Once again the Islamic world is preparing to welcome the three sacred months. The months of Rajab and Sha'ban hold a special place for believers due to the praise they receive in the Holy Qur'an and the hadith, as well as the fact that they herald the arrival of the month of Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave glad tidings about this period of time, saying, "The month of Rajab is Allah's month, while the month of Sha'ban is my month and the month of Ramadan is my ummah's (follower's) month"; it is also the season for the holy nights which herald enlightenment.
The Holy Nights
The first Thursday night of the month of Rajab is the Night of Ragaib.
The word Ragaib is derived from the word Raghba meaning wanting, desiring or attuning one's self with desire The night of Ragaib is when when Allah Almighty opens up the doors of mercy and thus His forgiveness and kindness will be desired by His servants.
The night of the 26th of Rajab (which falls on Sunday, July 19th, this year) is the night on which Prophet Muhammad arrived at the threshold of Allah with a sacred night journey; the night of Miraj... this is when the doors of mercy are once again opened up in full. The night of Miraj - this is the night on which Prophet Muhammad returned with the gift of prayers, which in turn facilitate our [own personal] journey...
And again, the beloved Prophet of Allah Almighty says: "There are five nights on which supplications made [by servants] are never left unanswered: The first Friday of Rajab, the night in the middle of Sha'ban, Fridays and the nights of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha."
The night of Bera'a (which will fall on Wednesday August 5th this year), is in the middle of Sha'ban and marks the beginning of the revelation of the Holy Qur'an. This is a night on which a divine calling will echo until the break of dawn; "Is there no one who will ask forgiveness from me? Let me forgive. Is there no one who wants sustenance? Let me bestow it. Is there no one asking for a cure? Allow me to cure."
The month on which celestial tables are set
"A Muslim is called to a spiritual festival for one month every year. The are called to be reborn, to elevate themselves and to be healed..." Fasting is a spiritual festival in which a believer partakes for one month every year. "It is a supernatural feast, a celestial table to which distinguished people are invited," says Sezai Karakoç about the month of Ramadan, the final stop on the year-long spiritual journey. This month, in which those who have put the blessings of this world aside are awarded at celestial tables, is host to Laila'tul Qadr, the Night of Power; a night that is more beneficial than a thousand nights.
Heed his message
The three sacred months are like a chain of opportunities for us.
They are an opportunity for us to eliminate our feelings of loneliness despite the crowds, and to remind of us of our social responsibilities in a time when we have almost forgotten how to share; they are a time that will allow us to develop a sense of empathy...
They are an opportunity for us to remind others of all that we have forgotten while we struggle through life, a chance to enrich our spirit though worship, an action that will carry the refreshing effect of solace to our emotional worlds.
They are an opportunity for the expansion and relief of our spirits that are caught up in the chaos of daily life...
Most importantly, they are an incomparable opportunity for us to purify ourselves.
During this joyful time, while the excitement of welcoming this season slowly overcomes us, it is time to utter the following, as our Prophet did when he greeted these holy months,
ا للهم با رك لنا فى رجب و شعبان و بلغنا رمضان
"Allahumma baraklana fee Rajab wa Sha'ban wa bal ghan'a Ramadan"
"Oh Allah, make sacred for us the months of Rajab and Sha'ban! And reunite us with Ramadan."