On Saturday February 13th, 2021 Muslims mark their calendar to start the first day of the Islamic Sacred Month of Rajab, the 7th month in the Islamic calendar. Rajab has many beautiful stories in the history of the Islamic calendar. In this short article, I explain the beauty of the month. Then, I examine the historical background of the month. Afterwards, we will learn about the meaning of the name. Last but not least, we delve deeper into the opportunities we have and pearls we can gain this month and how we can get the best out of it. So, let’s first learn what the special thing about this month is, and why it is special. 1- The sacredness of theMonth It is one of the four sacred months that Allah mentioned in Surah Al-Taubah verse 36. These four sacred months are Muharrah (the 1st month), Rajab (the 7th month), Thu Al-qi'dah (the 11th month), Thu Al-Hijjah (the 12th and last month of the calendar when hajj takes place). Allah says,
Which means, (Qur’an 9:36) 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, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And the prophet Muhammed (Peace be Upon Him) said in his only and last Hajj he did, naming these four months that are referred to in the Qur’an.
The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa' da, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha ban." (Sahih Al-Bukhari no. 3197)
2- Historical Background Before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him), Arabs used to hail and sanctify these four sacred months among themselves. They were very tribal communities who involved themselves in many tribal wars and fights. Therefore, they followed the tradition of taking truce in the months of hajj. They used to perform hajj to Makkah all the way back to the times of prophet Ibrahim and Isma’el. Ibrahim and Isma’el (PBUT) built the Ka’aba on the old foundations and called people for hajj, which became the sacred thing people would do in their lives. During these sacred months Arabs took breaks from fighting each other and agreed to create a safe and calming time for people to do their hajj to Makkah in peace and come back to their homes safe. They also glorified and respected the sanctity of these months by doing extra good deeds, especially feeding those in need. Being the religion of Allah to all people since the beginning, Islam approved the beautiful meaning of sacred months and glorified these months as they were before.
3- The Meaning of the name itself (Rajab) Rajab comes from the roots (Ra- Ja- Ba) which means to praise, hail, sanctify- glorify something. Each one of the Islamic months has a meaning. Their meanings also have stories behind them and why they were named by such a name. Rajab was named by this name because people glorified this month and took breaks from any violent activities among each other. Rajab has a few other names. Each one of the other names means something inspiring as well. I found these names very beautiful and inspiring.
Al-A’ssam الأصمthe silent one, it is named the silent month when no noises of violence are heard.
Al-Mu’alla المُعَلَّىthe exalted one, because it was highly praised.
Rajam رَجَم( Casting out) Because they thought that Shaytan (Satan) is being thrown with rocks during the month.
Al-Muqeem المُقِيم the staying one, they called it because it has been the same sacred month for a long time and never changed.
Al-a’ssab الأصَب the showering month, people of Makkah used to call it this name because they believed that the mercy showers them abundantly during this month.
4- An opportunity that comes to our doors every year This month has multiple benefits for those who are interested in nurturing their spiritual needs:
A - an opportunity to rehearse for Ramadan by starting fasting.
B - a sacred month which Allah specifies as a month in which injustice to the self is far worse than in other months. Qatadah (a muslim scholar) said, “ injustice is generally haram (forbidden), but the fact that Allah specifies the four sacred months as months of justice indicates that injustice is worse in these months. The same applies to ensuring justice.
C - an opportunity for us to increase our acts of goodness ( rituals- relationships to others - relationships to Allah- morals- self-awareness and consciousness, etc).
D - an opportunity to learn about Islam and increase our knowledge of our faith by learning what sacred month names mean.
E - an opportunity to focus on repentance to Allah by flashing back our life memories and renewing our energy to come closer to Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to ask for forgiveness and repent over 70 times per day.
F - a month when we should take a break from worldly attachment, especially indulgence in several entertainments that occupy most of our time, such as but not limited to video games, social media, tv. Rather, let’s spend more time nurturing and fostering our self-awareness by understanding the true meanings of your place in life as a servant of Allah.
G - a month when we need to increase our diligence and perseverance to fight injustice in this life and around us. It is a month for fighting all types of injustice that our fellow humans encounter in their daily lives.
H - an opportunity to raise awareness among fellow Muslims and non-Muslims about the beautiful aspects of Islam such as the idea of sacred four months. I found that Islam has been cornered and forced to be a faith that constantly needs to defend itself. I think we need to broaden the awareness of people to see the beauty of our faith.
O Allah, shower us with mercy and peace in Rajab and help us to be just and sincere with ourselves and others, Ameen!