The Month of Rajab
Rajab means honor and respect. Pre-Islamic Arabs used to deem the month of Rajab important and they used to respect and extol it. When the month of Rajab arrived, they used to put their swords back in their sheaths and their deep and bloody enmities used to be covered under a temporary curtain of peace. Those noisy and terrifying deserts used to be covered by the peaceful atmosphere of a sweet spring and all places used to turn into fields of safety and security. Even when someone came across the killer of his father, he would not raise his head to look at him. The reason why this month was called the “deaf month” is that it is a season of peace.
Another reason why the month of Rajab is called the deaf month is explained as follows:
Allah chooses not to hear people’s sins committed within this month and their faults and He only witnesses believers’ worship and good deeds, for the sake of this month. Thus, Allah the Glorious forgives His believing servants’ sins which they commit in this month.
They continued to respect the month of Rajab when Islam emerged too. Especially, it was honored with manifestations such as Raghaib and Miraj.
The Honorable Messenger (pbuh) said in his supplications:
My Allah! Make Rajab and Sha’ban good and blessed for us; and let us reach Ramadan. (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 2/90).
Rajab is also called “the month of rajm (stoning to death)”. According to this, demons are stoned in this month; they are chased away. The letter “R” in the word Rajab alludes to Allah’s mercy (rahmah), “J” alludes to His generousness and help, and “B” alludes to His birr (goodness and offerings).
The reason why the month of Rajab is called “mutahhar (cleaned)” is that the ones who spend this month by fasting are purified from their sins and faults. The month of Rajab has got an important place in the history of prophets. For instance, Prophet Noah and his people boarded on the ark and saved themselves from the flood in the month of Rajab.
The month of Rajab is the seventh one of the Hijri months and it is two months before Ramadan. It is important because of its virtuousness. The fact that it includes holy nights such as Raghaib and Miraj increases its virtuousness. Moreover, the fact that it is one of the forbidden months mentioned in the Quran increases its position in Muslim hearts.
The month of Rajab is the first month of the season which is known as “three holy months”. Badiuzzaman, who calls them “months of worship with lots of rewards”, points out that they are a means of elevation for people, enabling believers to advance in thawabs:
“For if the reward yielded by good works at other times are tenfold, in the month of Rajab they are more than a hundredfold, in Sha‘ban they exceed three hundredfold, and in Ramadan they reach a thousand fold, while on Fridays in Ramadan they reach thousands and on the Night of Power may reach thirty thousand.” (Şualar (The Rays), p.491)
According to this, worshipping, good deeds and services performed in the month of Rajab yield a hundredfold rewards per one of them. For this reason, believers make more efforts to increase their shares in this month. They focus on good deeds more.
Some wise scholars have said the following about the month of Rajab:
- Rajab is for forsaking the hardships and unjust treatment; Sha’ban is for good deeds and loyalty; and Ramadan is for faithfulness and ease.
- Rajab is the month of repentance and regret; Sha’ban is the month of affection and Ramadan is the month of closeness to Allah.
- Rajab is the month of respect, Sha’ban is the month of service and Ramadan is the month of boons.
- Rajab is the month of worshipping, Sha’ban is the month of quitting worldly delights and Ramadan is the month which increases the rewards of worships.
The supreme Sufi, Zunnun Misri, says:
Rajab is the month of planting. Sha’ban is the month of watering and Ramadan is the month of harvesting. Everyone harvests what they plant. If one quits planting, he regrets it when the time for harvest arrives. And he will be in a very bad situation on the Day of Judgment. (Abdulqadir Gaylani, Üç aylar ve Faziletleri (The Blessed Three Months and Their Virtue)s)
Another difference between the month of Rajab and other months is fasting. One should try to fast more in this month as much as possible. In Abu Dawud, it is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said to a man who fasted without a break in this month:
"Fast some of the forbidden months and do not fast some of them. Fast and give a break in forbidden months, Fast and give a break in forbidden months." (Abu Dawud, Sawm, 54)
Then the Companion, who is the narrator of this hadith, continues as follows:
“The Messenger of Allah folded three fingers of his while saying ‘fast’ and unfolded them when he said ‘give a break’.” Thus, it is understood that the Prophet told him “to fast for three days and then give a break of three days.”
