The Month of Rajab
Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. The word rajab is derived from rajaba, which means “to respect.” Rajab is one of the four sacred months [ashhurul hurum] in which fighting is prohibited. The other three sacred months are Zhul Qa’dah, Zhul Hijjah, and Al-Muharram.
Rajab is a very significant month for the believers, as it reminds us that the blessed month of Ramadan is only two months away. When the moon of Rajab was sighted, our Beloved Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم used to await and prepare for Ramadan. Rajab begins a new “season” of hope, mercy, and forgiveness that lasts until the end of the blessed month of Ramadan. Shaykh Abu Bakr Balkhy رحمة الله عليه said, “Rajab is a month in which we plant the seeds of good (i.e. by increasing our ‘ibadah). In Sha’ban we water them, to cultivate (and reap the rewards) in Ramadhan.”
Hadhrat Anas رضى الله عنه narrates that when Rajab would begin, Rasulullah صلي الله عليه وسلم would recite the following supplication [du’ā]:
اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان
Allāhumma bārik lanā fī rajaba wa sha’bāna wa ballighnā ramadhān.
Translation: “O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan.”
One can hope that through this supplication [du’ā], Allah سبحانه و تعالى will grant one blessings [barakah] in these months so that one may increase his or her acts of worship [‘ibādah] in preparation for the blessed month of Ramadan. How often do we remain heedless of the blessings of Ramadan until it actually starts, or even until we enter the month’s last few days? It is vital for us to prepare for Ramadan well before it arrives so that we are ready to use every moment of the glorious month striving to excel in pleasing Allah سبحانه و تعالى, Insha’Allah. Additionally, one can hope that through this supplication [du’ā] Allah سبحانه و تعالى will give him or her the ability [taufīq] to actually reach Ramadan. There are several people who die before the crescent moon of Ramadan is sighted. We ask Allah سبحانه و تعالى that He allows us to reach Ramadan with wellness [khair] and ease [āfiyah] and that He prolongs our life so that we may experience many more Ramadans in the future, Insha’Allah.
There are no specific forms of worship designated to the month of Rajab by the Islamic law [Shari’ah]—one may engage in any form of worship [‘ibādah] he or she likes. The Companions [Sahābah] used to increase their recitation of the Qur’an during Rajab and especially in Sha’ban, in preparation for Ramadan. Additionally, there is great reward in fasting in Rajab and is the sunnah of our beloved Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم.
Hadhrat Abdullah bin Zubair رضى الله عنه, a cousin of Rasulullah صلي الله عليه وسلم, is reported to have said, “If someone relieves a believer [mu’min] from anxiety during the month of Rajab, Allah سبحانه و تعالى will grant him a place in Firdaus, extending as far as the eye can see. Yes, indeed you must honor Rajab, for then Allah سبحانه و تعالى will honor you with a thousand generous favors!”
SubhanAllah! Relieving a believer [mu’min] from anxiety during this month may be the deed that, through Allah’s سبحانه و تعالى acceptance, will get one into the highest level of Heaven, Jannat ul Firdaus. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى allow us to attain the merits of the blessed month of Rajab, may He allow us to use the remainder of this month to plant the seeds in preparation for the grand harvest in Ramadan, and may He allow us to live to see and benefit from that harvest, with wellness [khair] and ease [āfiyah], Insha’Allah. Ameen.