Rajab – The sacred month of Allah

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By Mawlana Muhammad Rayhan | Rajab 1438 – March 2017

Allah the Al-Mighty has blessed us with another sacred month, Rajab. The Prophet (May Allah bless him) taught us a dua for blessings in this month. The pious of the Ummah used to see Rajab as a training ground for the greatest month – Ramadhan. In this article the month of Rajab has been discussed in much detail to prepare the readers for spending the month appropriately.

The 4 Sacred Months

Allah, the Al-Mighty said,

إنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّہُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثۡنَا عَشَرَ شَہۡرً۬ا فِى ڪِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوۡمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ مِنۡہَآ أَرۡبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ۬‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ‌ۚ فَلَا تَظۡلِمُواْ فِيہِنَّ أَنفُسَڪُمۡ‌ۚ )

Surely, the number of months according to Allah is twelve (as written) in the Book of Allah on the day He created the heavens and the Earth, of which there are Four Sacred Months. That is the right faith. So, do not wrong yourself therein…. (At-Tawbah 9:36)

عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ الزَّمَانُ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ، السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا، مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثَةٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ، وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ ‏”‏‏.‏

The Prophet (May Allah’s Peace be upon him) said,

The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha’ban. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Explanation

Allah created some months more sacred than others. The meaning of sacred is that it is forbidden to sin within these months. Although the prohibition of sinning is ongoing and general however in the sacred months it is more severe. Initially, warfare in this month was completely forbidden but later it was permitted. Hence there are records of the companions engaging in military action during these months after the demise of the Prophet (May Allah bless him).

Rajab of Mudar tribe

  • The tribe Mudar paid special respect to this month hence it is attributed to them.

Fasting In Rajab

عَنْ أَبِي مُجِيبَةَ الْبَاهِلِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَوْ عَنْ عَمِّهِ، قَالَ أَتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فَقُلْتُ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ أَنَا الرَّجُلُ الَّذِي أَتَيْتُكَ عَامَ الأَوَّلِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَمَا لِي أَرَى جِسْمَكَ نَاحِلاً ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا أَكَلْتُ طَعَامًا بِالنَّهَارِ مَا أَكَلْتُهُ إِلاَّ بِاللَّيْلِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ مَنْ أَمَرَكَ أَنْ تُعَذِّبَ نَفْسَكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنِّي أَقْوَى ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ صُمْ شَهْرَ الصَّبْرِ وَيَوْمًا بَعْدَهُ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ إِنِّي أَقْوَى ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ صُمْ شَهْرَ الصَّبْرِ وَيَوْمَيْنِ بَعْدَهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ إِنِّي أَقْوَى ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ صُمْ شَهْرَ الصَّبْرِ وَثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ بَعْدَهُ وَصُمْ أَشْهُرَ الْحُرُمِ

It was narrated from Abu Mujibah Al-Bahili that his father or, his paternal uncle, said:

I came to the Prophet (May Allah’s Peace be upon him) and said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, I am the man who came to you last year.’ He said: ‘Why do I see your body so thin (and weak)?’ He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I do not eat during the day; I only eat at night.’ He said: ‘Who commanded you to punish yourself?’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I am strong enough.’ He said: ‘Fast the month of patience and one day after it.’ I said: ‘I am strong enough (to do more).’ He said: ‘Fast the month of patience and two days after it.’ I said: ‘I am strong enough (to do more).’ He said: ‘Fast the month of patience and three days after it, and fast the sacred months. (Sunan Ibn Majah)

  • Similar hadeeth is recorded by Imam Abu Dawood.

The scholars, early and latter differ regarding the fasting in Rajab.
Abdullah Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him), Hasan Al-Basri and Abu Ishaq as-Sabi’i used to fast the entire month of Rajab. Sufwan Ath-Thawri used to like fasting in this month.
On the contrary, Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) used to hit palms of the men who used to fast in Rajab until they placed their hands in the food and he disliked considering fasting in this month to be sunnah.
Abu Bakrah (May Allah be pleased with him) saw his family making preparation for fasting in Rajab so he said to them “Are you making Rajab like Ramadhan?,” He then threw the baskets and mugs.
Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) considered fasting in Rajab makrooh- disliked.
To reconcile all the different opinions some scholars have mentioned that one should not specify fasting for Rajab only. He should fast other months and other sacred months. He should not fast the entire monthly of Rajab.
(Lataaif Al- Ma’arif – Hafidh Ibn Rajab Hambly)