As it is known, the forbidden months are “Dhul-qada, Dhul-hijjah, Muharram and Rajab”. The reason why it was found inappropriate to fast the whole of Rajab is to avoid making the months of Rajab and Sha’ban resemble the month of Ramadan. This is because fasting a whole month without any breaks is exclusive to the month of Ramadan only. Some Mujtahids such as Imam Ghazali and Ibni Qayyim al-Jawzi say that fasting the whole of the month of Rajab is not even mandub. They find fasting the whole Rajab without break makruh, so that it would not resemble the month of Ramadan. (Ihya, 1/237; Zadu’l-maad, 2764).
It is advised to fast in the middle of the month of Rajab or on specific days or by giving breaks of three days, like in other months.
As it is seen, there is not a hadith or narration about fasting the whole Rajab. Fasting the blessed three months without any breaks is neither sunnah nor mustahab. It is only a nice tradition of righteous people. Those who want to fast the whole of Rajab cannot be discouraged, yet it is necessary to state its jurisprudential judgment.
By the way, the months of Rajab and Sha’ban are a good opportunity for those who broke the fast of a day in Ramadan to compensate for it. If they fast the two months without any breaks beginning from the first day of Rajab to the last day of Sha’ban, it will compensate for the fasting of one Ramadan day. As the month of Ramadan follows these two months, they happen to fast three months without missing a single day. In this situation, they both compensate for their broken fasting and fill their treasure of thawabs.
Since the month of Rajab is a month in which the sins are forgiven, it is essential to know the way of being forgiven and how to repent. According to narration, one’s sins are forgiven when he recites the following repentance supplication seven times in the month of Ramadan:
“Astaghfirullaha'l-Azima'lladhi la ilaha illa hu al-Hay-yu'1-Qayyumu wa atubu ilayh. Tawbata abdin zalimin li-nafsihi la-yamliku li-nafsihi mawtan wala hayatan wala nushura.”
Translation: “I wish for Allah’s forgiveness, who is the owner of life, who controls everything and makes all things work, there is no god but He. I repent to Him like the repentance of a servant who wronged his own self, such a servant that cannot control his own death, life or resurrection.” (Majmuatu’l ahzab, 1/599)
The blessed three months are each a season of supplication. We learn the most beautiful supplications primarily from the Companions and other Islamic scholars. It is narrated that Hazrat Ali supplicated in the month of Rajab as follows:
“O Allah, bless Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his family, who are the stars of wisdom and source of continuous boons and honor.”
“O Allah, protect me from all kinds of evil. Do not make me forgetful and do not let me be heedless. And do not let me end in longing and regrets. Be pleased and content with me. Your forgiveness is for wrongdoers, and I wronged my own self.”
“O Allah, forgive me; You will lose nothing by forgiving me. Bless your boons upon me; your blessings are not decreased when you bless them upon me. Your mercy is so wide and abundant. And your wisdom is nice and beautiful.”
“O Allah, make me healthy and well. Bless safety and peace upon me. Let me reach thankfulness and taqwa.”
“O Allah, I ask for patience and righteousness from You. Ease my works. Do not make me encounter hardships in my works. Bless my family, children and siblings. Make them believers and Muslims and let them depart the world in that way.”
And some scholars from Salaf supplicated in the month of Rajab as follows:
“O Allah, I am supplicating to You with my sorrowful heart, with the supplication of Your beloved ones whose wishes You accepted. I am asking from You with the words of those who seek for Your content. I wish from Your Greatness to let me know You and worship You.”
“O Lord, let me benefit from the mercy and abundance of this night.”
“O Allah, You give whatever You wish to whomever You wish. Who can prevent You from giving boons to them? I am a poor and weak servant of Yours. I hope to receive boons from Your virtuousness and Your generousness. I seek refuge with You only and expect help from You only.”
“O Supreme Lord, You send Your mercy and abundance upon your servants at this night. O Allah, do not leave tongues supplicating to You and hands raised above for You unanswered. Let us benefit from Your goodness and help. Adorn us all with your blessings.”
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his children, wives and friends with your never-ending mercy and abundance. O the Lord of the Realms!”