Archive | June 2010

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1) There are saheeh ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the virtues of reciting Soorat al- Kahaf. These include: “Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahaf on the night of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will stretch between him and the Ancient House (the Ka’bah).” Also: “Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahaf on the day of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next.” [Both are classed as Saheeh by Al-Albaani]. Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said: “In some reports it says “the day of Jumu’ah” and in some reports it says “the night of Jumu’ah” . They may be reconciled by saying that what is meant is the day which includes the night and vice versa.” Thus the recommended time extends from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Friday.

2) Undoubtedly the Prophets differ in status and are at varying levels. The best are the five Messengers of strong will (Uloo’l-‘Azm), and the best of those is the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him). With regard to the Saheeh ahaadeeth, “Do not prefer me over Yoonus ibn Mattaa” and “By the One Who chose Mosa over all of creation” , these all indicate the immense humility of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when speaking of his brothers the Messengers. But he is undoubtedly the best of them all, for he led them in prayer in Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) on the night of the Israa’. He will be the leader of the sons of Adam on the Day of Resurrection, and he is the only one among all the Messengers who will be granted the power of intercession on that Day.

3) It was narrated that ‘A’ishah (RA) said: A group of Jews entered upon the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and they said: Al-saam’alaykum (death be upon you). ‘A’ishah said: I understood it and said: Rather may death be upon you, and curses. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O ‘A’ishah, Allah has enjoined kindness in all things.” She said: Did you not hear what they said? He said: “I said: And also upon you.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim). Al Nawawi said: This reflects the greatness of his character and his forbearance. It encourages us to be kind, patient and forbearing, to be gentle with people, so long as there is no need for harshness. Al-Shawkani said: This hadeeth shows that it is mustahab (enjoined) for the people of virtue to ignore the folly of the wrongdoers, so long as that will not lead to spread of corruption.

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1) It was narrated from Abu Mas’ood that the Prophet(peace be upon him) said: “Whoever recites the last two verses of Soorat al- Baqarah at night, they will suffice him.” (Al-Bukhaari, Muslim) Ibn Al-Qayyim said in al-Waabil al- Sayyib (132): They will suffice him against any evil that may harm him.

2) There can be no doubt that laughing too much affects the Muslim’s heart, distracting one from thinking deeply and feeling fear of Allah. The Messenger (peace be upon him) warned us about the danger it poses: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing deadens the heart.” (Narrate by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

3) Regarding trials: Victory and success cannot be achieved except after tests which will bring the good forth from the evil and tell the believer apart from the kafir. Allah says: “Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghayb (unseen).” [Aal Imran 3:179]

4) Based on the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim: On the night when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was taken up into heaven (the MMi’raj), Allah initially enjoined fifty prayers to be performed night and day. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) kept asking his Lord to reduce it until it became five prayers to be offered night and day. But Allah decreed that whoever prays the five prayers will still receive the reward of fifty prayers.

5) Allah is close to His slaves. He sees where they are and He knows their situation. He hears what they say and responds to their du’aa’. Nothing about them is hidden from Him, as He says (interp. of meaning): “Truly, nothing is hidden from Allah, in the earth or in the heavens” [Aal Imran 3:5] Allah alone is the One Who has created us and Who provides for us; in His hand is the dominion and He is Able to do all things.

Ruling on speaking whilst eating

Q) Can we speak while eating?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

There is nothing in the Prophet’s Sunnah to indicate that it is not allowed to speak whilst eating. The popular saying among some, that there is “no greeting and no talking over food” has no basis in sharee‘ah.

It is proven that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) talked whilst eating.

In al-Bukhaari (3340) and Muslim (194) it is narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: One day some meat was brought to the Messenger of Allaah (S) and the foreleg, which he used to like, was offered to him. He took a bite, then he said: “I will be the leader of mankind on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why that is? … Then he quoted the lengthy hadeeth about intercession.

In Saheeh Muslim (2052) it is narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) asked his family for condiments and they said: We do not have anything but vinegar. He called for it and he started eating it, saying: “What a good condiment vinegar is, what a good condiment vinegar is.”

Al-Nawawi said: This shows that it is mustahabb to talk whilst eating, so as to put the diners at ease.

