In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
Indeed, all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His aid, and we ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our actions and from the evil consequences of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, there is none to misguide, and whoever Allah misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and Messenger of Allah.
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters! There are four Sacred Islamic Months that Allah has mentioned in the Noble Qur’an, i.e. Zul-Qa’adah, Zul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab; and what more can one be honoured with then to reach one of these Sacred Months, while we are healthy and alive in this world, and so as we have reached Rajab, let us know all about it.
These Sacred Months have been mentioned by Allah, stating:
“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein.” [Qur’an, 9:36]
And within the Sunnah it’s been narrated from Abu Bakrah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred: three consecutive months, Zul-Qa’adah, Zul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumadah and Sha’aban.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
These Islamic Months are meant to be Sacred due to two main reasons:
1. Because initiating any fight therein is forbidden, unless initiated by the enemy themselves.
2. Because transgression of the sacred limits therein is worse than at any other time.
And for these reasons, committing sins during these Sacred Months is more forbidden than in general, as Allah said:
“…wrong not yourselves therein…” [Qur’an, 9:36]
Imam Al-Sa’adi further explains this part of the verse:
“In the phrase “…wrong not yourselves therein…”, the pronoun may be understood as referring to twelve months. Allah states that He has made them a measure of time for His slaves, which they may use for worshipping Him, and thank Allah for His blessings, and they serve the interests of His slaves, so beware of wronging yourselves therein. The pronoun may also be understood as referring to the four sacred months, and this forbids them to wrong themselves in those months in particular, as well as it being forbidden to do wrong at all times, because it is more forbidden at this time, but it is worse at this time than at others.”
However, despite Rajab being a Sacred Islamic Month, there are no Sahih Hadiths from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that speaks specifically on the virtues of the month of Rajab, in other words all Hadiths that specifies any special virtue during the month of Rajab are either Mawdu’ (Fabricated) or termed Da’if (Weak) and cannot be taken as Hujjah (established evidence) to act upon.
An example of such Da’if Hadith, is the common wide spread Du’a that people start reciting regularly upon reaching Rajab:
“It was narrated by Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad, in Zawa’id al-Musnad, at-Tabarani in al-Awsat, al-Baihaqi in ash-Shu’ab and Abu Nu’aim in al-Hilyah via Za’idah Ibn Abi ar-Ruqad who said: Ziyad al-Numairi told us, from Anas Ibn Malik (RA) who said: ‘When Rajab began, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha’aban, and let us reach Ramadan.”‘ [This Hadith was classed as Da’if by Imam an-Nawawi in al-Azkar (page 189) and Imam Ibn Rajab in Lata’if al-Ma’arif (page 121). It was also classed as Da’if by al-Albani in Da’if al-Jami’ (4395)]
Furthermore the isnad of this Hadith itself is Da’if. Ziyad al-Numairi is Da’if and was classed as such by Ibn Ma’in. Abu Hatim said: He cannot be quoted as evidence. Ibn Hibban mentioned him in ad-Du’afa and said: It is not permissible to quote him as evidence. [See Mizan al-I’tidal (2/91)]
Also, Za’idah Ibn Abi ar-Ruqad is more Da’if than him. Abu Hatim said: He narrated from Ziyad al-Numairi, from Anas, odd marfu’ Hadiths, which we know only from him or from Ziyad. Al-Bukhari said: His Hadiths are odd. an-Nasa’i said: His Hadiths are odd. It says in al-Kuna: He is not trustworthy. Ibn Hibban said: He narrates odd Hadiths from well known people and his reports cannot be quoted as evidence or written down, except for the purpose of giving an example (of a weak Hadith). Ibn Adiy said: al-Miqdami and others narrated from him obscure Hadiths, and some of his Hadith contain odd material. [Tahzib at-Tahzib, vol. 3 page 305-306]
Shaikh Ibn Uthaymin as well said on this issue:
“There is no Sahih Hadith that speaks of the virtues of Rajab. The month of Rajab is no different from the month of Jumadah al-Akhirah that comes before it, except that it is one of the Sacred months only. Otherwise there is no Fast that is prescribed in this month, and no Prayer or Umrah or anything else that is prescribed. It is like all other months.” [Liqa’ al-Bab al-Maftuh, page 174, vol. 26]
But sadly, there are many within our Ummah who not only enforce upon themselves and others to implement such Mawdu’ or Da’if Hadiths but also go to the extent of starting a Bid’ah (Innovation in the Religion) and fabricate practises during these Sacred Months and end up spreading them to the wider Muslim community. Whereas our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) have always warned us against such Innovations in the Religion.
