RajabEI.pdf Radjab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, was observed as a holy month in the period of the Djāhiliyya in spring. It was the month of the sacrifices of the ʿatāʾir offered to the pagan deities as a token of gratitude for the augmentation of their flocks and herds. It was also the time of invocations of their deities to increase the number of their flocks. It was as well the month of the sacrifices of the furuʿ, the firstlings of the flocks and herds. The owner of the flock had to sacrifice one ewe out of fifty (or hundred) of his herd. The holy month of Radjab was also the month of peace in the Arab peninsula; the tribes refrained from raids and warfare. The month was called al-aṣamm “the deaf” because no sound of weapons was heard during that month and al-aṣabb “the pouring” because the unbelievers of Mecca used to say that the mercy is pouring forth in this month. Another by-name of Radjab was al-radjm “the stoning” because the Satans were stoned in that month and were expelled from the dwellings of the tribes. Other bynames attached to Radjab were: al-muḳīm “the constant,” because its sanctity was a firm one, since Radjab is one of the four ḥurum months; al-harim “the aged” because the sanctity of the month was an ancient one, dating from the time of Mu ar b. Nizār; as the tribes of Mu ar venerated this month, it was also named radjab Muḍar. Because of the comprehensive peace among the tribes and their abstaining from hostilities, the month was called munṣil al-all and munṣil al-asinna, pointing to the fact that the spearheads were removed, weapons laid down and no fighting among tribes was launched. The name al-muʿallā “the elevated” was attached to Radjab because it was a month highly respected among the Arab tribes. The name al-mubriʾ “the clearing [from fault]” was given to the month because warlike activity was given up, no iniquity was committed and no act of hypocrisy was perpetrated during the month. A peculiar name granted to Radjab was al-muḳashḳish “the exonerating,” denoting that Radjab distinguished between the people who stuck to the tenets enjoining abstention from fighting during the month and those who violated the sanctity of the month by fighting. Finally, the month was called al-ʿatīra because the sacrifices of the ʿatīra were carried out during this month. According to tradition, the month of Radjab was a time of devotional practices, exertions and fasting. Invocations against the iniquitous and the wrong-doers in this month were especially efficacious. The opinions of the scholars of Islam as to the permission to continue these practices in Islam were divergent, controversial and even contradictory. The differences in their opinions are clearly exposed in the utterances attributed to the Prophet in the collections of ḥadīth. An utterance attributed to the Prophet and recorded in the early collection of ɈAbd alRazzāḳ (d. 211/826) says that the Prophet approved of the sacrifice of the ʿatīra which the people used to practice in Radjab. The Prophet said, “Do it, and name it al-radjība.” The utterance of the Prophet enjoining sacrifice of the ʿatīra and naming it the radjība is opposed by an utterance attributed to the Prophet enjoining annulment of the sacrifice of the firstlings and the sacrifice of the Radjabī ʿatīra. It is recorded in the same collection and is formulated plainly: lā faraʿa wa-lā ʿatīra “there is no [sacrifice] of the firstlings nor of the ʿatīra.” This prohibitive tradition was, however, changed by the interpretation given to it by alShāfiɈī: there is no sacrifice of the ʿatīra nor of the faraʿa “as an obligatory practice”, adds al-ShāfiɈī. This comment of his changes, of course, the meaning of the tradition and its significance. In the same way was interpreted the utterance of the Prophet ʿalā ahl kull bayt an yad̲h̲baḥū shāt fī kull radjab wa-fī