End quote from Sharh Saheeh Muslim (14/7)

Putting diners at ease, which is mentioned by Imam al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) here, is something that is well known and prevalent among the Arabs, because it is part of honouring the guest and showing generosity to talk to people whilst they are eating, especially guests.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to speak whilst eating, as seen above in the hadeeth about vinegar, and as he said to his stepson ‘Umar ibn Abi Salamah, who was eating with him: “Mention the name of Allah and eat from that which is closest to you.” End quote from Zaad al-Ma‘aad, 2/366

In these hadeeths there is evidence that it is permissible to speak whilst eating. As for the hadeeths that mention the command to speak whilst eating or that forbid doing so, none of them are saheeh.

Al-Haafiz al-Sakhaawi said: I do not know anything about it, either forbidding it or approving it. End quote. Al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah, p. 510

Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Talking whilst eating is like talking whilst not eating: good talk is good and bad talk is bad. End quote from Silsilah al-Huda wa’l-Noor, tape no. 15/1

And Allah knows best.
Islam Q&A

It is not prescribed to put palm-leaf stalks or flowers on graves

Q) I read a hadeeth which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put a palm-leaf stalk on a grave. Is it Sunnah for the one who visits a grave to do that?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

The hadeeth referred to by the questioner was narrated by al-Bukhaari (218) and Muslim (292) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by two graves and said: “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for something that was difficult to avoid. One of them used not to take precautions to avoid (his body or clothes being soiled by) urine, and the other used to walk around spreading malicious gossip.” Then he took a fresh palm-leaf stalk and split it in two, and placed one piece on each of the two graves. They said: O Messenger of Allaah, why did you do that?” He said: “Perhaps the torment will be reduced for them so long as this does not dry out.”

Some of the scholars said that the reason why the torment would be reduced for them was that the fresh palm-leaf stalk glorifies Allaah, so that would be the reason why the torment would be reduced. This is subject to further discussion.

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

This is the view of many or most of the mufassireen concerning the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise”

[al-Isra’ 17:44]

They said: What this means is everything that has life in it. Then they said: The life of everything is in accordance with its nature, and wood is alive so long as it has not dried out and a rock is alive so long as it has not been cut. Some mufassireen and others were of the view that this is to be understood in general terms.

i.e., that the tasbeeh (glorification of Allaah) does not apply only to the fresh leaf in exclusion of the dry; rather everything, fresh or dry, glorifies and praises Allaah.

Al-Khattaabi and those who followed him criticized the action of placing palm-leaf stalks and the like on graves, following this hadeeth. He said concerning this hadeeth: it is to be understood as meaning that he prayed that their torment might be reduced so long as these stalks remained fresh, not that the stalk had any significance in and of itself, nor that there is any significance in the fresh stalk that is not in the dry.

Based on this, this action was something that was only for the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it is not recommended for anyone to place palm-leaf stalks or anything else on graves.

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah:

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put the palm-leaf stalk on the two graves and hoped that the torment of the two people on whose graves he placed it would be reduced, that was a specific incident related to those two people only, is not to be taken as generally applicable; it applies only to the two whose torment Allaah caused him to know of. That is something that was only for the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it is not a universal Sunnah to be done to the graves of the Muslims. Rather it only occurred two or three times, if we count the number of times that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it. It is not known that any of the Sahaabah did that, and they were the keenest of all Muslims to follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and to benefit the Muslims. There is only one report from Buraydah al-Sulami, who left instructions that two palm-leaf stalks should be placed on his grave. But we do not know of any of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) who agreed with Buraydah in that.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said:

That is not prescribed in Islam, rather it is bid’ah (an innovation), because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) only placed the palm-leaf stalk on the two graves of the people whose torment he was made aware of; he did not place them on any other graves. From that we know that it is not permissible to put them on graves, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” According to a version narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does anything that is not part of this matter of ours (Islam), will have it rejected.”

Similarly, it is not permissible to write on graves or to place flowers on them, because of the two hadeeth quoted above, and because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade plastering over graves, erecting structures over them, sitting on them and writing on them.

