IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
BEING THE FIFTH SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF JUMAADAL AKHIRAH,
DATED: 29TH JUMAADAL AKHIRAH, 1445AH (12TH JAN., 2024CE
TITLED: THE VIRTUE OF THE MONTH OF RAJAB AND THE RULING OF FASTING IT PARTIALLY OR COMPLETELY
THE FIRST SERMON:
All praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, seek His help, and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from our bad deeds. Whoever Allah guides, there is no one who can misguide him, and whoever Allah misguides, there is no one who can guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. He conveyed the message, fulfilled the trust, advised the Ummah, and Allah removed the distress through him. He strived in the cause of his Lord with true jihad until certainty came to him. The most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, peace be upon him. The worst matters are those that are newly invented, and every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance leads to the Hellfire. We seek refuge in Allah from that.
O servants of Allah, fear Allah according to His saying: (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ) “O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].” (Surah Al-Imran: 102)
Believing brothers, the topic of our sermon today revolves around the virtue of the month of Rajab and the ruling of fasting it partially or completely.
O servants of Allah, fear Allah and know that He, in His wisdom, has preferred some days and months over others, just as He has preferred some places over others. The Night of Decree is His choice among the nights, Friday is His preferred choice in the week, Makkah is His preferred choice on lands, and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His preferred choice among His creation. Similarly, the month of Ramadan is the preferred choice of Allah among the months of the year, as Allah says, (وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ مَا كَانَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ) “And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice.” (Surah Al-Qasas: 68). Among these preferred times in the year is the month of Rajab, which humans have no say in its preference, for Allah is the Eternal One in whose hand is the command, He alternate the night and day. He (Exalted be He) is the Creator of time and space, and we believe in the perfection of His Lordship, His wisdom, and knowledge.
Dear honoured brothers and sisters, the virtue of Rajab is included in the general virtue of the sacred months, as Allah 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) “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…” (Surah At-Tawbah: 36). It is also mentioned in the authentic narrations of the farewell pilgrimage that these sacred months are three consecutive months: Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and one separate month, which is Rajab (Mudar), situated between Jumada Al-Akhirah and Sha’ban.
One of the manifestations of the preference of the sacred months, including Rajab, is the recommendation to fast therein, as mentioned in a hadith narrated by Abu Dawood from Majeebah Al-Bahiliyyah from her father or uncle that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her after a long speech, “…Fast some days of the sacred month and leave some!” three times, pointing with his three fingers, folding them and then extending them. It seems that the gesture was indicating the number of times, not the number of days. It is also mentioned, “There is no specific authentic or good hadith regarding the virtue of fasting in Rajab, whether it is authentic or good” (Ibn Hajar), except that it is one of the sacred months.
Dear listeners, fasting in the month of Rajab, like in other months, is recommended for voluntary fasting, except during Ramadan, the two Eids, the days of Tashreeq, and Fridays. As for Ramadan, it is not a place for voluntary fasting, and as for the other months, there is no authentic prohibition of voluntary fasting in them. Although voluntary fasting is recommended in all months except for these mentioned occasions, the legitimacy of fasting is confirmed in some of these days, making fasting a confirmed Sunnah according to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) practice.
Therefore, there is no sound evidence on the virtue of fasting in the month of Rajab compared to other months. As nothing was reported regarding it from the Prophet – peace be upon him – nor from his companions, especially the usual “fasting of the aged.” What is prescribed in the month of fasting is what is prescribed in other months, such as fasting on Mondays, Thursdays, the White days, fasting the alternate days, and so on.
It was narrated from Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – that he used to beat the palms of people over fasting Rajab until they put them (the hand) in the food and would say: “What is Rajab? Indeed, Rajab was revered by the people of pre-Islamic times, but when Islam was established, it was abandoned.”