kull aḍḥā shāt . The expression ʿalā kull ahl bayt an i in i an i i in i i in is, however, interpreted not as an enjoinment but only as a recommendation. The utterance has to be understood as recommendation for every family group to sacrifice a ewe during every month of Radjab and to sacrifice a ewe on every aḍḥā celebration. An utterance of the Prophet about the ʿatīra permits the sacrifice of the ʿatīra in any month of the year and enjoins the practice of charity, dividing among the poor the meat of the slaughtered beasts. It is obvious that the sanctity of Radjab was, according to this tradition, fairly limited, or even abolished, while the advice of charity was especially stressed. A tradition reported on the authority of ɈĀɇisha says that the Prophet enjoined the slaughter of the firstling of the herd numbering fifty, which tallies with the prevalent Djāhilī practice. But another tradition attributed to the Prophet says, “Practice the sacrifice of the faraʿa if you want”. Thus the sacrifice was left to the discretion of the believer. A peculiar utterance of the Prophet turns the sacrifice of the faraʿa into a voluntary practice, with a special reservation of the Prophet changing the aim of the practice. The Prophet permitted the practice but remarked that it would be preferable to feed the camel until it grows up and to ride it on expeditions and raids for the cause of God; similarly, it is preferable to feed the ewe until it grows up, to sacrifice it and to divide the meat among the poor. Similarly, the utterance of the Prophet in which he is said to have approved of the faraʿa, saying al-faraʿa ḥaḳḳ, was considerably changed by the added reservation that it would be better to feed the destined sacrificial animal until it grows up and can be used to ride on it in a raid for the cause of God (in the case of a camel) or to slaughter it (in the case of a ewe) and give the meat as charity to a needy widow. Scholars of Islam stress that the slaughter of animals in Rad̲j̲ab was continued in the first period of Islam and was only later abrogated. Al-Ḵh̲aṭṭābī (d. 388/998) considered the ʿatīra compatible with the principles of Islam: it was in the period of Islam sacrificed to God in contradiction to the j̲āhilī ʿatīra, which was sacrificed to the idols. There is indeed a report saying that Ibn Sīrīn (d. 110/729) used to slaughter the ʿatīra in Radjab. Strictly orthodox scholars stressed that there is no valid tradition concerning the virtues of Radjab. There were, however, scholars, especially from among the pious and devoted, who favoured the widely-circulated popular traditions allegedly uttered by the Prophet, emphasising the virtues of Radjab and encouraging the carrying out of the various practices considered laudable and right. The Prophet is said to have named Radjab “the month of God”, s̲h̲ahr Allāh, because it was the month of the people of the ḥaram (i.e. the people of Mecca) who were called āl Allāh. The problem of the sacrifices during the month of Radjab was only one aspect of the disputes among the Muslim scholars as to the ritual practices performed in the Muslim community in that month. A significant tradition ascribed to the Prophet singled out the peculiar sanctity of three months of the year: “Radjab is the month of God, ShaɈbān is my month and Rama ān is the month of my people.” As the month of Radjab was put on par with the two other months there was an obvious tendency to competition between these holy months regarding the rewards of the ritual practices performed during these months, the exceptional position of certain nights of the months and the prayers during these months. The competition between Radjab and ShaɈbān is clearly presented in a tradition reported on the authority of Zayd b. Aslam. The Prophet was informed about people fasting during Radjab. He remarked, “How far are they from the virtues of the people fasting during ShaɈbān!” Zayd observed, “Most of the fasting of the Prophet, except in Rama ān, was in ShaɈbān.” The partisans of Radjab quoted a report of Ibn al-ɈAbbās saying that the Prophet used to fast so many days in Radjab that his Companions did not think that he would break his fast; and he used to break his fast so that they doubted whether he would resume it. As against the people venerating ShaɈbān, the partisans of Radjab had recourse to utterances attributed to the Prophet in which the fasting of Radjab was recommended and very high rewards were promised to people who were fasting in it. The Prophet is said to have stated that the month of Radjab is of a high position and that the good deeds of the believer gain multiple rewards. He who fasts one day in Radjab is in the position of a believer who would fast a year. He who fasts nine days, for him the gates of Hell are closed; he who fasts eight days, for him the eight doors of Paradise are opened; he who fasts ten days, God will fulfill for him every wish; he who fasts fifteen days, a herald will announce from Heaven that god forgave him every sin which he had committed in the past. In the month of Radjab God carried Nūḥ (Noah) in the ark; he fasted during Radjab, and bade his people to fast during it, thus expressing their gratitude to God for their salvation. Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal said that he had in his possession a tradition recording the rewards for fasting of every day of Radjab; he considered, however, the ḥadīth a forged one. The fasting of the whole month of Radjab was nevertheless frowned upon and sometimes forbidden in order not to create a similarity with Rama ān. The practices of fasting during Radjab were censured by Abū Bakr, ɈUmar and people of the ṣaḥāba, says Ibn Taymiyya. Some nights of Radjab are considered to be replete with God's graces. In the first night of Radjab, God will grant every supplication of the believer. It is one of the five chosen nights in the year. Another prayer strongly censured by Ibn Taymiyya was the prayer practised in the midst of Radjab called ṣalāt Umm Dāwūd. A night highly praised by those who observed Radjab was the night of the ṣalāt alraghāʾib “the night of the prayer for extensive and desirable gifts”; it starts on the eve of the first Friday of Radjab; the prayers and supplications contained hundreds of invocations, prostrations, rakʿas and recitations of some sūras of the Ḳurɇān. The believer is requested to fast on the Thursday preceding this night. A night of Radjab distinguished by the rich rewards is the night of the twenty-seventh of Radjab. The believer spending this night in vigils: praying; thanking God; repeating a hundred times the various phrases of gratitude, the oneness of God, invocations and supplications; performing prostrations and rakʿas; and reading a sūra of the Ḳurɇān and fasting the next day, will be highly rewarded by God; he will attain God's grace as if he fasted a hundred years and practiced vigils for a hundred years. On that night, Muḥammad was sent as a prophet. The significant events connected with the life of the Prophet which allegedly happened in Radjab turn the month into one of the most distinctive periods of the year. According to a tradition, the mother of the Prophet conceived him on the first evening of Radjab; another tradition claims that he was born in Radjab. Some traditions assert that the event of the laylat al-miʿrādj occurred in Radjab. Other traditions claim that the date of the isrāʾ was the twenty-seventh day of Radjab. The struggle of the orthodox scholars against those practices of Radjab widely approved by pious ascetics and Ṣūfīs was not entirely successful. These practices have survived and form until the present time an essential part of Muslim popular belief and ritual. (M. J. Kister) Bibliography ɈAbd al-Razzāḳ, al-Muṣannaf, ed. Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān al-AɈẓamī, Beirut 1391/1972, iv, 342, no. 8000, iv, 341, no. 7998, iv, 341, no. 7999, iv, 340, no. 7997, iv, 337, no. 7989, iv, 337, nos. 7990-1, iv, 340, no. 7996, and see ibid., iv, 338, nos. 7992-3, iv, 292, no. 7858, iv, 317, no. 7927 Ibn Abī Shayba, al-Muṣannaf fi ʾl-aḥādīth wa ʾl-āthār, ed. ɈAbd al- Ḵh̲āliḳ Afghānī, repr., n.p. n.d., viii, 64-7 Abū YaɈlā al-Mawṣilī, al-Musnad, ed. Ḥusayn Salīm Asad, Damascus-Beirut 1407/1987, x, 282, no. 5879 (and see the abundant references of the editor) Subkī, Ṭabaḳāt al-shāfiʿiyya al-kubrā, ed. ɈAbd al-Fattāḥ Muḥammad Ḥulw and Maḥmūd Muḥammad al-Ṭannāḥī, Cairo 1383/1964, ii, 111 Munāwī, Fayḍ al-ḳadīr, sharḥ al-djāmiʿ al-ṣaghīr, Beirut 1391/1972, vi, 435, no. 9914, iv, 321, no. 5457, iv, 375, no. 5674, iii, 454, no. 3953 ɈAbd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣaffūrī, Nuzhat al-madjālis wa-muntakhab al-nafāʾis, Beirut, n.d., 189-95 Ibn Taymiyya, Iḳtiḍāʾ al-ṣirāṭ al-mustaḳīm mukhālafat aṣḥāb al-djaḥīm, ed. Muḥammad Ḥāmid al-Fiḳī, Cairo, ɈĀbidīn 1369/1950, 293, 302 Abū ɈUbayd al-Ḳāsim b. Sallām al-Harawī, Gharīb al-ḥadīth, ed. Muḥammad ɈAẓīm alDīn, Ḥaydarabad 1385/1966, ii, 4-6 ɈAbd Allāh b. Muḥammad b. DjaɈfar b. Ḥayyān, Abu ɇl-Shaykh al-Anṣārī, Ṭabaḳāt almuḥaddithīn bi-Iṣbahān wa ʾl-wāridīn ʿalayhā, ed. ɈAbd al-Ghafūr ɈAbd al-Ḥaḳḳ Ḥusayn al-Balūshī, Beirut 1407/1987, i, 279-82, nos. 27-9 (and see the references of the editor) ɈUmar b. Badr al-Mawṣilī, al-Mughnī ʿan al-ḥifẓ wa ʾl-kitāb, Cairo 1342, 33, 36 Ḳurṭubī, al-Djamiʿ li-aḥkām al-Ḳurʾān = Tafsīr al-Ḳurṭubī, Cairo 1387/1967, vi, 326 Ibn ɈAsākir, Taʾrīkh Dimāshḳ, ed. ɈAbd al-Ḳādir Badrān, Beirut 1399/1979, vi, 246, vii, 347 inf.-348 sup. Bayhaḳī, Faḍāʾil al-awḳāt, ed. ɈAdnān ɈAbd al-Raḥmān Madjīd al-Ḳaysī, Mecca 1410/1990, 89-90, no. 7, 106-7, 311-12, no. 149, 95-8, nos. 11, 12 Wadjīh al-Dīn ɈAbd al-Raḥmān b. Khalīl al-AdhruɈī, Bishārat al-maḥbūb bi-takfīr aldhunūb, ed. Madjdī al-Sayyid Ibrāhīm, Cairo n.d., 41, no. 98 Bayhaḳī, al-Djāmiʿ li-shuʿab al-īmān = Shuʿab al-īmān, ed. ɈAbd al-ɈAlī ɈAbd al- Ḥamīd Ḥāmid, Bombay 1409/1988, vii, 382- 3, no. 3520, 390-3, no. 3529, 393-5, nos. 3530-1 Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī, Taʾrīkh Baghdad, Cairo-Baghdād 1349- 1931, viii, 331, no. 4421 ɈAbd al-Raḥmān al-Suhaylī, al-Rawḍ al-unuf, ed. ɈAbd al-Raḥmān al-Wakīl, Cairo 1387/1967, i, 70 Nūr al-Dīn al-Haythamī, Madjmaʿ al-zawāʾid wa-manbaʿ al-fawāʾid, Beirut 1967, iii, 188, 191 Murta ā al-Zabīdī, Itḥāf al-sāda al-muttaḳīn bi-sharḥ asrār iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn, Beirut n.d., iii, 422-5 Ibn Ḥadjar al-ɈAsḳalānī, Tabyīn al-ʿadjab bi-mā warada fī faḍl radjab, ed. Abū Asmāɇ Ibrāhīm b. IsmāɈīl Āl ɈAṣr, Beirut 1408/1988 Ibn Himmāt al-Dimashḳī, al-Tankīt wa ʾl-ifāda fī takhrīdj aḥādīth khātimat sifr al-saʿāda, ed. Aḥmad al-Bazra, Beirut 1407/1988, 96-7, 112-13 Maḳrīzī, al-Khabar ʿan al-bashar, ms. Dār al-Kutub 947, Taɇrīk̲h̲, p. 444 ɈIzz al-Dīn b. ɈAbd al-Salām al-Sulamī, Kitāb al- Fatāwā, ed. ɈAbd al-Raḥmān b. ɈAbd al-Fattāḥ, Beirut 1406/1986, 117 ɈAbd al-WāsiɈ b. Yaḥyā al-WāsiɈī, al- Mukhtaṣar fī targhīb wa-tarhīb ḥadīth sayyid albashar, Cairo 1345, 26 ult.-27 al-Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Khallāl, Faḍāʾil shahr radjab, ed. ɈAmr ɈAbd al-MunɈim, Ṭanṭā 1412/1972 ɈAlī b. Sulṭān al-Ḳārī, al-Adab fī radjab, ed. ɈAmr ɈAbd al-MunɈim, Ṭanṭā 1412/1992, also ed. ɈAbd Allāh ɈAwda in JSAI, forthcoming Badr al-Dīn Shiblī, Maḥāsin al-wasāʾil fī maʿrifat al-awāʾil, ms. B.L., Or. 1530, fol. 56b ɈAlī Maḥfūẓ, al-Ibdāʿ fī maḍārr al-ibtidāʿ, Cairo 1388/1968, 296-7 Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Djubayr al-Kinānī, Riḥla, Beirut 1388/1968, 98-104 Muḥammad b. ɈAlī b. Ṭūlūn al- Dimashḳī, Faṣṣ al-Khawātim fī-mā ḳīla fi ʾl-walāʾim, ed. Nizār Abāẓa, Damascus 1402/1982, 92-4. For additional bibl., see M. J. Kister, Radjab is the month of God, in IOS, i (1971), repr. Variorum, London 1980, Studies in Jāhiliyya and early Islam, no. XII. [Print Version: Volume VIII, page 373, column 2] Citation: Kister, M. J. “Rad̲j̲ab.” Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C. E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W. P. Heinrichs.

"Rajab Is the Month of God": A Study in the Persistence of an Early Tradition

rajab.pdf "RAJAB IS THE MONTH OF GOD ... " A Study in the Persistence of an Early Tradition M. J. KISTER in memory ofmy student DAVID S. ELLER The holy month of Rajab was observed during the period of the Jahiliyya in spring.1 It was the month of the `umra and of offering of the sacrifices of the `ata'ir to the pagan deities.2 The people of the Jahiliyya kept the sanctity of the month by refraining from raids and warfare.3It is said to have been a month of devotional practices and of fasting.4 According to some traditions swearing 1 See EI, s.v. "Radjab" (M. Plessner); S. D. Goitein, Studies in Islamic History and Institutions (Leiden 1966), pp. 92-93; J. Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidenturns (Skizzen und Vorarbeiten) (Berlin 1887), pp. 74, 93; G. E. von Grunebaum, Muhammadan Festivals (New York 1951), p. 36; W. Gottschalk, Das Geliibde nach iilterer arabischer Auffassung (Berlin 1919), pp. 106-107; K. Wagtendonk, Fasting in the Koran (Leiden 1968), p. 106; M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Le Pelerinage ala Mekke (Paris 1923), pp. IV, 192-198; C. Rathjens, Die Pilgerlahrt nach Mekka (Hamburg 1948), p. 66. [The above books are quoted by the names of their authors.] 2 See EI2 s.v. '''Atira'' (Ch. Pellat); F. BuhI, Das Leben Muhammeds (Heidelberg 1955), p. 88 (and see note 246, ibid.); al-Anbiirl, Shar/.l al-q~ii'id al-sab' al-(iwiil, ed. 'Abd al-Saliim Hdriin (Cairo 1963), pp. 294, 484; Ibn Qutayba, al-Ma'iinl al-kahlr (Hyderabad 1949), I, 67; al-NuwaYrl, Nihiiyat ai-arab (repr. Cairo 1964), III, 120; Ibn Durayd, al-Ishtiqiiq, ed. 'Abd aI-Salam Hdriin (Cairo 1958), p. 280 (with a divergent version: inna 'alii kulli muslimin Ii kulli 'iimin 'atiratan, wa-hiya shiitun kiinat tudhba/.lu Ii I-mu/.larrami la-nasakha dhalika I-at/bii. The month of sacrifice here is Mul;larram, not Rajab); J. Wellhausen, pp. 94, 115-116; W. Gottschalk, p. 119; W. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion 01 the Semites (London 1914), pp. 227-228; K. Wagtendonk, p. 36; al-Jal;liz, Kit. al-lzayawiin, ed. 'Abd al-Saliim Hariin (Cairo 1965), I, 18. 3 See J. Wellhausen, p. 94; al-Farra', al-Ayyiim wa-I-Iayiill wa-I-shuhur, ed. Ibrahim alIbyiirl (Cairo 1956), pp. 12-13; al-Marziiql, al-Azmina wa-I-amkina (Hyderabad 1332 AH), 1,282,90,278; al-Jumal;lI, Tabaqiit lu/.lul al-shu'arii', ed. MaJ;unud Mul;l. Shakir (Cairo 1952), p. 61; VA,s.v. "~mm, ~/, rjb"; al-Turtushl, Kit. al-/.Iawiidith wa-I-bida', ed. Mul;l. al-Tiilibl (Tunis 1959), pp. 123, 125; 'All al-Qari', al-Adab Ii rajah, Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, Ms. Arabe 6084, Majmu'a, fol. 65a (wa-yuqiilu rajabun al-~ammu li-annahu Iii yuniidii lihi "yii qaumiih" wa-"yii ~abiibiih" wa-li-annahu Iii yusma'u lihi /.Iissu I-silii/.li Iii Ii I-~abiibi wa-lii Ii I-rawii/.li); Ibn Qutayba, Tatsir gharib al-Qur'iin, ed. Al;lmad ~aqr (Cairo 1958), p. 185. 4 See S. D. Goitein, pp. 92-93; K. Wagtendonk, pp. 117, 120-122. 191 M. 1. Kister against the iniquitous and wrong-doers in this month was especially efficacious. 5 The veneration of this month seems to have continued in the period of Islam and to have survived until recent times. Contradictory traditions attributed to the Prophet, recommending some practices of Rajab or interdicting it, bear evidence of divergent opinion on this subject in the Muslim community during the early centuries of Islam. Heated discussions among Muslim scholars concerning different aspects of these practices make it possible to understand them better. These Rajab traditions are to be surveyed in the following pages of this paper. I The widely circulated utterance of the Prophet Iii fara'a wa-lii "atirata, "no sacrifice of the firstlings (of the flock) nor of the animals slaughtered in Rajab",« indicates explicitly the interdiction to perform the sacrifices of Rajab. This hadith is however contradicted by a tradition reported by 'Amr b. Shu'ayb.? The Prophet, when asked about the 'aqiqa, the fara'a and the 'atira, stated concerning the "atira: al-' atiratu haqqun, "the "atira is 0bligatory" (verbatim: the 'atira is an obligation). The word "atira is explained in the tradition as a sacrifice of a ewe, which the people of the Jahiliyya used in Rajab to slaughter, cook, and whose meat they used to consume and feed from (scil. the needy and poor).s More explicit about the obligatory character of the 'atira, the sacrifice of Rajab, is the tradition reported on the authority of Mikhnaf b. Sulaym.? "Upon the people of every house, stated the Prophet, there is an obligation every 5 See al-Kala'I, al-Iktifii' maghiizi l-mustafd wa-l-thaliithati l-khulafd'; ed. H. Masse (Alger 1931), I, 123-124; al-Jtlant, al-Ghunya li-fiilibi tariqi l-haqqi 'azza wa-jalla (Cairo 1322 AH), I, 196. 6 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, ed. Ahmad Muh. Shakir (Cairo 1949-1956), XII, 104, No. 7135 and XIV, 171, No. 7737; al-Suyutl, al-Jiimi' al·~aghir (Cairo 1320 AH), II, 202; L 'A, s.v. "fr'"; comp, W. Robertson Smith, pp. 227, note 3, and pp. 462-465; al-Shaukiini, Nayl al·aufar(Cairo 1347 AH), V, 119; AbU I-Mabiisinal-:aaniifI,al-Mu'ta~ar min al-mukhtasar (Hyderabad 1362 AH), I, 274; Abu Da'ud, $a/;li/;l unan al-mustafii (Cairo 1348 AH), II, 8; s al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak (Hyderabad 1342 AH), IV, 236; al-Muttaql al-Hindl, Kanz al'ummiil (Hyderabad 1954), V, 48, No. 428; al-Tirmidhi, $al;li/;l(Cairo 1931), VI, 311-312; Muslim, $a/;li/;l(Cairo 1285 AH), II, 159; al-'Azizi, al-Siriij al-munir (Cairo 1957), III, 473, ult.; al- Tibrizi, Mishkdt al-masdbib (Karachi), p. 129. 7 See on him al-Dhahabl, Miziin al-i'tiddl, ed. 'Ali Muh, al-Bijiiwi (Cairo 1963), III, 263268, No. 6383; Ibn I;iajar, Tahdhib al-tahdhib (Hyderabad 1326 AH), VIII, 48-55, No. 80. S Ahmad b. Hanbal, XI, 4-7, No. 6713; al-Shaukani, Nayl, V, 119; al-Suytltl, al-Jiimi' al-saghir, II, 67; al-Muttaqi al·Hindi, V, 48, No. 427; al- 'Azizi, II, 467, info 9 See on him Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Istt'ab, ed. 'Ali Muh, al-Bijawi (Cairo, n.d.), p. 1467. No. 2534; Ibn I;iajar, Tahdhib, X, 78; idem, al-Isiiba, VI, 72, No. 7842. n 192 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " year (to slaughter) a victim (scil. of the Sacrificial Feast) and a "atira", The "atira is glossed in the tradition as "al-rajabiyya", ('Alii kulli ahli bay tin fi kulli 'iimin UfJ/.liyyatun10 wa- "atiratun: hal tadriina mii 1-'atiratu? hiya l-rajabiyyatu).l1 It is evident that these traditions are contradictory and reflect two diverse attitudes towards the continuation of the practices of the sacrifices of Rajab in Islam: the one approving of the rajabiyya and incorporating it into the body of Islamic sacrifices, authorized by the utterance of the Prophet; the other one aiming at the abolition of the Rajab sacrifice, it too basing its arguments on the utterances of the Prophet. The two contradictory traditions tld fara'a wa-lii 'atirata and inna 'alii kulli ahli bay tin) are discussed by AbU 'Ubayd (d. 224 AH). Stressing the Jahill character of the 'atira, he remarks that this sacrifice was abolished by Islam. In his opinion, the hadith of "Iii fara'a" abrogates the hadith of "'alii kulli ahli bay tin ... " iwa-l-hadithu l-awwalu niisikhun li-hiidhii}.12 Al-Khattabi (d. 388 AH) records the opinion of AbU Da'ud (d. 275 AH) about the tradition of Mikhnaf b. Sulaym, which is identical with the opinion of Abu 'Ubayd, "The "atira, says Abu Da'ud, is (an) abrogated (practice)", al- 'atiratu Al-Khattabi emphasizes the difference between the meaning of 'atira in the times of the Jahiliyya and that of Islam. In the period of the Jahiliyya "atira denoted a ewe sacrificed for the idol; its blood was poured on the head of the idol - argues al-Khattabi. But in this hadith (i.e. in the hadith of Mikhnaf b. Sulaym) it denotes the sacrifices of an animal in Rajab. This, says al-Khattabt, fits the intent of the hadith and is compatible with the prescription of the religion.t+ Al Khattabi does not consider the In some traditions "ar/./:Iiitun". Ibn Hajar, al-Isdba, VI, 72; AbU Nu'aym, Akhbiir Isfahan, ed. S. Dedering (Leiden 1931). 1,73; al-Shaukani, Nayl, V, 117; L'A, s.v. '''atr''; AbU l-Mahasin al-l;IanafI, I, 274; 'Abd al-Ghant al-Nabulsi, Dhakhii'ir al-mawdrtth (Cairo 1934), III, 95; al-Suyiitl, al-Jdmi' alsaghtr, II, 60 (with a slightly different version: 'alii ahli kulli bay tin an yadhbahu shdtan ft kulli rajabin wa-ft kulli ar/./:Iiihtitan); al-Muttaql al-Hindl, V, 48, No. 429 and V, 57, No. s 500-502; al-Bayhaql, al-Sunan al-kubrii (Hyderabad 1356 AH), IX, 260; Muslim, II, 159; Abu Da'ud, II, 2; Ibn al-Athlr, al-Nihdya, ed. al-Tana1).i (Cairo 1963), III, 178 ('alii kulli muslimin at!/:Iatun wa-'atiratun); Ibn al-Athlr, Jiimi' al-usa; min al;liidith al-rasid, ed. MuI;1. l;Iiimid al-Fiqql (Cairo 1950), IV, 121, No. 1624. 12 Abu 'Ubayd, Gharib al-hadith, ed. MuI;1. 'Azim al-Dln (Hyderabad 1964), I, 194-195; VA, s.v. "tatr" (where the opinion of Abu 'Ubayd is recorded differently: wa-l-hadithu I-awwalu a~a/:l/:lu); nd see the note of the editor in Ibn al-Athlr's Jiimi' al-usid IV, 122 (Abu a 'Ubayda stated that the hadlth: "ld faraa ... " abrogated the hadlth: '''alii ahli kulli baytin ... "). 13 Hamd b. MuI;, Ma'iilim al-sunan (Balab 1933), II, 226. 14 lb., ( ... al- "atiratu tafsiruhd Ii l-hadithi annahd shdtun tudhbahu Ii rajabin wa-hddhii huwa lladhi yushbihu ma'nd l-hadithi wa-yaliqu bi-hukmi l-dtn: [in text: l-tadayyunii); L'A, s.v. "'atr" (correctly: l-dini}; Ibn al-Athlr, al-Nihdya, III, 178 (correctly: l-dini). 10 11 193 M.J. Kister 'atira as abrogated; he seems to consider it lawful, although he has some reservations in connection with one of the transmitters of the hadith.t> The opinion that the "atira was abrogated by the Sacrificial Feast is plainly reflected in the hadith reported on the authority of This date is given as well by some ShI'I sources.46 Some traditions assert that the event of laylat al-mi'riij occurred in Rajab.s? The Prophet gathered the people in Rajab, according to a tradition reported Ibid., p. 29. See Muh. b. Pattal, Raudat al-wa'iztn (Najaf 1966), p. 396; Ibn Babuyah, p. 52. 40 G. E. von Grunebaum, "The Sacred Character of Islamic Cities", Melanges Taha Husain, ed. Abdurrahman Badawi (Cairo 1962), pp. 26-27. 41 Al-Zurqant, Sharh 'ala l-mawdhib al-Iadunniyya (Cairo 1325 AH), I, 131, line 4; Ibn Hajar al-Haythaml, al-Ni'ma al-kubrii 'alii 1-'iilam bi-maulidi sayyidi bani Adam, Ms (in my possession), fol. 19a, line 1. 42 Al-Zurqant, I, 132, line 19 (quoted from 'Abdari's Mudkhal); and see Ibn Hajar alHaythamI, al-Ni'ma al-kubrii, fol. 19a, lines 3-6; al-Majlisl, Bibiir al-anwiir, XX, 113, line 25 (lithogr. ed.); and comp. al-Suyiitl, al-Hiiwi, I, 305 sup. 43 Ibn l,Iajar al-Haythamt, al-Ni'ma al-kubrd, fol. 12b; al-Shatibl, al-Jumdn It akhbar al-zamdn, Ms. Br. Mus., Or. 3008, fol. 48a. 44 Al-Halabt, Insiin al-'uyun (Cairo 1932), I, 68; al-Zurqanl, 1,105, line 10. 45 Al-Suyutl, al-Durr al-manthiir (Cairo 1314 AH), II, 235 ult.; Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyya, Zad al-ma'iid (on margin of Zurqanl's Sharb I, 58); Ibn al-Jauzl, Sifat al-safwa (Hyderabad 1355 AR), I, 27; al-Ghazall, Ibya' 'ulum al-din, (Cairo 1933), I, 328. 