Majallat al-Buhooth al-Islamiyyah, 68/50.
Islam Q&A

Hindaba (Chicory)

Hindaba temperament changes according to the season. It is cold and wet in winter, hot and dry in summer and mild in spring and autumn. In general, Hindaba is cold and dry. Hindaba is beneficial and cools the stomach and causes constipation. When Hindaba, especially wild Hindaba, is cooked and eaten with vinegar, it constipates even more and is more favorable for the stomach and invigorating.

When Hindaba is used as a bandage, it will relieve gastric inflammations, gout and hot ocular inflammations. In cases of scorpion stings, Hindaba helpswhen its leaves and stems are used as a bandage.

Hindaba also strengthens the stomach and opens the clogs in the kidneys, spleen, veins and intestines. It also clears and purifies the kidneys and helps them against the various hot and cold aches.

The sour Hindaba is the best for the liver, while its extract helps against icter (jaundice), especially when mixed with wet fennel extract. When Hindaba leaves are bruised and places on hot swellings, it will cool and dissipate them. Hindaba also cleanses and clears the chest and dissipates the heat of irritated blood and bile.

The best way to eat Hindaba is without washing it so as to preserve its effective ingredients. Hindaba works as an effective antidote against most poisons.

When Hindaba extract is used as eyeliner, it will clear and cleanse the eyes. Hindaba leaves are used in antidotes against scorpion stings, and against most poisons as we have stated. When the Hindaba is squeezed and its water is mixed with oil, it will help against all toxic subatances in general. When Hindaba stems are squeezed and their water drunk, it will help against scorpion and hornet stings and against snakebite. Finally, the sap of its stems whitens the white area in the eye.

Taken From: Healing With The Medicine Of The Prophet (peace be upon him), By Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jauziyah

What is blameworthy extremism?

Q) What is the meaning of ‘going to extremes’ in Islam? Is it considered extremism if a woman covers her face or a man lets his beard grow? Is it extremism to adhere to the prophet’s way and refuse every innovated matter in Islam? What it is the implication of the fact that the prophet, peace be upon him, when given two options, would choose the easier one?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

The hadeeth which condemns extremism was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Those who go to extremes are doomed.” He said it three times.

Narrated by Muslim (2670).

The scholars have many explanations for what is meant by extremism and those who go to extremes, all of which are in harmony with one another and do not contradict one another. All of them may be summed up as meaning one thing; it boils down to overburdening oneself and being too strict in matters where strictness is inappropriate.

These meanings include the following:

1 – Going to extremes in worship, which leads to excessive hardship. Islam does not enjoin anything but that in which there is ease and tolerance. It forbids excessive strictness in religion. The forms of extremism that people have invented in religion and were listed by the scholars as being examples of extremism are virtually innumerable.

Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Muslim (16/220):

i.e., those who delve too deep and go to extremes, and overstep the limits in both word and deed. End quote.

2 – Introducing innovations into religion, by forbidding that which Allaah did not forbid, and introducing forms of worship and commitments that did not exist at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (10/620):

Monasticism and innovated forms of worship which were not prescribed by Allaah and His Messenger are akin to the cases where the mushrikeen and others forbade good things that Allaah has permitted, and examples of the extremism that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) criticized when he said: “Those who go to extremes are doomed” and “If the month were made longer for me, I would have continued to fast without a break so that those who delve too deep would give up their attitude”, such as extreme hunger and thirst which harm the mind and body, and prevent one from doing obligatory or mustahabb actions that are better than that. The same applies to walking barefoot and naked, which harms a person and brings no benefit, as in the hadeeth about Abu Israa’eel who vowed to fast, and to stand always and never sit, and never seek shade, or speak. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Tell him to sit down, and seek shade, and speak, but let him complete his fast.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari. This matter is broad in scope. End quote.

3 – Exaggerated and affected speech, by trying to select words which attract people’s attention, with no meaning or benefit.

Ibn Abi’l-Dunya narrated this hadeeth in his essay al-Gheebah wa’l-Nameemah (Backbiting and malicious gossip), in a chapter entitled Ma jaa’ fi Dhamm al-Taqa’’ur fi’l-Kalaam (p. 15), in which he narrated from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “That which I fear the most for my ummah is every well spoken hypocrite”

It was also narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (1/22) and classed as hasan by the editors of al-Musnad.

