I would like to fast during the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah inshaAllah. However, I have still not made up all of my missed fasts from Ramadan (I missed ten days due to menstruation and illness). If I fast inshaAllah for the next ten days, should my niyyah be for Dhul-hijjah, for Ramadan or is it possible for it to be for both? In other words, Would I still receive the extra blessings from fasting the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah even though I am making up fasting for Ramadan? Or would it be better to fast these next ten days with only the niyyah of fasting for Dhul-hijjah and then later make up my fasts from Ramadan separately or is it preferable to finish making up the fasts from Ramadan first since that is fard?
Jazak Allah Kheir!
Mixing two or more intentions for voluntary worship is permissible (such as niyyah of tahiyyah of the mosque with Duha) but voluntary worship does not compare to obligatory worship in meritoriousness. Allah Most High said: “Nothing is more lovely to me than for My servant to approach me through what I have made obligatory for him/her” (Sahih al-Bukhari).
Therefore the first thing that takes precedence over everything else once we are able, is the make up of obligatory worship, in your case the missed fast of Ramadan. Once that is cleared then we can do everything else but until it is cleared the rest is suspended. It is important therefore to single out the intention (niyyah) in order for that supreme worship to be perfect, complete and beautiful in its own right the way it deserves. No doubt, the Divine generosity is such that you would still receive the extra blessings of the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, especially the ninth, if the makeup fast is performed at that time. And Allah Most High knows best.
Hajj Gibril Haddad