Hadith & Sunnah

The Sunnah





  Following the Sunnah (example) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a fundamental part of Islam.. Allah orders us in numerous places in the Qu'ran to obey Him and to obey the messenger. Alhumdulillah, the record of the Prophet's (sunnah) have been kept until the present day. It is to our own detriment, if we fail to study both the Qu'ran and the Sunnah.

To be a true Muslim, the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) must be followed. The sources of information about the Sunnah are found in Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet as well as things that he silently consented to). There are many authentic books of hadith from which these references are derived as well as scholars of hadith, who spend years of memorizing, studying and understanding the science of hadith. 

When a Muslim knows the Qu'ran and seeks to obey the orders of Allah (ta'ala), it naturally follows that he/she will obey the Prophet (peace be upon him) as this is ordered by Allah in Qu'ran. 

{And obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad ) that you may obtain mercy}(3:132) 

Islam is a way of life. Not just a set of orders, restrictions etc, but a spiritual, practical and natural development of the human being and society into a well organized, just and pious state of being. Muslims are those who, by following the Prophet (peace be upon him), who was said to be the 'Qu'ran in action', develop characteristics that are esteemed by all. It is upon the base of such characters, that a truly Islamic society emerges. 

The Muslim who follows the Sunnah, learns how to combine strength with gentleness, modesty with courage, patience with fortitude and spirituality with practicality. The Muslim who follows the sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is kind, gentle and generous to the family, hospitable to the guest, brave in battle and forgiving in victory. The Muslim who follows the Sunnah is modest in dress and manners, wealth is marked by humility and generosity, poverty is accompanied by patience, hope and effort, malice and revenge have no place in the heart and the constant love and fear of Allah (ta'ala) reigns supreme in both heart and mind, and is the pivot point of action in their lives. 

May Allah (ta'ala) fortify our Iman and give us knowledge that is beneficial to us. May He, Who is the Most Merciful, let us appreciate the light of Islam, amidst the degeneration of mankind, and establish us on the way of the Sunnah.

Sunnah and Bid'ah





  The Straight Path has been laid out. Our job is only to follow it, not to try to discover new paths. 

Once some Jewish scholars said to Sayyidna Umar bin Khattab, may Allah bless him, "The Qur'an contains a verse that if it had been revealed to us, we would have designated a day to celebrate its revelation." Upon enquiry they mentioned the verse: {This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion} [Al-Maida 5:3] "Yes, I know, the time and place when it was revealed," he replied. 

Indeed it was a historic day. It was the day of Arafa during the farewell Hajj (pilgrimage) of Prophet Muhammad . This verse announced the completion of a historic process that had started with the coming to earth of Sayyidna Adam, peace be upon him. Allah sent His guidance with him and informed him that in the generations to come there would be additional messengers. The process continued through the 124,000 prophets who were sent to different lands at different times. It culminated with the coming of the Last Messenger, Muhammad peace be upon him. He received revelations over a twenty-three year period. Then during the Farewell Hajj, on the plain of Arafat, in the presence of nearly 150,000 companions, this verse announced that it was all done! 

The full significance of this message must never escape us. Islam is unlike all previous revealed religions in one crucial respect. All of them came with expiration dates. Islam has none. The Guidance from Allah had been completed. The religion had been perfected. There would be no new message, no new prophet, no new Shariah, and no new command until the Last Day! The Straight Path has been laid out. Our job is only to follow it, not to try to discover new paths. In Jumuah khutbahs this Ummah has been repeating the hadith: "I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion), and every newly invented matter is bid'ah, and every bid'ah is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire." (an-Nasaa'ee)

In Islamic terminology, Sunnah and Bid'ah are antonyms. Sunnah literally means path, and it is the path shown to us by the Prophet peace be upon him. This includes the Shariah teachings derived from Qur'an, Hadith, the consensus of the companions, and the ijtehad of the qualified imams. Bid'ah means adding or changing articles of faith or religious practices. It can take many forms. One may change the occasion of a prescribed act, thereby extending it to occasions for which it was not meant. One may add restrictions on a desired act that the Shariah had not imposed. One may change the style or form of such an act. One may start doing something collectively that was to be performed individually. Or one may change the Shariah status of an act from permissible to mandatory. Of course, one may also add a ritual where none existed. These are all forms of bid'ah. They are all forbidden.

