THE MONTH OF RAJAB

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan

Dear audience of AKRA:

May your Friday be blessed!

In fact, I should say, "May your month of Rajab be blessed, too!" This Friday is also the first day of Rajab, the first month of the blessed three months season.  We have just stepped into a beautiful spiritual season.  I pray that this season of three months is blissful and beneficial for you. As you now, many blessed months, Ramadhans, days and nights come and go.  What matters is how much a person benefits from them.  If the person does not open his heart to the light and blessings of these special times, he will be deprived of the good things.  He comes as deprived and leaves as deprived from this life.  While everybody else enjoys the abundance of these special days, he will get nothing.  May Almighty Allah place us among those who appreciate such opportunities and those who earn great rewards.

a. The Prayer of the Prophet SAS for Rajab

I would like to begin with a hadith of our beloved Prophet SAS.  The hadith is reported by Anas RA and recorded in the collection of Ibn-i Asâkir and other sources:

كان اذا دخل رجب قال: اللـهم بارك لنا فى رجب وشعـبان،

وبلـغـنا رمضــان. وكان اذا كانـت لـيـلـة الـجمــعـة قال: هذا ليلة

الــغرَّاء ويومٌ ازهر (هب. وابن عساكر عن انس)

RE. 532/10 (Kâna idhâ dakhala rajab, qŕl) "When the month of Rajab arrived, the prophet used to pray: (Allŕhumma bârik lenâ fî rajaba wa sha'bân wa ballighnâ ramadhŕn!) 'O Allah! Make us those who are aware of the blessings and abundance of the months Rajab and Sha'bân and who benefit from them. Make us live through such blessings and enter into Ramadhan.'"

(Wa kâna idhâ kânat laylatul jumu'ati qŕl) When it was the Friday night, he would say: (Hadhihî laylatul gharrâu) 'This is such a blissful, glistening, happy spiritual night, (wa yawmun azhar) and such a happy and bright day.'"

Yes now we are in the daytime of Friday.  It is a bright blessed, glistening, and spiritually beautiful day.  May Almighty Allah have us appreciate this precious day.

We infer from this hadith that the Prophet SAS used to long for Ramadhan from the beginning of Rajab.  He would seek the month of Ramadhan and wish that he arrived in Ramadhan.  In his prayers he would say, "Bless Rajab and Sha'ban and take us to Ramadhan."  As you know, Rajab, Sha'ban and Ramadhan are the spiritual season of the three months.  Our forefathers named it as "Three Months."  May Allah be pleased with them.  They have read the books and sources on Islam, and they have tried to do everything in the best way possible.  They tried to carry out the orders of Allah and thus earn his consent.  May their resting place be illuminated in peace, let their graves be full of light.  May their spirits be happy: their ranks in paradise, high.

There are great opportunities, beautiful and special nights in the three months season. The first of the special nights is the Raghâib Night. When is the time for the Raghâib Night?  Which day of Rajab is it?  It is not a fixed date in Rajab: It is the first Friday night of Rajab--the night joining the first Thursday to Friday.  It is a blessed night that must be desired and spent in prayers.  We had it last night this year.

There is also the Mi'raj (Ascension) Night in Rajab--the night joining the 26th of Rajab to 27th of Rajab.  It is a beautiful blessed night in which our beloved Prophet SAS ascended to heavens (Mi'raj).  Then there comes the fifteenth night of Sha'bân, the Bara'ah Night.  It is a night in which the events and destinies of the coming year are determined.  It is an important night and one should be prepared for that night.  We should seek refuge with Allah and ask Him to place us among the righteous and happy ones, not among the rebellious ones.  We should be prepared accordingly.

b. Rajab is the Month of Repentance

Rajab is the month of tawba.  Tawba means turning to Allah:

من تاب الى الله تاب الله عليه

(Wa man tâba ilallŕhi tâballŕhu aleyhi) "If a servant turns to Allah, Allah turns to him."  This is the actual meaning of tawba.  That is, tawba means abandoning the false paths, the deeds of the ignorance and disobedience, the sinful actions, prohibitions, shortcomings and unawareness and turning to a lifestyle that is favorable to Allah.  The month of Rajab is a great opportunity for this turning.

