When Rajab comes to the Muslims, it notes that the most blessed month of Ramadan is just two months away in shā Allāh.
Rajab is one of those sacred months, which Allāh has chosen and given a special status. Allāh says in Surah Tawbah:
“Verily, the number of months with Allāh is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allāh on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four (Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein.” (1)
Virtues and what to do
Allāh has commanded us to give special attention to the sanctity of these four months, and refrain from committing sins in them.
”O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allāh, nor of the Sacred Month” (2)
Meaning avoid sins and do not violate the laws of Allāh for you are required to respect and honor the sacred months – This prohibition includes both sinful deeds and incorrect beliefs.
Thus in these sacred months, we ought to be even extra careful of not doing wrong acts that would displease Allāh.
However, we find numerous innovations widespread among the masses of people with regards to the month of Rajab, some of them are fasting, observing special Qiyaam (night prayer) on the 27th of Rajab. Also included in these innovations are visiting graves, reciting specific Duaas, frequently performing Umrah in Rajab, etc.
Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not pass away until after the religion of Islam had been perfected. Allāh says:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” (3)
It was reported that Ayesha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said:
”Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (4)
The commonly practiced innovations in Rajab:
1) Salaat al-Raghaa’ib
This prayer became widespread after the first and the best centuries, especially in the fourth century AH (after hijrah). Some liars fabricated this prayer, which is done on the first night of Rajab.
Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Tayymiyah (may Allāh 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-Shaafi’ee, Abu Haneefah, al-Thawriee, 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”.
2) Major Events
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 (peace 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.
3) Celebrating the Prophet’s Night Journey & the 27th of Rajab
It was reported with an isnaad that is not saheeh from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad that the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s Night Journey (al-Israa’) took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibraaheem al-Harbi and others.
One innovation that takes place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Miraaj, 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 Islaam, let alone innovated celebrations.
Add to that the fact that there is no proof that the Israa’ and Miraaj happened on this date [the date, the month & the year of Miraaj is not proved by authentic ahadeeth].
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 (peace be upon him) or from his companions, may Allāh 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.
4) Salaat Umm Dawood halfway through Rajab
There are certain people who perform practices in the middle of Rajab, again it’s baseless and it’s not found from the way of the righteous early Muslims. This practice is mainly found in the Shiia tradition.
5) Specific duaa’s recited during Rajab
We can make any Dua at any time and the best of Duas are that which are mentioned in the Book of Allāh or in the authentic sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). But to associate any particular Dua to the month of Rajab is not authentically proven from the two sources and thus are fabrications and innovations.
6) Visiting graves specifically in Rajab
This is again an innovation into the religion, because graves are to be visited at any time of the year. To specify a particular day annually or monthly or such to visit the graves is not from Islam.
Distributing special type of breads: In the month of Rajab, certain people bake special types of breads and, after reciting some verses and prayers on them, distribute them among their friends and neighbours.
If you give out food to your neighbours on a regular basis without the intention of the act being a special form of worship due to a specific month or event, then there’s no problem in that and it’s actually encouraged since we as Muslims are supposed to be nice to our neighbours.
8) Fasting in Rajab
There is no saheeh report from the Prophet (peace be upon him) or from the Sahaabah (may Allāh be pleased with them all) 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.
Umar (may Allāh be pleased 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.”(5)
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Shabaan and Ramadaan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month.”
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said:
“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 Ismaaeel al-Harawi al-Haafiz has already stated this before me, and we have narrated this from others also.” (6)
In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah states with regard to fasting specifically in Rajab, we do not know of any basis in Shar’ah for doing that.
But as stated before, if you are someone who likes to fast the authentically proven Sunan days of fasting, without the intention of it being Rajab, then there’s no issues with that.
9) Frequent Umrah in Rajab
There is no report from the Prophet (peace be upon him) – to suggest that there is any particular virtue in performing Umrah in the month of Rajab, or that it is encouraged. Rather it is proven that there is a particular virtue in performing Umrah in the month of Ramadaan, and in the months of Hajj, which are Shawwaal, Dhul-Qadah and Dhu’l-Hijjah.
There is no report to prove that the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Umrah in Rajab, rather that was denied by Ayeshah (may Allāh be pleased with her), who said:
“The Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) never performed Umrah in Rajab.” (7)
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allāh 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 Kabah) 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 shareeah is wrong; no time is to be regarded as better than any other except in cases where the shareeah 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.
We ask Allāh to protect us from all innovations, and make us amongst those who correctly follow the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (peace be upon him), and venerate those things that Allāh has made sacred in the way that He has prescribed.
Summarized from the Booklet “The Month of Rajab” by Shaykh Salih Munajjid & Ahya site. Taken from DailyHadith blog.
(1) Al-Qur’ān 9:36
(2) Al-Qur’ān 5:2
(3) Al-Qur’ān 5:3
(4) Agreed Upon
(5) al-Irwaa’, 957; Shaykh Al-baanee said: it is saheeh
(6) In book Tabayyun al-‘Ajab bimaa wurida fi Fadl Rajab
(7) Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1776; Muslim, 1255