Rajab & Quotations Relating to It
Many people ask about the significance of the month of Rajab, the acts of worship which one can perform in this month and the verdict of celebrating the night of the 27th of Rajab (the night of Al-Isra wal Mi’raj, the Night Journey).
- First: What is the reason for calling this month Rajab?
The author of “Mukhtar as-Sihah” said: “It is called Rajab because the people in Jahiliyyah (the period of ignorance before Islam) were magnifying this month and forbidding fighting during it. As-Sakhawi said, in a part of the book called “The famous names of the month”, that Rajab is called by this name because it is derived from the word at Tarjib that means Ta’adhim (i.e. magnifying).
- Second: Did Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) perform ‘Umrah in the month of Rajab?
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his book “Zaad al Ma’aad”: “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) performed ‘Umrah four times after the emigration to Medinah, and all of them were in Dhul-Qa’dah according to the Hadith narrated by Anas (RadiAllahu Anhu) that, the Messenger of Allah performed ‘Umrah four times, all of them were in Dhul-Qa’dah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] The statement of Abdullah bin Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), “The Prophet (ﷺ) performed ‘Umrah four times, one of them was in the month of Rajab,” is incorrect.
When Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) heard what Ibn ‘Umar was saying, she said, “May Allah be merciful with Abu Abdur-Rahman! The Prophet (ﷺ) did not perform any ‘Umrah except that he (Ibn ‘Umar) was with him, and he never performed any ‘Umrah in Rajab.” (Agreed upon)
There is no dispute regarding the number of ‘Umrah’s that the Prophe (ﷺ) performed, if he had performed ‘Umrah in Rajab, surely this would be considered his fifth ‘Umrah. And all the ‘Umrah’s were performed in the months of Hajj (i.e., Shawwal, Dhul-Qa’dah, and Dhul– Hijjah), contradicting the polytheists who claim that performing ‘Umrah in the month of Hajj is one of the most wicked and evil deeds, and this is undoubtedly a proof that performing it in the month of Hajj is better than performing it in the month of Rajab.
- Third: Particularizing the month of Rajab with Fasting
Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Tayimmah (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about particularizing Rajab with fasting, in Majmu‘ al-Fataawa part 25 pp.290. He (may Allah have mercy on him) answered: “All the narrations concerning specifying Rajab with fasting are weak and fabricated. The scholars do not refer to any of them in anything, and virtues are not taken from weak narrations, and all of them (narrations) are fabricated and lies.”
The Permanent Committee was asked about the verdict of fasting during the month of Rajab; the answer was as follows: “It is not affirmed by any specific narration regarding the virtues of fasting in the month of Rajab except what An-Nisai‘ and Abu Dawoud reported and was authenticated by Ibn Khuzaimah that Usamah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ , I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’baan.’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘That is a month to which the people do not pay attention and it is between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised up to the Lord of Alamin (Mankind, jinns and all that exists). I love that my deeds be raised up while I am observing fast.’” But there are many narrations that mention the virtues of fasting three days every month, other than Ramadan, the white days (13th, 14th, and 15h of every lunar month), and fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. There are also narrations which urge (exhort) upon fasting during the sacred months, and Rajab is one of these months. But particularizing the month of Rajab with fasting is baseless in the Shari’a (Islamic Law).
- Fourth: Offering a Sacrifice specifically in the Month of Rajab, “ Al- Aitrah”
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Neither Fara‘ nor Atira’h (is permissible).” [Agreed upon]
Al-Fara‘ was the first offspring (of camels or sheep) which the pagan used to offer (as a sacrifice) to their idols. Al-‘Atirah was a sheep which was to be slaughtered during the first ten days of the month of Rajab, and it is also called al-Rajibah.” (Al Bukhari)
Reported Abu Dawoud in as-Sunan: “A man called Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said, “We used to offer A’tirah in al-Jahiliyyah (before Islam). What do you order us with?” He (ﷺ) said, “Slaughter your sacrifice in any month and be dutiful to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and feed (others)…” [Correct Hadith]
- Fifth: Is the Month of Rajab one of the sacred Months?
