Last Friday (4/8) was the first day of the month of Rajab. Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar and one of the four sacred months. It also occurs two months before the start of the holy month of Ramadan. The four sacred months are Dhul Qi’da (the month before Hajj), Dhul Hijja (the month of Hajj), and Muharram (the first month of the year). Allah (swt) mentions the sacred months in the Quran in Surah Al-Tawbah:
إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
God decrees that there are twelve months – ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth– four months of which are sacred: this is the correct calculation. Do not wrong your souls in these months– though you may fight the idolaters at any time, if they first fight you– remember that God is with those who are mindful of Him. [9:36]
Allah (swt) tells us that these months are special but He does not share the reasoning behind it. This in and of itself is a test of our faith in Allah (swt), do we truly recognize that He is al-Hakeem, the Most Wise? Allah (swt) gave these months a special status and made them more virtuous than the other months. These months are an opportunity and we should take advantage of them, even if we do not understand the wisdom behind them. When opportunity knocks, you answer - not ask why!
During these sacred months sinning is considered more harmful than in other months and the same applies for good deeds: the rewards are multiplied. According to Imam Qurtobi in his explanation of the above ayah, sinning of course is always wrong, and doing good is always a place for reward but when Allah (swt) further emphasizes a certain time or place then the reward or punishment is multiplied. This is the case for the sacred months.
So, how do we take advantage of these months?
The answer is in the ayah above. Allah (swt) says: “do not wrong your souls in these months”. The Arabic word used dhulum is explained by Imam Tabari as two kinds: (1) committing sins and (2) neglecting the commands of Allah (swt). Rajab is only two months before Ramadan therefore we have double the motivation to improve ourselves. Not only is it a sacred month but it is the perfect time to start preparing for the blessed month of Ramadan.
Let us look inside ourselves and till the soil of our heart.
Good deeds are on sale this month and we all love a good deal don’t we? This is the ultimate deal - for the next life inshAllah. So let’s race towards this one with open hearts and zealous souls. Let’s jump on every opportunity to do khair for ourselves and for others.
Content provided by Dr. Haifaa Younis