The Month of Rajab
 By Mufti Taqi Usmani
 Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic lunar calendar.  This month was 
regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ashhur-al-hurum) in which battles were 
prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is 
also a prelude to the month of Ramadan, because Ramadan follows it after the 
intervening month of Sha'ban. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet sighted the moon 
of Rajab, he used to pray 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)."
 Yet no specific way of worship has been prescribed by the Shari'ah in this 
month. However, some 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. We would like to explain here the 
correct position about them.
 1. Celebration of Lailatul Mi'raj
 It is generally believed that the great event of Mi'raj (ascension of the Holy 
Prophet to the heavens) took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Therefore, 
some people celebrate the night as "Lailatul- Mi'raj" (the night of ascension 
to heavens). Indeed, the event of mi'raj was one of the most remarkable 
episodes in the life of our beloved Holy Prophet . 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 honor conferred by Allah to the Holy Prophet 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 honor 
was one of the greatest nights in the history of this world. But, 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 Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet did 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 'ibadah (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
 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 the 
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-mi'raj":
 (1) We cannot say with absolute certainty in which night the great event of 
mi'raj took place. Although some traditions relate this event to 27th night of 
the month of Rajab, yet there are other traditions that suggest other dates. 
Al-Zurqani, the famous biographer of the Holy Prophet has referred to five 
different views in this respect: Rabi-ul-Awwal, Rabi-u-Thani, Rajab, Ramadan 
and Shawwal. Later, while discussing different traditions, he has added a sixth 
opinion, that the mi'raj took place in the month of Zulhijjah. Allama Abdulhaq 
Muhaddith Dehlawi, the well-known scholar of the Indian subcontinent, has 
written a detailed book on the merits of Islamic months. While discussing the 
'Lailatul-mi'raj' has mentioned that most of the scholars are of the view that 
the event of mi'raj took place in the month of Ramadan or in Rabi-ul-awwal.
 (2) It is also not known in which year the event of Mi'raj took place. The 
books of history suggest a wide range between the fifth-year and the twelfth 
year after the Holy Prophet was entrusted with prophethood. Now, if it is 
assumed that the event of Mi'raj took place in the fifth year of his 
prophethood, it will mean that the Holy Prophet remained in this world for 
eighteen years after this event. Even if it is presumed that the mi'raj took 
place in the twelfth year of his prophethood, his remaining life-time after 
this event would be eleven years. Throughout this long period, which may range 
between eleven years and eighteen years, the Holy Prophet never celebrated the 
event of mi'raj, nor did he give any instruction about it. No one can prove 
that the Holy Prophet ever performed some specific modes of worship in a night 
calling it the 'Lailatul-mi'raj' or advised his followers to commemorate the 
event in a particular manner.
 (3) After the demise of the Holy Prophet also, no one of his companions is 
reported to celebrate this night as a night of special acts of worship. They 
were the true devotees of the Holy Prophet and had devoted their lives to 
preserve every minute detail of the sunnah of the Holy Prophet and other 
Islamic teachings. Still, they did not celebrate the event of mi'raj 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-mi'raj has 
no basis in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet 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 and his blessed companions would have given specific 
directions for it.
 Therefore, it is not a Sunnah to celebrate the Lailatul-mi'raj'. We cannot 
declare any practice as a sunnah unless it is established through authentic 
sources that the Holy Prophet or his noble Companions have recognized it as 
such, otherwise it may become a bid'ah about which the Holy Prophet has 
observed in the following words: "Whoever invents something in our religion 
which is not a 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 Qur'an or by the Holy Prophet.
 However, all the recognized modes of 'ibadah (worship) like Salat, recitation 
of the Holy Qur'an, dhikr, etc. are commendable any time, especially in the 
late hours of 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 
