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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rajab - A Sacred month

Bismillah hir Rehman nir Rahim
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious , Most Merciful!


Allaah favors certain times and places over others.

Praise be to Allaah, Who says which means: “And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses” (Al-Qasas: 68). The attribute of choosing or selecting is indicative of His Lordship and Oneness, and of the perfection of His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power. One aspect of His doing this is the fact that He has chosen some days and months and given them preference over others.

The sacred months.

Among the months, Allaah has chosen four which He has made sacred, as He says, which means: “Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allaah 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…” (At-Tawbah: 36). These months are calculated according to the movements of the moon, not the movements of the sun, as done by the kuffaar.

The Sacred Months are mentioned by implication in the Qur’aan, but their names are not given. Their names are mentioned in the Sunnah, though. It was reported from Abu Bakrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam 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’l-Hijjah and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.” (Bukhaari & Muslim).

The reason why they are so called.

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 change their order depending on whether they were in a state of war or not. This was the postponing referred to in the verse, which means: “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.” (At-Tawbah: 37)

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

Ibn Faaris said, ‘The letters Ra’, jeem 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 established in Sharee’ah’.

The people of the Jaahiliyyah used to call Rajab Munssil al-Asinnah (the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off), as it was reported that Abu Rajaa’ al-‘Ataaridi said: ‘We would worship a rock, then if we found a better rock we would throw the first one aside and take up 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 tawaaf 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. (Bukhaari).

Al-Bayhaqi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: ‘the people of the jaahiliyyah used to revere these sacred months, especially the month of Rajab, and they would not fight during this month’.

Rajab is a sacred month.

The Sacred months have a special status, which applies also to Rajab. Allaah says, which means: “O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allaah, nor of the Sacred Month…” (Al-Maa’idah: 2). This means: do not violate their sanctity which Allaah has commanded you to respect and forbidden you to violate, for this prohibition includes both vile deeds and beliefs.

Allaah says which means: “so wrong not yourselves therein…” (At-Tawbah: 36), meaning, in the Sacred Months. The pronoun here (translated here as “therein”) refers to these four sacred months, as stated by the Imaam of the Mufassireen, Ibn Jareer al-Tabari, may Allaah have mercy on him.

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 holiness. Sins committed at this time are even worse, because Allaah has made this time sacred. Hence in the verse quoted above, Allaah has specified this time and forbidden us to wrong ourselves - which includes committing sins - even though this is forbidden during all the months of the year.

Fighting during the sacred months.

Allaah says, which means: “They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months. Say: fighting therein is a great (transgression)…” (Al-Baqarah: 217).
The majority of scholars state that (the prohibition of) fighting in the sacred months is abrogated by the verse, which means: “Then when the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikeen wherever you find them…” (At-Tawbah: 5), and other verses and reports, which are general in application and which include commands to fight the disbelievers.

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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam against the people of 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-defense. If the enemy attacks the Muslim lands, it is obligatory for the inhabitants to defend themselves, whether it happens during a sacred month or not.

v Al-‘Ateerah (a kind of sacrifice).
During the Jaahiliyyah, 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 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 narrated Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said, “There is no Fir’ and no ‘Ateerah”, (Bukhaari & Muslim)
Ibn Hajar said: ‘this is supported by the hadeeth narrated by Nubayshah, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: ‘A man called out to the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam saying: 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 sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…” (Abu Daawood, Nisaa’i and others)
Ibn Hajar said: ‘the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab’.

Fasting during Rajab

In Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad: Uthman ibn Hakim al-Ansari said: I asked Sa`id ibn Jubayr about fasting in Rajab, and we were then passing through the month of Rajab, whereupon he said: I heard Ibn `Abbas(r) saying: "The Messenger of Allah (s) used to observe fast so continuously that we thought he would not break it, and did not observe it so continuously that we thought he would not observe fast."

Imam Nawawi commented on this in Sharh Sahih Muslim:Imam Nawawi continues:
"Neither prohibition nor praiseworthiness has been established for the month of Rajab in itself, however, the principle concerning fasting is that it is praiseworthy in itself, and in the Sunan of Abu Dawud the Prophet (s) has made the fasting of the sacred months praiseworthy, and Rajab is one of them."

"And whoever desires the hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted." (Surah Bani Israel : Ayah 19)Regards,
Sana Khan Ghori


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