In another narration, it is mentioned, “He disliked fasting it to be a Sunnah (act).” Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) saw his family preparing to fast in Rajab and said to them, “Have you made Rajab like Ramadan? And he threw away the baskets and broke the pots” Ibn Taymiyyah said, “As for fasting in Rajab specifically, all its narrations are weak, in fact fabricated. The people of knowledge do not rely on any of them, and they are not among the weak narrations that are allowable for mentioned in virtuous matters. rather, most of them are fabricated lies.” (Majmu’ Al-Fatawa: 25/290)
Therefore, fasting in the month of Rajab is recommended just like as in other months, and there is no virtue in fasting in Rajab that surpasses other months. Whoever considers fasting in Rajab more virtuous or believes that its fasting is better than others is an innovator, as there is no evidence for that.
Therefore, it is recommended for a Muslim in the sacred months, including the month of Rajab, which we are beginning, to increase and be consistent in performing the voluntary acts of worship that are established by the Sunnah in all other days, such as prayers, fasting, charity, and other acts of worship, while maintaining the obligations and duties, as it is one of the sacred months. Qatadah said, “Performing righteous deeds has a greater reward in the sacred months, and committing injustice in them is greater (sin) than committing injustice in other months, although injustice is always great (sin).” However, it is not legislated to specify these months with any specific acts of worship or to believe that they have a virtue in these months over other acts of worship.
Among the innovations that people have introduced in the month of Rajab under the pretext of seeking closeness to Allah are the following:
1. The sacrifice of Al-Ateerah: It is a sacrifice that the people of Jahiliyyah used to offer in the month of Rajab, and they made it a tradition, similar to the sacrifice offered during Eid al-Adha. Some hadiths mention it, but it was abrogated by the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “There is no Ateerah or Fara’u” (agreed upon). According to some wordings of the hadith: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade Al-Fara’u and Al-‘Ateerah” (narrated by Al-Nasai and authenticated by Al-Albani). According to Ahmad: “There is no Ateerah nor Fara’u in Islam.”
(Al-Fara’u was the first offspring (they got of camels or sheep) which the pagans used to offer (as a sacrifice) to their idols. ‘Ateerah was (a sheep which they used to slaughter) during the month of Rajab)
2. Umrah in Rajab: It is not proven that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed Umrah in Rajab, and what is attributed to Ibn Umar regarding to this is a misconception. Aisha clarified this when she said: “May Allah have mercy on Abu Abdullah, he never performed Umrah except when he was with the Prophet, and he (the Prophet- peace be upon him) never performed Umrah in Rajab” (Agreed upon). So, performing Umrah in Rajab is like performing it in any other months. If a Muslim performs Umrah in Rajab without believing in any specific virtue associated with it, but rather because it is convenient for him at that time or because he is accompanying someone, or because it coincides with his vacation from work, then there is no harm in that. However, specifying Umrah in this month intentionally and adding to it by saying “Rajab Umrah” and considering it as one of the recommended acts of the month is incorrect. It is not permissible for a responsible person to specify an act of worship to a specific time except for what is mentioned in the Shariah. Umrah is not mentioned in any month other than the months of Hajj and the month of Ramadan.
3. Raghaa’ib Prayer: It is an innovated prayer performed on the first Friday night in Rajab. It is one of the newly invented innovations. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” Ibn Rajab said in “Lata’if al-Ma’arif”: “There is no authentic evidence for a specific prayer in the month of Rajab called Raghaa’ib prayer. The narrations about the virtue of Raghaa’ib prayer on the first Friday night in the month of Rajab are false and invalid. This prayer is an innovation according to the majority of scholars.”
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in “Tabyeen al-Ajab bima Warada fi Fadl Rajab”: “There is no mention of any virtue for the month of Rajab, its fasting, or any specific fasting or night prayer in it in any authentic hadith that can be used as evidence.”
4. Celebrating the Night of Isra and Mi’raj: Many Muslims have adopted the belief that Isra and Mi’raj occurred on the night of the twenty-seventh of Rajab, and have glorified this night and would stand up in its night observing a specific prayer called the prayer of Isra and Mi’raj, and they recite the story of Isra and Mi’raj and sing poems about the events. All of these are innovations and are based on no historical evidence. The historians have differed in determining the date of the Night of Isra and Mi’raj, and if it was something good, the early predecessors would have paid attention to it and preceded us in it.