He also narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The prattling of speech is the prattling of the shaytaan.”

Ibn al-Atheer said in al-Nihaayah (5/164):

Those who go to extremes in speech are those who speak in an affected manner.

4 – Indulging in that which does not concern one, asking about that which is inappropriate, and delving too deeply into that which is of no benefit.

al-Khattaabi said:

The one who goes to extremes is the one who delves too deeply into a thing, and burdens himself with looking into it in the manner of ahl al-kalaam, who examined matters that do not concern them, who indulge in that which their minds cannot comprehend. End quote from ‘Awn al-Ma’bood (12/235).

Ibn Rajab said in Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (p. 285):

The one who goes to extremes is the one who delves too deeply and looks into that which does not concern him. Examining and asking too much about the ruling on something that is not mentioned among obligatory duties or haraam things may lead to thinking that it is haraam or it is obligatory, because of its similarity to some duties or prohibitions. Accepting pardon for it or refraining from asking too much about it is better. End quote.

Then Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned some examples of what we should refrain from asking too many details about with regard to matters of the unseen that are unknown and subtle fiqhi differences, and discussing things that rarely happen, and so on.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Sharh Riyadh al-Saaliheen (1/416-418)

The same applies to being too strict in matters of worship, when a person is very strict in prayer, fasting and other things that Allaah makes easy for him. If he is too hard on himself with regard to that which Allaah has made easy for him, he is doomed.

Another example is what some sick people do – especially in Ramadaan – when Allaah has permitted them not to fast when they are sick, and they need to eat and drink, but they are hard on themselves and continue fasting. We also tell these people to apply the hadeeth to themselves: “Those who go to extremes are doomed.”

That also includes what some students do who are focusing on issues that have to do with Tawheed. When they come across verses or ahaadeeth which speak of the attributes of the Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, you see them examining them closely and asking questions that they are not supposed to ask, which the early generations of the ummah, the Sahaabah and Taabi’een and imams of guidance who came after them did not have the habit of asking. So you see one of them examining matters which his is not obliged to examine as a sign of going to extremes or delving too deeply in these matters. We say to these people: If you are content with what the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) were content with, then stop that, but if you are not content with it, then may Allaah never make you content. Rest assured that you will fall into extremism and hardship and stress.

That also includes what some seekers of knowledge do of inserting rational possibilities into the words of some texts. So you will see them say, “Such and such is possible, and such and such is possible” – until the text becomes very confusing and the benefit of the text is lost, and that is wrong. Follow the text as it appears to be and set aside these rational possibilities, because if we examine every text in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and try to find all rational possibilities in its meaning, we will have no verse or hadeeth left that one may quote as evidence, and all interpretations may become possible for every text. These rational ideas may be illusions from the shaytaan that he instils in people’s hearts in order to confuse their beliefs and faith – Allaah forbid.

Another example is what some people do who go to extremes with regard to wudoo’, so you see them doing wudoo’ three or four or five or six or seven times or more, when there is no need to do that. Similarly with regard to ghusl from janaabah, you see them exhausting themselves when they do ghusl, putting water in their ears and nostrils. All of that is included in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed.”

Everyone who is too harsh on himself with regard to something that Allaah has made broad in scope [?} is included in this hadeeth. End quote.

Secondly:

With regard to adhering to outward signs of religious commitment and observing the sacred limits of Allaah, and obeying His commands, these are obligations of Islam, and the way to enter the Paradise of the Lord of the Worlds, and no one regards them as going to extremes except one who wants to free himself from the rules of sharee’ah and attack the established rulings. The blameworthy kind of going to extremes is that which goes beyond the laws and etiquette of sharee’ah. How can adhering to it and following it and clinging tightly to it be going to extremes??

The decisive factor with regard to that is the evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. That for which there is saheeh evidence which clearly shows that something is obligatory – such as covering the face and letting the beard grow – or that something is forbidden – such as the prohibition on musical instruments and mixing with women and so on – it is not permissible to describe it as going to extremes or harshness, because that implies accusing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – who enjoined us to do it – of going to extremes. God forbid that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) should be like that.