Bid'ah is like fake currency that tries to drive out the good currency. By design it has the appearance of a virtuous religious act. But it lies outside the Shariah. So do its sources, which, in a great number of cases can be traced to non-Islamic influence from surrounding communities with which Muslim communities historically came into contact. Hence the telltale signs that set it apart from Sunnah. First, bid'ahs normally vary from region to region--- and over time--- revealing their local, non-Islamic source. This is unlike the genuine religious practices that maintain the same form everywhere. No matter where he comes from, a follower of, say, Hanafi Fiqh, will be offering salat in exactly the same way, right down to the minutest detail - like when to raise the index finger. In contrast, the bid'ah practices surrounding, marriage or death in the Indo-Pak subcontinent vary from those in Arabia or Africa.

Second, the bid'ah practices are largely transmitted through oral tradition. Many of these have a pseudo-legal, ritualistic framework of their own, but one would be hard pressed to find it in the standard legal texts! Rather it lives in the folklore.

This leads us to a simple test for determining whether a commonly observed practice is sunnah or bid'ah. If it is performed as a religious ritual, check it out in a reliable book of fiqh. If it is not there, most probably it is not a sunnah. Example: consider the practice of shaking hands after finishing the salat. Open the chapter on salat in your fiqh book. It lists all the steps, in great detail, involved in offering salat. Does it mention the handshake as well? No. There is our clue that it is a bid'ah, which it is. Similarly look at all the rituals normally performed upon the death of a person. Again the fiqh books describe in great detail how the funeral and burial should be done. But do they also mention that on the third day (or the tenth or the fortieth), a gathering should be arranged where participants should recite the Qur'an for the benefit of the deceased and after which they should be served with dinner? Again the answer is no. Again the reason is that all of these common practices are not part of the Shariah. They are an addition or bid'ah.

Of course, this is not a legal principle. (For obvious reasons it can't be for who is to stop someone from writing a book of fiqh that includes the bid'ahs?) Ultimately one has to turn to scholars to determine whether an act is a bid'ah or sunnah. Yet this test can help an ordinary person raise questions about common practices. One factor that helps the propagation of bid'ahs is the attitude that treats religion as hobby rather than as the serious business of submitting to the command of Allah. Pure submission may be "boring." It demands sacrifice. Bid'ahs are fun. On top of that they "promise" reward in the hereafter. This makes the bid'ah more deadly than ordinary sins. From an act we know to be a sin, we can repent. But how can one repent from a wrong that he considers to be right?

But in reality bid'ahs are a tremendous burden. Islamic teachings are simple and easy. When a person dies, Islam teaches that others should be providing food to the bereaved family. Bid'ah requires the exact opposite. Other bid'ahs are also like that. A burden. And the burden in the Hereafter will be much bigger, for "every bid'ah is in the Fire."
Article By : Khalid Baig

The month of Shaaban





This is a month in which our beloved Prophet (peace be unto him) used to observe fasting. In fact, Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said “I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Shaaban.” [Bukhari & Muslim].

It was also reported that he (peace be unto him) used to fast all of Shaaban except for a day or two. 

So what is the idea behind fasting this month in particular? Shaaban comes between the months of Rajab and Ramadan, both of which are months of fasting. Fasting in Ramadan - as we know - is obligatory, while Rajab is one of the four sacred months and thus fasting (part of) it is recommended. So people often tend to ignore fasting during Shaaban. However, the Prophet (peace be unto him) recommends acts of worship at times and places in which people tend to forget Allah. In the meaning of an authentic hadith, he teaches us that ‘one who remembers Allah amongst those who do not is like a steadfast fighter among those who are fleeing.’ 

Another notable advantage of fasting during Shaaban is that it prepares us for fasting during Ramadan. People who are not accustomed to fasting before Ramadan often find difficulty during the month, especially during the first couple of days. 

A question that often arises is whether to fast during the second half of Shaaban, which is just before Ramadan. One of the scholars’ opinions on this matter is that if one has fasted the first half of the month, he/she can continue during the second half; if one has not, he/she should not start fasting in the latter half so as not to become week prior to Ramadan. 

May Allah guide us to the very best of deeds during Shaaban and rest of the year.

Muhammad, A Guidance to follow





  Muhammad as a man had already died, but as a Prophet he left behind him a legacy in the form of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He stressed the urgent need to hold firmly to these two sources during his Farewell speech in the valley of Arafat. If people hold fast to them, they will never go astray.

