The Month of Rajab

The Month of Rajab 

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,

All the praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

The attribute of choosing or selecting is an indicative of His Lordship and Oneness, and of the perfection of His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power

Allah says: “And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses” [al-Qasas 28:68].

One aspect of His choosing and preferring is the fact that He has chosen some days and months and given them preference over others. Among the months, Allah has chosen four which He has made sacred, as He says:

 “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…”

[Al-Tawbah, 9:36]

These months are calculated according to the movements of the moon, not the movements of the sun, as the kuffar do.

The Sacred Months are mentioned by implication in the Qur’an, but their names are not given. Their names are mentioned in the Sunnah:

 It was reported from Abu Bakrah (radiallahu`anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) gave his Farewell Sermon and said:

 “Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months – Dzul-Qa’edah, Dzul-Hijjah and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’ban.”

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, no. 1741, in Kitab al-Hajj, al-Khutbah Aiyam Mina; and by Muslim, no. 1679, in Kitab al-Qisamah, Bab Tahrim al-Dimā’]

It was called Rajab of Mudar because [the tribe of] Mudar did not tamper with its timing, unlike the rest of the Arabs, who used to tamper with the months and change their order depending on whether they were in a state of war or not. This was the postponing referred to in the ayah:

“The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allaah, and make such forbidden ones lawful.”

 [Al-Tawbah, 9:37]

It was also said that the reason why it was attributed to Mudar was because they venerated it and respected it so much, so it was attributed to them.

 The reason it so called Rajab.

Ibn Faris said:  The letters Ra’, jīm and ba’ form a root which indicates supporting and strengthening something with another thing. … Hence the phrase “Rajabtu’l-shay’” means I venerated it… It was called Rajab because they used to venerate it, and it is also venerated in shari’ah.

 The people of the Jahiliyyah used to call Rajab Munassil al-Asinnah [the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off].

It was reported that Abu Rajā’ al-‘Atāridi said:  We would look for a rock, and then if we found a better rock we would throw the first one aside and adopt the other. If we could not find a rock, we would make a pile of dirt, then we would bring a ewe and milk it over the pile of dirt, then we would do tawāf around it. When the month of Rajab came, we would say Munassil al-Asinnah [the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off], and we would not leave any spear or arrow that had an iron piece in it but we would take the metal head off and put it aside during the month of Rajab. 

[Narrated by al-Bukhari] 

Al-Bayhaqi said: the people of the Jahiliyyah used to venerate these sacred months, especially the month of Rajab, and they would not fight during this month. 

[Mu’jam Maqāyēs al-Lughah (p. 445)] 

Rajab is a sacred month 

The Sacred months have a special status, which applies also to Rajab because it is one of these sacred months. Allah says: 

“O, you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah or of the Sacred Month…”  

[Al-Maidah, 5:2] 

This means: do not violate their sanctity which Allah has commanded you to respect and forbidden you to violate, for this prohibition includes both vile deeds and vile beliefs. 

Allah says: “so wrong not yourselves therein…”   [Al-Tawbah, 9:36] 

It means in the Sacred Months. The pronoun here [translated here as “therein”] refers to these four sacred months, as stated by the Imam of the Mufassirin, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him). 

So we should pay attention to the sanctity of these four months, because Allah has singled them out for a special status and has forbidden us to commit sins out of respect for their sanctity, for sins committed at this time are even worse, because of the sanctity of the time which Allah has made sacred. Hence in the ayah quoted above, Allah has forbidden us to wrong ourselves even though this – i.e., wronging ourselves, who includes committing sins – is forbidden during all the months of the year. 

Fighting during the sacred months 

Allah says: 

“They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months. Say: fighting therein is a great (transgression)…” 

 [Al-Baqarah, 2:217] 

The majority of scholars state that (the prohibition of) fighting in the sacred months is abrogated by the ayah: 

“Then when the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them…”  

[Al-Tawbah, 9:5]

And other ayat and reports which are general in application and which include commands to fight them. 

Others say: it is not permissible to initiate fighting during the sacred months, but it is permissible to continue and conclude fighting, if it started at a different time. The fighting of the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) against the people of al-Ta’if is interpreted in this way, because the fighting had begun at Hunain in Shawwal. 

The above does not apply to fighting in self-defence. If the enemy attacks the Muslim lands, it is obligatory for the inhabitants to defend themselves, whether that happens during a sacred month or not. 

Al-‘Atērah (a kind of sacrifice) 

During the Jahiliyyah, the Arabs used to slaughter a sacrifice during Rajab as an act of worship towards their idols. 

When Islam came, teaching that sacrifices were to be offered only to Allah, this deed of the Jahiliyyah was abolished. The fuqaha’ differed as to the rulings on offering sacrifices during Rajab. The majority of Hanafis, Malikis and Hanbalis stated that the sacrifice of al-‘Atērah was abrogated. Their evidence was the hadith: 

“There is no Fir’ and no ‘Atērah”. [Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah] 

The Shafi’is said that al-‘Atērah had not been abrogated, and they regarded it as mustahabb (recommended). This was also the view of Ibn Sirin. 

Ibn Hajar said: this is supported by the hadith narrated from Nubayshah, who said: 

A man called out to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): We used to offer the sacrifice of al-‘Aterah during the Jahiliyyah in the month of Rajab. What do you command us to do? He (s.a.w) said: 

“Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…”

[Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah, and classified as sahih by al-Hakim and Ibn al-Mundhir, from Nubayshah] 

Ibn Hajar said: the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab.

 Fasting in Rajab 

There is no sahih report from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or from the sahabah to indicate that there is any particular virtue in fasting during Rajab. 