As for that concerning which there is no text, and is one of the four aspects of extremism mentioned above, then this is what should be criticized and avoided, and should not be confused with the proven, clear rulings of Islam.

Thirdly:

With regard to the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), in which she said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was never given the choice between two things but he would choose the easier of the two, so long as it was not a sin; if it was a sin he would be the furthest of the people from it Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3367) and Muslim (2327) –

It cannot be taken in any way whatsoever as meaning forsaking sharee’ah and falling short in duties. Rather the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the keenest of people to achieve true submission to Allaah (‘uboodiyyah) with all that it implies. What is meant by “the choice between two things” is with regard to worldly matters where Islam does not command or forbid anything, or matters in which there is a broad choice between what is Sunnah and what is mustahabb. But if the shar’i ruling indicates that something is obligatory or prohibited, then that must be adhered to, without overstepping the mark or falling short.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari (6/575):

The words “between two things” mean, of worldly matters. This is indicated by the words “so long as it was not a sin”, because there is no sin in matters of religion. The words “so long as it was not a sin” mean, so long as the easier of the two did not imply sin. If it did imply sin, then he would choose the more difficult option. In the hadeeth of Anas that is narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Awsat it says: “but he would choose the easier of them, so long as Allaah would not be angered by it.” end quote.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A

The month of Rajab

Praise be to Allaah, the One, the Subduer, and blessings and peace be upon the Chosen Prophet and upon his good and pure family and companions.

Praise be to Allaah Who says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses” [al-Qasas 28:68]. The attribute of choosing or selecting is indicative of His Lordship and Oneness, and of the perfection of His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power.

One aspect of His choosing and preferring is the fact that He has chosen some days and months and given them preference over others. Among the months, Allaah has chosen four which He has made sacred, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” [al-Tawbah 9:36]

These months are calculated according to the movements of the moon, not the movements of the sun, as the kuffaar do.

The Sacred Months are mentioned by implication in the Qur’aan, but their names are not given. Their names are mentioned in the Sunnah:

It was reported from Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave his Farewell Sermon and said: “Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allaah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months – Dhoo’l-Qa’dah, Dhoo’l-Hijjah and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 1741, in [Kitaab] al-Hajj, al-Khutbah Ayaam Mina; and by Muslim, no. 1679, in [Kitaab] al-Qisaamah, Baab Tahreem al-Dimaa’).

It was called Rajab of Mudar because [the tribe of] Mudar did not tamper with its timing, unlike the rest of the Arabs, who used to tamper with the months and change their order depending on whether they were in a state of war or not. This was the postponing referred to in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allaah, and make such forbidden ones lawful.” [al-Tawbah 9:37]

It was also said that the reason why it was attributed to Mudar was because they venerated it and respected it so much, so it was attributed to them.

The reason why it is so called.

Ibn Faaris said in Mu’jam Maqaayees al-Lughah (p. 445):

The letters Ra’, jeem and ba’ form a root which indicates supporting and strengthening something with another thing. … Hence the phrase “Rajabtu’l-shay’” means I venerated it… It was called Rajab because they used to venerate it, and it is also venerated in Sharee’ah.

The people of the Jaahiliyyah used to call Rajab Munassil al-Asinnah [the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off], as it was reported that Abu Rajaa’ al-‘Ataaridi said:

We would a rock, then if we found a better rock we would throw the first one aside and adopt the other. If we could not find a rock, we would make a pile of dirt, then we would bring a ewe and milk it over the pile of dirt, then we would do tawaaf around it. When the month of Rajab came, we would say Munassil al-Asinnah [the one that causes the sharp heads of weapons to be taken off], and we would not leave any spear or arrow that had an iron piece in it but we would take the metal head off and put it aside during the month of Rajab. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari).

Al-Bayhaqi said: the people of the jaahiliyyah used to venerate these sacred months, especially the month of Rajab, and they would not fight during this month.

Rajab is a sacred month

The Sacred months have a special status, which applies also to Rajab because it is one of these sacred months. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allaah, nor of the Sacred Month…” [al-Maa’idah 5:2]

This means: do not violate their sanctity which Allaah has commanded you to respect and forbidden you to violate, for this prohibition includes both vile deeds and vile beliefs.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“so wrong not yourselves therein…” [al-Tawbah 9:36] meaning, in the Sacred Months. The pronoun here [translated here as “therein”] refers to these four sacred months, as stated by the Imaam of the Mufassireen, Ibn Jareer al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him).