The teachings he left for us if put into practice in their true spirit and proper way will bring a happy life in this world and besides the indubitable rewards that will be received by those who believed in them in the life after death. 


In this sense, Islam is a worldly religion which cares first for the worldly affairs of humanity. The hereafter is merely a continuation of the worldly life. It is difficult to portend that man can be saved in the hereafter without being saved in this world. The safe way is to follow the way shown to us by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). When his wife, ‘Aishah, was asked by a companion about the Prophet’s daily conduct, ‘Aishah replied that the conduct of the Prophet is the Qur’an which is the guidance from Allah and Muhammad was given authority by Allah to interpret it. That is why his conduct is exemplary of human conduct. Islam as brought by the Prophet Muhammad is very much misunderstood as a religion of rituals only like prayers, fasting, almsgiving and pilgrimage. Thanks to the new developments in the world, Islam is now looked upon In a wider perspective than the narrow-minded view.

The increased interest in Islamic studies by Muslims and non-Muslims supported by the advanced printing technology, has begun to open the eyes of the world about the true teaching and intrinsic values of Islam. 

Economy:

In the field of economic development, the goal is not material gain, but human welfare in general. Islam exhorts that the balance between the material and physical aspects, between the individual and societal needs, be maintained in order to narrow the gap between two opposite sides of human world. It is stated in the Qur’an:“Say, who is there to forbid the beauty which Allah has brought forth for His creatures, and the good things from among the means of sustenance. Say, they are for those who believe (in Allah) In this worldly life, to be theirs alone in the Hereafter on the Day of Resurrection …… Say, the only things my Lord forbids are the shameful deeds, be they open or secret, the sin, unjustified envy, the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Allah, and the attributing unto Allah of aught of which you have no knowledge”

So everyone is free to conduct any business he likes outside the harmful circle he has been warned not to indulge in. If he does not listen to this warning, he will be in trouble. Every good quality as precondition to a successful business is encouraged by Islam.

The Prophet himself was a businessman before he was appointed as a Prophet. His ability to run business prudently, by his fairness and truthful conduct in dealing with people had won him the heart of his employer, Khadijah who later offered him m&riage. He advocated Muslims to follow the spirit of Prophet Daud (David) of hard work, earned his living from his own labour. He also said that faith of a Muslim is not complete If he is not good in his profession. He said: “If you leave matters to those who are not professional, you are waiting for the disaster”.

If he works in the production line, his products must be compatible with products of other companies or factories. In order to be marketable, it must suit the taste of buyers and their standards of living. In this regard, Islam teaches not to cheat in offering the product to the market. It must be shown as it is without any publicity it does not deserve. In the life time of the Prophet, he found many cases in market places where the merchants tried to cheat the customers. The Prophet said to them: “Whoever cheated are not from amongst us (Muslims)”.

Islam laid many regulations in the field of economy such as trade, leasing, business transaction, contract and others to prevent unfair dealing within the community and in the world of business at large. What is also prevented by Islam is a monopoly and exploitation -by one man or one group at the expense of the others.


Cleanliness:

The first thing in the religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad is the care of cleanliness. The concept of cleanliness in Islam covers physical and spiritual, mundane and religious domains.

Before performing any rituals, prescribed by Islam, one should cleanse his body, and his dress, his place of worship and his environment should be clean.

Before performing his prayers or starting for pilgrimage, one has to make his ablution (wudu’). If he or she is in a state of unclean after having had a lawful Intimate intercourse or post-natal period or other reasons, he or she has to take a complete bath by pouring clean water over the whole body.

In the case of daily prayer, every Muslim has to clean his/her private parts, face, hand, feet, mouth, nose and ears at least five times every day for the five daily prayers. This also reminds him/her to keep his/ her soul clean from unlawful deeds.

Cleanliness is not in the physical sense only. The body should be purified as well from evil doings that might harm his relationship with others and with God. He has to clean his mind from bad intentions or committing unlawful acts. He has to clean his heart from jealousy, hypocrisy and other evil desires. He has to embody hope, truthfulness, forgiveness, compassion, holiness, the sense of brotherliness, neighbourliness and other noble qualities.

He has to pay special attention to his diet against all unhealthy food medically and religiously. He has to keep his eyes, ears, tongue from evils. These are among the noble characteristics as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad.

To clean the wealth, Islam instituted the zakat system (way of purifying wealth). A person whose wealth has reached a certain point is obligated to pay zakat (alms) which is a duty enjoined by God and undertaken by Muslims in the interest of society as a whole.

