In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
BEING THE FIRST SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF RAJAB, 6TH RAJAB/1439AH (23/MARCH/2018CE)
ATTRIBUTES OF THE SERVANTS OF THE MOST MERCIFUL (10); AVOIDING DOUBTFUL MATTERS.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, Who says: (وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا (68) يُضَاعَفْ لَهُ الْعَذَابُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَيَخْلُدْ فِيهِ مُهَانًا (69) إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (70) وَمَنْ تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَإِنَّهُ يَتُوبُ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَتَابًا ﴾) “Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; – and any that does this (not only) meets punishment. (But) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy,- Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful,” (25:68-70). We praise Him, thank Him, we assert our belief in Him, and put in Him our trust. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of our souls, and deeds. And we bear witness that there is no God but Allah alone, the compassionate, the merciful, the oft-forgiving, and I bear witness that our master Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be on him, his household, companions and whoever follow their guidance and footsteps till the day of accountability.
As to what follows:
Dear Muslims, I advise you all and myself to fear Allah, in the open and secret, because that is the objective of all acts of obedience and commands and prohibitions. Allah, the exalted says thus:
(يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا (70) يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا) “O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. ( 71 ) He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” (33:63).
Dear faithful, this is the first sermon in the month of Rajab, and we are continuing our discussion on the Attributes of the Servant of the Most Merciful, taking the tenth attribute which is “Avoiding doubtful matters” as elucidated in Suratul Furqan having discussed; humility, forbearance, Qiyaamul-layl (Standing for prayers at night), being fearful of the fire, Moderation in spending, upholding Tawheed, Avoiding killing and protecting life, Avoiding Zina and seeking repentance.
Then Allah described them with a new attribute which is the topic of today’s khutbah which: (﴿ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا﴾) “Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable (avoidance).” (25:72).
What is the meaning of – “Those who witness no falsehood”? it means, they do not witness falsehood, taking from witnessing; they do not get involved in this major sin which is one of the major sins as reported by the two great scholars- Bukhari and Muslim, from Abu Bakrah (R.A), that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him said: “Should I inform you of the worst of the major sins? Thrice, we said: O yes messenger of Allah. He said: Associating anyone with Allah, disobedience to parents, false testimony or false utterance. The Holy Prophet was reclining, then he sat up (to demonstrate the importance of the matter), and he repeated it so many times that we wished that he should become silent.” (in sympathy for the Prophet) (Bukhar, Muslim)
He- peace and blessing be upon- would repeat some statements owing to its importance so as to draw attention to it, because some could be preoccupied with an issue and could not hear the first time, then he would repeat till it is heard and registered in the mind.
A Muslim do not utter falsehood, the Prophet would say: “O Allah, I seek refuge in You that I say a falsehood, or that I fall into iniquity, or that I be deceived with You.”
He- peace and blessing be upon- would say: False witness is equated with Associating partner with Allah- thrice- then he recited: (﴿فَاجْتَنِبُوا الرِّجْسَ مِنَ الْأَوْثَانِ وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّور ( 30ِ ) حُنَفَاءَ لِلَّهِ غَيْرَ مُشْرِكِينَ بِهِ ﴾) “But shun the abomination of idols, and shun the word that is false, being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him.” (22: 30- 31)
False witness is equated with Associating partner with Allah due to the imminent squandering of rights involved, causing fire of argument among people, oppression of the weak by the strong, sale of conscience in order to testify falsely and displacing the truth. For these reasons it forms one of the major sins.
The servants of the Most Merciful will not do such, when the testify, they are truthful even when it is against themselves, or their parents or their relative. Equally, there would not be hindered by distance in relationship, or enmity, against witnessing in truth. Allah, the Exalted says: (﴿.. وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى .. ﴾) “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (5:8). (﴿.. وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَى .. ﴾) “whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; “ (6: 152).
If one of the servants of the most Merciful is requested to testify on the truth, he does so, and utter what he knows, without fraud, nor deviating, without adding or subtracting a word. If he asked to witness, he would not decline, as said by Allah: (﴿وَلَا يَأْبَ الشُّهَدَاءُ إِذَا مَا دُعُوا ﴾) “…The witnesses Should not refuse When they are called on (For evidence).” (2: 282).
