Sacred Months in the Hijri Calendar
The Hijri calendar, also known as the Islamic calendar, is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. The months are based on the phases of the moon and are named Muharram, Safar, Rabi al-Awwal, Rabi al-Thani, Jumada al-Ula, Jumada al-Akhirah, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu al-Qadah, and Dhu al-Hijjah.
Allah (SWT) States: “Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred. That is the Right Way. So do not wrong one another during these months. And together fight the polytheists as they fight against you together. And know that Allah is with those mindful ˹of Him˺”
At-Tauba (The Repentance) 9:36
The four sacred months of the Hijri calendar are Rajab, Dhu al-Qadah, Dhu al-Hijjah, and Muharram. These months are considered to be of great importance in Islamic tradition and culture, and are treated differently from the other months. During these months, fighting and waging war is forbidden, and all disputes are to be resolved peacefully. The respect and importance of these months predates Islam with the Arabs refraining from fighting during these months tracing back from the laws of Abraham A.S.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said: "The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in subsequent Dhu al-Qadah, Dhu al-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada-Thaniyah and Sha’ban."
Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq said: “In the month of Rajab you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban you irrigate them and in Ramadan you reap the harvest.”
Unlike the three Sacred months which are in succession, Rajab stands alone in the middle of the year, meaning "to respect, honor, and to be made great". This marks an amazing opportunity for change in our lives leading into Shaban and Ramadan. We should observe this month as a time for spiritual reflection and increased worship, including reconnecting with the Quran and performing Umrah. Additionally, we should increase our acts of charity, mercy, good deeds, and kindness to others, as these actions will be rewarded greatly by Allah and doubled. The prohibition on wrongdoing is also highlighted in the Ayah from Surah At-Tauba “So do not wrong one another during these months”. As rewards are increased so are punishments for transgressing multiplied in these months. The four months were deemed sacred due to the severity of committing a sin during them and the special status Allah gave them. Sinning during the sacred months is considered more heinous than during the other months, so it is important to refrain from any wrongdoing and seeking forgiveness during Rajab.
Significant Islamic Events in Rajab
The Night Journey (Isra) and the Ascension (Mi'raj) is believed to have occurred on the 27th night of Rajab: When the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was taken on a journey by the angel Gabriel from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to the heavens, where he met with previous prophets and received revelations from God.
Be sure to make the most of this month and set yourself up for success by creating habits and practices that will keep you away from any transgressions and increase your rewards leading into Ramadan and the year beyond InshAllah. May Allah bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan.
- Recite and Memorize the Quran.
- Fix your prayers (no procrastination).
- Make more Voluntary prayers.
- Seek Forgiveness.
- Fast during the month of Rajab.
- Give more Salawat to the Prophet PBUH.
- Control your daily bad deeds (idle talk, gossiping, hatred, envy, anger, etc)
- Increase in Charity and community work.
- Address the rights of people around you.
- Conduct Umrah if you are fortunate.