sacrifice, whether or not he (or she) delegates someone else to carry out the actual deed. The prohibition does not apply to the person delegated, only to the person who is making the sacrifice, as is indicated in the hadeeth. The person who is sacrificing on behalf of someone else, for whatever reason, does not have to adhere to this prohibition.
This prohibition appears to apply only to the one who is offering the sacrifice, not to his wife and children, unless any of them is offering a sacrifice in his or her own right, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to sacrifice “on behalf of the family of Muhammad,” but there are no reports that say he forbade them to cut their hair or nails at that time.
If a person was planning to offer a sacrifice, then he decides to go and perform Hajj, he should not cut his hair or nails if he wants to enter ihraam, because the Sunnah is only to cut hair and nails when necessary. But if he is performing Tamattu’ [whereby he performs ‘Umrah, comes out of ihraam and enters ihraam anew for Hajj], he should trim his hair at the end of his ‘Umrah because this is part of the ritual.
The things that are described above as being prohibited for the person who is planning to offer a sacrifice are reported in the hadeeth quoted above; the person is not forbidden to wear perfume, have marital relations, wear sewn garments, etc.
Concerning the types of worship to be performed during these ten days:
One must understand that these days are a great blessing from Allah to His slave, which is appreciated properly by the actively righteous. It is the Muslim’s duty to appreciate this blessing and make the most of the opportunity, by devoting these ten days to paying more attention to striving hard in worship. Among His blessings to His slaves, Allaah has given us many ways in which to do good and worship Him, so that the Muslim may be constantly active and consistent in his worship of his Lord.
Among the good deeds which the Muslim should strive to do during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are:
Fasting: It is Sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) urged us to do good deeds during this time, and fasting is one of the best of deeds. Allah has chosen fasting for Himself, as is stated in the hadeeth qudsi: “Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1805).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khaalid from his wife, that one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashoora’, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 4/205 and by Abu Dawood; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2/462.
Takbeer. It is Sunnah to say Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allaah”) and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allaah”) during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted.
Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“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).”
The Takbeer may include the words “Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allaah; wa Allaahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise),” as well as other phrases.
Takbeerat this time is an aspect of the Sunnah that has been forgotten, especially during the early part of this period, so much so that one hardly ever hears Takbeer, except from a few people. This Takbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evidence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. The idea behind reminding the people to recite Takbeer is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Sharee’ah for doing this.
Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 7/443; this is a hasan hadeeth because of corroborating asaaneed).
Performing Hajj and ‘Umrah. One of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the Sacred House of Allah. The one whom Allah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”

Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allah and will bring a great reward from Him.
Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, making supplication (du’aa’), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.
Sacrifice. One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the sake of Allah. (more information to follow, in sha Allah).
Sincere repentance. One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing what Allah loves.
If a Muslim commits a sin, he must hasten to repent at once, without delay, firstly because he does not know when he will die, and secondly because one evil deed leads to another.
Repentance at special times is very important because in most cases people’s thoughts turn towards worship at these times, and they are keen to do good, which leads to them recognizing their sins and feeling regret for the past. Repentance is obligatory at all times, but when the Muslim combines sincere repentance with good deeds during the days of most virtue, this is a sign of success, in sha Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful. [al-Qasas 28:67]
The Muslim should make sure that he does not miss any of these important occasion, because time is passing quickly. Let him prepare himself by doing good deeds which will bring him reward when he is most in need of it, for no matter how much reward he earns, he will find it is less than he needs; the time of departure is at hand, the journey is frightening, delusions are widespread, and the road is long, but Allah is ever watchful, and to Him will we return and render account. As the Qur’aan says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it,
And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.”
[al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]
There is much to be gained, so make the most of the opportunity afforded by these invaluable and irreplaceable ten days. Hasten to do good works, before death strikes, before one can regret one’s negligence and failure to act, before one is asked to return to a place where no prayers will be answered, before death intervenes between the hopeful one and the things he hopes for, before you are trapped with your deeds in the grave.
O you whose hard heart is as dark as the night, is it not time that your heart was filled with light and became soft? Expose yourself to the gentle breeze of your Lord’s mercy during these ten days, for Allah will cause this breeze to touch whomever He wills, and whoever is touched by it will be happy on the Day of Judgement. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his Family and Companions.

Culled from http://www.islamqa.info