There are many rulings related to the month of Rajab. Some of them existed in the pre-Islamic era and scholars differed regarding their continuation after Islam such as the prohibition of killing and slaughtering certain sacrifices. Some others first appeared along with the advent of Islam such as performing certain prayer, fasting, ‘Umrah and the like.
In the following lines, we will touch upon this topic in detail:
1- We have previously stated the disagreement of the scholars regarding the ruling of killing during the sacred months and whether its prohibition is still valid or abrogated in the previous episode.
2- As for sacrifices, one of the practices during the month of Rajab which was done during the pre-Islamic period, is to offer sacrifices and call it Al-‘Ateerah. Muslim scholars held different opinions regarding their ruling in Islam. Most of them view that Islam voided this practice. Also, It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "There is no Fara‘ and no ‘Ateerah." [Reported by Al-Bukhaari (5473 and 5474) and Muslim]
Some of them such as Ibn Sireen said, it is recommended. This is also reported by Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, from the people of Al-Basrah.
There are several Hadeeths reported in this regard in the Sunan and Imam An-Nasaa‘i, may Allaah have mercy upon him, collected them in his Sunan and singled out a book for them under the title of Al-Fara‘ and Al-‘Ateerah and then made a chapter for explaining the first and another for the latter in his Sunan 7/167 – 171.
Those who view its permissibility substantiated their opinion with such Hadeeths. They reconciled between such Hadeeths and the Hadeeth: “There is no Fara‘ and no ‘Ateerah" with that the prohibited is what the people during the pre-Islamic era used to do of slaughtering for others than Allaah The Almighty. Sufyaan ibn ‘Unaynah viewed that what is meant is negating obligation. Some other scholars said that the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, is more authentic than such Hadeeths and thus it is to be acted upon away from other Hadeeths and this is the approach adopted by Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him.
The ruling of offering sacrifices in the month of Rajab applies to the idea of regarding it a season and festival such as eating sweet in it and the like. It was reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with them, that he used to dislike to deem the month of Rajab festival.
The origin of this is that Muslims are not to regard any day festival except what is prescribed by the Islamic Sharee‘ah (i.e. divine revealed laws) as a festival such as the Day of Al-Fitr (i.e. fast-breaking), Al-Adha (i.e. sacrifice), three days of At-Tashreeq; such are the festivals of the year, and Friday which is the festival of the week. Accordingly, regarding any day festival other than them is Bid‘ah (i.e. innovation) that has no basis in Islam.
3- Amongst the other rulings of Rajab are the prayer, fasting and ‘Umrah reported in it.
There is no authentic Hadith regarding a special prayer during the month of Rajab, and all the narrations concerning Ar-Raghaa’ib prayer that people used to do at the first night of Friday during the month of Rajab are fabricated lies and according to the majority of the scholars, this prayer is an innovation. Amongst the great scholars who stated this are Al-Haafith Abu Ismaa‘eel Al-Ansaari, Abu Bakr ibn As-Samm‘aani, Abu Al-Fadhl ibn Naasir, Abu Al-Farj ibn Al-Jawzi, Abu Al-Farj ibn Rajab and others.
However, earlier scholars did not mention it because it was innovated after the fourth century and was never known before that, and no one from the scholars during the first virtuous generations ever mentioned it.
4- As for fasting, there is no authentic Hadeeth regarding fasting the month of Rajab reported from the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, or his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them. It was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, commanded a man to observe fasting in the month of Al-Muharram. [Reported by Abu Daawood 2/322 – 323 (2428) and An-Nasaa’i in Al-Kubra 2/139-140, Ibn Maajah 1/554 (1741), Ahmad 5/28 and Al-Bayhaqi 4/291 and others from the route of Abi As-Saleel from Majeebah Al-Baahiliyyah from her father or parental uncle as a Marfoo‘ (i.e. traceable) Hadeeth. It was also said, Abu Majeebah Al-Baahili. The most preponderant opinion is that she is a woman and there is some Jahaalah (i.e., one narrator is unknown) which is the defect of the Hadeeth. Refer to Al-Mizaan 3/440 and Da‘eef Abu Daawood (419)]
Some of our righteous predecessors used to fast the sacred months as a whole such as Ibn ‘Umar, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Abu Ishaaq As-Subay‘i.
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with them, said, “The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, prohibited fasting the month of Rajab.” [Reported by Ibn Maajah with a weak Isnaad (i.e. chain of narrators)]
The correct opinion is that it is Mawqoof i.e. traced back to Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with them, as it was reported by ‘Abdur-Razzaaq in Al-Musanaf (7854).
