Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic lunar calendar. This month was regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ashhur-al-hurum) in which battles were prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet.
It is also deemed to be a prelude to the month of Ramadan, because the month Ramadan follows it after the intervening month of Sha’ban. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet sighted the moon of Rajab, he used to pray Allah in the following words:
اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان
O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life upto Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).
Although the month of Rajab has aforesaid merits, yet no specific way of worship has been prescribed by the Shari’ah in this month. However, some people have invented some special rituals or practices in this month which are not supported by reliable resources of the Shari’ah or are based on some unauthentic traditions. We would like to explain here the correct position about them.
Celebration of Lailatul Mi’raj
It is generally believed that the great event of Mi’raj (ascension of the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم to the heavens) took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Therefore, some people celebrate the night as “Lailatul-Mi’raj” (the night of ascension to heavens).
Indeed, the event of mi’raj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of our beloved Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم. He was called by Almighty Allah. He travelled from Makkah to Baitul-Maqdis and from there he ascended the heavens through the miraculous power of Allah. He was honoured with a direct contact with his Creator at a place where even the angels had no access. This was the unique honour conferred by Allah to the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم alone. It was the climax of the spiritual progress which is not attained by anybody except him. No doubt the night in which he was blessed with this unparalleled honour was one of the great nights in the history of this world.
Sacrifice (qurbani) in the month of Rajab
In the days of ignorance (jahiliyyah) the Arabs used to offer the sacrifice of a goat in the month of Rajab. This sacrifice used to be called ‘Atirah’ or ‘Rajabiyyah’. This sacrifice was offered in the name of different so-called gods and their icons. In the beginning of Islam, this custom was retained, but the Muslims modified it by offering the sacrifice of ‘Atirah in the name of Allah instead of the false gods. But finally, this custom was abandoned and the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم. prohibited the offering of ‘Atirah. In a tradition of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah .رضي الله تعالى عنه, reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم has said:
لا فرع ولا عتيرة
Fara’ is nothing and ‘Atirah is nothing.
Abu Hurairah رضي الله تعالى عنه has explained in the same tradition that ‘Fara’ was the first child of a she-camel. Whenever a she-camel delivered its first child, the Arabs used to sacrifice it in the name of their so-called gods, while the ‘Atirah’ was a goat used to be sacrificed in the month of Rajab. Since the Holy Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلمstopped both these customs, ‘Atirah is no longer a recognized practice.