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), the Exalted, said in the Surat At-Tawba (9:36): “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months( in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when he created the heavens and the earth: of them four are sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th, and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar).”
Ibn Kathir (may Allah have mercy on him) said that Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said regarding Allah’s statement (of them four are sacred), “They are Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qa’dah and Dhul-Hijjah, and these are the sacred months during which fighting is forbidden as well as transgressing its prohibition. The prohibition of the fighting is decisive and entirely clear and not abrogated. He also added that these four months were sacred at the time of Jahiliyyah as well.
These are few adduced quotations regarding the month of Rajab, and the aim behind this is to draw attention to the importance of particularizing this month with fasting or special prayer, or any acts of worship.
The Verdict of Celebrating the Night of Al-Isra' Wal-Mi'raj (the Night Journey)
Shaikh bin Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “All praise be to Allah, Peace and Blessings be upon The Messenger of Allah, his family and his Companions, after which follows: Undoubtedly, Al-Isra‘ wal-Mi’raj is one of Allah’s greatest signs which indicates the truthfulness of His Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ) and his great position with Allah (Suhanah Wa Ta’ala). Al-Isra‘ wal-Mi’raj is one of the evidences of Allah’s great ability and on His Exaltedness over all His creation.
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) said in Surat Al-Isra‘ (17:1): “Glorified be He (Allah), Who took His slave Muhammad (ﷺ) for a journey by night from al-Masjid al-haram (in Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighborhood whereof we have blessed in order that we might show him of Our Aayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”
It is ascertained by successive narrations that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ascended from Masjid al-Aqsa to the heavens, all the gates of the heavens were opened until the seventh heaven, where Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) revealed to him a revelation and enjoined the five obligatory prayers. At first, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) made obligatory fifty prayers every day and night; the Prophet (ﷺ) kept going back and forth between Allah, the Exalted, and Moses (Alayhis Salam) asking Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for a reduction in the number of Salaah, until Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) made them five obligatory prayers every day and night, and fifty in reward because each good deed is credited as ten, all thanks and praises be to Allah for all His blessings and Favors.
The specific date of this night which Al-Isra‘ and Al-Mi’raj occurred in is not quoted in any correct narration, neither in Rajab nor in any other month. All that is cited is not affirmed (or related to) the Prophet (ﷺ). By the wisdom of Allah, the date of Al-Isra‘ Wal-Mi’raj is unknown to the people.
Even if it were known, it is not permissible for the Muslims to specify this night with certain acts of worship, and it is not permissible to commemorate it as an occasion of special worship. If celebrating this occasion was a legislated matter, the Prophet (ﷺ) would have emphasized its importance to his Ummah either by statement or by action. And if anything of that had happened we would surely know it, and the Sahaabah (the Companions) would have transmitted that to us, because they were foremost to practice and apply all that is good; if celebrating this occasion was legislated, they would precede the people in it.
The Prophet (ﷺ) was the most knowledgeable of people who knew the religion and was most anxious to guide his Ummah to what is good for them, and he fulfilled the trust and conveyed the message; if magnifying this night and celebrating it is an act of worship in Allah’s religion, he would not neglect it or conceal it. Since nothing of this happened, it means celebrating this night or magnifying it is of no significance in Islam.
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has perfected for this Ummah its religion, and completed His favour upon it, and denied those who have instituted a religion which Allah has not allowed. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) said in his Manifest Book in Surat Al-Ma’idah (5:3): “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favours upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
And He (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) said in Surat Ash-Shura (42:21): “Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed. And had it not been for a decisive Word (gone forth already), the matter would have been judged between them. And verily, for the Dhalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers), there is a painful Torment.”
It is affirmed in many correct narrations that the Prophet (ﷺ) warned against Bid’ah (innovation), declaring that it is going astray and warned his Ummah against its great danger. It is reported in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim that Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “If someone tries to introduce into this faith of ours (Islam) something which is not a part of it, it is to be rejected (and that person is condemned).”
Thus, specifying particular events such as Al-Isra’ Wal-Mi’raj for worship needs strong proofs from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”