The month of Rajab: Myths and Realities

 

Praise be to Allaah Who 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, Allaah has chosen four as sacred, as He says:

"Verily the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so It was ordained by Allaah on the Day when He create the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein...”(Q9 [al-Tawbah]:36)

Rajab is a sacred month

These months are measured according to the movements of the moon not the movements of the sun. The sacred Months are mentioned in the Qur’aan, but their names are mentioned in Sunnah. Abu Bakrah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (sallaall ahu alayhi allam) gave his Farewell Sermon and said: “time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the DAy when Allaah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are Sacred, three consecutive months - Dhoo'l-Qa'dah, Dhoo'I-Hijjah and Muharram - and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between jumaada and Sha'baan."(Bukhaari).

It was called Rajab because they used to venerate it, and it is also venerated in Sharee'ah. Abu Rajaa' al-'Ataaridi reported: "[in jahiliyyah] When 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." (Bukhaari).

It was called Rajab of Mudar because the tribe of Mudar tribe 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.

The sacred months have a special status, which applies also to Rajab too. Allaah says:

“o you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allaah, nor of the Sacred Month •••” (Q5[al-Maa'idah]:2),

this means: do not violate their sanctity which Allaah has commanded you to respect, and this prohibition includes both vile deeds and beliefs. Also Allaah says:

"so wrong not yourselves therein..." (Q9[al-Tawbah]:36),

meaning in the Sacred Months. So we should pay attention to the sanctity of these four months, because Allaah 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 than at other months that are not sacred.

Good deeds in the month of Rajab

Fighting jihad: Allaah says:

“they ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months. So fighting therein is a great (transgression)…” (Q2[al-Baqarah]:217).

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

“then when the sacred months have passed, then kill the mushrikeen wherever you find them…” (Q9[al-Tawbah]:5),

and other aayat 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 (sallaallaahualayhi wasallam) against the people of al-Taa'if is interpreted in this way, because the fighting had begun at Hunayn in Shawwaal. 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-'ATEERAH (a kind of sacrifice): During the Jaahiliyyah, the Arabs used to slaughter a sacrifice in Rajab as an act of worship. When Islam came, teaching that sacrifices were to be offered only to Allaah, this deed of the Jaahiliyyah was abolished.

The fuqaha' differed as to the rulings on offering sacrifices during Rajab. The majority of Hanafis, Maalikis and Hanbalis stated that the sacrifice of al-'Ateerah was abrogated. Their evidence was the hadeeth, "There is no Fir'and no 'Ateerah". (Bukhari)

The Shaafa'is said that al-'Ateerah had not been abrogated, and they regarded it as mustahabb (recommended). This was also the view of Ibn Seereen. Ibn Hajar said: “this is supported by the saheeh [authentic] hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood from Nubayshah, who said: "Aman called out to the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alayhi wasallam): “We used to offer the sacrifice of al-'Ateerah during the Jaahiliyyah in the month of Rajab. What do you command us to do? He said, “offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it.” So, Ibn Hajar (RAH) said:"The Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab."

FASTING IN RAJAB: Majority of the scholars hold that there is no saheeh report from the Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) or from the Sahaabah to indicate that there is any particular virtue in fasting during Rajab. According to them 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 at-Beed (13th, 14th & 15th of the month), 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].

Indeed. 'Umar (RA) used to forbid fasting in Rajab because it involved resemblance to the Jaahiliyyah. 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 Jaahiliyyah.' (al-Irwaa'. 957; al-A1baani said: it is saheeh). AI-Haafiz ibn Hajar (RAH) said: "No Saheeh hadeeth 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 Qiyaam al-Layl specifically during this month." (Tabayyun al-'Ajab bimaa wurida fiFadl Rajab)

However, there occurs a hadeeth in Sahih Muslim that shows that some of the Companions saw nothing wrong with fasting the whole month of Rajab. Abdullah the slave of Asmaa bint Abu Bakr(RA) reported: "Asmaa sent me to Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) saying: 'I heard that you forbade three things: silk dress, fasting all of Rajab and brocade dresses.' Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) answered: "As for fasting the whole month of Rajab, how can one who always fasts say that: as for silk dress. I heard Umar ibn aI-Khattab saying it is the dress of those who will not wear it in the Hereafter. As for brocade, this dress of mine is brocade. Abdullah went back to Asmaa and told her the answers. (Muslim) This shows that both Asmaa and Ibn Umar saw nothing wrong in fasting the whole month of Rajab. And Allaah knows best.

'UMRAH IN RAJAB: The ahaadeeth indicate that the Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did not do 'Umrah during Rajab, as it was narrated that Mujaahid said: 'Urwah ibn aI-Zubayr and I entered the mosque, and there was 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Umar sitting near the room of 'Aa'ishah (RA). He was asked, "How many times did the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alayhi 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'mineen brushing her teeth (i.e. the sound of the Miswaak) in her room. 'Urwah said, "o Mother of the Believers, did you not hear what Abu 'Abd aI-Rahmaan is saying?"She said, 'What is he saying?" He said, "He is saying that the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alayhi wasallam) did 'Umrah four times, one of them in Rajab."She said. "May Allaah have mercy on Abu 'Abd al-Rahmaan, he [the Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wasallam)] never did 'Umrah but he (Ibn Umar) he was present with him, and he never did 'Umrah during Rajab." (Muslim). 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. Rather, what is known is that the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: '''Umrah in Ramadaan is equivalent to Hajj." (Bukhari) 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.

BID'AH AND INNOVATIONS IN THEMONTH OF RAJAB

Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah. The Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallaam) did not die until after the religion had been perfected. Allaah says:

"... This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion ... " (Q5[Maa'idah]:3)

It was reported that 'Aa'isha (RA) said: the Messenger of Allaah (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected." (Agreed upon).Some people have innovated a number of practices in Rajab, including the following:

SALAAT AL-RAGHAA'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 ai-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (RAH) said:

"Salaat al-Raghaa'ib is bid'ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Maalik, al-Shaafa'i, Abu Haneefah, al-Thawri, al-'Oozaa'i, al-Layth and others. The hadeeth that is narrated concerning it is a lie according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadeeth."

ISRAA WA MI'RAAJ?: 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 (sallaallaahu alayhi 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 Isnaad that is not Saheeh from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad that the Prophet's Night Journey (al-Israa') took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibraaheem aI-Harbi and others.

One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi'raaj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rajab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyaam 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 innovated celebrations.

Add to that the fact that there is no proof that the Israa' and Mi'raaj 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 (sallaallaahualayhi wa sallaam) or from his companions, 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.

SALAAT UMM DAWOOD: This is usually performed halfway through Rajab. There is no authentic evidence for this salaat from the Sunnah. Similar to this are the du'aa's which are recited specifically during Rajab which are all fabrications.

VISITING GRAVES: Doing this specifically in Rajab is bid'ah, because graves are to be visited (for remembrance of death and not worship) at any time of the year.

We ask Allaah to make us of those who venerate the things that He has made sacred and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam)outwardly and inwardly, for He is the One Whom we should ask and He is Able to do that.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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