Friday, July 13, 2007

The Sacred of Rejab

Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Description:  Allah favors certain times and places over others, and thus ordained Rejab as one of the four Sacred Months. Al-Munajjid shed lights on the special Practices performed during this month and the ruling of such innovations. Let us share them.

Allah Says: “And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses” (Al-Qasas: 68).

The attribute of choosing or selecting is indicative of His Lordship and Oneness, and the perfection of His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power.

One aspect of His Will is the fact that He has chosen some days and months and given them preference over others. Among the months, Allah has chosen four which He has made sacred, as He says:

“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was 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…” (At-Tawbah: 36).

These months are calculated according to the movements of the moon, not the movements of the sun, as done by the kuffar.

The Sacred Months are mentioned by implication in the Qur’an, but their names are not given. Their names are mentioned as well in the Sunnah. It was reported from Abu Bakrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet SAW gave his Farewell Sermon and said:

“Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months – Dzul-Qa’edah, Dzul-Hijjah and Muharram – and the Rejab of Mudar which comes between Jumadilakhir and Sha’aban.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

It was called Rejab of Mudar because (the tribe of) Mudar did not tamper with its timing, unlike the rest of the Arabs, who used to change their order depending on whether they were in a state of war or not. This was the postponing referred to in the verse, which means:

“The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allah, and make such forbidden ones lawful.” (At-Tawbah: 37)

It was also said that the reason why it was attributed to Mudar was because they venerated it and respected it so much.

The Reason Why It Is Called Rejab

Ibn Faris said, ‘The letters Ra’, jeem and ba’ form a root which indicates supporting and strengthening something with another thing. Hence the phrase “Rajabtu’l-shay’” means I venerated it. It was called Rajab because they used to venerate it, and it is also established in Syari’ah’.

The people of the Jahiliyyah used to call Rajab Munssil al-Asinnah (the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off), as it was reported that Abu Raja’ al-‘Ataridi said: ‘We would worship a rock, then if we found a better rock we would throw the first one aside and take up the other. If we could not find a rock, we would make a pile of dirt, then we would bring a ewe and milk it over the pile of dirt, then we would do tawaf around it. When the month of Rejab came, we would say Munassil al-Asinnah (the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off), and we would not leave any spear or arrow that had an iron piece in it but we would take the metal head off and put it aside during the month of Rejab. (Bukhari)

Al-Bayhaqi r.a said: ‘The people of the jahiliyyah used to respect these sacred months, especially the month of Rajab, and they would not fight during this month’.

Rejab is a Sacred Month

The Sacred months have a special status, which applies also to Rejab. Allah says: “O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month…” (Al-Ma’idah: 2).

It means that: Do not violate their sanctity which Allah has commanded you to respect and forbidden you to violate, for this prohibition includes both vile deeds and beliefs.

And Allah also Says: “ so wrong not yourselves therein…” (At-Tawbah: 36).

It means: In the Sacred Months. The translated here as “therein” refers to these four sacred months, as stated by the Imam of the Mufassirin, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, may Allah have mercy on him.

It is incumbent to pay attention to the sanctity of these four months, because Allah has singled them out as a special status and has forbidden us to commit sins out of respect for their holiness. Sins committed at this time are even worse, because Allah has made this time sacred. Hence in the verse quoted above, Allah has specified this time and forbidden us to wrong ourselves - which includes committing sins - even though this is forbidden during all the months of the year.

Fighting During the Sacred Months

Allah says: “They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months. Say: fighting therein is a great (transgression)…” (Al-Baqarah: 217).

The majority of scholars state that (the prohibition of) fighting in the sacred months is abrogated by the verse: “Then when the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikien wherever you find them…” (At-Tawbah: 5), and other verses and reports, which are general in application and which include commands to fight the disbelievers.

Others say: it is not permissible to initiate fighting during the sacred months, but it is permissible to continue and conclude fighting, if it started at a different time. The fighting of the Prophet SAW against the people of Ta’if is interpreted in this manner, because the fighting had begun at Hunaiyn in Shawwal.

However the above does not apply to fighting in self-defense. If the enemy attacks the Muslim lands, it is obligatory for its inhabitants to defend themselves, whether it happens during a sacred month or not.

Al-‘Ateerah (A Kind of Sacrifice)

During the Jahiliyyah, the Arabs used to slaughter a sacrifice during Rejab as an act of worship towards their idols. When Islam came teaching that sacrifices were to be offered only to Allah, this deed of the Jahiliyyah was abolished. The fuqaha’ differed as to the rulings on offering sacrifices during Rejab. The majority of Hanafis, Malikis and Hanbalis stated that the sacrifice of Al-‘Ateerah was abrogated. Their evidence was the hadith narrated Abu Hurayrah, May Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet SAW said: “There is no Fir’ and no ‘Ateerah”, (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Shafi’es said that al-‘Ateerah had not been abrogated, and they regarded it as mustahabb (recommended). This was also the view of Ibn Sireen.

Ibn Hajar said: ‘This is supported by the hadith narrated by Nubayshah r.a who said: ‘A man called out to the Messenger of Allah SAW saying: We used to offer the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah during the Jahiliyyah in the month of Rajab. What do you command us to do?’ The Prophet SAW said, “Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…” (Abu Dawud, Nisaa’i and others)

Ibn Hajar said: ‘the Messenger of Allah SAW did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab’.

