We are currently in the virtuous first ten days of Dhūl-Ḥijjah regarding which, the Prophet ﷺ said, as recorded in various collections such as al-Bukhārī’s Ṣaḥīḥ (969) and al-Tirmidhī’s Sunan (757) on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās, may Allāh be pleased with them both who said;
“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allāh than these ten days.” They said, “O Messenger of Allāh! Not even jihād in the path of Allāh?” The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “Not even jihād in the path of Allāh, except a man who goes out with his soul and wealth and does not return with anything.””
The above wording is that of al-Tirmidhī.
Not only are the good deeds of these ten days loved by Allāh the most, these ten days are the best ten days of this world! This is substantiated by a ḥadīth indexed by Imām al-Suyūṭī (d. 911) in his al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaghīr which Sh. al-Albānī (d. 1421) authenticated in his critical edition entitled Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaghīr. Jābir b. ʿAbd Allāh, may Allāh be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “The best days of this world are the Ten Days.”
All praise is truly due to Allāh the Most Kind and Generous for allowing us to experience these beautiful days.
As these Ten Days are the best days of this earthly existence and good deeds are more precious and loved by Allāh than in any other days, the Righteous Salaf of this Ummah strongly recommended us to engage abundantly and exhaustively in every type of righteous deed possible.
One of those virtuous deeds is fasting. As you might be aware, fasting on the Day of ʿArafah is especially rewarding as we learn from a ḥadīth recorded by Imām Aḥmad (d. 241) in his Musnad (21492) and others in which the Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting on the Day of ʿArafah and he said, “Allāh expiates, through it, the year before it and the year after it.”
This year, 1440/2019, the Day of ʿArafah falls on Saturday, 10th August 2019. Some people, who normally fast virtuous days such as this one, will not be fasting on Saturday because of a ḥadīth in which the Prophet ﷺ said, “Do not fast on Saturdays except for what is obligatory upon you; even if one of you does not find anything except for the skin of a grape or the bark of a tree, then let him chew it.”
Sh. al-Albānī, was famously of the view, which was also held by some of the Salaf, that based on this ḥadīth, it is impermissible to fast a voluntary fast on a Saturday. I wrote an essay many years ago which discusses this issue from a number of perspectives of Islamic sciences. See here: The Ruling on Supererogatory Fasting on Saturdays
I ask Allāh the Mighty and Exalted to bless us all with the performance of an abundance of righteous deeds for His sake alone in these amazing Ten Days. I pray that He accepts our deeds and makes them weigh heavily in our favour on the Day of Judgement.