'ibadah 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 on a sunnah of the Holy Prophet. Similarly, it is not a 
correct practice to celebrate this night collectively and to invite people to 
special ritual congregations.
 (4) Some people suggest some special modes of worship to be performed in this 
night. Since no special mode of worship is prescribed by the Shari'ah 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 27th of 
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 Sayyidna 'Umar, 
Radi-Allahu anhu, used to forbid people from fasting on this day, rather to 
compel them to eat if they had started fasting.
 It should be borne in mind here that a "nafl" fast can be observed any day 
(except the six prohibited days of the year); therefore, fasting on 27th of 
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 in this day with this belief. But if someone fasts
 therein, believing it to be a normal nafl fast, there is no bar against it.
 Sacrifice (qurbani) in the month of Rajab
 In the days of ignorance (jahiliyyah) the Arabs used to offer the sacrifice of 
a goat in the month of Rajab. This sacrifice used to be called "Atirah' or 
'Rajabiyyah'. This sacrifice was offered in the name of different so-called 
gods and their icons. In the beginning of Islam, this custom was retained, but 
the Muslims modified it by offering the sacrifice of 'Atirah in the name of 
Allah instead of the false gods. But finally, this custom was abandoned and the 
Holy Prophet prohibited the offering of 'Atirah. In a tradition of Sayyidna Abu 
Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu, reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy 
Prophet has said: "Fara' is nothing and 'Atirah is nothing." Abu Hurairah, 
Radi-Allahu anhu, has explained in the same tradition that 'Fara" was the first 
child of a she-camel. Whenever a she-camel delivered its first child, the Arabs 
used to sacrifice it in the name of their so-called gods, while the 'Atirah' 
was a goat used to be sacrificed in the month of Rajab. Since the Holy Prophet 
stopped both these customs, 'Atirah is no longer a recognized practice.
 'Umrah in the month of Rajab
 Ibn 'Abidin, the well-known scholar of the Islamic jurisprudence, has 
mentioned that the people of Makkah (in his days) used to perform 'umrah in the 
month of Rajab. Perhaps they believed that performing 'umrah in this month is 
more meritorious than in other months. Then Ibn Abidin himself has rejected the 
authenticity of this practice, because no tradition of the Holy Prophet is 
found to this effect. Conversely Sayyidah 'Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, has 
expressly negated the presumption by saying that the Holy Prophet never 
performed an 'umrah in the month of Rajab (Sahih Muslim 1:409)
 However, Ibn 'Aibidin has quoted a narration that 'Abdullah ibn Zubair, 
Radi-Allahu anhu, completed the renovation of Ka'bah shortly before 27th of 
Rajab, and as a sign of gratefulness he performed 'umrah and slaughtered some 
animals. But this report cannot form the basis of a recognized annual practice, 
firstly because the report is not very authentic, and secondly because it does 
not mention that Abdullah ibn Zubair, Radi-Allahu anhu, had adopted it as a 
continuing practice. At the most, he performed 'umrah once as a sign of 
gratefulness on the completion of Ka'bah. It does not mean that he performed it 
as a characteristic of the month of Rajab. Therefore, performing 'Umrah in this 
month is like performing it in any other month and no special merit can be 
attached to it merely because it has been performed in the month of Rajab.
 The Salaat of "Raghaa'ib"
 Another special mode of worship attributed by some people to this month is the 
Salat of Raghai'b. According to the custom of such people, this Salat is 
performed in the night of first Friday of the month of Rajab. The Salat of 
Raghaib is said to consist of twelve rak'ats to be performed in pairs with six 
salams, and in each rak'at the surah al-qadr is recited three times
 followed by the Surah-al-ikhlas. This type of Salat is also not based on any 
sound source of Shari'ah.  Therefore, almost all the jurists and scholars of 
Shari'ah have held that the Salat of Raghaib is a baseless practice and it is 
not permissible to treat it as a recognized practice of this month. It is true 
that there is a tradition, narrated by Razin, the author of a book of
 hadith, which attributes the origin of this practice to the Holy Prophet but 
almost all the scholars of the science of hadith have held it to be absolutely 
unauthentic. Therefore, no importance can be attached to it.
 Distribution of Breads:
 Another baseless practice in the month of Rajab is that the people bake 
special types of breads and, after reciting some verses and prayers on them, 
distribute them among their friends and neighbors. This custom has two 
different shapes.