Some people do not lie in bearing witness, but they do hide testimony, hiding in this case could be squandering of rights, it could be aiding falsehood, it could also be wasting of the religion, and wasting of life altogether. Allah says: “Conceal not evidence; For whoever conceals it- His heart is tainted With sin. And Allah Knoweth all that ye do.” (2:283). This points to the fact that concealing testimony is one of the major sins. The word of Allah is the truth in as said in another verse thus: (وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَتَمَ شَهَادَةً عِنْدَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ) “who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah. but Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!” (2:140)
How many rights are lost? How many sanctities are violated? How many dignities have you been humiliated? How much blood have been shed? How many lives were lost? How many peoples were persecuted? And how many ? and how many?… due to the concealment of testimony by some people.
How many people have tied their tongues, they have not said the truth, and the truth is required of them, did not say a word in their tongues, and did not say a word with their pens, when asked to testify and say.
The Second Tafseer: “Those who witness no falsehood” i.e- They would not attend it. The witness here is not that for testimony rather for presence (witnessing), they would not attend false testimony, they would not attend its gathering. The word- Zur- have been translated by mufassirun in many ways, which is a difference of variation and not that of contradiction. Some says it is Shirk, some says it is lie, some calls it the festivals of the idolaters. There are those who says it is amusement and music, others say it is wailing over the dead, some calls it consuming intoxicants, … all these show the word; Zur means evil, sin, deviation from the truth, and distance from good and obedience.
The meaning of this is that the servants of the most Merciful do not attend such places, they distance themselves from such gatherings, good gathering influences the people there, while evil gathering – as well – affect the companions. We all know the Hadith about the musk carrier which is narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Musa (may Allaah be pleased with him). “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.”
Hence, it is one of the attributes of the slaves of the Beneficent: (﴿ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا﴾) “Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable (avoidance).” (25:72).
When they pass by gathering of futility they distance themselves honoutably, they honour themselves, they count themselves above such gathering of futility, their life or age is more expensive than to be wasted in vainity.
Allah described the successful believers, who have been prepared for paradise to them, where they shall be forever, and one of their most specific characteristic is: “those who avoid vain talk; (23:3).
The prime of their wealth is their time, how then would they spend it in vain? They would not accept they waste their time in such a way. The time they waste in vanity could be used for praises of Allah, and remembering His name.
Dear believers endeavor to emulate the servants of the Beneficent, to be positive, to take pride in yourself from what the abominable people do.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, May His peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, family, companions and all believers till the last hour.
Dear faithful, Allah says: “The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)- so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred: that is the straight usage. So wrong not yourselves therein, and fight the Pagans all together as they fight you all together. But know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (9: 36)
Dear faithful, we are in the month of Rajab now we therefore see it worthwhile to discuss Islamic ruling concerning Rajab.
