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'Allahumma baa-rik-lanaa fee-rajaba wa sha'baana wa bal-lig-naa shah-ra ramadhaana.'
'O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Shabaan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan.'
Rajab Allah's month
Summary Of Religious Duties During The Month Of Rajab
by Sidi Musa Furber
Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
(Summarized from a work by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, by Sidi Musa Furber)
Rajab, one of the four sacrosanct months in the Islamic year, began only a matter of days ago. We tend to use Rajab and Sha`ban after it to prepare for the holy month of Ramadan. For those who have prayers or make up fasts from the previous year, now is an excellent time to being fulfilling those duties; in sha Allah, husbands will be especially considerate when it comes to wives making up missed days. And for everyone, it’s an excellent time to return to Allah, and ask Him for an increase in obedience and acts of worship.
Given that this is the beginning of the month of Rajab and that this group is for Hanbali fiqh, is seems appropriate to give a small summary a book by the great Hanbali scholar and hadith master Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy upon him). The book is Lata’if al-ma`arif fi ma limausim al-`am min al-watha’if, and its subject is informing what sorts of good acts are recommended for the different months and seasons of the Islamic year.
What follows is a very brief summary of the chapter’s contents. People familiar with the works of Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy upon him) in general, or this one in particular, will quickly realize how much of an injustice I have done. Whereas Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy upon him) works are full of citations from the Qur’an, hadith, poetry, accounts on the righteous Salaf and Khalaf; criticism and explanations of the various citations; and many other gems from the knowledge and wisdom that Allah bestowed him with—what I have done is simply summarize the things that would not be readily available to someone with a copy of Riyad al-salihin or the major canon of hadith. So, with the exception of a few explicit quotations from Lata’if al-ma`arif, these are my words and not Ibn Rajab’s (may Allah be merciful upon him).
Summary Of Religious Duties During The Month Of Rajab
Ibn Rajab (Allah have mercy with him) opens the chapter concerning Rajab with the following:
In Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the two [Imams] have related from the hadith of Abu Bakrata (Allah be well pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave a speech during the Farewell Pilgrimage, and during it said:
Verily, truly time has revolved like the day on which Allah created the heavens and the earth! The year is twelve months, including four [that are] sacrosanct; three consecutive [months]: Dhu al-qa`da, Dhu al-hijja, and al-Muharram; and Mudhar’s Rajab which is between Jumada and Shu`ban.
and he mentioned the hadith.
Allah Mighty and Majestic says:
Lo! the number of months with Allah is twelve months by Allah’s ordinance in the day that He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred: that is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves in them. (Qur’an, Al-Tauba, 9:36).
So, He Most Sublime declared that ever since He created the heavens and the earth, [and ever since] He created the night and day revolving in the horizon, [and ever since] He created the things in the heaven, including the sun, moon, and stars; [and ever since] He made the sun and the moon in orbit in the cosmos and the dark or night and white of day were produced from [day and night]—ever since then He made the year twelve months in accordance to the crescent moon.
And so the year, with respect to the Legislation, is portioned by the traveling of the moon and its rising, not by the traveling of the sun and its moving from place to place like the people of Ahl al-kitab do.
He then begins his explanation of the verse from the Qur’an and the hadith, with the important points being:
· Allah Most High has made four of these months sacrosanct
· There is some difference of opinion between the scholars regarding which of those first months comes first
· The scholars differ over which of the sacrosanct months is superior. Ibn Rajabs writes: “One opinion is that it is Rajab, and it is the opinion of some Shafi`is; Imam al-Nawawi and others considered this opinion weak. Another opinion is that it is al-Muharram; it is the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basri, and Imam al-Nawawi considered it preponderant. Another opinion is that it is Dhu al-Hijja; it is related from Sa`id bin Jubayr and others, and it is the most obvious. And Allah knows best.”
· The meaning of the statement of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace): “Verily, truly time has revolved like the day on which Allah created the heavens and the earth! The year is twelve months”, is declaring void the nasi’ that the pre-Islamic Arabs used to do. There is a difference of opinion regarding the meaning of nasi’. An opinion is that the pre-Islamic Arabic would exchange a sacrosanct month with another non-sacrosanct month; and there are many examples of how they would do this. Another opinion is that they would change the length of the year, such as making it thirteen months or twelve months and 15 days. And another opinion is that the month for pilgrimage revolved through the months, and that during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage the designated month agreed with the month decreed by Allah Might and Majestic: Dhu al-Hijja.
· In the beginning of Islam, it was unconditionally unlawful to kill during the sacrosanct months. The scholars differ: is it still unlawful or was it abrogated? The majority of scholars are of the opinion that it is abrogated; Imam Ahmad and other imams held this opinion. A group of the Salaf, among them `Ata, were of the opinion that it is still unlawful; a group of later scholars considered this opinion preponderant, citing the second verse of al-Ma`ida (5:2) as evidence, since al-Ma`ida is among the last of the revelation.
· The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said “Mudar’s Rajab”: Rajab is named Rajab because they would glorify it. As for adjoining it to the tribe Mudar, it is because they were excessive in glorifying and honoring it; or: because the tribe of Rabi` considered Ramadan sacrosanct and Mudar considered Rajab sacrosanct.
· Some of the scholars mentioned that Rajab has fourteen names: sharh Allah, rajab, rajab mudar, munsil al-asinna, al-asamm, al-asabb, munaffis, mutahhir, mu’alla, muqim, harim, muqashqish, mubarri`, and fard. Others said that it has seventeen names, adding: rajam, munsil al-`aala, and munzil al-asinna.