Animal sacrifice In Rajab

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ لاَ فَرَعَ وَلاَ عَتِيرَةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَالْفَرَعُ أَوَّلُ النِّتَاجِ كَانَ يُنْتَجُ لَهُمْ فَيَذْبَحُونَهُ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ نُبَيْشَةَ وَمِخْنَفِ بْنِ سُلَيْمٍ وَأَبِي الْعُشَرَاءِ عَنْ أَبِيهِ ‏.‏
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏ وَالْعَتِيرَةُ ذَبِيحَةٌ كَانُوا يَذْبَحُونَهَا فِي رَجَبٍ يُعَظِّمُونَ شَهْرَ رَجَبٍ لأَنَّهُ أَوَّلُ شَهْرٍ مِنْ أَشْهُرِ الْحُرُمِ وَأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمِ رَجَبٌ وَذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَأَشْهُرُ الْحَجِّ شَوَّالٌ وَذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَعَشْرٌ مِنْ ذِي الْحِجَّةِ كَذَلِكَ رُوِيَ عَنْ بَعْضِ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَغَيْرِهِمْ فِي أَشْهُرِ الْحَجِّ

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

That the Messenger of Allah (May Allah’s Peace be upon him) said: “There is no Fara’ or ‘Atirah.”
The Fara’ is the first of the offspring that would be born to them, so they would slaughter it. The ‘Atirah was an animal that they would slaughter during Rajab to honour the month of Rajab, since it was the first of the sacred months.
(Jami At-Tirmidhi)

عَنْ نُبَيْشَةَ الْهُذَلِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا كُنَّا نَعْتِرُ عَتِيرَةً فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَمَا تَأْمُرُنَا قَالَ ‏ “‏ اذْبَحُوا لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِي أَىِّ شَهْرٍ مَا كَانَ وَبَرُّوا اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَأَطْعِمُوا ‏”‏

Nubaishah Al-Hudhaili (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

A man said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, we used to sacrifice the ‘Atirah during the Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic days) in Rajab; what do you command us to do?’ He said: ‘Sacrifice to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, whatever month it is, do good for the sake of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, and feed (the poor). (Sunan An-Nasai)

  • Ateerah was a pre-Islamic practice of sacrificing an animal in the month of Rajab. A person would vow to sacrifice an animal if his need was fulfilled. The sacrifice would be in the name of their ‘gods’.
  • Fara’ was a pre-Islamic practice of sacrificing the first ‘child’ of an animal in the name of their gods.

The prophet (may Allah bless him) prohibited the practice of the Atirah and Fara’.
There some narrations which suggest its permissibility (with the condition- to sacrifice in the name of Allah only). Some scholars have mentioned that its prohibition was due to sacrificing in the name of other gods and by removing that it will be permissible. Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah explained that the reason for prohibition was that people would regard them to be compulsory.

Salah Ar-Raghaib

There is no narration regarding a Salah called ‘Ar-Raghaib’ in the month of Rajab. It was made up after 400 AH.

Umrah In Rajab

Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) considered it desirable to perform Umrah in Rajab.

Meraj – Ascension to the heavens

There are some historical reports of Me’raj taking place on the 27th of Rajab however there are no authentic narrations confirming it. There are other historical references which suggest different Me’raj dates.

Dua for Rajab

Imam Bayhaqi and others have reported a dua from the Prophet.

اَللّٰهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَناَ فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبانَ وَبَلّغْنَا رَمَضَانْ
Dua: Allahumma Baarik Lana Fe Rajab Wa Sha’ban wa Bal’lighna Ramadhaan.
(Oh Allah, Bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban and make us reach Ramadhan)

There are numerous narrations of this dua and according to hadeeth scholars they are classified as weak, however since the position of Rajab is established from authentic hadeeth then narrating a weak hadeeth for virtues is fine according to most hadeeth scholars.

Conclusion

All Muslims must know that Rajab is declared by Allah to be a sacred month hence, be extra cautious in abstaining from sins and try ones very best to increase the quality and quantity of the good deeds.
Fasting, reading the dua for Rajab and the desirability of performing Umrah in Rajab is established from hadeeth and some companions.
Some historical reports suggest Meraj took place in Rajab but it is not certain due to the disagreement of the Muslim historians on the actual date.
However performing special Rajab salah, fixing the 27th of Rajab for fasting and considering any days in Rajab to be like Eid is incorrect and absolutely baseless.

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