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with them, disliked to observe fasting in the month of Rajab as a whole. It was also reported that Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with the, would like to break fasting in some days of it. Also, Anas and Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr disliked fasting it as a whole. Yahya ibn Sa‘eed Al-Ansaari and Imam Ahmad disliked fasting the month of Rajab as a whole and said one should break fasting for a day or two in it as it was reported from Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with them. Ash-Shaafi‘i, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in the old Mathhab: “I dislike a man to observe fasting for a whole month in much the same way he fasts Ramadhaan,” and substantiated his opinion by the Hadeeth reported by ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with him, in which she said: “I never saw the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, fast a full month except during Ramadan, and he never fasted more than fasting during the month of Sha‘baan.” [Reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
He added, I disliked this so that an ignorant person may not believe that it is something obligatory; however, if one did so and no one believe this, it will be something good.
According to some scholars, disliking of singling out the month of Rajab with fasting can be removed by fasting a voluntary month along with it such as fasting the sacred months, or fasting Rajab and Sha‘baan. It was also reported from Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them, and others fasting the sacred months. However, Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, view that one should not fast it as a whole except the one who observe fasting in the whole year.
5- As for performing ‘Umrah in the month of Rajab, it was reported from Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, performed ‘Umrah at the month of Rajab; however, ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with him, denied this while he was present and kept silent.
‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them, and others recommended performing ‘Umrah in the month of Rajab. ‘Aa’ishah and Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them, used to it as well. Ibn Sireen reported from our righteous predecessors that they used to do it. That is because the better way of performing Hajj and ‘Umrah is to perform Hajj in one journey and ‘Umrah in another journey in other than the months of Hajj and this is the perfect way of performing the commanded Hajj and ‘Umrah. This opinion was also adopted by the majority of the Companions such as ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan, ‘Ali and others, may Allaah be pleased with them.
6- It was narrated that Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: "O Allaah bless for us Rajab and Sha‘baan and grant us the grace to witness Ramadhan." [Reported by Ahmad 1/259, Ibn As-Sinni in ‘Amal Al-Yawom wa Al-Laylah (658) and Al-Bazzaar (616) Kashf Al-Astaar] However, the Hadeeth is Da‘eef (i.e. weak) because its chain of narrators has Zaa’idah ibn Abi Ar-Raqaad whose Hadeeth is Munkar (1).
7- It is said to have been reported that major events happened in the month of Rajab, but none of these reports are true. It was reported that the Prophet, peace and blessing 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.
It was reported with a chain of narrators that is not authentic from Al-Qaasim Ibn Muhammad that the Al-Israa’ (i.e. Night Journey) of the Prophet took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibraaheem Al-Harbi and others.
It was narrated that Qays ibn ‘Abbaad said regarding the tenth day of Rajab that Allaah eliminates what He wills or confirms, and with Him is the Mother of the Book. And it was reported that people during the Pre-Islamic era used to supplicate Allaah The Almighty against the oppressor and they used to be answered and there are many well known reports regarding this stated by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya in Mujaab Ad-Da‘wah and the like.
8- The month of Rajab is the key of goodness and blessings. Abu Bakr Al-Warraaq Al-Balkhiyy said: “Rajab is the month of planting seeds. Sha‘baan is the month of irrigation and Ramadhaan is the month of harvest.” It was also reported that he said: “The month of Rajab is like a wind, Sha‘baan is like a cloud and Ramadhaan is like rain.” Some others said: “The year is like a tree. The days of the month of Rajab are its foliation. The days of Sha‘baan are its branching and the days of Ramadhaan are wherein its fruits are reaped. The reapers are the believers. It is befitting for the one who has blackened his pages with sins to whiten them with repentance in this month, and for the one who has squandered his life in idleness to profit in it from what remains of his life.”
Once a poet in this regard said:
Whiten your black pages in Rajab with good deeds that save from the Hellfire.
Here is one of the sacred months has come in which if one supplicates Allaah The Almighty will never be disappointed.
Glad tidings for the one who does righteous in it and gives up immoralities and doubt.
Thus, one should seize the opportunity of doing great good deeds in this month. That is because filling its times with the acts of worship really has great virtues.
(1) A Hadeeth that was narrated by a non-trustworthy narrator and contradicts the narration of a trustworthy narrator. (Translator)