by Al-Mahfouz Ahmed
Allah in the glorious Quran 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. That is the correct religion [i.e., way], so do not wrong yourselves during them [i.e., do not violate the sacred months or commit aggression therein]. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him] (Quran 9:36).
All praise and salutations are due to Allah who created the days and the night and created the Sun and the Moon. He created humans from a clot of blood and He taught them the names of all things. May the peace and blessings of Allah ﷻ be upon our noble Prophet Mohammad ﷺ, who was sent with guidance to all humans, and upon His household and all those who follow his guidance till the day of judgment.
According to the Arabic–English Lexicon of Edward William Lane, the term “Rajab”, as a concept (mafahim), is an Arabian term which is also from the root word “Tarjeeb تَرْجِيبٌ” meaning to signify, honor, or magnify something or someone. The term Rajab Mudar was also ascribed to the seventh month of the Islamic calendar because of the status held during the time of ignorance, i.e., before the coming of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, since war and fighting were considered unlawful during this time. It was narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari, book 65, Hadith 184, that The Prophet ﷺ said “The time had come back to its original state which it had when Allah ﷻ created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession: Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja, and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month), which stands between Jumad (ath-thani) and Sha’ban.”
From this prophetic narration, we understand one of the objectives (maqasid) of these sacred months, including Rajab, is to promote peace and reconciliation on earth. Allah says in Quran 2:217, “They ask you about the sacred month, about fighting therein. Say, “Fighting therein is great [sin].” After understanding the significance of these months, Allah ﷻ prohibited any act of oppression in them. We then need to understand that performing many good deeds in them will also attract a bounty of large rewards. According to another prophetic narration from Anas (رضي الله عنه), “When the month of Rajab comes, Allah’s Messenger would say, ‘O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban and bring us to Ramadan’” (Mishkat al-Masabih 1369, Book 4, Hadith 774). Referring to the Quranic verses and the prophetic narrations, we can now understand why these values (qiyam) are placed on these sacred months, including the month of Rajab.
Similarly, according to Muslim scholars, the night of Isra and Miraj, the miraculous night journey in which the Prophet ﷺ ascended the heavens and met several prophets and messengers of Allah before him, also took place in Rajab. In many ways, this event was meant to reaffirm the prophethood and to console the Prophet ﷺ after the year of sorrow in which his beloved and supportive wife Khadija and uncle Abu Talib had passed away. Truly, the universal law (Sunan) is demonstrated to us as mentioned by Allah ﷻ in the Quran 94:05 “For indeed, with every hardship [will be] ease [i.e., relief and glad tidings],” but only for the believers (fi’at) (Muwatta Malik Book 21, Hadith 6).
From these narrations, we understand that Allah directs us to follow his commands (awamir) during these holy months including honoring one another as Muslims, promoting peace and reconciliation, and prohibiting fighting unnecessarily.