For those able persons whose wealth does not reach the minimum rate point, he can also give voluntary contribution to the needy. This does not mean that the needy should always be receiving help from the able.

Prophet Muhammad said: "The upper hand (giver) is better than the lower one (receiver of help).”

If the receiver of zakat can grasp the spirit of the Prophet’s saying, he will try his best to be the giver instead of the receiver by endeavouring to better his life as encouraged by the teachings of Islam.

In Islam the possession of more wealth does not raise a man’s dignity, nor does poverty degrade him. It is true that wealth is necessary for man to live on this earth, but It is only a means, not the end. The end is happiness in life by attaining the higher values and not losing sight of in the pursuit of wealth.

Among the great virtues of Islam is the command to do good and the prohibition to do evil. The good should be preserved and the evil should be discarded. In short, Islam is actually composed of a series of commands and prohibitions. All the commands and prohibitions are for the good of humanity. Allah the Most Knowing, the Most Merciful, did not decree any law and regulations but for the good and benefit of his creatures.

The prohibition was decreed because of its evil implications to humanity. The evils were created to test the human conscience and challenge their freewill in choosing between right and wrong.

All the commands and prohibitions from Allah as transmitted through His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was intended to purify the human soul in order to live a pure and clean life adored by Allah and human genesis.


Orderliness:

One of the other teachings of Islam is about orderliness. Discipline, regulation, management, planning and all other terms relating to organisation are mostly. understood as alien to Islam. On the contrary, Islam exhorts people to live in orderliness and to put the right thing in the right place. The foundation of Islamic order rests on two main principles, the crucial -faith in one God (Allah) and the oneness of humanity. All the frame works were laid down in the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad applied himself to working out the essential details of that order.

One of the great values taught by Islam in this regard is to make use of the time left to humanity. The Qur'an and the Sunnah (Traditions) mentioned about time, day, week, month, year and century. People are lost if they did not spend the time available to them during this life for good things. It is a great loss if people have to waste the valuable time they have at their disposal for useless activities. It is true that life should be enjoyable but not at the expense of human resources and values which are essential for the continuation of their wellbeing.

Allah the Most Knowing had created time and space suitable for human activities for they can attain achievements in life. There are times for work, study, recreation, resting and even celebration. All are parts of activities in worshipping Allah and serving His cause. The Qur'an says that Allah had created day for earning and night for resting and enjoyment. He created the sun, the moon and all outer-space objects co that man on the earth can fix the time and arraflge the calendar. By having a standard time and standard calendar and the movements of astronomical objects, people are able to regulate their time table in choosing the right moment for them in doing business and carrying out their activities.

Islam prescribes certain times for the daily prayers, certain month for the obligatory fasting and certain time during life time for performing the haj pilgrimage which indicates that the religion brought by Prophet Muhammad places the life of Muslims in systematic order. For every move and occasion made by Muslims there is a rule governing it, be it in the form of advice, spiritual guidance or practical directive. If all these directives are followed and understood properly, people will have high discipline and a well-managed life.

Islam encourages people to think correctly before taking any action. This means planning. There are many verses in the Qur'an admonishing against doing things unthinkingly and jumping to conclusions.

The Prophet also showed good example in fulfilling promise and staying true to treaty, agreement or contract made between parties.

As a man of honour he always remained true to the principles agreed in the treaty, depicting his high discipline and inclination of doing everything in proper order.


Friendliness:

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a warmhearted and faithful friend. He loved his companions. He extended greetings to those he knew and to those he did not know. He treated all people around him with kindness and affection.

He was very courteous to all those who met him. He never contradicted anybody who is not opposed to the teachings of Islam. He treated equally the humble and the lofty. He claimed no distinction and lived amongst his companions as if he was not their leader.


Neighbourliness:

He regarded the neighbours as brothers and sisters because of their closeness and living in the same vicinity. He once smelt the aroma of the soup cooked by his wife. He told her to give some of it to the neighbours who also smelt it. He said it was not right for a Muslim to sleep with a full stomach after having had a good meal but let his neighbour starve. He laid the foundation for a friendly relation and cooperation among neighbours exemplifying that living as a neighbour one has one’s right and responsibility.