The fasting that is prescribed in Rajab is the same as that prescribed in other months, namely fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and the three days of al-Beed, fasting alternate days, and fasting Sirar al-Shahr. Some of the scholars said that Sirar al-Shahr refers to the beginning of the month; others said that it refers to the middle or end of the month. 

‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu`ahu) used to forbid fasting in Rajab because it involved resemblance to the Jahiliyyah. It was reported that Kharashah ibn al-Harr said: I saw ‘Umar smacking the hands of those who fasted in Rajab until they reached out for food, and he was saying: 

“This is a month which was venerated in the Jahiliyyah”.  

[al-Irwā’, 957; al-Albani said: it is sahih] 

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadaan) as some people do, and he never fast Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month. 

Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said:  No sahih hadith that may be used as evidence has been narrated concerning the virtues of the month of Rajab or fasting this month or fasting in any specific part of it, or observing Qiyam al-Layl specifically during this month. Imam Abu Isma’il al-Harawi al-Hafiz has already stated this before me, and we have narrated this from others also. 

[Tabayyun al-‘Ajab bima wurida fi Fadl Rajab] 

In Fatāwa al-Lajnah al-Dā’imah it states: with regard to fasting specifically in Rajab, we do not know of any basis in Shari’ah for doing that. 

‘Umrah in Rajab 

The ahaadith indicate that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not do ‘Umrah during Rajab, as it was narrated that Mujahid said: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr and I entered the mosque, and there was ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Umar sitting near the room of ‘Aa’ishah (radiallahu`anha). He was asked, “How many times did the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)  do ‘Umrah?” He said, “Four times, and one of them was in Rajab.” We did not want to argue with him. We could hear ‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’minin brushing her teeth (i.e., the sound of the miswak) in her room. ‘Urwah said, “O Mother of the Believers, did you not hear what Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman is saying?” She said, “What is he saying?” He said, “He is saying that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did ‘Umrah four times, one of them in Rajab.” She said, “May Allah have mercy on Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, [the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)] never did ‘Umrah but he witnesses it (i.e., he was present with him), and he never did ‘Umrah during Rajab.” 

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim] 

Ibn ‘Umar heard this and did not say yes or no. [Muslim] 

Al-Nawawi said: the fact that Ibn ‘Umar remained silent when ‘Aa’ishah denied what he said indicates that he was confused, or had forgotten, or was uncertain. Hence it is an innovated bid’ah to single out Rajab for making ‘Umrah and to believe that doing ‘Umrah in Rajab has a specific virtue. Nothing to that effect has been narrated, besides the fact that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is not reported to have made ‘Umrah during Rajab at all. 

Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim al-‘Attar (d. 724 AH) said:  One of the things that I have heard about the people of Makkah – may Allah increase it in honour – is that they do ‘Umrah frequently during Rajab. This is something for which I know of no basis; all I know is that it was reported in the hadith that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “‘Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj.” 

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

As for singling out some of the days of Rajab for any kind of good deed, ziarah (visiting the House of Allaah, the Ka’bah) or anything else, there is no basis for this, because Imam Abu Shaamah stated in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Hawaadith: specifying acts of worship at times that were not specified by shari’ah is wrong; no time is to be regarded as better than any other except in cases where the shari’ah gave preference to a certain act of worship at a certain time, or stated that any good deed done at this time is better than good deeds done at other times. Hence the scholars denounced the practice of singling out the month of Rajab for doing ‘Umrah frequently. 

But if a person goes for ‘Umrah during Rajab without believing that this has any particular virtue and because it is just a coincidence that it is easier for him to go at this time, then there is nothing wrong with that. 

[Fatawa Muhammad ibn Ibrahim] 

Bid’ah and innovations in the month of Rajab 

Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not die until after the religion had been perfected. 

Allah says: 

“… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” 

 [Al-Maidah, 5:3] 

It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: 

“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” 

 (Al-Bukhari, Muslim) 

Some people have made innovation a number of practices in Rajab, including the following: 

  • Salat al-Raghā’ib. This prayer became widespread after the first and best centuries, especially in the fourth century AH. Some liars fabricated this prayer, which is done on the first night of Rajab.  

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Salat al-Raghā’ib is bid’ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Malik, al-Shafi’e, Abu Hanifah, al-Thawri, al-‘Auza’i, al-Layth and others. The hadith that is narrated concerning it is a lie according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadith. 

>It was reported that major events happened in the month of Rajab, but none of these reports are true. It was reported that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)   was born on the first night of Rajab, and that he received his Mission on the twenty-seventh, or twenty-fifth of this month. None of this is correct. It was reported with an isnad that is not sahih from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad that the Prophet’s Night Journey (al-Isrā’) took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibrahim al-Harbi and others. One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi’raj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rajab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyam al-Layl or fasting during the day, or rejoicing and celebrating. Some celebrations are accompanied by haram things such as mixing of men and women, singing and music, all of which are not permitted on the two Eids which are prescribed in Islam, let alone innovation celebrations. Add to that the fact that there is no proof that the Isrā’ and Mi’rāj happened on this date. Even if it were proven, that is no excuse for holding celebrations on this date, because nothing of the kind has been reported from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)   or from his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, or from any of the Salaf (early generations) of this Ummah. If it were a good thing, they would surely have done it before us. 

>Solat Umm Dawud halfway through Rajab 

>The dua’s which are recited specifically during Rajab are all but are innovations.

>Visiting graves specifically in Rajab is bid’ah, because graves are to be visited at any time of the year. 

We ask Allah to make us of those who venerate the things that He has made sacred and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) outwardly and inwardly, for He is the One Whom we should ask and He is Able to do it. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of al-a’lamīn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

 

 [Excerpted with modification from Fatwa No: 2839 Islam Q&A]

About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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