It was narrated that Jabir (RA) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) used to say in his Khutbah (Sermon) on Friday: “The best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The worst of matters are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going astray.” [Sahih Muslim]
Imam Al-Nasa’i added with a jayyid isnad:
“…and every going astray will be in the Fire.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And so in order to protect ourselves and those around us from falling into the evil of Bid’ah, let us go through the most common widespread Bid’ah practised in the Month of Rajab, and lets further explain its false reasoning that’s leading many astray.
1. Performing Umrah in the month of Rajab
There is no Sahih Hadiths from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to suggest any particular virtue in performing Umrah in the month of Rajab, no one should single out a specific time for doing an act of worship unless that has been prescribed in Shari’ah, in fact performing Umrah in Rajab was rather denied by Aisha (RA), who said:
“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) never performed Umrah in Rajab.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim]
However, if a person goes for Umrah during Rajab without believing or having the intention that there is any special virtue in that and it just so happens that it is easy for him to travel at that time and perform Umrah, then there is nothing wrong with it, keeping in mind that the only special virtue in performing Umrah as proven from the Sunnah is Umrah in the month of Ramadan, and in the months of Hajj, which are Shawwal, Zul-Qa’adah and Zul-Hijjah.
Furthermore, Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim said in his Fatawa, vol. 6 page 131 on performing Umrah during Rajab:
“With regard to singling out some days of Rajab for any kinds of ziyarah etc, there is no basis for that. Imam Abu Shamah stated in his book al-Bida’i wal-Hawadith that performing acts of worship at specific times which were not prescribed by Islam is not right, because no time is better than any other, except times when it is prescribed to perform a certain kind of worship, or a time when all kinds of good deeds are better than at other times. Hence the scholars denounced the singling out of the month of Rajab for performing Umrah a great deal.”
2. Fasting in the month of Rajab
Some people single out some days of Rajab for Fasting, believing that they are better than others, however again this has no basis in Shari’ah, and Fasting in the month of Rajab has no special virtue proven by any Sahih Hadiths, whether the Fasting is done on certain days of Rajab or the entire Rajab. There is but a Da’if Hadith that makes Fasting in the month of Rajab as Mustahab (recommended).
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Fast some days of the sacred months and not others.” [Abu Dawud – classed as Da’if by al-Albani in Da’if Abi Dawud]
On this issue, Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Majmu’ al-Fatawa vol. 25 page 290:
“As for fasting in Rajab in particular, the Hadiths concerning that are all Da’if, and in fact Mawdu.’ The scholars do not rely on any of them. They are not among the Da’if Hadiths which have been narrated concerning virtues, rather most of them are fabricated and false. In al-Musnad and elsewhere there is a Hadith which says that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) enjoined Fasting the Sacred Months, namely Rajab, Zul-Qa’adah, Zul-Hijjah and Muharram, but this has to do with Fasting during all of them, not just Rajab.”
Here too, if someone is to Fast habitually or that he vowed some Fasts or that he owes Fasts from previous Ramadan to be completed before reaching the coming Ramadan, then in such cases there is no harm in him Fasting as many days he wishes in Rajab or any other Sacred Months.
3. Fasting on the twenty-seventh of Rajab and spending that night in Prayer
Another common Bid’ah in regards to Fasting on a particular night in Rajab along with spending the entire night in Prayer, namely the twenty-seventh of Rajab is widely practised but has no Shari’ah basis, rather its taken from a Mawdu’ Hadith.