Let us read another hadith from the book Raműzul Ahadith which is compiled by our great master Ahmed Ziyauddin Gumushkhanawi--may his abode be Paradise:

This hadith was reported by Sa'id ibn-i Abî Râshid and included in the collections of Tabarânî.  The Prophet SAS said:

رجـب شـهرٌ عظـيمٌ، يضاعـف الله فـيه الحسـنات، فمن صام يـومًا من

رجب فكأنما صام سنةً، ومن صام مـنه سبعة ايامٍ غلِّقت عنه ابواب

جهـنـم، ومن صـام مــنــه ثمانـيـة ايـامٍ فـتـحـت له ثمانــية ابواب الـجـنة،

ومن صــام مــنه عشرة ايام لم يسأل الله شــيئًا الا اعــطاه، ومـن صام

مـنه خمسة عشرة يومًا نادى منادٍ من السماء: قـدغفر لك ما مضى

فاستأنف الــعـمل، ومن زاد زاده الله. وفى رجـب حمـل الله نـوحًا فى

الـسـفـــيـنــة فـصــام رجــب، و امـر من مــعــه ان يـصــومـوا. فـجـرت بــهم

السفـينة ستة اشـهر اۤخر ذلك يوم عاشوراء اهـبط على الجدىِّ فصام

نوحٍ ومن معه والوحوش شكر الله عز وجل. وفى يوم عاشوراء فلق

الله البحر لبنى اسرائيل، و فى يوم عاشوراء تاب الله على اۤدم، وعلى

مدينة يونس وفيه ولد ابراهيم (طب. عن سعيد بن ابى راشد)

RE. 288/13 (Rajabu shahrun azîm) "Rajab is a magnificent, important month.  It is a respected, great month. (Yudŕifullŕhu fîhil hasanât) Almighty Allah rewards the deeds that are done in this month in many folds."  In comparison to the reward for a deed that is done in other months, there will be a lot more rewards for the same deed when it is carried out in Rajab.

The first thing we plan to do in Rajab is repentance and turning to Allah (tawba).  With a sincere heart, we repent and try to be one of the beloved servants of Allah.  We try to live like the beloved servants of Allah, improve our disposition and direction, and walk in the path of Allah with determination and perseverance.

Then the Prophet SAS used to fast many days in Rajab.  He praised and encouraged fasting in Rajab.  As you know, fasting has an important effect in shaping the will power of a person.  The human being is a living creature which is equipped with a desire for food.  All living beings have this desire.  The desire for food and nutrition is a strong desire. In Islam, this desire for food is kept under control, it is prevented while fasting. We prevent ourselves from eating and drinking while fasting despite the fact that eating is our right and we have the desire to eat and drink. We also prevent ourselves from some other desires while we fast.

This requires some effort, yet it teaches a person how to overcome his own desires.  It teaches the person self control.  That is why fasting is much recommended in Rajab, the month of seeking forgiveness and turning to Allah.  How is the ability of self control achieved?  By abstaining from eating food, a person strengthens his will power and dominate over the desires of his nafs.  He will learn how to dominate the desires of his nafs.  Thus his tawba will be based on strong foundations.  He will maintain his tawba and stay in the path of Allah consistently.

(Fa man sŕma yawman min rajabin) "One who fasts a day from the month of Rajab, (faka-annamâ sŕma sanatan) ears rewards as though he has fasted a whole year," says the Prophet SAS in the hadith. Our Lord is the Most Gracious of the gracious, the Most Generous of the generous, so He grants rewards in many folds for our deeds which are small in quantity. For instance, if a person enlivens a Night of Power, he will be given the rewards as though he had worshipped one thousand months.  Here if a person fasts one day in Rajab, he will be given rewards as though he had fasted an entire year.

