Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Month Of Rajab And Its Significance

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Indeed all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness, we seek refuge with Allah from our soul’s evil and our wrong doings, he whom Allah guides, no one can misguide, and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad the Messenger of Allah and his family and Companions and all who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

The month of Rajab- its significance

The Month of Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic lunar calendar. This month was regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ash-hur-Al-hurum) in which battles were prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet SAW. It is also deemed to be a prelude to the month of Ramadan, because the month of Ramadan follows it after the intervening month of Sha’ban. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet SAW sighted the moon of Rajab, he used to supplicate to Allah in the following words:
“O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).”
Although the month of Rajab has the aforesaid merits, yet no specific way of worship has been prescribed by the Shari’ah in this month. People have invented some special rituals or practices in this month which are not supported by reliable resources of the Shari’ah or are based on some unauthentic traditions. Here we briefly discuss the night of ascension.
Celebration of Lailatul Meraj
It is generally believed that the great event of Meraj (ascension of the Holy Prophet SAW to the heavens) took place on the night of 27th Rajab. Therefore, some people celebrate the night as “Lailatul Meraj”.
Indeed, the event of Meraj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of our beloved Prophet SAW. He was called by Almighty Allah. He travelled from Makkah to Baitul Maqdis and from there he ascended the heavens through the miraculous power of Allah. He was honored with a direct contact with his Creator at a place where even the angels had no access. This was the unique honour conferred by Allah to the Holy Prophet SAW alone. It was the climax of the spiritual progress which is not attained by anybody except him.
No doubt the night in which he was blessed with this unparalleled honour was one of the great nights in the history of this world. But, as we have explained in our discussion about the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal, Islam has its own principles with regard to the historic and religious events. Its approach about observing festivals and celebrating days and nights is totally different from the approach of other religions. The Holy Quranand the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet SAWdid not prescribe any festival or any celebration to commemorate an event from the past, however remarkable it might have been. Instead, Islam has prescribed two annual celebrations only. One is Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is Eid-ul-Adha. Both of these festivals have been fixed at a date on which the Muslims accomplish a great ib├ódah (worship) every year. Eid-ul-Fitr has been prescribed after the fasts of Ramadan, while Eid-ul-Adha has been fixed when the Muslims perform the Hajj annually. None of these two Eids is designed to commemorate a particular event of the past, which has happened in these dates.
This approach is indicative of the fact that the real occasion for a happy celebration is the day in which the celebrators themselves have accomplished remarkable work through their own active effort. As for the accomplishments of our ancestors, their commemoration should not be restricted to a particular day or night. Instead, their accomplishments must be remembered every day in our practical life by observing their teachings and following the great examples they have set for us.
Keeping this principle in view, the following points should be remembered with regard to the “Lailatul-Meraj”:
1.             We cannot say with absolute certainty in which night the great event of Meraj had taken place. Although some traditions relate this event to the 27th night of the month of Rajab, yet there are other traditions which suggest some other dates. Al-Zurqani, the famous biographer of the Holy Prophet SAW has referred to five different views in this respect: Rabi’ul Awwal, Rabi’ul Akhir, Rajab, Ramadan and Shawwal. Later, while discussing different traditions, he has added a sixth opinion, that the Meraj took place in the month of Zul-Hijjah.
Allamah Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi, the well-known scholar of Hadith, has written a detailed book on the merits of Islamic months. While discussing ‘Lailatul Meraj’, he has mentioned that most of the scholars are of the view that the event of Meraj took place in the month of Ramadan or in Rabi’ul Awwal.
2.            It is also not certainly known in which year the event of Meraj took place. There are a number of views mentioned in the books of history, which suggest a wide range between the fifth year and the twelfth year after the Prophet SAW was entrusted with prophethood.
