“Allah Guides to His Light Whom He Wills.” (Surah An-Nur)
1 Rajab 1442 – 13 February 2021
Rajab: A Sacred Month and the Sanctity of Time
Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem.
With the advent of the global pandemic, we must reflect on our use of time and do so more wisely, particularly as many of us are working from home.
In using our time wisely, we have a great opportunity to please Allah (The Most High) by performing acts of worship that are easy and accessible, such as greeting, inquiring and comforting those around us. In addition, engaging in dhikr and maximizing other good acts, such that they might erase all the ill we have done.
As Allah (The Most High) said in Surah Hud (114-115):
Perform your prayers at the edges of the day (meaning morning / evening) and at night, verily good deeds erase the bad; this is a reminder for those who remember Allah.
And be patient, verily Allah does not waste the reward of those who do good.
Time is a great blessing and it is a means for us to get closer to Allah (The Most High), and during this pandemic many a commute time can be transformed into such means.
In addition to time, we must be patient. What we are enduring through the pandemic, loss of life, illness, isolation from loved ones and loneliness are all avenues for us to remember Rasulullah (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) and what He and those around Him endured.
Rasulullah (Peace and Blessings be upon Him), the Companions and, to the greatest extent, His Family (Peace be upon them) suffered enormous hardships, particularly during the embargo of the Quraysh for many years. During this time, they were boycotted and isolatated from the rest of the community, but nonetheless they were spending their time wisely despite the hardship.
And the lonliness and all that we face, it is an opportunity for us to rem how the beloved and the comp, was going through great hardships, esp during embargo of Quraysh which last years, and full boycott from everyone, how they were using their time in those times in that very difficult and hard situations.
As we have now entered the sacred month of Rajab, it would be wise for us to reflect not only on this sacred time but the sanctity of time itself.
Allah (The Most High) wanted good for His creation so He said “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” Allah (Most High) did not say He wanted to make things easy for us, but rather He wanted “ease” for us and all the good!
Allah, Most High, has given us one such good in the form of the four sacred months, as He said:
“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.”
In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) 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, of which four are sacred; three are in succession, namely, Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth one) Rajab which is between Juma and Sha’ban.”
In these sacred months, Allah (The Most High) mentions that no one should be oppressed, including ourselves; Syedina Qatada (May Allah be pleased with him) said that a sin committed in these sacred months is worse than those committed in the rest of year. Although a sin should be avoided in all months, Syedina Qatada (May Allah be pleased with him) is emphasizing the importance of these sacred months.
Allah (The Most High) chose from the people, chose from the angels, chose from places, chose from days, chose from nights and chose from months; and from those months, the sacred months. We say this in a time when people may say why is it important to place emphasize on a given time, place or thing.
Fasting in the Sacred Months
In a Hadith, a man from the tribe of Bahela met the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, along with his tribe, and returned back to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, a year later. Upon his return, the man asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, if he had recognized him, to which the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, responded, “Should I recognize you?”
The man explained that he was from the tribe of Bahela, who had visited a year ago. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, then inquired about his physical appearance, as the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, stated that the man’s appearance was much better last year; the man replied that since their last meeting he had been fasting constantly. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, said:
Fast Ramadan and one day a month
The man: I want more!
Fast Ramadan and two days a month
The man: I want more!
Fast Ramadan and three days a month
The man: I want more!
Fast Ramadan and much from the sacred months – and take leave.
In recalling this Hadith, we learn a number of things:
- We see the mercy of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, in how He interacted with the man and His explanation and prescription to fast, in particular highlighting fasting in the sacred months.
- From the man’s initial introduction, we see how great and dear the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, makes people feel about themselves, such that each person who comes upon His presence feels as if they are the most important and ought to be remembered!
- The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, even remembered what this one man from this particular tribe looked like a year ago!
- The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, is also teaching us that worship is a joy and good, and that there are days where it is worship to fast and there are days where it is worship to eat (i.e. Eid).
Preserving The Good Is Paramount
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, in relation to the sacred months, continually opens our eyes to all that is good, even that good that was done by previous people, and He encourages us to preserve them.
An example of this is the narration regarding the people of the virtuous alliance. This was a group of people who met during jahiliyya (time of ignorance) in the house of Abdullahi ibn Jadaal. During this meeting, they agreed not to allow anyone to be oppressed in Makkah and to uphold the rights of those who were oppressed. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, was present at this meeting as a young child.
After all the good the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, witnessed, including Isra wal Miraj, the Hijrah and the opening of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, still remembered the day of the virtuous alliance and said that one of the greatest things that He remembered from jahaliyya was the people of the virtuous alliance. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, continued by saying if someone were to do something similar, He would support it.
In this, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, is telling us the preservation of all that is good is paramount.
As such, the Arabs used to stop fighting during the sacred four months, and the sanctity of these sacred months was confirmed by Allah, Most High, and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, and included as part of Shar’iah. The observation of the Arabs during these may have been related or influenced by the people and practice related to Syedina Ibrahim peace be upon him, or, as some historians suggest, the sacredness of these months could also be partially explained by the proximity of Hajj to three of the sacred months.
In another example, the Sahaba asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, regarding the Arab practice of respecting the station of Ibrahim peace be upon him, which was the place Ibrahim ,peace be upon him, stood while observing the building progress of the Ka’ba. The Sahaba, who were expecting a response from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, we responded to directly by Allah, Most High, when He said:
“…And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer…”
The Sahaba also asked about the observations of the Arabs with regards to the mounts of Safa and Marwa, (in between which Syeda Hajr, May Allah be pleased with her, ran in prayer) asking if it was permissible to continue such practices, to which Allah, Most High, responded:
“Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs ‘umrah – there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers good – then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing.”
The Sahaba, in asking about the previous practices of the Arabs, may have thought that anything observed before the deen may need to be expunged, however, to the contrary, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, taught them that anything that has good and does not contradict our deen, can and should be preserved, supported and honoured.
Preparing for Ramadan
Syedina Anas ibn Malik , May Allah be pleased with him, narrated that when Rajab came, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, would say:
“Oh Allah, put blessing for us in Rajab and Shaban, and bless for us Ramadan.”
From this we understand that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon Him, wanted us to prepare for Ramadan from the beginning of Rajab and that is why the Saliheen used to say:
Remove all sin and transgression in Rajab, as it is the month of istighfar.
Do much by way of worship in Shaban as it is the month of hard work (Syeda Aisha, May Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, used to fast more in this month than any other month outside of Ramadan).
And reap the blessings in Ramadan, as it is the month of good and baraka.
If we prepare, then, inshAllah, we will be ready to receive the blessing.
Let us make dua to remove the hardship we are currently facing and to accept those who have passed away as martyrs (shuhada), and may Allah (The Most High) make it easy for the families who have lost loved ones. May Allah (The Most High) grant us all patience, may He cure the ill, and may He make it easy for everyone around the world, particularly the poorer nations who may not have the means to deal with the pandemic.
May Allah (The Most High) make us from the from the Patient Ones, may He purify our heart and intentions, and may He bless us with the greatest of manners in anticipating and receiving the months to come.
Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
1 Rajab 1442
- Surah Al-Baqarah “185”
- Surah At-Tawbah “36”
- Bukhari “4406”
- Abu Dawud “2428”
- Al-Badr Almunier “7/325”
- Surah Al-Baqarah (125)
- in Surah Al-Baqarah (158)
- Zawaid Almusnad: “2346” Shu’ab al Iman: 3/1399