The Sacred month of Rajab
The sacred months are Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab.
These months have different rights from the other months. There are obligatory acts that we should act upon different from other months.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat at-Tawbah (9:36):
” إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ “
“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. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein.”
The Sunnah specified these four sacred months, as reported by al-Bukhari and narrated by Abu Bakrah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, four of which are sacred, three of them are in succession: Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which is between Jumadath-Thaniyah and Sha’ban.”
Whenever you hear the term Hurum, Muharram or Haraam then, you should know that it is the something which one should respect and maintain and should not transgress against whether they are rights of people, honor, times, places, etc.
e.g. sanctuary of Makkah (Haram of Makkah) means we should respect this area.
e.g. properties of people, we should give it to its owners.
These months are called sacred to emphasize:
1- Their great sanctity (sacredness) and great rights with Allah.
2- The prohibition of committing sins in them because Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said:
“فَلاَ تَظْلِمُواْ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ”
“So wrong not yourselves therein,”
Meaning during these sacred months, for sinning in them is worse than sinning in other months. Likewise, sins in the sacred city are written multiplied. As Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Hajj (22:25):
“ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ فِيهِ بِإِلْحَادٍ بِظُلْمٍ نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ “
“And whoever inclines to evil actions therein (in Makkah) or to do wrong, him We shall cause to taste from a painful torment.”
Mujahid said: “This is one of the unique features of Al-Haram, that the person who is about to do some evil action should be punished if this is his intention, even if he has not yet commenced the action.”
Ibn Masud (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) commented about this verse and said: “If a man intends to do some evil action therein, Allah will make him taste a painful torment.” [At-Tabari]
Similarly, sin in general is worse during the sacred months.
Ibn Ábbas (Rahimahullaah) said: “Allah’s Statement ‘Verily, the number of months with Allah…’, is connected to ‘So wrong not yourselves therein,’ in all (twelve) months. Allah then chose four out of these months and made them sacred, emphasizing their sanctity, making sinning in them greater, in addition to multiplying the rewards of righteous deeds during them.”
Injustice during the sacred months is worse and graver than injustice in other months. Verily, injustice is always wrong, but Allah makes things graver than others as He wills. Therefore, sanctify what Allah has sanctified, for doing so is the practice of people of understanding and comprehension.” [Statement of Qatadah]
What is our belief regarding the sacred months?
1- Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) made sinning in them greater than any other month.
This does not mean that sinning in other months is allowable. Whatever Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) made unlawful is forbidden upon us to violate at all times, but Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) magnified and honored the sanctity of these months above all other months. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) particularized sinning with magnification as He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) particularized and honored these months with sanctity. Likewise, when He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Baqarah (2:238):
“حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَى”
“Guard strictly the (five obligatory) prayers especially the middle (i.e. the Asr) prayer.”
Undoubtedly, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) commands us to maintain and guard strictly the five obligatory prayers and He does not make it permissible to abandon them when He commands us to maintain the middle (Asr) prayer, but He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) honors the middle prayer and emphasizes its importance when He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) mentions it separately.” [Tabari]
2- On the other hand, He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) made the reward for good deeds greater and multiplied, and this applies to every noble, meritorious (virtuous) time, place, etc…
3- We should believe that Allah is All-Wise (Hakeem) in choosing certain months over other months. What is required from us is acceptance and submission.
Qatadah said: “Allah has chosen some of His creation above others. He chose Messengers from angels and from men. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) also chose His Speech above all speech, the Masajid above other areas of the earth, Ramadan and the sacred months above all months, Friday above the other days and Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) above all nights. So we should sanctify whatever Allah has sanctified.”
What is the meaning of sinning in them being greater than any other month?
It means that the punishment for it is very great. The evidence for that is Surat al-Baqarah (2:217).
What is the meaning of the reward being multiplied?
It means, as if one performed the good deeds many times. Al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab said about the sanctity of Makkah, that group of the Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) used to avoid living in Makkah out of fear of falling into a sin therein.
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) used to say: “It is more beloved to me to commit 70 sins than committing one sin in Makkah.”
The greater sin is that which is committed in the sacred month and in the sacred town (Makkah).
What is required from the person who enters the sacred month ?
“فَلاَ تَظْلِمُواْ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ”
“Don’t wrong yourselves therein.”
What is the meaning of “wrong oneself”?
Imam Tabari said: It means, do not disobey Allah therein, by committing sins or making lawful whatever Allah has made unlawful, so you will earn what causes the wrath of Allah upon yourselves. Ibn Zaid said, ‘Don’t wrong yourselves therein,’ means by committing sins and abandoning His obedience.’”[Tafsir at-Tabari]
- Try your best to perform and perfect the obligatory acts of worship (Salat, Siyam, etc…).
