#27 – The Virtues of Rajab
Feb 7 – 13, 2022
Rajab 6 – Rajab 12, 1443


The Virtues of Rajab

What have Allah and His Messenger said about

The Virtues of Rajab

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَـٰتِلُوا۟ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً كَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةً ۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ
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. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].

[Surah At-Tawbah, Ayah 36]
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَهَّابِ، حَدَّثَنَا أَيُّوبُ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سِيرِينَ، عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ الزَّمَانُ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ، السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا، مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثَةٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ، وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ ‏”‏‏.‏
Narrated Abu Bakra: The Prophet (ﷺ) said. “(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-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha ban.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 3197]

The Sacred Months

Mentioned in the previous verses were the errors and misdeeds of disbelievers and Mushriks who persisted with their disbelief and kept associating others in the pristine divinity of Allah. In the present two verses, mentioned there is another bad custom prevailing in Arabia since its age of ignorance – which Muslims have been instructed to ab- stain from. That bad custom relates to a chain of happenings. Details go back to the distant past since when a year was accepted as having twelve months by the religious codes of all past prophets. Out of these twelve months, four were considered sacred, therefore, worthy of great reverence. They were three consecutive months of Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram, and the month of Rajab.

All religious codes of past prophets agree that every act of worship during these four months is more reward-worthy – and should some- one commit a sin during these months, the curse and punishment re- sulting from it is also more blameworthy. Under these past religious codes, fighting and killing was prohibited during these months.

Since the Arabs of Makkah al-Mukarramah are the progeny of Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) through Sayyidna Ismail (AS), they all professed belief in Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) a prophet and messenger of Allah and claimed to follow his Shari’ah. However, as fighting, killing and hunting was also prohibited during these four sacred months among the followers of the Ibrahimi community, the people of the Arab age of ignorance found the implementation of this injunction extremely hard. The reason was that, during the pagan period, fighting and killing had become the only vocation for them. Therefore, in order to make this restriction somewhat easy on them, they spun out all sorts of excuses to satisfy their self-serving motives. Whenever they needed to fight during one of the sacred months, or whenever a sacred month approached while they were already fighting, then, they would say: This year, this month is not sacred. The next month will be the sacred one. For example, when Muharram arrived, they would say that ‘this year, the month of Muharram is not sacred, instead of that, the month of Safar will be sacred’. And if they had some other exigency, they would say, ‘this year, the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal will be sacred;’ or say, ‘this year the month of Safar has come earlier and Muharram will come later.’ Thus, in one stroke, they made the month of Muharram the month of Safar!

In short, they would somehow complete the count of four month during one year, but would not bother to retain the order and signification of what was divinely determined. It was up to them to give any name to any month, call it Dhu al-Hijjah or call it Ramadan or make one come earlier and make the other come later. If another emergency came, for example, when they would remain engaged in fighting for a period as long as ten months leaving only two months to the year, then, on this occasion, they would increase the number of months in a year saying, ‘this year will be of fourteen months.’ In this way, they would make the remaining four months the sacred months.
In short, they did show their reverence for the Ibrahimi faith at least by doing it during four months of the year when they would abstain from fighting and killing. But, they did not observe the order of the months in a year according to which four of them were fixed as the sacred months. This was what they juggled with seeking interpretations to suit their needs or fancies.

In the first verse (36), it is said:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا

Surely, the number of months with Allah is twelve

Here, the word: عِدَّةَ {‘iddah) appears in the sense of number and شهُورِ (shuhur) is the plural of شهرِ (shahr) which means month. The sense of the verse is that the number of months, in the sight of Allah, is set as twelve. No one has the right to decrease or increase it. Then, by placing the phrase: فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ (fi kitabillah: as written in the Book of Allah), it was stressed that this numerical setting of the months stood recorded in the Preserved Tablet (al-lawh al-mahfuz) since eternity. Then, by saying: يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ (on the day He created the heavens and the Earth), it was indicated that the Divine decree was, though, promulgated in eternity, but this order and setting of the months came into being when the heavens and the Earth were created. After that, it was said: مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ (of which there are Four Sacred Months). It means that, out of these twelve months, four are sacred. They have been called حرمٌ hurum (sanctified ones) in the sense that fighting and killing is prohibited during these month, and also in the sense that these months are blessed and it is obligatory to hold them in due esteem and that acts of worship during these become more reward worthy. The first injunction out of the two was abrogated in the Shari’ah of Islam. But, the second one, that of increased reverence, esteem and devotion to Ibadah during this period still remains operative in Islam.

In his address of the Day of Sacrifice during the Last Hajj, the Holy Prophet (SAW) explained these months by saying: ‘Three months are consecutive – Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram – and one month is that of Rajab.’ But, there were two sayings of the Arabs regarding the month of Rajab. Some tribes used to call the month we know as Ramadan the month of Rajab while, as seen by the tribe of Mudar, Rajab was the month which comes in between Jumada ath-Thaniah and Sha’ban. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (SAW) – by mentioning this month as ‘Rajab Mudar’ – also made it clear that it means the month of Rajab which is in between Jumada ath-Thaniah and Sha’ban.

Thereafter appears the statement: ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ (That is the right faith). It means that keeping the setting and serial order of months, specially the injunctions pertaining to the Four Sacred Months, according to the very original decree of Allah Almighty is the right faith to hold. Making any changes, alterations, additions or deletions there- in is a sign of crookedness in comprehension and temperament.