On the issue of Fasting on the twenty-seventh of Rajab and spending that night in prayer Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin said:
“Fasting on the twenty-seventh of Rajab and spending that night in prayer is a Bid’ah (innovation), and every Bid’ah is a going astray.” [Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn Uthaimin vol. 20, page 440]
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said:
“Every Hadith which mentions fasting in Rajab and praying during some of its nights is false and fabricated.” [See Al-Manar al-Munif, page 96]
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar also said:
“There is no Sahih Hadith that would count as evidence which speaks of the virtue of the month of Rajab, or that speaks of Fasting this month or part of it, or of spending any particular night of it in prayer.” [See Tabyin al-Ajab bi ma warada fi fadli Rajab, page 11]
4. Celebrating the night of the Isra’ and Mi’raj
Isra’ and Mi’raj (the Prophet’s Night Journey and Ascent into heaven) are indeed two great signs of Allah which point to the greatness of Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) status before our Lord. As Allah honoured Prophet (Peace be upon him) with such a voyage. Allah points out this incident in the Qur’an:
“Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) (above all that (evil) they associate with Him) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Qur’an, 17:1]
However, there is nothing in the Sahih Hadiths to indicate that Isra’ and Mi’raj took place in the month of Rajab or in any other specified month. Everything that has been narrated concerning a specific date for these events cannot be proven to have come from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) according to the Muhaddithin (Scholars of Hadith). Another important thing as well to ask ourselves here is that even if the month, day or date were proven of Isra’ and Mi’raj, would it have been permissible for us to celebrate such an event knowing that neither the Prophet (Peace be upon him) nor his Companions or any of the predecessors celebrated such an event? The answer is a simple and capital NO! As any action, matter or practise in the Religion that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his Companions did not do becomes forbidden upon us and if we do end up doing any such act, it will be plain simple considered as Bid’ah. Allah has perfected this Ummah’s Religion for it and has completed His favour upon us, and He condemns those who introduce things into the religion which Allah has not ordained, so stay clear from such matters that does not have any Authenticity.
5. Salat al-Ragha’ib
Salat al-Ragha’ib is yet another famous Bid’ah that have been introduced in this month of Rajab. It is apparently done on the night of the first Friday in Rajab, between Maghrib and Isha’i time, and is followed up by Fasting on the first Thursday of Rajab. This Salat itself was first introduced in Bait al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) in 480 AH, and in short has absolutely no report that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did it, or any of his Companions, or any of the predecessors. This alone is sufficient to prove that it is a reprehensible innovation, and is a complete misguidance.
The Scholars as well have warned us against it and pointed out that it is Bid’ah and misguidance. Imam Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmu’ vol. 3 page 548:
“The prayer which is known as Salat al-Ragha’ib, which is twelve raka’ahs (units) that are offered between Maghrib and Isha’i on the night of the first Friday in Rajab, and praying one hundred raka’ahs (units) on the night of Nisf Sha’aban (halfway through Sha’aban) are both reprehensible innovations. No one should be deceived by the fact that they are mentioned in Qut al-Qulub and Ihya Ulum al-Din, or by the Hadith which is quoted in these two books, because all of that is false. No one should be deceived by some of those Imams who were confused about the ruling on these prayers and wrote essays stating that they are mustahabb, for they are mistaken in that. Imam Abu Muhammad Abdul-Rahman Ibn Isma’il al-Maqdisi wrote a valuable book showing that they are false, and he did well in that, may Allah have mercy on him.”
