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Ruling on fasting the month of Rajab partly or fully

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

BEING THE FIRST SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF RAJAB,

DATED 5TH RAJAB, 1444 AH (26TH JANUARY, 2023 CE).

TITLED: THE RULING ON FASTING THE MONTH OF RAJAB, PARTLY OR FULLY

FIRST SERMON

All praises belong to Allah, we praise Him, Glorified and Exalted He is, we thank Him, we believe in Him, and we trust in Him. We seek refuge in him from the evil of our own souls, and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides is the one who is guided and nothing that can mislead him, and whoever is let astray, none can guide Him. I testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone. He has no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and His Messenger. He delivered the Message, he discharged the Trust and advised the Ummah. And Allah removed through him the grief, and he strove in the way of his Lord as is deserving until the certainty (death) came to him. Indeed the truest speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of His Messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, the worst of all matters (in the Deen) are the invented ones, and all invented matters in the Deen are bid’ah, all bid’ah is a straying from the path, and all straying from the path will be in the Fire. We seek refuge with Allah!

Thereafter…

O servants of Allah! Fear Allah Ta’alah in accordance to His saying: (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ) “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Aal-Imraan: 102).

Brothers in Faith! The topic of our sermon today revolves around the ruling on fasting some or the whole of the month of Rajab.

And know – may Allah have mercy on you – that Allah in His wisdom, He has blessed some days and months over others just as He has blessed some places over others. So, Laylatul-Qadr is His preferred of all nights, and day of Jumu’ah (Friday) is His chosen day in the week, and Makkah of His preferred of all lands, and his prophet Muhammad – may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him – is His chosen one from his creation, just as the month of Ramadhaan is the choice of Allah from among the months of the year. (وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ مَا كَانَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ) “And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses, no choice have they (in any matter).” (Al-Qasas: 68). Among these preferred times in the year is the month of Rajab, which no human have a say in the preference, because Allah is the ‘Ad-Dhar’ in Whose Hands is the matter. He changes the night and day, and He, Glory be to Him, is the Creator of time and space, and we believe in the perfection of His Lordship, Wisdom, and Knowledge.

Dear brothers! The excellence of Rajab is part of the general excellence of the Sacred Months, about which Allah Ta’alah says: (إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُور عِنْدَ اللهِ اثْنَى عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فـِي كِتَابِ اللهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ   وَالأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرمٌ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ القَيِّمُ،فَلاَ تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ…) “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” (At-Taubah: 36), and  the two books of Saheeh specified these months in the Farewell Pilgrimage that three are consecutive: Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the other) one stand alone, which is Rajab, which is between Jumada al-Aakhirah and Sha’aban.

Among the manifestations of preference for the sacred months, including Rajab is the recommendation to fast during it, as stated in a hadith narrated by Abu Daawud from Mujeebah al-Baahiliyyah on the authority of her father or uncle, that the Prophet (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said to him after a long speech: “…Fast (some) from the sacred months and leave (some)!” , three times, and he indicated with his three fingers, by joining them. What is apparent is that the sign was for the number of times, not for the number of days (to fast). From that, “the month of Rajab is not mentioned in any specific hadith about the virtue of fasting in it, whether sound (saheeh) or good (hasan) hadith” (Ibn Hajar) , other than its being one of the Sacred Months.

Dear listening brothers! The month of Rajab is just like any of the sacred months among the months of the year, and supererogatory fasting in it, as in all months of the year, is legitimate, except in Ramadan (when fasting is mandatory) and the two E’ids, and the days of at-Tashreeq, and on day of Jumu’ah (Friday) when fasting is not permissible. As for the month of Ramadan, it is not a time for voluntary fasts. As for other times beside it, there is nothing that prohibits fasting voluntarily in them. Although supererogatory fasting is legitimate except for these times, and the recommendation is emphasized for some of these days, so that fasting becomes a Sunnah and an established guidance from the Messenger of Allah (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).

As for the month of Rajab, nothing is correct about the virtue of fasting in it other than what is true for other sacred months, as nothing was reported regarding it from the Prophet (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) or from his companions, especially the “old people’s fast”. What is prescribed in the month concerning fasting is what is prescribed in the other months, such as fasting Mondays and Thursdays, the white days, fasting one day and breaking the next, and so on. It was narrated on the authority of Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – that he used to strike the hands of people engaged in Rajab fast until they put them in the food and say: “What is Rajab? Rajab was venerated by the people of Jahiliyyah, and when Islaam came, it was abandoned.” And in another narration, “He hated that fasting it (Rajab) be made a Sunnah.” And on the authority of Abu Bakrah – may Allah be pleased with him – that he saw his family preparing for the Rajab fast, and he said to them: “Do you make Rajab like Ramadan?”, and he tossed the baskets away and broke the pots.” Ibn Taymiyyah said: “As for fasting Rajab specially, all of its hadiths are weak, in fact, they are fabricated, people of knowledge do not rely on any of them, and they are not among the weak hadiths that are narrated about virtues, but rather the generality of them are among the fabricated, false hadiths.” (Majmu’u Fataawa 25/ 290).

Based on this, all that is recommended concerning fasting in the month of Rajab is just like the other months, though some of the months are more emphasized than others, but fasting in it has no more excellence than others. And whoever fasts it, glorifying it, or believing that its fasting is better than others, he is an innovator, since there is nothing related to support that.

Therefore, our leader, Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to forbid fasting in Rajab because of the imitation of period of Jahiliyyah in it, as it was reported on the authority of Kharshah ibn al-Hur that he said: “I saw Umar hitting the hands of those who glorify and fast Rajab until they put them in the food and saying: “Eat, for it is a month that was glorified in the days of Jahiliyyah.” (Sheikh Al-Albaani authenticated it in Al-Irwa’).