So we should pay attention to the sanctity of these four months, because Allaah has singled them out for a special status and has forbidden us to commit sins out of respect for their sanctity, for sins committed at this time are even worse, because of the sanctity of the time which Allaah has made sacred. Hence in the aayah quoted above, Allaah has forbidden us to wrong ourselves even though this – i.e., wronging ourselves, which includes committing sins – is forbidden during all the months of the year.

Fighting during the sacred months

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months. Say: fighting therein is a great (transgression)…” [al-Baqarah 2:217]

The majority of scholars state that (the prohibition of) fighting in the sacred months is abrogated by the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“Then when the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikeen wherever you find them…” [al-Tawbah 9:5], and other aayat and reports which are general in application and which include commands to fight them.

Others say: it is not permissible to initiate fighting during the sacred months, but it is permissible to continue and conclude fighting, if it started at a different time. The fighting of the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) against the people of al-Taa’if is interpreted in this way, because the fighting had begun at Hunayn in Shawwaal.

The above does not apply to fighting in self-defence. If the enemy attacks the Muslim lands, it is obligatory for the inhabitants to defend themselves, whether that happens during a sacred month or not.

Al-‘Ateerah (a kind of sacrifice)

During the Jaahiliyyah, the Arabs used to slaughter a sacrifice during Rajab as an act of worship towards their idols.

When Islam came, teaching that sacrifices were to be offered only to Allaah, this deed of the Jaahiliyyah was abolished. The fuqaha’ differed as to the rulings on offering sacrifices during Rajab. The majority of Hanafis, Maalikis and Hanbalis stated that the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah was abrogated. Their evidence was the hadeeth, “There is no Fir’ and no ‘Ateerah”, narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah.

The Shaafa’is said that al-‘Ateerah had not been abrogated, and they regarded it as mustahabb (recommended). This was also the view of Ibn Seereen.

Ibn Hajar said: this is supported by the hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nisaa’i, and Ibn Maajah, and classed as saheeh by al-Haakim and Ibn al-Mundhir, from Nubayshah, who said:

A man called out to the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): We used to offer the sacrifice of al-‘Ateerah during the Jaahiliyyah in the month of Rajab. What do you command us to do? He said, Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…

Ibn Hajar said: the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not abolish it in principle, but he abolished the idea of making this sacrifice especially in Rajab.

Fasting in Rajab

There is no saheeh report from the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from the Sahaabah to indicate that there is any particular virtue in fasting during Rajab.

The fasting that is prescribed in Rajab is the same as that prescribed in other months, namely fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and the three days of al-Beed, fasting alternate days, and fasting Sirar al-Shahr. Some of the scholars said that Sirar al-Shahr refers to the beginning of the month; others said that it refers to the middle or end of the month. ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to forbid fasting in Rajab because it involved resemblance to the Jaahiliyyah. It was reported that Kharashah ibn al-Harr said: I saw ‘Umar smacking the hands of those who fasted in Rajab until they reached out for food, and he was saying, This is a month which was venerated in the Jaahiliyyah. (al-Irwaa’, 957; al-Albaani said: it is saheeh).

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’baan and Ramadaan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in Tabayyun al-‘Ajab bimaa wurida fi Fadl Rajab:

No saheeh hadeeth that may be used as evidence has been narrated concerning the virtues of the month of Rajab or fasting this month or fasting in any specific part of it, or observing Qiyaam al-Layl specifically during this month. Imaam Abu Ismaa’eel al-Harawi al-Haafiz has already stated this before me, and we have narrated this from others also.

In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah it states: with regard to fasting specifically in Rajab, we do not know of any basis in Sharee’ah for doing that.