Ibn Hajr al-Haitami was as well asked: Is it permissible to offer Salat al-Ragha’ib in congregation or not? He replied:
Salat al-Ragha’ib is like the prayer that is known as lailat al-nisf min Sha’aban (half way through Sha’aban). These are two reprehensible innovations and the Hadith which speaks of them is mawdu’ (fabricated). It is forbidden to offer these prayers either individually or in congregation.” [Al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra, vol. 1 page 216]
Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in regards to Salat al-Ragha’ib:
“As for innovating a prayer which is done regularly with a certain number of raka’ahs (units), with a certain recitation and at a certain time in congregation, like these prayers that are being asked about here – such as Salat al-Ragha’ib on the first Friday of Rajab, and halfway through Sha’aban, and the night of the twenty-seventh of Rajab, and so on – these are not prescribed in Islam, according to the consensus of the Imams of Islam, as was stated by the reliable scholars. No one established such a thing but those who are ignorant and innovators. Things like this open the door to changing the laws and rituals of Islam and becoming like those who instituted things which Allah has not ordained.” [Al-Fatawa al-Kubrah, vol. 2 page 239]
6. Visiting the Graves
Many people visit Graves specifically in Rajab, with the belief that it brings goodness to those there in and it’s an act of greater reward, but there is absolutely nothing in Shari’ah that recommends such an act. There is no such Hadith that states that doing so does entails any reward better than that entailed by visiting Graves on any other ordinary day. So if one is to visit the Grave habitually in Rajab with the intention to remind oneself of Death, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as his intention is not in compliance to the Bid’ah of visiting the Graves specifically in the Sacred Month of Rajab.
7. Celebrating Kunday on 22nd of Rajab
Among the Shi’i (Shi’ah/Shi’ite) doctrine, “Kunday” or “Kunda” is celebrated on 22nd Rajab, it’s their special time where people get together and share breads and special meals are usually placed in clay bowls. This kind of Bid’ah celebration is widely spread in the Asian subcontinent not only amongst the Shi’i doctrine but sadly among many Sunni communities as well, where they even partake in the Bid’ah act of the mourning of Karbala. It is believed that the custom is designed to make isaluth-thawab (to transfer or dedicate the reward of particular good actions to another person – living or deceased) to the soul of Ja’afar as-Sadiq who himself has directed his followers to observe this custom and has promised them that whoever observes it, his desires will be fulfilled. Also termed “Nazr” or “Niaz” meaning offerings in the name of Imam Ja’afar as-Sadiq of the Ahlul Bait. Many people who hold vows to Allah made if a certain problem is resolved will hold Kunday where many further Bid’ah acts of worship takes place. Such an act of worship and distributing special type of sweets among friends, neighbours and relatives after reciting some verses and prayers on them in this Bid’ah of Kunday is based on a fabricated story which has no basis in the Religion of Allah.
Respected brothers and sisters! Our Lord has given us a perfect way of life, perfect rules and perfect guidance in leading our lives and accordingly worshipping Him the way He commanded us to do so, anything added would be us implying that there is something lacking in Islam, and that it is not complete, and it is well known that this leads to great mischief and evil, and goes against what Allah has said:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Qur’an, 5:3]
So let us all welcome the upcoming Sacred Month of Rajab as the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) did and follow the guidelines as was given to us and let us not transgress the limits set upon us all as Muslims.
May Allah, the Almighty, the All-Merciful accept from us all our every good deed and forgive us all of our failings, sins and shortcomings, out of His utmost mercy – Ameen Ya Rabbil Aalamin!
O Allah! We beseech You to show us the way of righteousness together with those to whom You showed it; and to give us good health together with those whom You have healed; and to be our Protector, as You are of those whom You protect; and to bless what You have bestowed on us; and to save us from the affliction that You have decreed –for You rule with justice and You are never judged; and he whom You protect shall never be humiliated and he whom You make Your enemy shall never be elevated. Blessed and dignified are You!
And we thank You for what You have decreed, we ask Your forgiveness and we repent to You. O Allah! Please lead us to the good deeds for no one leads to them but You; please lead us to the good conduct for no one leads to it but You; please make us do well in the religion, which is our dignity, and make our lives good for it is our existence, and grant us safety on the Day of Judgment for it is our Final Destination. Please supply our life with all good things and make our death a rest from every evil.
O our Master, the Lord of all Worlds! Please make us desire what You have made lawful and reject what You have made unlawful, and make us by Your benevolence independent of all others, and make our obedience to You turn us away from our disobedience; and by Your generosity and mercy elevate high the word of rightness and of the religion; lead Islam to victory, and grant Muslims dignity in every place on earth. Show us Your strength against Your enemies. O Allah, the most Generous!
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, the Ever-Living, Who does not die, and Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and Companions.
Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, sent this piece from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.