There are many areas of ah’kaam (jurisprudence) related to the month of Rajab. Some of the reported traditions of Rajab trace back to the days of jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic period) and continued after the dawn of Islam. Others were prohibited by the Prophet (SAWS). Scholars differ as to which of these traditions continued after Islam, such as fighting, slaughtering, they used to slaughter the sheep they called ‘Ateerah during Jaahiliyyah. Some of the jurisprudence regarding Rajab are as follows:
1 Animal Sacrifices: During the days of jaahiliyyah, people used to make animal sacrifices of sheep and called it al-ateerah(Ateerah: a sheep sacrifice.); scholars differ whether the practice is still permissible. It was reported the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “There is no far’a(Far’a: the first born of a she camel which during the days of jaahiliyyah they used to slaughter n the name of the pagan gods.) and no ateerah” (Ateerah: a sheep sacrifice.). Other scholars say that the practice of ateerah is permissible, among them is ibn Seereen and it was related about Imam Ahmad that the people of Basra used to do it. It was related that the Prophet (SAWS) said while standing of the mountain of Arafat: “each year, every household should slaughter a sacrifice and that is what they call al-ateerah”( Bukhari and Muslim). In another tradition it was reported about Abu Razeen[ Laqeet ibn Sabira, a well known companion of the Prophet]; he said: “I said: O Messenger of Allah, we used to perform animal sacrifices during the days of jaahiliyyah (during Rajab), we would eat it and feed whoever came to us” the Prophet (SAWS) replied: “there is nothing wrong with that.”[ Al-Nissa’i] In another tradition reported by ibn Abbaas, he said: “The Quraish sought permission from the Prophet (SAWS) continue the ateerah and he said: “You may do the sheep slaughter of jaahiliyyah; however, if you sacrifice for the sake of Allah and want to eat it and give some away as charity then you may do so.[ Tabaraani ]” scholars of Islam reconcile the prohibition in the hadith of Abu Hurraira and the permissibility of the practice reported in the other hadith by saying that the prohibition relates to the pre-Islamic practice of offering sacrifices to gods other than Allah. Sufyaan ibn Uyyaina says that what’s meant by the prohibition here is the removal of wujoob (obligation). Other scholars say that the hadith of Abu Hurraira is the most authentic narration available on the topic and should provide the standard on how the action is mitigated[ Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, page 207]. It was related about Hasan al-Basri that he said: “There is no ateerah in Islam. Ateerah is something that existed in jaahiliyyah. Some of them used to fast the whole month of Rajab and perform an ateerah during it and the sacrifice would resemble a religious rite or holiday.[ Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, page 206]” it was related about ibn Abbaas that he used to dislike that people take Rajab for a holiday. [ Collected by Abdul-Razaaq with a broken chain] The conclusion is that if a person wants to slaughter a sheep during the month of Rajab for the sake of Allah and eat some and distribute or feed some to others; that is permissible. However, they shouldn’t take a specific day or make into a holiday occasion for that would not be consistent with the Sunna. And Allah knows best.
2. Prayer on particular days of Rajab: There are no authentic narrations about the Prophet (SAWS) regarding a specific prayer designated for the month of Rajab. There are several narrations regarding ‘salaatul raghaa’ib’ during the first Jum’ah night of Rajab but they are weak narrations with no validity. Such a prayer is considered an innovation by the majority of scholars but not all of them. Ibn Jawzee and Abu Bakr as-Sam’aani are amongst the latter-day scholars who mention this. The rulings on salaatul raghaa’ib were not mentioned by earlier scholars because the practice did not appear until about the fifth century of the Hijra.
3. Fasting during Rajab: There is nothing authentic reported directly from or about the Prophet (SAWS) or any of the companions regarding fasting during specific days of the month of Rajab. However, there is a report about Abu Qalaaba that he said: “There is a castle in paradise for those who fast during the month of Rajab.” According to al-Baihaqi, Abu Qalaaba being one of the luminaries of the taabi’een would not have said such a thing unless he received it from one of the companions. It was reported in a narration Mujeeba al-Baahiliyyah about her father that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “fast some days of the sacred months and leave some days.[ Abu Dawud and others]” Some of the Salaf used to fast the entirety of the sacred months; among them Abdullah ibn Umar, and al-Hasan al-Basri, and Abu Is’haaq as-Sabee’i. Ibn Abbaas and Anas ibn Malik used to dislike that people fast the entire month of Rajab and in another narration about ibn Umar and ibn Abbaas; they used to prefer that if people fasted Rajab, they break their fast at least some of the days. It was also reported about imam Ahmad, Sa’eed ibn Jubair and Imam Shaafi’ee that they used to dislike that people would fast the entire month of Rajab. Imam Shaafi’ee was reported to have said in a former opinion; “I dislike that people complete the fast of Rajab like they would the fast of Ramadan.” His argument for this was the hadith of Aisha; “I never saw the Prophet (SAWS) complete a month (of fasting) ever, except for Ramadan.