We ask Allah Almighty to show us the truth as the truth and enable us to follow it, and to show us falsehood as falsehood and enable us to avoid it. I say this statement and seek forgiveness from Allah for me, you, and all Muslims from every sin, and seek His forgiveness, for He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.
THE SECOND SERMON:
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. We praise Him, seek His assistance, His forgiveness, and repent unto Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, there is no one who can misguide him, and whoever Allah misguides, there is no one who can guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, his family, and his companions.
Dear servants of Allah! Fear Allah and seek His protection from regret on the Day of Remorse and from disgrace on the Day of Resurrection. One of the things that will cause disgrace on the Day of Resurrection is betrayal of guluul, which is the act of taking people’s wealth and rights unjustly and without justification. Allah says: (“…وَمَنْ يَغْلُلْ يَأْتِ بِمَا غَلَّ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ) “…And whoever betrays, [taking unlawfully], will come with what he took on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al Imran: 161).
Dear servants of Allah, the honorable listeners! We are living in a time where people can hardly distinguish between what is lawful and what is unlawful in their earnings, and they consider the rights of others as booties, including embezzlement of public funds. It was narrated that Adi bin Amr Al-Kindi said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: “Whoever we appoint to a position of authority among you and he conceals from us a needle or more, he will come on the Day of Resurrection carrying it, and it will be a disgrace for him” (narrated by Muslim).
Dear servants of Allah! The evidence has been established against the servants by the clarification of the Prophet (peace be upon him) including his statements, advice, concessions, and warnings. Therefore, let every servant beware of disgrace and regret on the Day of Resurrection, and let no one underestimate the act of unjustly consuming anything or monopolizing people’s wealth. For whoever embezzles even a small amount of people’s wealth, will come on the Day of Resurrection bearing its disgrace and regret before the witnesses.
The current reality in our society today is not far from us, as it seems that we are destined to be corrupt and wasteful of public funds while in positions of authority, especially those entrusted with the funds of the weak and needy in the society, as revealed at the moment about the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Betta Edu, and her staff, who transferred public funds to personal accounts. This confirms that we are not truly suffering from any poverty, but rather from organizational and management problems in our great country.
There will be no change in the challenges facing us as a nation except through our collective efforts to combat widespread corruption. (إِنَ اللهَ لاَ يُغَيِّّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ) “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Ar-Ra’d: 11).
Dear servants of Allah, the believers! This matter is very serious. Let each individual be cautious and fear Allah, as long as he lives, before he meet Allah, the Exalted with what he embezzled on the Day of Resurrection, and for the injustices that cannot be compensated.
Finally, dear listeners, we on this mimbar mourn the demise of our honourable father and teacher of high repute, SHEIKH ABDULHAFEEZ ABOU(OFR), the Baba Adinni of Lagos, who breath his last on January 9th 2024. Sheikh had undisputable impact on the spiritual and intellectual development of the Muslim community, in addition to his commitment to fostering unity among the Muslim community at large. We beseech Allah to grant him lofty status in Jannatul Firdaws. Our condolences go to the entire family, the Muslim Community of Lagos and the nation at large.
Supplication: O Allah, we seek refuge in You from injustice, seizing others’ rights, transgression, and aggression. O Allah, purify our wealth from the unlawful and sinful. O Allah, rectify all our affairs, O Possessor of Majesty and Generosity. O Allah, show us the truth as the truth and enable us to follow it, and show us falsehood as falsehood and enable us to avoid it, and do not make it confusing for us so that we go astray and suffer. O Allah, grant us safety until Ramadan and accept it from us. O Allah, protect our countries and safeguard our brothers who are fighting in every place, be with them and not against them, and release the detainees among them by Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful. O Allah, forgive our parents, our scholars, and all Muslims, both the living and the deceased. You are the One who answers supplications and is worthy of being asked, and You are capable of it. And may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions.