June 9, 2010, No Comments

By Prof Dr Mahmud Esad Cosan (rha)

The Dua of Rasullulah(saw) in the month of Rajab. It is mentioned on the authority of Anas Bin Malik (ra) that when the Holy Prophet (saw) sighted the moon of Rajab, he used to pray to Allah in the following words, ‘Allahuma Barik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa ballighna Ramadhan’ “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 up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings) Our Prophet SAW stated how precious the month of Rajab is. It is stated in the Qur’an that there are four blessed Haram months, and Rajab is one of them. The haram months start with Dhul-Qadah, and continue as Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram consecutively. These are the months for preparation for Hajj, performance of Hajj, and return from Hajj. Yet the month of Rajab is a separate month–five months after the other Haram months. Let us name the Hijra months: Muharram, Safar, Rabi-al-Awwal, Rabi-al-Akhir, Jumâdal-ûlâ, Jumâdal-Akhir, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadhan, Shawwal, Dhul-Qâdah, and Dhul-Hijjah. Since Rajab is a separate Haram month, it is also called Rajab-al-ferd (The individual, solitaire Rajab). The respect, reverence, regard and honor as well as abstinence from the quarrels and fights are to be observed during the month of Rajab, too. This month is also called Rajab-ul-Asabb. It is a month in which the rewards are poured in plenty to the record book for each servant. The rewards flow like running river. In Arabic, sabbe means pouring, munsab, is the place where the river running from mountains pours, like a waterfall. It comes from the same root word. Rajab-ul-Asabb is the month that the Mercy of Allah showers the servants, His blessings flood all. There is another attribute for this month: Rajab-ul-Asamm–Rajab the deaf. That means, people overlook the enmities and what they hear about them. If a person is informed that his enemy is passing some place, he will act as though he is deaf. That is why it is called this way.

There have been various explanations of this attribute. In brief, it has been stated in various sources that Rajab is an interesting and important month, and we have just entered it. The scholars have indicated in their books that this month is a month of sowing. In this month one does righteous and rewarding deeds such as repenting and fasting. Like cultivating the soil and sowing the seed, this month is the time for sowing. Sha’ban is the month of attending the crop. Ramadhan is the month of harvesting the crop. That means, Rajab is the first step to prepare us for Ramadhan. Ramadhan is the king of eleven months. One does not enter Ramadhan all of a sudden. One organizes his deeds and prepares himself for Ramadhan. For this he has to repent in Rajab which is also known as the “month of repentance.” A servant must turn to Allah: “O my Lord! I failed to understand Your orders. I have disobeyed You. I confess my shortcomings and offences. Please forgive me my sins.” Uttering these words, one shall abandon the offenses and be an obedient servant in the path of Allah. He shall remember that Rajab is the month of repentance. The following month, Sha’ban, is the month of attendance of the worship. Ramadhan is the month of reaping the rewards. These words express the connection among these months. It is related from the Prophet SAS that Rajab is Shahrullah. In Arabic, shahr means “month.” There is another use of the word shahr in Turkish as in Shahr-i Istanbul and Shahr-i Bursa. This word comes from Farisi, and it means “city, locality.” Shahr-i Ramadhan means the month of Ramadhan; Shahr-i Rajab, the month of Rajab. Rajab is Shahrullah–the month of Allah. Of course all months, all years, all time, all space, all beings, all humans, everything belong to Allah. While everything belongs to Allah, what would be the meaning of the sentence: Rajab is the month of Allah”? These words mean the following: “In the month of Rajab, Almighty Allah forgives countless servants who turn to him in repentance.” We have thus entered a month in which Almighty Allah opens the gates of repentance and forgiveness. This is important for me to remind you about this. It is also an important opportunity for you to pull yourselves together, to do a self-accounting, to consider your shortcomings and deeds, to realize our mistakes, and to turn to Allah to beg for forgiveness. This is what we shall do in this month, Fasting in the month of Rajab is also very meritorious. You are aware that fasting corrects the self and illuminates the heart. It has two major effects. First, the fasting limits and suppresses the desires and ambitions of the self. Second, it illuminates and strengthens the heart and spirit. When a person fasts, his stomach gets empty, and then his feelings become clearer–I am sure you have experienced it in Ramadhan. With fasting the heart becomes more attentive, compassionate and sensitive. Then the person can contemplate on the deeper meanings of things. He observes good states. For these reasons, we shall fast in the month of Rajab and do deeds to incur the mercy and forgiveness of Almighty Allah. Remember the verse: (Innemâ yuwaffas sàbirûne ajrahum bighayri hisâb) There is a multiplier for the rewards of everything, yet “the patient will be given their reward without account or limit” (Zumer 10). Since fasting requires patience and perseverance, it will be rewarded without limit. That is why we should try to fast in this month as much as possible. Our beloved Prophet SAW would fast many days in Rajab. Renew your repentance! The repentance does not mean the mere utterance of the words “Astaghfirullah wa atûbu ileyh.” The meaning of repentance is making a turn towards Almighty Allah. A repenting person abandons his state and deeds that are unpleasant to Allah, and he follows a path that is pleasing to Allah. If he fails to make that turn and if he does not abandon the wrong deeds, then his repentance will be the repentance of liars–as pointed out Hadrat Ali ibn-Abu Talib. Once our master, Hadrat Ali ibn-Abu Talib entered the mosque of Kûfa. He heard a person uttering the words: “Tawba yâ Rabbî! Tawba yâ Rabbî!” Hadrat Ali went to him and said: “O respectable Brother! The repentance by the tongue alone is the repentance of the liars.” The repentance does not concern the tongue only. The repentance is the total turning to Allah with all parts of the body and with all activities in life. We have to be aware of this! We shall not think of the repentance as something we say only. Even a parrot would utter these words, yet it would not know their meanings. I have seen a parrot who says three times the kalima “Lâ ilâha illallah!” If you teach a parrot how to speak, its words will be human words, yet its essence will not be human. It still will be a bird. It will keep its nature and remain a parrot. We shall remember that the condition and state of the person who repents shall change to comply with the consent of Allah.

We shall appreciate these days as opportunities to turn to the path of Allah, to become a good Muslim, to become a true Muslim, a Muslim like one of the companions of the Prophet SAW. We should interrogate ourselves and take an account of our intentions and deeds.

We should turn to Allah and follow the path he prescribed for us. Our becoming good practicing Muslims is a must not only for us, but for the entire Nation of Prophet Muhammed SAW. It is necessary even for the disbelievers! Our practice of Islam will be a good opportunity for the disbelievers to hear about the truth, understand the path Almighty Allah has prescribed for His servants, and accept the path of Allah. That is why we shall consider our correction, improvement, and salvation as an important world-wide phenomenon. With this in mind, we shall repent truly, with the tawba-i nasuh. Tawba-i nasuh is the sincere and heartfelt repentance. That is how we should repent! This is such a month. “Rajab is the month of Allah– a month in which Almighty Allah accepts the repentances,” said the Prophet SAW. He continued: “Sha’ban is my month, and Ramadhan is of my Ummah.” That means we shall repent in Rajab and seek forgiveness from Allah. In Sha’ban, we shall try to be the special Ummah of the Prophet SAW. In Ramadhan, we shall try to receive the grace of Allah and rewards from Him for our deeds as the Ummah of the Prophet SAW. In a hadith, the Prophet SAW said: “Woe to a person who lived in Ramadhan and yet failed to correct himself and benefit from the blessings of Ramadhan. May his nose be rubbed to dirt –may he be humiliated.” To benefit from Ramadhan, we shall prepare ourselves for Ramadhan. It is like the preparation of an athlete before the competition. One prepares for the competition and does the exercises regularly will be in the top positions. One who does not prepare will earn nothing in the competition. Just like that, we have to start our preparation process for Ramadhan early–starting this month. There is a precious and meritorious night, so the Prophet SAW described it as “Al-laylatul gharrâu” — a gleaming night that is illuminated with spiritual lights. Raghâ’ib is the plural of raghîba which is something that is desirable, a reward, a gift or a favor. During this night, Almighty Allah bestows so much rewards, gifts and blessings for His servants. That is why the angels named this special night as Laylat-ur-Raghâ’ib. It is the night of grace and blessings that Allah bestows on His servants. That is we are in such a blessed night.

Enlivening a Special Night I have been asked how one should enliven such a precious night and how one should appreciate this special night in prayers. This is in opposition to the spending the night aimlessly in vain. On one hand, wasting the night; on the other hand, enlivening it as much as possible. How would one enliven a night? Enlivening a night starts with offering the Isha and Fajr prayers in congregation in mosque. This is also enlivening the day, too. Offering the Isha and Fajr prayers in the mosque equals the enlivening of the night and the day. If a person does that, he receives rewards as though he has spent the entire night and day in prayers. That is why we must pay special attention to offering Isha and Fajr prayers in mosque. Our beloved Prophet SAW said: “Try your best to attend these two prayers in the mosque.” These are the times people have the lack of zeal to offer the prayer in congregation. A person may lack the eagerness to go to the Isha prayer. His nafs and Satan would prevent him from going to the mosque: “You are very tired! Eat your food and offer your prayer at home. Then go to bed right away. Your eyes look extremely sleepy. What would you do going out in the dark?” That is how they try. One should love solitude. One should enjoy solitude and say: “O Lord! Praise to Allah there is nobody here. This is a good time for me to be with my Lord and contemplate.” One should take pleasure from solitude. Solitude is the nutrition for the great spirits. Solitude is an important phenomenon. Making connection with Almighty Allah while in solitude is very important deed. That could happen at night in an excellent way. For this reason, one way of enlivening a night is getting up at night, making wudhu, and offering night vigil prayers–two units, four units, six units, eight units, ten units–as much as Almighty Allah wills. It is a way of enlivening the night because salâh is one of the best forms of worship. It is a complex and complete form of worship. The Prophet SAW stated: (Qurrati ‘aynî fis salâh) “Happiness of my eye is in the prayer.” That means, “I am in a state of peace and happiness when I perform the formal prayer.”