And then Ibn Rajab began discussing the rulings associated with the month of Rajab itself. Some of those rulings are from the times of the pre-Islamic Arabs, and there is a difference of opinion whether they continue. They include:
· The unconditional unlawfulness of killing during this sacrosanct month
· During the pre-Islamic times they would slaughter during Rajab, calling it al-‘atira. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that Islam has voided al-‘atira. Others are of the opinion that it is recommended, including Ibn Sirin; Imam Ahmad related it from Ahl al-Basra, and a later group of Ahl al-Hadith considered it preponderant.
The rulings associated with Rajab include: praying, giving charity, fasting, and making `Umra:
· Prayer: There are nothing rigorously authenticated concerning a prayer specific to the month of Rajab. The hadiths related concerning Salat al-ragha’ib are in the night before the first Friday of Rajab are lies, and according to the majority of scholars this prayer is an innovation. Some later scholars mentioned it; the early scholars did not because it was innovated after them.
· Fasting: There is nothing rigorously authenticated from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) pertaining to fasting the month of Rajab specifically. However, there are hadiths regarding fasting the sacrosanct months. Some of the Companions and imams (Allah be well pleased with them) considered it offensive to fast Rajab in its entirety, rather that one should omit fasting one or two days of Rajab. The Hanbalis are of the opinion that the offensiveness of fasting Rajab in its entirety ceases by voluntarily fasting another month with Rajab. Imam Ahmad’s opinion is that Rajab is not fasted in it entirety except by someone who fasts every day that is possible; there is something related from `Abd Allah bin `Omar (Allah be well pleased with them both) that indicates this.
· Charity: It is the custom of peoples in various lands to pay their obligatory charity [zakat] during Rajab, but this is something that has no basis in the sunna, and is not known from one of the Salaf. Rather, obligatory charity is paid when its particular duration is fulfilled, regardless of the month. With the majority of scholars, it suffices if someone to pays his obligatory charity before it comes due, regardless of the reason for paying it in advance. And Imam Ahmad is of the opinion that it is valid to delay paying obligatory charity if there is no one else in need like they are.
· Making ‘Umra during Rajab: There is difference over whether or not the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made `Umra during Rajab, however several of the Companions and Salaf (Allah be well pleased with them) would do so. And the majority of Companions (Allah be well pleased with them one and all) are of the opinion that the most complete Hajj and `Umra is to initiate each one as part of a journey: that one journeys to make Hajj and one makes another journey to make `Umra.
Many amazing things have been related to occurred during the month of Rajab—and not a single one of them is rigorously authentic. Among what has been mentioned are:
· the birth of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the night of the 1st [meaning the night before the day of the 1st]
· prophethood being assigned to him (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the 27th or the 25th
· the Night Journey and Ascension being on the night of the 27th [meaning: the night before the day of the 27th] or the 10th
Also, the pre-Islamic Arabs used to make supplications against oppressors and tyrants during Rajab, and their supplications were answered. There are many well known accounts of this.
Summarized from Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-ma`arif fi ma limausim al-`am min al-watha’if (Dar Ibn Kathir, Damascus, 1420 AH / 1999 CE), pages 217-235. Originally posted to the Hanbali group on Yahoo! Translation © copyright Musa Furber, 2002. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reprint for non-profit purposes, provided the text and this notice remain in their original form.
 The month of Rajab is adjoined to the tribe of Mudar because of their extreme reverence for the month. (See Lisan al-`arab)
On the Month of Rajab
by Shaykh Ilyas Patel, UK Sunnipath.com
It has been mentioned by Abu’ Nu’aim in ‘Hilya’ from Anas Ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) he said, that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to make the following dua, when the month of Rajab came in:
‘Allahuma Barik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa ballighna Ramadhan’
It has bee mentioned by Abu’l Fath ibn Abi’l-Fawaris in his ‘Amali’ (dictations and transmissions) and Allama Suyuti has also mentioned in his Jami Saghir from Hasan Basri that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
“Rajab is the month of Allah. Shaban is my month. Ramadhan is the month of my ummah (followers).”
From the above hadith, it shows that it is preferable to make dua, to remain in the coming and following months, in order to perform good actions in them, because a true believer increases in his age with goodness. The best of people is the one who lives long and performs good actions.
The pious predecessors used to prefer dying after performing good actions, like the fast of Ramadhan or returning from Haj. And it was said by them, ‘whoever dies in this way, is forgiven.’
There is no doubt that the month of Rajab is the key to the opening of the months of goodness and blessing.
Abu Bakr Warraq (May Allah be pleased with him) said,
‘Rajab is a month of cultivation, Shaban is month of irrigating the fields, and the month of Ramadhan is a month of reaping and harvesting.’
The summary is, that the month of Rajab is a sacred month and the first, virtuous and noble of them all. So it is appropriate to celebrate it ENTIRELY and to give attention to it by performing good acts, and refraining oneself from sins and offensive things, because it is the month of Allah.
It has been mentioned that Allah said,
‘Fasting is for me and I will recompense one for it.’
Fasting in the month of Rajab prevents one from sins, let alone refraining one from killing and having enmity towards the enemy (which this month was made sacred for), like it was practised by the people in the ignorant (jahili) period.
(Imam Abdul’Gani al-Nablusi, Fadha’il al-Shu’hur wa’l-Ayyam (Virtues of Months and Days) pg 27, 32)