We pray that all of our readers have blessed Rajab and Shaba’an, and with health and faith reach the blessed month of Ramadan. Tonight in Turkey will be celebrated as ‘Recep kandil’ or the first Thursday night in the month of Rajab, when prayers for the three consecutive holy months are offered. This summer, Rajab, Shaba’an and Ramadan follow most of May, June and July, and the Eid-ul-Fitr (Ramazan Bayram) is expected in early August (August 8th, as calculated by the Turkish government’s religious department, Diyanet). While most Muslims around the world still look up to see the crescent moon in the sky and pray for blessings, we should also be grateful that we have reached this blessed period once again, in health and well-being, blessings that so many other Muslims and non-Muslims alike are deprived of.
If you are reading this, you have a computer, literacy and spare time, blessings which the majority of humanity do not have. Let us consider the blessings of our lives and offer prayers in thanksgiving and gratitude to our common Creator.
Let us briefly look at dua (prayers) and ibadah (prayers) considered more blessed during this month:
`Abd al-Rahman al-Jazai'ri in his book al-Fiqh `ala al-madhahib al-arba` (Islamic law according to the Four Schools) in the chapter entitled "Fasting Rajab, Sha`ban and the Rest of the Holy Months" states:
Fasting the months of Rajab and Sha`ban is recommended (mandub) as agreed upon by three of the Imams, while the Hanbalis differed in that they said fasting Rajab singly is disliked, except if one breaks the fast during it then it is not disliked. Regarding the holy months Dhul Qi`da, Dhul-Hijja, Muharram, and Rajab fasting them is recommended according to three of the Imams, while the Hanafis differed in that they said what is recommended in the Holy months is to fast three days from each of them, which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.(1:557)
HADITHS ON 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:
"It would appear that the meaning inferred by Sa`id ibn Jubayr from Ibn `Abbas' report is that fasting in Rajab is neither forbidden nor considered praiseworthy in itself, rather, the ruling concerning it is the same as the rest of the months."
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."
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentions in Lata’if al-Ma’arif:
The month of Rajab is the key to the months of goodness and blessings that follow it. Abu Bakr b. al-Warraq al-Balkhi said: “Rajab is the month to sow the seeds; Sha’ban is the month to irrigate the crop; and Ramadan is the month to reap the harvest.” It has similarly been related from him: “Rajab is like the wind; Sha’ban is like the water-laden clouds; and Ramadan is like the rain.” Someone else mentioned: “The year in its entirety is like a tree: during Rajab its buds sprout; during Sha’ban it sends forth its branches; during Ramadan its fruit ripens; and the believers are the farmhands who harvest that fruit.”
It is opportune for anyone who has darkened the scroll of their deeds with sins to cleanse it with repentance during this month. Likewise, anyone who has squandered his lifetime without taking advantage of the opportunities to benefit his soul should take advantage of what remains of his life—starting with this month.
A poet said:
So cleanse your darkened hearts within Rajab;
with deeds that spare the soul Hellfire’s wrath.
One of the sacred months has come along;
no one who calls on God will be forlorn.
Heaven is for the one’s who cleanse their hearts
with lewd indecent deeds they’ll have no part.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to do righteous deeds during this month is a source of great gain. While filling each moment of the month worshiping God is a bounteous virtue.
[Imam Zaid continues after quoting ibn Rajab] Let us all take advantage of the weeks that come before the blessed month of Ramadan. If we begin to fast voluntarily now, the fatigue and discomfort that sometimes accompanies the beginning of our obligatory fast will be behind us and we will enter the month with great spiritual momentum. Similarly, if we begin increasing our reading of the Qur’an now we will find it easy to read an even greater amount during the month of Ramadan, a month when we celebrate the revelation of our blessed scripture. An athlete who enters a race with a running start achieves a far faster time than one who starts the race from a stationary position. Let us take advantage of these days to get a running start into Ramadan.
From translator and scholar Amjad Tarsin, a selection from the book Kanz Al-Najah wa As-Suroor (“The Treasures of Success and Happiness”)
The Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, said, “There are five nights in which du’a (supplication) is not rejected: the eve of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha’aban, the eve of Friday, on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr, and on the eve of Eid Al-Adha.” [Al-Suyuti in his Al-Jami'].
On the 27th night of Rajab, the Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, was taken on the Isra wa Mi’raj (The Night Journey and Ascension to the Heavens). This was a great and glorious night, as is known to most Muslims, in which the Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, met his Lord and was given the commandment to perform the 5 daily prayers.
Rajab is one of the four sacred months mentioned in the Quran (the four months are : Rajab, Dhul Qi’da, Dhul Hijjah, and Muharram):Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah's ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them, and fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil). Surah Tawba, ayah 36
Rajab is Allah’s month in which He pours His Mercy upon the penitent and He accepts the actions that people have done for His sake. The Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, said, “Rajab is the month of Allah, and Sha’aban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.” (Imam Al-Suyuti in Al-Jami).
Scholars say: Rajab is the month of repentance (istighfar), and Sha’aban is the month of sending peace and mercy (salawat/durood shareef) upon the Prophet, and Ramadan is the month of Qur’an.
One highly recommended act to do is say 70 times after the Fajr and ‘Isha prayers every morning and night of Rajab:
Transliteration: “Allahuma ighfir li wa Arhamni wa tub ‘alayya.”
Translation: Oh Allah forgive me, have mercy upon me, and grant me repentance.
Sayyidna ‘Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, used to allocate extra amounts of time for worship on four nights – the first night of Rajab, the nights before the two Eids, and the 15th night of Sha’aban.
It is also highly recommended to say the following Prophetic prayer (known as Sayyid Al-Istighfar or the Master of Repentance) 3 times every morning and every evening in Rajab:
Transliteration: "Allahuma anta rabbi la ilaha illa ant, khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduk, wa ana ‘ala ‘ahdika wa wa’adika ma astata’at, ‘authu bika min shar ma san’at, abu’u laka bi ni’matika ‘allaya wa abu’u bi dhanbi, faqhfir li fa’innahu la yaghfir al-dhunub ila anta."
Translation: O Allah, you are my Lord, and there is no god but you. You created me and I am your servant, and I am upon the convenant to the best of my ability. I seek refuge in you from the evil I have brought upon myself. I admit all the blessings you have given me and I admit my sins, so forgive me, for no one can forgive sins save You.
In summation, we pray that these words find blessings and these prayers of ours are accepted, and that our worship and pleas are pleasing to our common Creator. May the suffering and troubles of the believers be eased, and may we all reach the Day of Judgement with smiling faces, raised to see the bliss of our Creator, well-pleased with us.