I ask Allah Ta’alah to make us people who listen to the word (of admonition) and follow the best of it.

THE SECOND SERMON

All praises are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. O Allah, to You belong praise for the blessing of Islam and faith, and to You belong praise for making us to be among the Ummah of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. And I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. O Allah, bless and grant peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and all his family and companions.

As to what follows;

Dear honorable listening Muslims! It is desirable for the Muslim in these sacred months – among which is the month of Rajab, which we are discussing – to increase and focus on what the Sunnah has established for all days among the supererogatory acts of obedience; including prayer, fasting, charity, and other acts of closeness, while preserving the obligatory acts and duties, as it is one of the sacred months. Qatada said: “Good deeds are more rewarding in the sacred months, and sinful acts in them are worse than sinful acts in other months, even though that sinful acts in any case are worse.” However, it is not permissible to single them out for acts of worship or to believe that they are superior to all other acts of worship during these (sacred) months.

Among the things that people innovated in the month of Rajab, claiming to draw closer to Allah, are the following:

1. The animal sacrifice: It is a sacrifice that was slaughtered by the people of Jahiliyyah in the month of Rajab, and they made it a tradition for themselves, like the slaughtering of the sacrifice on Eid al-Adha. Some hadiths were mentioned about it, but they were abrogated by his saying – may Allah bless him and grant him peace -: “There is no fara’ and no’ Atirah” (Agreed upon). And in some of wordings of the hadith: “The Messenger of Allah – may God bless him and grant him peace – forbade al-Fara’ and al-Atirah”. (Al-Fara’ is the first offspring of their camels which they used to slaughter for their gods. Al-‘atirah is what is slaughtered for their idols in the month of Rajab).

2. Umrah in Rajab: It is not proven from the Prophet – may Allah bless him and grant him peace – that he performed Umrah in Rajab. The statement of Abdullah bin Umar, “The Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa salam) performed ‘Umrah four times, one of them was in the month of Rajab,” is incorrect. when Aisha (radiya Allaahu ‘anha), the wife of the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa salam) heard what Ibn ‘Umar was saying, she said,” May Allaah be merciful with Abu Abdur-Rahman! The Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa salam) did not perform any ‘Umrah except that he (Ibn ‘Umar) was with him, and he never performed any ‘Umrah in Rajab.” [Agreed upon]. So Rajab is like others on the issue of Umrah, if a Muslim performs the Umrah in Rajab without believing in a specific virtue, rather as a co-incidence, or because it was easy for him at this time with a travel group, or because it was suitable coinciding with the time of his leave from work; then there is nothing wrong with that. As for the Umrah to be dedicated to this month intentionally, and to attach to it, saying: “The Rajab Umrah”, thinking it is part of the Sunnahs specific to the month, then not all acceptable. It is not for the Mukallaf to single out a worship for a specific time except in what is mentioned in the Sharia, and the Umrah have not been reported for any of the months except for the months of Hajj and in the month of Ramadan.

3. Solah Ar-Ragha’ib: It is an invented prayer observed on the first Friday night of Rajab, and it is one of the newly invented innovations. The prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa salam) said : “If anyone introduces in our matter something which does not belong to it, will be rejected” Ibn Rajab said in (Lata’if al-Ma’arif), p. 140: “There is no valid prayer in the month of Rajab that is specific to it, and the hadiths narrated about the virtue of praying al-Ragha’ib on the first Friday night of the month of Rajab are lies and falsehoods that are not valid, and this prayer is an innovation according to the majority of scholars.”

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in (Clarifying the Wonder of What Was Reported in the Virtues of Rajab): “There was no authentic hadith about the virtue of the month of Rajab, or about fasting it, or about fasting a specific part of it, or about praying a specific night in it.”

  4. Celebrating the night of the Isra’ and the Mi’raj: Many Muslims used to do this based on the belief that the Isra’ and the Mi’raj took place on the twenty-seventh night of Rajab, and they based on that the glorification of this night, and keeping awake in it with a special prayer that they call: the prayer of the night of the Mi’raj, and celebrating it by reading the story of the Mi’raj and singing poems about that. And all of this is among the innovations, it is based on non-historical evidence, because it is not known for sure when the night of Isra and Mi’raj was, and historians differed in defining it, and if there is any good in identifying that, the early predecessors would have taken care of it and preceded us on it.

Finally, it is good for us to use this opportunity to draw attention to the issue of the International Day of Hijab, which is held annually on the first day of the month of February, and we affirm that the veil is a garment of faith and obedience to Allah, the Almighty and obedience to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, and that hijab is chastity, purity and concealment, and it is an obligation and not a social tradition: Allah, the Exalted, says: (وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ) And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment [i.e., beauty] except to their husbands” (Surat An-Nur: 31) He, the Exalted says: (يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاء الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ) “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments.1 That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (Al-Ahzab: 59). He (glory be to Him) says: (وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ) ” And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts.” (Surat Al-Ahzab: 32).

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Allah is characterised by modesty and concealment. He loves modesty and concealment” (Sahih), and he, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Any woman who takes off her clothes anywhere but in her husband’s house, has torn the screen between her and Allah” (Sahih). Reward is of the type of work.

We also thank Allah, the Almighty for His victory and support for the hijab in public schools in Lagos state, where the hijab became authorized following the decision of the Supreme Court last year. If you aid the cause of Allah, He will aid you and establish you firmly.

I say this, and I ask Allah’s forgiveness for you and me.

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