Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 9 Safar 1440

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Rajab: A month to prepare

Rajab: A month to prepare

      It is well known within our sacred scriptures that God has ordained some months to be more sacred than others. The Islamic tradition is filled with sacred times and sacred places. For example, the house of God - the Ka’aba - is one of the most sacred places in the world. There also exist sacred times like the hour on the day of Friday in which supplications are said to be answered without condition.

One of these sacred and beautiful times is the blessed month of Rajab. God (Glory be to Him) tells us, “Indeed, the number of months with God is twelve [lunar] months in the register of God [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that God is with the righteous [who fear Him]” (Quran 9:36). The Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him) identifies which of these twelve months are to be considered sacred when he said, "Time has come back to its original state which it had when God created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa'da, Dhul-Hijja and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumad (ath-thani) and Sha'ban" (Bukhari).

This is a month of immense blessings and merit, so much so that the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings upon him) would make it a point of fasting frequently in this month, and advised others to do so as well. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Hussein Al Bayhaqi (God raise his rank) in his book, The Virtuous Times, speaks on the virtues of the month of Rajab. In it he says, “The people of the days of Ignorance (Jahalliyah) were known for showing reverence in these sacred months, and they would extol the month of Rajab more than others. In this month they would forbid upon themselves any fighting (against the other tribes)” (Fadaail Al Awqat, 81). It was also called the month of silence because in it you would not hear the sounds of swords being sheathed or meeting each other in battle. The point here is that even prior to the coming of Islamic Sharia, this month was known for its benefits and celestial benefits.

In highlighting the beauty of this month there is a hadith that is classified as weak, however, due to it speaking on the benefits of this month we will mention it here. Weak narrations with no legal rulings attached to them are permissible to quote. Ibn Jawzi pens in his work which is comprised of weak narrations that the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings upon him) is said to have said, “In Paradise there is a river called Rajab, it’ water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. Whoever fasts a single day from this month, God will have him drink from this river.”

The need to highlight the above hadith is to indicate to you, the reader, the importance of taking part in this month. There are times that many take for granted, and spend very little time seeking God’s pleasure within. Months such as Rajab should not be among those months where we display our heedlessness, but instead they should be months that prepare us for the mercy of the Divine. Anas ibn Malik (May God be pleased with him) states that whenever the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings upon him) would enter the month of Rajab he would pray, “Oh God bless us in Rajab, and Sha’ban, and allow us to reach the month of Ramadan” (narrated by Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi, and Imam Ahmad).

In this blessed month we are aware that our good deeds are more virtuous in the eyes of God, and our sins are deemed worse than in any other month. It is in this month whereby the submitter to the Divine should strive to cultivate God-consciousness (taqwa) in all of their actions, in an effort to prepare themselves for the greatest month, and gift bestowed upon mankind, that of Ramadan. Many scholars liken Rajab to a month where we plant the seeds of good actions and God-consciousness in an effort to benefit from the harvest which takes place in the blessed month of Ramadan. Part of keeping one’s heart alive is to be aware of the times of spiritual benefit; this blessed month of Rajab is said to be the month when the Prophet (God’s peace and blessings upon him) ascended to the heavens, a night that is revered and commemorated on the 27th night of Rajab. When one's heart is aware of the marvelous blessings to be found in this month, that knowledge becomes a means of awakening it to the Bestower of those blessings. When one's limbs begin to act on the inclinations of this now informed heart, they incline towards good, towards righteousness, towards Paradise in which they aim to find refuge and rest within. We ask God to grant us this informed heart, a heart that calls our limbs to good actions, and ultimately, into the Paradise that He has created for His devoted servants.