(Wa man sŕma minhu seb'ata ayyâmin ghullikat 'anhu abwâbu jahannam) "If one fasts seven days of Rajab, the gates of Hell are closed for him."  As you know, it was reported that there are seven levels of hell, and it has seven gates.  These seven gates will be closed for that person.  That means the person will not enter the hellfire.

(Wa man sŕma minhu themâniyata ayyâmin futihat lahű themâniyatu abwâbil jannah) "If one fasts eight days of Rajab, eight gates of Paradise are opened for him." There are eight gates of Paradise. In the continuation of the hadith it is stated: "If one fasts ten days in Rajab, he will be granted whatever he wants.  If one fasts fifteen days in Rajab, a caller from the heavens will say, 'Your offences has been wiped off; start you deeds anew.' If a person fasts more days in Rajab, Almighty Allah will grant him more rewards.  Almighty Allah asked Prophet Noah to be on board of the ark, and he fasted the month of Rajab aboard.  He asked those on board to fast too. 

We ought to tell the story of Prophet Noah AS.  While he lived in what is Iraq today, Almighty Allah ordered him to build an ark. As he started the construction, his people mocked at him: "There is no water here, why do you build a ship?"

Almighty Allah is the most gracious, he has infinite knowledge. And the Prophets of Allah do not do anything wrong; they obey the order of Allah.  Prophet Noah AS built the ark and the torrential rains started.  Prophet Noah took the believers to the ark, and they all were saved--along with the animals aboard—from the flood.  According to the hadith, Prophet Noah AS boarded the ark in Rajab. [The ark sailed for six months till the day of Ashura. The ark landed on Mount Judi.  On that day, all aboard were fasting in praise of Allah. Almighty Allah split the sea for the Children of Israel on the day of Ashura.  Almighty Allah accepted the repentance of Prophet Adam AS and people of Prophet Jonah AS on the day of Ashura.  Prophet Abraham AS was born on the day of Ashura.]

 

c. Rajab is the Month of Allah

With another hadith, I would like to complete my talk about the month of Rajab. According to Hasan of Basra, the Prophet SAS said:

رجب شهر الله، وشعبان شهرى، ورمضان شهر امتى (ابو الفح

فى اماليه عن الحسن مرسلاً)

RE. 289/2 (Rajabu shahrullah) "Rajab is the month of Allah. (Wa sha'bânu shahrî) And Sha'bân is my month.  (Wa ramadhŕnu shahri ummatî) And Ramadhan is the month of my Ummah." Rajab is the month of Allah because Almighty Allah forgives his servants in this month. Rajab is the month of repentance and turning to Allah for the servants.  Almighty Allah accepts the repentance of His servants in Rajab.  He forgives them their sins.  Their book of record is cleared off the offences.

Sha'ban is the month the Prophet claims to be his own. We, as the Ummah of the Prophet SAS, must pay extra attention to follow his path and say salat-u selâm for him during the moth of Sha'ban.  We should try our best to spend the month with prayers and worship.

Ramadhan is our month, the month of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad SAS.  We must push our efforts to the limit in this month and harvest the rewards for the spiritual activities and rewards that have been accumulating since the beginning of Rajab.  In certain books,  it is stated that Rajab is the month of sawing, Sha'ban is the month of caring, and Ramadhan is the month of harvesting.

By looking at all these reports, we come to a conclusion.  This three-month period is a special time for us to abandon the wrong deeds and turning to Allah in repentance, to follow the path Almighty Allah has ordered for us, to start living as a good Muslim, to train our self by fasting, to strengthen our will power, to cleanse ourselves physically and spiritually, to earn rewards, and to live a good life. In Ramadhan we increase our zeal and harvest the rewards.  Then we reach the Eid at the end of Ramadhan in this life and in the hereafter, too.  This time period is a special opportunity and means granted for the servants.