In regard to the rights of a neighbour, the Prophet said: “Help him if he asks your help; give him relief if he seeks your relief; show him concern if he is distressed and when he is ill; attend his funeral if he dies; congratulate him If he meets any good; sympathize with him if any calamity befalls him; do not block his air by raising your building without his permission and do not harass him.”


Goodwill:

He was a good exemplar to those who subscribe to a harmonious society. Islam exhorts people not to violate the rights of others and injure their interest, but should positively cooperate with each other and establish a mutual relationship and social cohesion.

To safeguard the unity and solidarity of the nation and to achieve the welfare and wellbeing of the community, Muslims have been enjoined to avoid mutual hostility, social dissension, backbiting one another, and hurting others with their hand or tongue.

Islam as brought by the Prophet Muhammad exhorts Muslims to visit the sick, to help the needy and assist the weak. Islam makes no discrimination on the basis of race, colour or language. Its appeal Is to the entire humanity.


Women:

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought changes for the betterment of women.

Woman is recognised by Islam as a full and equal partner of man in the procreation of humankind. He is the father, she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is no less vital than his. By this partnership she has an equal share in every aspect; she is entitled to equal rights; she undertakes equal responsibilities, and in her there are many qualities and so much humanity as there are In her partner.

She is equal to man in bearing personal and common responsibilities and in receiving rewards for her deeds.

She is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge.

Islam enjoined the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman.

She is entitled to freedom of expression as much as man is. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because she is a female.

Islam grants woman equal fights to contract, to enterprise, to earn and posses independently. Her life, her property, her honour are as sacred as those of man.

Islam has also given woman a share of inheritance. Before Islam, she was not only deprived of that share, but was herself considered as property to be inherited by man.


Statehood:

When Prophet Muhammad arrived at Madinah, he initiated the formation of an Islamic state. After establishing political brotherhood and the authority of the state of Madinah, he began negotiations with various tribes around the dy and made treaties with them.

When the Makkan unbelievers launched a series of attacks on Madinah, Prophet Muhammad was able to confront them, and when the Makkans were finally defeated in the battle of the Trenches (Al-Khandaq), he was able to make truce with them at Hudaibiyah for ten years. This treaty was a masterpiece of practical statesmanship on the part of Prophet Muhammad.

His diplomacy in sending and receiving envoys to and from the various chiefs of tribes and foreign rulers, his fairness In conducting judiciary, and his general pardon at the liberation of Makkah, was another proof of his lofty statesmanship.

The State he established in Madinah was not a matter of chance. It was the very nature of his mission that he would establish a state to enforce the way of Allah. People might accept a new faith but it would take time to change their habits, custom and way of life. And even If a small group of people succeeded In changing their way of life, there would be many others who would not let these people practise their belief and try to stop them by force. So the Islamic State became an urgent necessity to protect the Islamic way of life.

The State founded by Prophet Muhammad was invested with physical force, as every State must necessarily be, to fulfil its function of stopping aggression and oppression.

A democratic system In Islam is expressed through the term shura (council). The Qur'an says: “And those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer and their affairs (of government) is by council among themselves and who spend out of what we have given them.”.

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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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). 
Taken From: http://www.islam-qa.com
Sheikh Saalih al-Munajjid

The Month of Sha'baan




Sha’baan is the name of the (eighth) month, and it is so called because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha’’aba) in search of water, or it was said that they dispersed to carry out raids and forays. Or it was said that it is so called because it sha’aba (branches out or emerges) i.e., it appears between the months of Rajab and Ramadaan. The plural forms of the word Sha’baan are Sha’baanaat and Sha’aabeen. 

Fasting in Sha’baan

‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allaah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’baan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1833; Muslim, no. 1956).

According to a report narrated by Muslim (no. 1957), “He used to fast all of Sha’baan, he used to fast all but a little of Sha’baan.”

A group of scholars, including Ibn al-Mubaarak and others, thought that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast all of Sha’baan, but he fasted most of it. This is supported by a report in Saheeh Muslim (no. 1954) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), who said: “I never knew of him – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – fasting for any entire month apart from Ramadaan.” According to another report also narrated by Muslim (no. 1955), ‘Aa’ishah said: “I never saw him fast for any entire month from the time he came to Madeenah, apart from Ramadaan.”

It was reported in al-Saheehayn that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadaan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1971, and Muslim, no. 1157). Ibn ‘Abbaas regarded it as makrooh to fast any entire month apart from Ramadaan. Ibn Hajar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “He observed more voluntary fasts in Sha’baan than in any other month, and he used to fast most of Sha’baan.”