Fasting in Rejab

There is no authentic report from the Prophet SAW or from the Sahabah to indicate that there is any particular virtue in fasting during Rejab. The fasting that is prescribed in Rejab is the same as that prescribed in other months, namely fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and the three days of al-Beedh (the mid three days of the lunar month), fasting alternate days, and fasting Sirar al-Shahr. Some of the scholars said that Sirar al-Shahr refers to the beginning of the month; others said that it refers to the middle or end of the month. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, May Allah be pleased with him, used to forbid fasting in Rejab because it involved resemblance to the Jahiliyyah. It was reported that Kharashah Ibn Al-Harr said: ‘I saw ‘Umar smacking the hands of those who fast in Rejab until they reached out for food, and he was saying, 'This is a month which was venerated in the Jahiliyyah’.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: ‘The Prophet SAW did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rejab, Sha’aban and Ramadhan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month’.

Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said: ‘No sahih hadith that may be used as evidence has been narrated concerning the virtues of the month of Rejab or fasting this month or fasting in any specific part of it, or observing Qiyam al-Layl (night prayer) specifically during this month. Imam Abu Isma’il al-Harawi al-Hafiz has already stated this before me, and we have narrated this from others also’.

‘Umrah in Rejab

The Hadith indicate that the Prophet SAW did not do ‘Umrah during Rejab, as it was narrated that Mujahid said: ‘‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr and I entered the mosque, and there was ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar sitting near the room of ‘Aishah, May Allah be pleased with her. He was asked, “How many times did the Messenger of Allah SAW do ‘Umrah?” He said, “Four times, and one of them was in Rejab.” We did not want to argue with him. We could hear ‘Aishah brushing her teeth (i.e., the sound of the miswak) in her room. ‘Urwah said, “O Mother of the Believers, did you not hear what Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan is saying?” She said, “What is he saying?” He said, “He is saying that the Messenger of Allah SAW did ‘Umrah four times, one of them in Rejab.” She said, “May Allah have mercy on Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, (the Prophet SAW) never did ‘Umrah but he witnessed it (i.e., he was present with him), and he never did ‘Umrah during Rejab.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

It was reported by Muslim that Ibn ‘Umar heard this and did not say yes or no. Al-Nawawi said: ‘the fact that Ibn ‘Umar remained silent when ‘Aishah denied what he said indicates that he was confused, or had forgotten, or was uncertain. Hence it is an innovated bid’ah to single out Rejab for making ‘Umrah and to believe that doing ‘Umrah in Rejab has a specific virtue. Nothing to that effect has been narrated, besides the fact that the Prophet SAW is not reported to have made ‘Umrah during Rajab at all’.

Shaikh ‘Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-‘Attar said: One of the things that I have heard about the people of Makkah – may Allah increase it in honor – is that they do ‘Umrah frequently during Rejab. This is something for which I know of no basis, all I know is that it was reported in the hadith that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: “'Umrah in Ramadhan is equivalent to Hajj.”

Shaikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim, said: ‘As for singling out some of the days of Rejab for any kind of good deed, ziyarah (visiting the House of Allah, the Ka’abah) or anything else, there is no basis for this, because Imam Abu Shamah stated in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Hawadith: Specifying acts of worship at times that were not specified by syari’ah is wrong; no time is to be regarded as better than any other except in cases where the syari’ah gave preference to a certain act of worship at a certain time, or stated that any good deed done at this time is better than good deeds done at other times. Hence the scholars denounced the practice of singling out the month of Rejab for doing ‘Umrah frequently’.

But if a person goes for ‘Umrah during Rejab without believing that this has any particular virtue and because it is just a coincidence that it is easier for him to go at this time, then there is nothing wrong with that.

Bid’ah and Innovations in the Month of Rejab

Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. The Prophet SAW did not die until after the religion had been perfected. Allah Says:

“…This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” (Al-Ma’idah: 3)

It was reported that ‘Aishah, May Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Messenger of Allah SAW said:

“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Bukhaari & Muslim)

According to a report by Muslim: “Whoever does an action which is not a part of this matter of ours, will have it rejected.”

Some Innovated Practices in Rejab

1. Solat al-Ragha’ib. This prayer became widespread after the first and best centuries after the death of the Prophet SAW especially in the fourth century AH. This prayer was fabricated, which is done on the first night of Rajab.  Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy on him, said: ‘Solat al-Ragha’ib is bid’ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Malik, al-Shaf’ie, Abu Hanifah, al-Thawri, al-‘Uza’i, al-Layth and others. The hadith that is narrated concerning it is not correct according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadith’.

2. It is said to have been reported that major events happened in the month of Rejab. It was reported that the Prophet SAW was born on the first night of Rejab, and that he received his Mission on the twenty-seventh, or twenty-fifth of this month. None of this is correct. It was reported with a chain of narrators that is not authentic from Al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad that the Prophet’s Night Journey (al-Isra’) took place on the twenty-seventh of Rejab. This was denied by Ibrahim Al-Harbi and others.

One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi’raj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rejab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyamulial prayer during the night or fasting during certain days, rejoicing with Allah’s promise extra benefits in Hearafter based on some Hadiths. Some celebrations are accompanied by haram activities such as mixing of men and women, singing and music, etc. all of which are not permitted even on the two ‘Eids which are prescribed in Islam, let alone innovated celebrations.

Added to that is the fact that there is no proof that the Isra’ and Mi’raj happened on this date. Even if it were proven, that is no excuse for holding celebrations on this date, because nothing of the kind has been reported from the Prophet SAW or from his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, or from any of the Salaf (early generations) of this nation. If it were a good thing, they would surely have done it before us..

3. Solat Umm Dawud halfway through Rejab.

4. The dua’s which are recited specifically during Rejab are all fabrications and innovations.

5. Specifying the visiting of graves to the month of Rejab is bid’ah, because graves are to be visited at any time of the year with no exceptions.

But, the best way is to constantly enhance the virtuous deeds and become the People of Truth and Muttaqun avoiding the prohibitions and performed the acts of obedience. May Allah help us.

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