Once the Prophet SAS said "Amen!" three times when he stepped on the pulpit to deliver a sermon. Afterwards he was asked why he said "Amen!" three times.  The Prophet SAS responded: "Gabriel AS made three duas, and I said 'Amen' for them.  First, the angel said, 'Woe to a child who had his parents or only one of them and he failed to earn the paradise by not serving them well and not getting their blessings.  May his nose be rubbed to dirt in humiliation.'  I responded saying 'Amen!'"

This means a person must serve his parents, kiss their hands in respect, keep them happy and earn their blessings.  This will earn the person admittance to paradise.  He will earn the consent of Allah by earning the blessings of his parents.

"Gabriel AS said the second prayer: 'Woe to the person who fails to say salat-u selâm on the Prophet when his name is mentioned.  May his nose be rubbed to dirt in humiliation.' I said 'Amen!' to that too."

This means we ought to say "Sallŕhu 'alayhi wa sallam" or "'Alayhis-salâtu was-salâm" or another one of the salât-u salâm when we hear the name of the Prophet SAS.  Let me remind you also that we should say salât-u salâm in plenty on Fridays. That is the recommendation of the Prophet SAS.  Remember, today is the Friday, the first Friday of Rajab. You should say one hundred times or one thousand time salât-u salâm on the Prophet SAS.

"Gabriel AS said the third dua: 'Woe to the person who reached the month of Ramadhan yet failed to benefit the spirituality and blessings of Ramadhan thus failed to be forgiven by Almighty Allah.  May his nose be rubbed to dirt in humiliation.'  I said 'Amen!' to that, too."

Yes dear respected Brothers and sister!  We have entered the month of Rajab; it is the first day of it today.  Sha'ban will arrive and special nights will come too.  We are going to do our servitude with prayers and enter the month of Ramadhan.  We are going to offer our Tarawih prayers with salât-u salâms to our beloved Prophet SAS. Many brothers will retreat to the mosques for i'tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadhan.  With all the righteous deeds and prayers throughout these three months, we ought to become a servant who has been forgiven his offences and shortcomings.  We should aspire to be like that on the day of Eid with all of our zeal and determination.

We ought to complete this three-month course of spiritual training and get our certificate of freedom from the hellfire, and the certificate of admission to paradise.  We must try for that. Otherwise, we may be subjected to the condemnation of Gabriel AS.  The prophet said "amen!" to that.  It is a serious matter. One who fails to benefit from Ramdhan is subjected to the condemnation: "Woe to the person who fails to benefit from the blessings of Ramadhan.  May his nose be rubbed to dirt in humiliation."

If a person had never lifted a finger to do good deeds and never worshipped in Ramadhan, he wil be deprived of the blessings.  He will be a loser.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!  May Almighty Allah keep us on his path establishing the remembrance of his name.  We must offer our servitude to Allah from the bottom of our hearts, with love and eagerness.  We need it.  We need the prayers, the servitude, and the mercy of Allah.  We need the grace of Allah.  We ought to try and work sincerely.

Servitude to Allah is beautiful.  An obedient and dutiful servant of Allah would be showered with blessings and abundance.

This is the first Friday of a blessed month.  Almighty Allah has hidden a precious time, in the blessed hours of Friday. Just like the Night of Power being hidden in Ramadhan.  If the servants knew when it is, then they would relax and try only at that specific time or night.  At the precious time of the Friday, the prayers are answered. That is why we ask Almighty Allah to coincide the time of our prayers with that special hidden time of Friday.  May he receive our prayers with the best of receptions.  May He grant us and our beloved ones happiness in this life and in the hereafter.

Dear audience of AKRA!  I congratulate you for the arrival of the month Rajab.  May the month of Sha'ban be blessed and fruitful for you. May Allah take you to Ramadhan in health and happiness.  May he make His beloved servants whom He is pleased with.  May he honor you with His beauty in His Paradise.

As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullŕhi wa barakâtuh!  May peace, mercy and abundance of Allah be with you.

November 24, 1995 Friday Discourse -- AKRA