All praise be to Allah, the Eternal without a beginning and the Everlasting without an end. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, his purified family, his honorable companions and all the believers who follow them on the path of goodness.
Allah ﷻ says in the Qur’an (Surah at-Tawbah Verse 36):
إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًۭا فِى كِتَٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌۭ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَٰتِلُوا۟ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةًۭ كَمَا يُقَٰتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةًۭ ۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ
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. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].
In an authentic hadith narrated by Abu Bakrah (ra), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
إِنَّ الزَّمَانَ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ، السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا، أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ، ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ
“Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumad (ath-thani) and Sha’ban.” (Sahih Bukhari)
The month of Rajab, being one of the four sacred months is just around the corner and it reminds us of the eminent arrival of the month of Ramadan. Muslims are preparing themselves physically and emotionally to welcome ‘the guest’ and that’s the time they get inspired and get connected to Allah ﷻ, the Lord of the universe, by the performance of righteous deeds.
Taking the verse mentioned above as reference, the most important thing that should not take place during these four months is fighting; fight between nations and even fight between individuals. This does not mean that fighting is allowed in the remaining months but it is being brought into our attention that we need to be extra cautious during the four sacred months. If we have been commanded to refrain from getting into physical fight, then surely, we should not get into verbal arguments as well.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said in a hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik (ra):
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ مَنْ تَرَكَ الْكَذِبَ وَهُوَ بَاطِلٌ بُنِيَ لَهُ فِي رَبَضِ الْجَنَّةِ وَمَنْ تَرَكَ الْمِرَاءَ وَهُوَ مُحِقٌّ بُنِيَ لَهُ فِي وَسَطِهَا وَمَنْ حَسَّنَ خُلُقَهُ بُنِيَ لَهُ فِي أَعْلاَهَا ”
“Whoever avoids lying while he is doing so falsely, a house will be built for him on the skirts of Paradise. Whoever avoids arguing while he is in the right, a house will be built for him in its midst. And whoever has good character, a house will be built for him in its heights.” (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi)
Moreover, this prohibition is not restricted only to fighting, but also avoiding other unlawful acts such as drinking alcohol, hurting, oppressing and being unjust to other people. Now is the time to stop all these acts and give the people what Allah has created for them such as liberty, freedom, religion, their rights and so on. People are prone to commit mistakes and sins. However, the best of them are those who repent.
In a hadith narrated by Anas (ra), the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
كُلُّ بَنِي آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ, وَخَيْرُ اَلْخَطَّائِينَ اَلتَّوَّابُونَ
All the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who repent often. (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi and Sunan ibn Maaja)
In order for a person to get ready for Ramadan, it is necessary to purify the soul by asking for forgiveness and repent, thus preparing himself spiritually as well.
It has been mentioned by Abu Nu’aym in his ‘Hilya’ from Anas Ibn Malik (ra), that the Prophet of Allah ﷺ used to make the following du`a, when the month of Rajab came in:
اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان
“O Allah! Bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and let us reach Ramadan.”
This du’a can be made at any time during the night and the day but with sincerity.
Imam as-Suyuti (ra) has also mentioned in his Jami` as-Saghir from Hasan al-Basri (ra) that the Prophet of Allah ﷺ said:
“Rajab is the month of Allah. Sha`ban is my month. Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.”
In the month of Rajab, we should perform diligently the obligatory acts of worship and what Allah has commanded. Then in Sha’ban, we should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, his life and his way of living. Thus we shall be ready to implement both Fard and Sunnah in the month of Ramadan which is our month so that we can fully benefit from the blessings of Ramadan. In addition, Allah wants all the Muslims to be united and that’s why all the believers around the world, all pray towards one direction, that is the Kaa’ba. It does not make sense for a person to disconnect his affairs with the other people and be dis-unified.
Abu Bakr Warraaq (ra), a saint (wali) said:
Rajab is a month of cultivation (righteous deeds), Shaban is month of irrigating the fields, and the month of Ramadan is a month of reaping and harvesting.
We ask Allah ﷻ to forgive our sins and help us change our own condition and also contribute to change the condition of the rest of the Muslim world and reduce the sufferings and the oppression.
Summary of the Jumu’ah Khutbah delivered by Imam Didmar Faja at UICA on the 03/16/2018.
Formatted by Hafiz Fawaaz Hossain