Usaamah ibn Zayd (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’baan.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, see Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, page 425). According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood (no. 2076) she said: “The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to fast in was Sha’baan, and his fasting in Sha’baan was continuous with his fasting in Ramadaan.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, see Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 2/461).

Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Fasting in Sha’baan is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadaan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawaatib which are done before and after fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obliagtory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadaan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawaatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadaan are better than fasts at other times.

The phrase “Sha’baan is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan” indicates that because it comes between two important months, the Sacred Month of Rajab and the month of fasting, people are preoccupied with those two months and they do not pay attention to Sha’baan. Many people think that fasting in Rajab is better than fasting in Sha’baan, because Rajab is one of the Sacred Months, but this is not the case.

In the hadeeth quoted above there is an indication that even though certain times, places and people may be commonly thought to posses a particular virtue, there may be others that are better than them.

It also indicates that it is mustahabb to make good use of the times when people tend to be negligent, by doing acts of worship. A group of the Salaf used to fill the time between Maghrib and ‘Isha’ with prayer, saying that it was a time when many people were negligent. Another example is the remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) in the marketplace, because this means one is remembering Him in a place where people tend to be negligent and among people who are negligent. There are a number of benefits that come from making good use of times when people are often negligent, and using these times for worship, including the following: 

It is more concealing of one's good works, and hiding and concealing naafil actions is better, especially fasting, because it is a secret between a slave and his Lord. Hence it was said that there is no element of showing off in fasting. One of the Salaf used to fast for years without anybody knowing about it; he would go from his home to the marketplace carrying two loaves of bread, which he would give away in charity, and he would fast. His family thought that he ate the bread, whilst the people in the marketplace thought that he had eaten at home. The Salaf thought it was mustahabb for a person who was fasting to do things that would conceal the fact that he was fasting. It was reported that Ibn Mas’ood said: “When you get up in the morning and you are fasting, then apply perfume.” Qutaadah said: “It is mustahabb for the [man] who is fasting to apply perfume so that there will be no sign that he is fasting.”

By the same token, doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult. One of the indications of how virtuous a deed is, is how difficult it is: if everyone is doing a certain action, it is easy, but if most people are negligent, this makes it more difficult for those who do remember Allaah. Muslim (no. 2984) narrated from the hadeeth of Ma’qil ibn Yassaar: “[The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:] ‘Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah to me.’” (The phrase “worship at times of tribulation” refers to times of upheavals and trials, when people follow their own desires, and those who adhere to Islam are doing something difficult.)

The scholars differed as to the reasons why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted so much in Sha’baan. Their various opinions were as follows:

That he had been unable to fast three days out of every month because he was travelling or for some other reason, so he made them all up together in Sha’baan. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) began to do some naafil action, he would persist in it, and if he missed it, he would make it up later. 

It was said that his wives used to make up the days that they missed of Ramadaan in Sha’baan, so he used to fast because of that. This is the opposite of what was reported from ‘Aa’ishah, that she used to delay making up days that she had missed in Ramadaan until Sha’baan because she was too busy with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to fast. 

It was said that it was because this is a month which people do not pay attention to. This is the most correct view, because of the hadeeth of Usaamah quoted above, in which it says: “That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan.” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, see Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, p. 425) 

When Sha’baan began, if the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) still had some voluntary fasts outstanding that he had not fasted, he would make them up during Sha’baan so that his naafil fasts would be complete before Ramadaan came. Similarly, if he had missed some Sunnah prayers or he had missed Qiyaam al-Layl, he would make it up. ‘Aa’ishah used to make the most of this opportunity to make up any obligatory Ramadaan fasts that she had missed because of menstruation; during other months she was too busy with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to fast. We should also note here that anyone who has any missed fasts to make up has to make them up before the next Ramadaan comes. It is not permissible to delay it until after the following Ramadaan except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadaans). Whoever is able to make them up before the (second) Ramadaan and does not do so, has to make them up after the (second) Ramadaan and in addition to that, he has to repent and to feed one poor person for each day that he missed. This is the view of Maalik, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad.