[Maarif ul Quran Vol-4 (pg 373-376) , Maktabah Dar al Uloom, Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim]

Spiritual Reminders

Just like Allah has given superiority to some people over other, and he has given superiority to some places over others, he has also given superiority to some periods of time some seasons, days and months over others. This is the selection of Allah. He gave the prophets superiority over all of man mankind, he gave Makkah and masjid-ul-haram superiority over all other parts of the earth. And as he has decreed there are sometimes that are more valuable and precious than others, more virtuous, like Layla-tul-qadr, on one side you have a thousand and on one side you have this one night, this one night is heavier than one thousand months. Why? Because the rewards that a person can gain in this one night is more than a person can gain from worshipping Allah non-stop for a thousand months straight, that over eighty years. Then that virtue was not restricted to one night of the holy year, yes Layla tul qadr stands out from all other nights, nothing can compare to it. but it wasn’t that there are no other opportunities, the only opportunity to gain immense rewards is this night, no. Allah gave us many such seasons, and one of those seasons are the months of Ash- hurul oloom the sacred months. There are four months that are sacred. “ there are 12 months, there always have been 12 months since Allah created the heavens and the earth, and from those 12 months 4 are sacred. They are dhukl-qa’da, dhul-hijjah and muharram and standing alone by itself is Rajab.

So we have just started the month of Rajab and the word Rajab itself means to honor and to respect. Rajab in the Arabic language is used for someone who is very well respected and distinguished in his community and his society, that’s why it is often added to Rajab, they say Rajab ul marajjab, the revered month of Rajab. And one hadith the Prophet(SAW) referred to it rajab ul mudar, the rajab of mudar, the mudar was a very large clan of the arabs. So we have just started the month of Rajab and the word Rajab itself means to honor and to respect. Rajab in the Arabic language is used for someone who is very well respected and distinguished in his community and his society, that’s why it is often added to Rajab, they say Rajab ul marajjab, the revered month of Rajab. And one hadith the Prophet(SAW) referred to it rajab ul mudar, the rajab of mudar, the mudar was a very large clan of the arabs.
So Allah gives us one very clear instruction is these same verses regarding the four sacred months. That is “don’t wrong yourselves, by committing sins” every time a person commits a sin they have done Dhulm on themselves. And Allah speaks about nations that perished, nations that were destroyed “Allah did not do any wrong to them, they wronged themselves, they put themselves in that situation where Allah’s punishment became certain”. The most important thing about these four months is that we stay away from sins. Even though we should stay away from sins in all parts of the year, however in these months the sinfulness of the sin increases. Thus, it is even more sinful because minor sins have a greater repercussion than in other parts of the year, and a major sin would be even more serious than it would be in normal times. And this is the same thing in sacred places, a sin committed in the precinct of the haram is much more severe than the same sin committed outside of the haram. Its severe in both places but its more severe in a certain place. Moreover, this is the case in Ramadan, if a person commits a sin out of Ramadan it’s a sin, they have to make toubah and istigfar but if they commit that sin in Ramadan it is much more severe. So whenever the virtue of of something of the season increases so does the gravity of the sin in that same season. Allah warns us that stay away from sins in these months, be very very careful.

Furthermore, in these sacred months it is important that we increase our acts of worship. Although, there is no specific worship that had been designated for the month of rajab, nor is there a specific day that has been designated as more virtuous than other days, nor one night more virtuous than other nights. Rajab is from the four sacred months and the Prophet used to increase his ibadaat and used to encourage others to increase their worships in these months, which is why we should also do the same. Saeed ibn Zubair (RA) asked his teacher Ibn Abbas (RA) if the Prophet used to fast in Rajab and what his fast was like. He was told that the Prophet (SAW) used to fast so much that we would think that he is not going to spend any days without fasting, then he would stop fasting and we would think that he not going to fast anymore days fasting. In other words, intermittently he would fast then stop fasting. So, we should try to fast in this month to the best of out ability. Moreover, the hope is that all other acts of worship would become more rewarding on these days and our duaas will be accepted. One of the things that the ulama have mentioned is that Rajab is the opening for the season of worship. In fact it is said that Rajab is like the season of planting the seeds, Shaaban is the season for watering those seeds, and Ramadan is the time of harvest. So anyone who wants to truly benefit from Ramadan the most, must start working towards it now.

[Above section adapted from a talk delivered by Mufti Aasim Rashid titled “Virtues of Rajab”]



History of Rajab
From a Hadith in Bukhari, rajab is referred to as rajab ul mudar (the rajab of the mudar tribe). The mudar tribe was a very large clan of arabs. These were two groups that were constantly competing with and odds with each other. One side you had mudarr and on the other side you had rabi’a. So in these four months, even though the tribes used to have battles with each other, there would be a ceasefire because they knew that these were sacred months and fighting was not allowed therein since the time of the prophet Ibrahim (AS). Consequently , the Arabs would postpone this month and bring another month forward. The rabi’a clan would do this, and thereafter the month of Rajab was always be confused. Sometimes they would bring the month of Ramadan before the month of Rajab. The Mudarr clan was very diligent about respecting and honoring the month of rajab , so it was referred to, known very commonly as rajab ul mudar, meaning rajab that mudar always upholds. Rabi’a rajab would come three months later, so if you wanted to know the exact time of Rajab you would have to ask from someone from Mudarr. This is how this was known as rajab ul mudarr.

[Above section adapted from a talk delivered by Mufti Aasim Rashid titled “Virtues of Rajab”]

Read Next Blog: Change of Qiblah

Sunnah Acts

The Fasting of The Prophet (SAW)
‘Uthman b. Hakim al-Ansari said: I asked Sa’id b. Jubair about fasting In Rajab, and we were then passing through the month of Rajab, whereupon he said: I heard Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) as saying:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to observe fast (so continuously) that we (were inclined) to say that he would not break (them) and did not observe them so continuously) that we (were inclined to say) that he would not observe fast.

[Sahih Muslim 1157c]


Dua During Rajab
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبَانَ وَبَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَانَ
O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban and bring us to Ramadan.

[Mishkat al-Masabih 1369]

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