[ Bukhaari and Muslim]” Some of the Hanbali scholars view that fasting the complete month of Rajab is not disliked if they also fast another month before or after it in its entirety as well. I already mentioned that Ibn Umar and others used to fast the entirety of all the sacred months. There is no harm for a person to fast the entirety of the month of Rajab if it is incorporated as part of a perpetual fast (siyaamul dahr) Some fasts are customary in the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and can and should be incorporated into Rajab: Such as fasting three consecutive days of the month, as reported in the hadith of Aisha, she reported: “the Prophet (SAWS) used to fast three consecutive days out of each month.” Or fasting Mondays and Thursdays as recorded in the Sunna. According to Imam Nawawi; “Neither prohibition nor praiseworthiness has been established for the month of Rajab in itself, however, the principle concerning fasting is that it is praiseworthy in itself, and in the Sunan of Abu Dawudthe Prophet has made the fasting of the sacred months praiseworthy, and Rajab is one of them. And Allah knows best”.[ Imam Nawawi, Explanation of Sahih Muslim, Kitab 13 Bab 34] In the statement of Sheikh Sayyid Saabiq; “Fasting during Rajab contains no more virtue than during any other month. There is no sound report from the Sunna that states that it has a special reward. All that has been related concerning it is not strong enough to be used as a proof. Ibn Hajar says: “There is no authentic hadith related to its virtues, nor fasting during it or on certain days of it, nor concerning exclusively making night prayers during that month.” Thus fasting during Rajab particularly has no special bearing in Islam but fasting during the sacred months is acceptable and was practiced by some of the companions. Fasting three days of the month and on Mondays and Thursdays is a Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and a praiseworthy act.
4. Zakaat during the Month of Rajab: Some Muslim countries and communities have become accustomed to collecting and paying zakaat during the month of Rajab. Such a practice is permissible as the zakaat is due annually and needs to be paid. However, there is no basis for singling out Rajab for zakaat in the Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS). This alone does not make it prohibited to do so because zakaat is due annually and its payment is based upon reaching the nisaab of a year and not a particular date. However it was reported about Uthmaan ibn Afaan that during his term as Caliph that he ascended the pulpit and said: “Oh people, this is the month of your zakaat, so whoever amongst you has a debt, then he should pay his debt.[ Muwatta]” Other scholars say that zakaat should be paid in the month of Muharram because it marks the beginning of the year and some of the jurists say the Muharram is the time when the imam should dispatch the people to collect the zakaat. Others say that zakaat should be paid during the month of Ramadan because of the sheer virtue of Ramadan and the virtue of charity during the month of Ramadan. The fact of the matter is that zakaat is due after the nisaab has reached a year. According to Abu Saud, the basic definition of nisaab is that amount which is sufficient to sustain the minimum average family for one year. In some modern Muslim countries, nisaab is often interpreted to equate a governmentally determined poverty threshold. Once a person’s holdings have reached the level of nisaab, the zakaat is due on that wealth, regardless of the month. The issue of zakaat is a lengthy subject and not the central topic of our discussion. Please refer to the books of fiqh for more detail.
5. Umrah during Rajab: Once ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) performed umrah during Rajab, Aisha was present and repudiated what Ibn Umar said, he heard her repudiate it and didn’t object[ sahih al-Bukhaari.]. Umar ibn al-Khattaab and other companions used to like to perform umrah during Rajab. Aisha used to do it as well as Abdullah ibn Umar. Ibn Seereen reports that the Salaf used to do it. Thus there is no harm performing Umrah during the month of Rajab or any other month.
Conclusion: Rajab is indeed a sacred month and on should increase acts of goodness during the sacred months as in other months. It was reported in the hadith of Anas that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Oh Allah, bless us in our Rajab and Sha’baan for they deliver us into Ramadan.” The hadith although it has weakness in its chain, shows that it is permissible to ask Allah to prolong your life to a more blessed time so that you can perform good deeds during that time. It’s like saying; oh Allah keep me going until Ramadan. The Salaf used to like that when they died, it would happen at the end of a good deed; right after Ramadan, or on the way back from hajj and they used to think that if someone died in that manner their sins would be forgiven. It was also reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “verily deeds are reckoned according to one’s final acts”. And Allah knows best.
Oh Allah descend peace; flowing with continuous tranquility and security upon Nigeria and all other Muslim nations. O Allah accept the worship of the pilgrims of hajj and Umrah, and grant us all Your pleasure, And the last of our call will be, “Praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds!”