Another benefit of fasting in Sha’baan is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadaan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadaan starts; if he fasts in Sha’baan he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadaan comes. Sha’baan is like an introduction to Ramadaan and it has some things in common with Ramadaan, such as fasting, reciting Qur’aan and giving in charity. Salamah ibn Suhayl used to say: “The month of Sha’baan is the month of reciters (of the Qur’aan).” Habeeb ibn Abi Thaabit used to say, when Sha’baan came, “This is the month of reciters (of the Qur’aan).” When Sha’baan came, ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Malaa’i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur’aan.

Fasting at the end of Sha’baan

It was reported in al-Saheehayn from ‘Imraan ibn Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to a man, “Have you fasted anything of the sirar of this month?” He said, “No.” He said: “If you have not fasted, then fast two days.” According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari: I think he meant Ramadaan. According to a report narrated by Muslim, (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) said: “Have you fasted anything of the sirar of Sha’baan?” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/2000; Muslim, no. 1161).

There was some dispute as to the meaning of the word siraar. The most well known view is that it refers to the end of the month. The end of the month is called siraar because the moon is hidden (istisraar) at that time. Someone may raise the point that it was reported in al-Saheehayn from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not pre-empt Ramadaan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no 1983; Muslim, no. 1082). How can we reconcile the hadeeth which encourages fasting at this time with the hadeeth which says not to fast at this time? The answer is: many of the scholars and most of those who commented on this hadeeth said: this man to whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) addressed this question was known to have the habit of fasting regularly, or else he had made a vow, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded him to make up his fast. There are also other points of view on this issue. In brief we may say that there are three scenarios for fasting at the end of Sha’baan.

The first scenario is when a person fasts at the end of Sha’baan with the intention of being on the safe side and not missing the first day of Ramadaan. This is forbidden. 

The second scenario is when a person fasts with the intention of fulfilling a vow or of making up a day of Ramadaan that he missed or as an act of expiation (kafaarah), etc. This is permissible according to the majority.

The third scenario is when this is purely a voluntary fast. This is regarded as makrooh by those who said that we should differentiate between Sha’baan and Ramadaan by not fasting for a while. Among those who said this was al-Hasan. If it happens to coincide with a day when a person habitually fasts, Maalik and those who agreed with him permitted this, but al-Shaafa’i, al-‘Oozaa’i, Ahmad and others made a distinction between cases where it is a fast which a person habitually observes or otherwise.

In conclusion, the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above is what we should follow according to the majority of scholars. It is makrooh to observe a voluntary fast one or two days before Ramadaan for those who do not habitually fast on those days and who have not previously fasted until the end of Sha’baan. It may be asked: why is it makrooh to fast just before Ramadaan (for those who do not have a prior habit of fasting)? The answer is that there are a number of reasons why this is so, such as:

Firstly: lest extra days be added to the fast of Ramadaan that are not part of it. Fasting on the day of Eid is prohibited for the same reason, lest we fall into the same trap as the People of the Book with regard to fasting, as they added to their fasts because of their own whims and desires.

For the same reason it is also forbidden to fast on the “day of doubt”. ‘Ammaar said: whoever fasts on this day has disobeyed Abu’l-Qaasim (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

The “day of doubt” is a day when people are not sure whether it is Ramadaan or not, when news of the sighting of the crescent moon comes from one whose word cannot be accepted. As for a cloudy day, some of the ‘ulamaa’ said that this was also a ‘day of doubt’ and said that fasting was not allowed on this day. This is the view of the majority.

Secondly: to make a distinction between fard (obligatory) fasts and naafil (supererogatory) fasts, because making a clear distinction between fard actions and naafil actions is prescribed in Islam. Hence it is haraam to fast on the day of Eid, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade following an obligatory prayer immediately with another prayer unless they are separated by saying salaam or speaking, especially in the case of the Sunnah prayer performed just before Fajr. It is prescribed to make a clear separation between this prayer and the obligatory prayer. Hence it is prescribed to pray it at home and to lie down afterwards.

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a man praying at the time when the iqaamah had been given for Fajr, he said to him: “Al-Subh is four rak’ahs.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 663).

Some ignorant people may think that the reason why we do not fast just before Ramadaan is so that we can make the most of eating and have our fill of our desires before we have to deny ourselves by fasting. This is an ignorant mistake on the part of those who think this. And Allaah knows best.

References:

Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif fimaa li Mawaasim al-‘Aam min al-Wazaa’if, by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Al-Ilmaan bi shay’in min Ahkaam al-Siyaam, by ‘Abd al-‘Azeez al-Raajihi

And Allaah is the Source of strength 

Taken from: http://www.islam-qa.com