Now, if it is assumed that the event of Meraj took place in the fifth year of his prophethood, it will mean that the Holy Prophet SAW remained in this world for eighteen years after this event. Even if it is presumed that the Meraj took place in the twelfth year of his prophethood, his remaining lifetime after this event would be eleven years. Throughout this long period, which may range between eleven and eighteen years, the Holy Prophet SAW never celebrated the event of Meraj, nor did he give any instructions about it. No one can prove that the Holy Prophet SAW ever performed some specific modes of worship in a night, calling it the ‘Lailatul Meraj’ or advised his followers to commemorate the event in a particular manner.
3.             After the demise of the Holy Prophet SAW also, not one of his companions is reported to celebrate this night as a night of special acts of worship. They were the true lovers of the Holy Prophet SAW and had devoted their lives to preserve every minute detail of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet SAW and other Islamic teachings. Still, they did not celebrate the event of Meraj in a particular night in a particular way.
All these points go a long way to prove that the celebration of the 27th night of Rajab, being the Lailatul Meraj has no basis in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet SAW or in the practice of his noble companions. Had it been a commendable practice to celebrate this night, the exact date of this event would have been preserved accurately by the Ummah and the Holy Prophet SAW and his blessed companions would have given specific directions for it.
Therefore, it is not a Sunnah to celebrate the ‘Lailatul Meraj’. We cannot take any practice as a Sunnah by our own emotions, unless it is established through authentic sources that the Holy Prophet SAWor his noble companions have recognized it as such, otherwise it may become a bid’ah about which the Holy Prophet SAWhas observed in the following words:
“Whoever invents something in our religion which is not part of it, it is to be rejected.”
Being mindful of this serious warning, we should appreciate that the 27th night of the month of Rajab is not like ‘Lailatul Qadr’ or ‘Lailatul Bara’ah’ for which special merits have been mentioned expressly either by the Holy Quranor by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.
However, all the recognized modes of ibadah [worship] like salah, recitation of the Holy Qur’an, dhikr, etc. are commendable at any time, especially in the late hours of the night, and obviously the 27th night of Rajab is not an exception. Therefore, if someone performs any recognized ibadah in this night from this point of view, nothing can stop him from doing so, and he will be entitled to the thawab (reward) allocated for that recognized act of worship, Insha Allah). But it is not permissible to believe that performing ibadah in this night is more meritorious or carries more thawab like ‘Lailatul Qadr’ or ‘Lailatul Bara’ah’, because this belief is not based on any authentic verse or sunnah of the Holy Prophet SAW. Similarly, it is not a correct practice to celebrate this night on a collective scale and to invite people to special ritual congregations.
4.            Some people suggest some special modes of worship to be performed in this night. Since the Shari’ah prescribes no special mode of worship in this night, these suggestions are devoid of any authority and should not be acted upon.
It is believed by some that the Muslims should keep fast on the 27th Rajab. Although there are some traditions attributing special merits to the fast of this day, yet the scholars of Hadith have held these traditions as very weak and unauthentic reports which cannot be sufficient to establish a rule of Shari’ah. On the contrary, there is an authentic report that Sayyidina Umar RA used to forbid people from fasting on this day. He would compel them to eat if they had started fasting.
It should be borne in mind here that a ‘nafil’ fast can be observed on any day (except the six prohibited days of the year). Therefore, fasting on the 27th Rajab is not prohibited in itself. What is prohibited is the belief that fasting on this day is more meritorious than fasting in other normal days. One should not fast on this day with this belief. But if someone fasts therein, believing it to be a normal nafil fast, there is no harm in doing so.
Source: Madrasah Arabia Islamia Azadville

Kindly note that any mistake in the contents of this article is due to my imperfection as a human being as only Allah Subhanahu Wa-Ta'ala is perfect in all affairs.
May Allah Forgive us our sins, guide us right from the evil of insincere intention, save us from misguided knowledge and grant the entire ummah benefit from this work AMIN.
Kindly feel free to make comments, contributions or corrections where necessary.
May Allah Bless us all, AMIN

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