‘Umrah in Rajab

The ahaadeeth indicate that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do ‘Umrah during Rajab, as it was narrated that Mujaahid said: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr and I entered the mosque, and there was ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar sitting near the room of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). He was asked, “How many times did the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) do ‘Umrah?” He said, “Four times, and one of them was in Rajab.” We did not want to argue with him. We could hear ‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen brushing her teeth (i.e., the sound of the miswaak) in her room. ‘Urwah said, “O Mother of the Believers, did you not hear what Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan is saying?” She said, “What is he saying?” He said, “He is saying that the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did ‘Umrah four times, one of them in Rajab.” She said, “May Allaah have mercy on Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, [the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] never did ‘Umrah but he witnesses it (i.e., he was present with him), and he never did ‘Umrah during Rajab.” (Agreed upon).

It was reported by Muslim that Ibn ‘Umar heard this and did not say yes or no. Al-Nawawi said: the fact that Ibn ‘Umar remained silent when ‘Aa’ishah denied what he said indicates that he was confused, or had forgotten, or was uncertain. Hence it is an innovated bid’ah to single out Rajab for making ‘Umrah and to believe that doing ‘Umrah in Rajab has a specific virtue. Nothing to that effect has been narrated, besides the fact that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not reported to have made ‘Umrah during Rajab at all.

Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Ibraaheem al-‘Attaar (d. 724 AH) said:

One of the things that I have heard about the people of Makkah – may Allaah increase it in honour – is that they do ‘Umrah frequently during Rajab. This is something for which I know of no basis, all I know is that it was reported in the hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “ ‘Umrah in Ramadaan is equivalent to Hajj.”

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Fataawaa:

As for singling out some of the days of Rajab for any kind of good deed, ziyaarah (visiting the House of Allaah, the Ka’bah) or anything else, there is no basis for this, because Imaam Abu Shaamah stated in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Hawaadith: specifying acts of worship at times that were not specified by sharee’ah is wrong; no time is to be regarded as better than any other except in cases where the sharee’ah gave preference to a certain act of worship at a certain time, or stated that any good deed done at this time is better than good deeds done at other times. Hence the scholars denounced the practice of singling out the month of Rajab for doing ‘Umrah frequently.

But if a person goes for ‘Umrah during Rajab without believing that this has any particular virtue and because it is just a coincidence that it is easier for him to go at this time, then there is nothing wrong with that.

Bid’ah and innovations in the month of Rajab

Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah. The Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not die until after the religion had been perfected. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

It was reported that ‘Aa’isha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Agreed upon).

According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does an action which is not a part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”

Some people have innovated a number of practices in Rajab, including the following:

– Salaat al-Raghaa’ib. This prayer became widespread after the first and best centuries, especially in the fourth century AH. Some liars fabricated this prayer, which is done on the first night of Rajab. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Salaat al-Raghaa’ib is bid’ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Maalik, al-Shaafa’i, Abu Haneefah, al-Thawri, al-‘Oozaa’i, al-Layth and others . The hadeeth that is narrated concerning it is a lie according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadeeth.

– It was reported that major events happened in the month of Rajab, but none of these reports are true. It was reported that the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born on the first night of Rajab, and that he received his Mission on the twenty-seventh, or twenty-fifth of this month. None of this is correct. It was reported with an isnaad that is not saheeh from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad that the Prophet’s Night Journey (al-Israa’) took place on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. This was denied by Ibraaheem al-Harbi and others. One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi’raaj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rajab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyaam al-Layl or fasting during the day, or rejoicing and celebrating. Some celebrations are accompanied by haraam things such as mixing of men and women, singing and music, all of which are not permitted on the two Eids which are prescribed in Islam, let alone innovated celebrations. Add to that the fact that there is no proof that the Israa’ and Mi’raaj happened on this date. Even if it were proven, that is no excuse for holding celebrations on this date, because nothing of the kind has been reported from the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, or from any of the Salaf (early generations) of this Ummah. If it were a good thing, they would surely have done it before us. May Allaah help us.

– Salaat Umm Dawood halfway through Rajab.

– The du’aa’s which are recited specifically during Rajab are all fabrications and innovations.

– Visiting graves specifically in Rajab is bid’ah, because graves are to be visited at any time of the year.

We ask Allaah to make us of those who venerate the things that He has made sacred and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) outwardly and inwardly, for He is the One Whom we should ask and He is Able to do that. And the close of our request is: praise be to Allaah, the Lord of ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

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