 1). In some communities, this custom is celebrated on 17th of Rajab on the 
assumption that Sayyidna Ali, Radi-Allahu anhu, was born on 11th of Rajab and 
the 17th of Rajab is the day on which his 'Aqiqa (Shaving of his head) was 
performed. In order to celebrate this happy event, the breads of some special 
type are prepared and after reciting Surah Al-Mulk on them, they are 
distributed among the relatives and friends. These breads are generally called 
"breads of Tabarak" because Surah Al-Mulk is usually recited on them. This 
practice is baseless because it is never proved that Sayyidna Ali, Radi-Allahu 
anhu, was born on 11th of Rajab or that his Aqiqa was performed on 17th of this 
month and, as explained earlier, even if these events are proved to have 
happened in those days, their commemoration through these specific rituals is 
not warranted by the Shari'ah.
 2). A more common practice of this type is observed on 22nd of Rajab whereby 
some breads and meals of a special type are prepared and distributed among the 
people. Since these special meals are usually placed in some bowls made of 
clay, the custom is usually known as "Koonda", an Urdu equivalent of such 
bowls. It is usually believed that the custom is designed to make 
'isal-al-thawab to the soul of Sayyidna Jafar Al-Sadiq who himself has
 directed his followers to observe this custom and has promised them that 
whoever observes it, his desires will be fulfilled.
 All these assumptions also have no basis at all, neither historically, nor 
according to the principles of Shari'ah. In fact, the date of 22nd of Rajab has 
no concern whatsoever with Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq, Rahimah-u-Allah. According 
to the historians, he was born on 8th of Ramadan 80 A.H. and died in Shawwal 
148 A.H. No specific event of the life of Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq is proved to 
have happened on this date. The people believing in the custom
 refer to a coined story mentioned in an unauthentic book named 
"Dastaan-e-Ajeeb". Briefly stated, the gist of the story is that a poor 
woodcutter lived in Madinah in the days of Jafar Al-Sadiq. He went abroad to 
earn his livelihood. His wife was employed in the house of the Prime Minister. 
Once she was cleaning the courtyard of the Prime Minister when Sayyidna Jafar 
al-Sadiq passed by her. 
 It was 22nd of Rajab. He advised her to bake some breads of a special type and 
make 'isal-al-sawab to him. According to this story, he promised her that if 
her desire is not fulfilled after this practice, she can catch hold of him at 
the doom's day. On hearing this, the woman made a vow that if her husband will 
come back with a considerable wealth, she will observe the custom of "Koonda". 
On the same day her husband, who was in another country, found a valuable 
treasure in the earth and came back with it to Madinah where he established 
himself as a rich man and started living in a magnificent castle. 
 When his wife told the story to the wife of the Prime Minister, she 
disbelieved her and because of this disbelief, she and her husband, the Prime 
Minister, were punished by Allah. He was removed by the king from the prime 
minister-ship and was imprisoned in a jail and was ordered to be hanged. While 
being in the prison, the wife of the Prime Minister remembered that she had 
disbelieved the story of Jafar al-Sadiq told to her by her maidservant and 
their misery might be the punishment of their disbelief. On this point, she and 
her husband repented before Allah and made a vow to observe the custom of 
"Koonda", if they are released from the jail. After they made such a vow, the 
whole scenario of

"Happiness is the key to the foundation of satisfaction, contentment and 
acceptance"…Zohra Moosa



{Invite (mankind, O Muhammad ) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom 
(i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur'an) and fair preaching, and argue 
with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone 
astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.} (Holy 

{And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in 
His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites 
(men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I 
am one of the Muslims."} (Holy Quran-41:33)
The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "By Allah, if 
Allah guides one person by you, it is better for you than the best types of 
camels." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim] 

The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  also said, "Whoever 
calls to guidance will have a reward similar to the reward of the one who 
follows him, without the reward of either of them being lessened at all." 
[Muslim, Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa'ee, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah] 



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