- Abide by the limits of Allah.
- Avoid the prohibitions.
- Give back the rights of the people.
- Be fair with people and give them their rights, and remember that one day you will meet Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and He will take account of you.
- Avoid committing Shirk (all kinds of Shirk).
- Enjoin the Ma’ruf (all kinds of good) and forbid the Munkar (all kinds of evil) (at least with the heart).
Every time you encounter a sin (or are exposed to a sin) and you avoid it magnifying Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), and you deny it with your heart (at least), you will attain a great reward by this action.
- Avoid the sins of the heart, specially the major sins of the heart, such as Kibr (pride), suspicion, thinking bad about Allah, hypocrisy, don’t deceive Allah [Mukhada’ah of Allah] [e.g., you say to a person, “I forgive you,” and still you bear malice in your heart (this is a kind of deception and one of the characters of the hypocrites)].
- One should be afraid of the prohibitions and the means that lead to them, for example, looking at Haraam (prohibited matters), Ghiba (backbiting), etc.
Another way to sanctify the sacred months is to return to Allah in repentance. Repent repeatedly in this virtuous time. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) used to ask Allah forgiveness more than 70 times a day.
Watch your heart. Bear in mind that the sins vary in their greatness according to what is established in the heart. Don’t belittle the minor sins. The minor sins will become major by persisting in committing them.
- Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Layl (chapter 92) that He will make the means to Yusra (i.e. the doing of righteous deeds) for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him, and believes in Al-Husna [either La ilaha illa Allah or reward from Allah (i.e. Allah will compensate him for what he will spend in Allah’s way or bless him with Paradise)]. Giving in charity or spending generally is a means of nearness to Allah. It is not a matter of money or you have or don’t have money; the good word is an act of charity. Don’t belittle small good deeds.
- Prostrate profusely to Allah, by offering the Salat. Seek nearness to Allah by magnifying the Salat, especially the obligatory prayers; then take care of the voluntary prayers.
- Remember Allah continuously, specially by reciting the Qur’an.
- Doing good to the people.
- Dealing with people with patience.
When performing all the acts of worship, don’t let your heart turn from Allah to others, and seek help from Allah
إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين
“You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help”
What should we magnify?
1- Hurumat-Allah. The prohibitions and everything that has sanctity
The greatest prohibition is Shirk and its kinds, not only by avoiding it, one should fear for himself to commit it, and deny for himself to think about it, and if he passes by it committed by someone else, he should be in awe of it.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) says in Surat al-Hajj (22:30):
“ وَمَنْ يُعَظِّمْ حُرُمَاتِ اللَّهِ “
“Whoever honors the sacred things of Allah”
This means, whoever avoids disobeying Allah and does not transgress that which is sacred, and regards committing sins as a very serious matter,
“ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَهُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِ “
“Then that is better for him with his Lord”
Which means, he will attain much good and a great reward for doing that. Just as the one who does acts of obedience will earn a great reward, so too, the one who avoids sin will earn a great reward. [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]
2- Sha‘a‘ir-Allah. The Commands of Allah that He ordered us to honor by performing them as an act of worship or rites of religion, and all what Allah ordered us with.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Hajj (25:32):
“ ذَلِكَ وَمَنْ يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ “
“And whoever honors the Sha’a’ir of Allah,”
which means, His Commands:
فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ
“Then it is truly from the Taqwa of the hearts”
Shaikh as-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “The meaning of Sha‘a’ir is the apparent symbols of Islam, of them the rites of Hajj, as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Baqarah (2:158):
“ إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ “
“Verily, Safa and Marwa are of the Sha’a’ir of Allah.”
Also of the Sha’a’ir is the sacrificial animals, etc…
Magnifying these Sha‘a’ir, is by honoring them, performing them, and perfecting them as much as the slave can do, especially when it comes to offering sacrifices. Al-Hakim said narrating from Miqsam, from Ibn ‘Abbas: ” Honoring them means choosing fat, healthy animals (for sacrifices).” Abu Umamah bin Sahl said: ‘We used to fatten the Udhiyah in al-Madinah, and the Muslims used to fatten them.’ [This was recorded by al-Bukhari].
Accordingly, honoring and magnifying the Symbols (Sha‘a’ir) of Allah is a result of piety of the heart. The one who magnifies these symbols proves his piety and the correctness of his faith; because he magnifies Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and accordingly he magnifies these Symbols.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
- Tayseer al-Kareem
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir
- Tafsir at-Tabari