While the Prophet enjoys the prayer this much, one should check himself if he does not feel anything while he performs the salâh. He should question himself: “Why am I not enjoying the prayer?” He should ponder about the reasons and solutions. He should figure out why he is so insensitive, why he is so ignorant, and why he is still like a beginner. We ought to enjoy solitude [at night]. Also, reading Qur’an is also very meritorious. The new generations have failed to make a good connection with the Qur’an. They learn English, German, French; they think one foreign language is not enough. They learn the western languages, yet they have no desire for learning Arabic and studying Qur’an. Those who have the interest and who learn the Qur’an are not well received: “Come here, Hafiz. Sit down and recite! Here, take the money in this envelope. You may leave now.” Perhaps, the person gets angry when he is told, “Hafiz, come here!” That is interpreted as a form of insult. How was it in the past? A hafiz, one who has the entire Qur’an in his memory, used to be well respected in the past. Now memorization is downgraded and posed as something undesirable. The honor of being hafiz and the appreciation for it have been forgotten. As a matter of fact, the Qur’an is the Word of Allah: one earns reward by just looking at it. When one understands its meaning and practices it in his life, he will earn much more rewards. Reading Qur’an earns rewards for a person. Some have problems with vision, some do not know how to read Arabic, some do not understand Arabic, thus even if they read it, they do not enjoy it because they would not know the meaning.

Another way of enlivening a night is doing dhikr. Dhikr is repeating certain blessed words again and again. What are those blessed words? For instance, “Lâ ilâha illallah” is a blessed statement. It can lead a person to Paradise. Likewise, “Allahumma salli ‘alâ sayyidinâ muhammadin wa ‘alâ âli sayyidinâ muhammad” [O Allah! Bless our master Muhammad and the family of our master Muhammad] is a very precious dhikr. When a person says these words, the angels will inform the Prophet SAS spiritually. Another example is “Astaghfirullah” which means the person is asking Allah for forgiveness. There are other dhikr words and statements such as “Subhànallah” [Allah is glorified], “Alhamdulillah” [praise is due to Allah], “Allahu akbar” [Allah is the greatest], and “Lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâhil ‘aliyyil azîm” [There is no power or force except with Allah Who is the highest and the most magnificent]. These are blessed words and clauses. Doing dhikr with them is meritorious. Saying the greatest name of Almighty Allah or any of the beautiful names of Allah is also dhikr. One could repeatedly say “Allah… Allah… Allah…” or “Yâ Qayyûm… Yâ Qayyûm… Yâ Qayyûm…” Likewise, “Yâ Wadûd… Yâ Wadûd… Yâ Wadûd…” and “Ya Hû…” constitute dhikr. All of these are dhikr, and dhikr is a way of enlivening a night. Dhikr also means “remembrance.” If a person does the dhikr of Allah, Almighty Allah does the dhikr of the person: (Fadhkurûnî adhkurkum) “So remember me; I will remember you” says Almighty Allah (Qur’an 2:152).

When you say “Allah,” Almighty Allah says your name, too. If a servant says “Allah” by himself, Allah says his name by Himself. If a person does the dhikr of Allah in a group of people, Almighty Allah does the dhikr of the person in a better group. Thus the servant gets closer to Allah, and Allah loves the servant. Then the love of Allah is formed in the heart of the servant eventually. That is why dhikr is one of the best ways of worship, and a night could be enlivened with dhikr. There are also some formal prayers (salâh) that the Prophet SAW performed. One such prayer is salât-ul-tasbih. In this prayer, one says these words 300 times: “Subhânallàhi wal hamdu lillâhi wa lâ ilâha illallahu wallàhu akbar” [Glory be to Allah, and Praise be to Allah, and there is no deity but Allah, and Allah is the greatest]. At every 10th or 15th of this dhikr, “Wa lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâhil ‘aliyyil azîm” [There is no power or force except with Allah Who is the highest and the most magnificent] dhikr is added. It is a four units of prayer. [The 300 dhikr is distributed to the each part of each unit of the prayer]. This prayer may be performed individually or in congregation. It is stated in some authentic ahadith of the Prophet SAW. It has lots of rewards. One could enliven a night with such prayers.

May Almighty Allah be pleased with you all. November 23, 1995 Raghâib Night – Alanya, Turkey

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