The Month of Rajab - Part II
Al-‘Ateerah (a kind of sacrifice)
During the Jaahiliyyah, the Arabs used to slaughter a sacrifice during Rajab as an act of worship towards their idols.
When Islam came, teaching that sacrifices were to be offered only to Allaah, this deed of the Jaahiliyyah was abolished. The fuqaha’ differed as to the rulings on offering sacrifices during Rajab. The majority of Hanafis, Maalikis and Hanbalis stated that the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah was abrogated. Their evidence was the hadeeth, “There is no Fir’ and no ‘Ateerah”, narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah.
The Shaafa’is said that al-‘Ateerah had not been abrogated, and they regarded it asmustahabb (recommended). This was also the view of Ibn Seereen.
Ibn Hajar said: this is supported by the hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nisaa’i, and Ibn Maajah, and classed as saheeh by al-Haakim and Ibn al-Mundhir, from Nubayshah, who said:
A man called out to the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): We used to offer the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah during the Jaahiliyyah in the month of Rajab. What do you command us to do? He said, Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…
Ibn Hajar said: the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab.
Fasting in Rajab
There is no saheeh report from the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from the Sahaabah to indicate that there is any particular virtue in fasting during Rajab.
The fasting that is prescribed in Rajab is the same as that prescribed in other months, namely fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and the three days of al-Beed, 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 (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to forbid fasting in Rajab because it involved resemblance to the Jaahiliyyah. It was reported that Kharashah ibn al-Harr said: I saw ‘Umar smacking the hands of those who fasted in Rajab until they reached out for food, and he was saying, This is a month which was venerated in the Jaahiliyyah. (al-Irwaa’, 957; al-Albaani said: it is saheeh).
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’baan and Ramadaan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month. [of course the Prophet -pbuh- used to fast during Ramadan, but the hadith here means that he did not fast the 3 months consecutive]
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in Tabayyun al-‘Ajab bimaa wurida fi Fadl Rajab:
There is no saheeh hadeeth that may be used as evidence has been narrated concerning the virtues of the month of Rajab or fasting this month or fasting in any specific part of it, or observing Qiyaam al-Layl specifically during this month. Imaam Abu Ismaa’eel al-Harawi al-Haafiz has already stated this before me, and we have narrated this from others also.
In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah it states: with regard to fasting specifically in Rajab, we do not know of any basis in Sharee’ah for doing that.
‘Umrah in Rajab
The ahaadeeth indicate that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do ‘Umrah during Rajab, as it was narrated that Mujaahid said: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr and I entered the mosque, and there was ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar sitting near the room of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). He was asked, “How many times did the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) do ‘Umrah?” He said, “Four times, and one of them was in Rajab.” We did not want to argue with him. We could hear ‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen brushing her teeth (i.e., the sound of the miswaak) 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 Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did ‘Umrah four times, one of them in Rajab.” She said, “May Allaah have mercy on Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, [the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] never did ‘Umrah but he witnesses it (i.e., he was present with him), and he never did ‘Umrah during Rajab.” (Agreed upon)
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 ‘Aa’ishah 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 Rajab for making ‘Umrah and to believe that doing ‘Umrah in Rajab has a specific virtue. Nothing to that effect has been narrated, besides the fact that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not reported to have made ‘Umrah during Rajab at all.
Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Ibraaheem al-‘Attaar (d. 724 AH) said:
One of the things that I have heard about the people of Makkah – may Allaah increase it in honour – is that they do ‘Umrah frequently during Rajab. This is something for which I know of no basis, all I know is that it was reported in the hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “ ‘Umrah in Ramadaan is equivalent to Hajj.”
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Fataawaa:
As for singling out some of the days of Rajab for any kind of good deed, ziyaarah (visiting the House of Allaah, the Ka’bah) or anything else, there is no basis for this, because Imaam Abu Shaamah stated in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Hawaadith: specifying acts of worship at times that were not specified by sharee’ah is wrong; no time is to be regarded as better than any other except in cases where the sharee’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 Rajab for doing ‘Umrah frequently.
But if a person goes for ‘Umrah during Rajab 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 Rajab
Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah. The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not die until after the religion had been perfected. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]
It was reported that ‘Aa’isha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Agreed upon).
According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does an action which is not a part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”
Some people have innovated a number of practices in Rajab, including the following:
- Salaat al-Raghaa’ib. This prayer became widespread after the first and best centuries, especially in the fourth century AH. Some liars fabricated this prayer, which is done on the first night of Rajab. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Salaat al-Raghaa’ib is bid’ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Maalik, al-Shaafa’i, Abu Haneefah, al-Thawri, al-‘Oozaa’i, al-Layth and others . The hadeeth that is narrated concerning it is a lie according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadeeth.
- It was reported that major events happened in the month of Rajab, but none of these reports are true. It was reported that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born on the first night of Rajab, 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 an isnaad that is not saheeh from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad that the Prophet’s Night Journey (al-Israa’) took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibraaheem al-Harbi and others.
One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi’raaj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rajab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyaam al-Layl or fasting during the day, or rejoicing and celebrating. Some celebrations are accompanied by haraam things such as mixing of men and women, singing and music, all of which are not permitted on the two Eids which are prescribed in Islam, let alone innovated celebrations. Add to that the fact that there is no proof that the Israa’ and Mi’raaj 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 SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, or from any of the Salaf (early generations) of this Ummah. If it were a good thing, they would surely have done it before us. May Allaah help us.
- Salaat Umm Dawood halfway through Rajab.
- The du’aa’s which are recited specifically during Rajab are all fabrications and innovations.
- Visiting graves specifically in Rajab is bid’ah, because graves are to be visited at any time of the year.
We ask Allaah to make us of those who venerate the things that He has made sacred and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) outwardly and inwardly; for Allah is the only One Whom we should ask and He is Able to do that. And the close of our request is: praise be to Allaah, the Lord of ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).