46 Ibn Babiiyah, p. 57; al-Tiisi, Amdli (Najaf 1964), I, 44; al-Bahranl, al-Hadii'iq anniit/ira ft ahkdm al- 'itra al-tdhira (Najaf 1384 AH), XIII, 362-363; al-Majlisl (Teheran 1386 AH), XVIII, 189. 47 Al-Zurqanl, I, 306, 308; al·'Abdari, al-Mudkhal (Cairo 1929), I, 294, line 10; see alDirini, Taharat al-quliib (Kafr al-Zaghara 1354 AH), p. 93, line 11; EI, s.v. "Mi'radj"; Abii Talib al-Makkt, I, 93; al-Ghazzall, I, 328; 'Ali al-Qari', al-Adab, fol. 66a. 38 39 197 M. J. Kister on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, and informed them about the virtues of his All the rivers of the world visit in Rajab the well of Zamzam according to a tradition reported by Wahb b. Munabbih.s? The sanctity of Rajab was assessed in comparison with that of the other months in a peculiar utterance attributed to the Prophet. The Prophet said: "Rajab is the month of God, Sha 'ban is my month, Ramadan is the month of my people. "50 Close to this tradition is a hadith counting the rewards for the believers observing Rajab, Sha'ban and Ramadan and reported on the authority of Anas b. Malik. It is recorded in al-Bayhaqi's (d. 458 AH) Fadd'll al-auqdt and quoted by Ibn Hajar, "The month chosen by God is Rajab" - says the Prophet. "He who honours the month of Rajab - honours the order of God and he who honours the order of God - God will introduce him into the Gardens of Paradise and grant him His favour", etc.S1 Al-Bayhaqi marks the hadith as munkar, but Ibn Hajar differs, classifying it as "forged with obvious features of forgery" (bal huwa maudii'un ziihiru l-wad'i) and attributes the forgery to one of the transmitters, Nul). al-Jami', "Nul). the Collector", about whom people used to say that "he collected everything except truth."s2 Nevertheless al-Suyutl (d. 911 AH) recorded this tradition in his commentary of the Qur'an.53 A peculiar sun tradition sheds some light on the similarity of growth of pro-Rajab tenets in Sunni and Shi'I societies as well as on the manner of casting of the Shi'I traditions in this matter. 'Ali, says the tradition, used to fast the whole month of Rajab, and he used to say: "Rajab is my month, Sha'ban is the month of the Messenger of God, Ramadan is the month of God."S4 It is evident that this is a Shi'i re-moulding of the hadith "Rajab is the month pedigree.sf al-Qandilzl, Yandbi' al-mawadda (Najaf 1965), p. 16. Al-Dlrinl, p. 93. 50 AI-SahmI, Ta'rikh Jurjdn (Hyderabad 1950), p. 184; al-Sakhiiwi, al-Maqdsid al-hasana fi bayiin kathir min al-a/;liidith al-mushtahira, ed. 'Abdallah Muh, al-Sadlq (Cairo 1956), p. 224, No. 510; al-Jarrahl, Kashf al-khafii' wa-muzil al-ilbds (Cairo 1351 AH), I, 423, No. 1358; al-Suyutl, al-Jiimi' al-saghir, II, 21 inf.; Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- 'ajab, p. 10 sup.; alJllanl, I, 200; al-Shaukanl, al-Fawii'id al-majmu'a fi l-ahddtth al-maudii'a, ed. 'Abd alRahman al-Mu'allamt al-Yamant (Cairo 1960), p. 439, ult.; idem, Nayl, IV, 210; Ibn Biibiiyah, p. 52; al-Pattanl, Tadhkirat al-maudii'iit (Cairo 1343 AH), p. 116 inf.; and see a divergent tradition: sha'biin shahrt wa-ramaddn shahru lliihi... , in al-Jarraht's Kashf II, 9, No. 1551 and in Ibn Biibiiyah's Amalt, p. 13; and see 'Ali al-Qari', al-Adab, fol. 65a inf.; idem, Risdlat al-a~iidith al-maudii'a, Majmu'a, fol. 61a. 51 Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- "ajab, p. 13. 52 See on Nub al-Jami": a1-Dhahabi, Mizdn al-i'tiddl, IV, 279, No. 9143. 53 Al-Durr al-manthiir, 111,236 sup.; (and see Qasim al-Qaysl, Ta'rikh al-tafsir (Baghdad 1966), p. 132, about weak: and forged traditions in the commentaries of al-Suyiitl). 54 Al-Bahrant, XIII, 381 inf.; cp, Ja'far Mansnr a1-Yaman, Ta'wil al-zakdt, Ms. Leiden 48 49 198 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " of God, Sha 'ban is my month (i.e. of the Prophet), Ramadan is the month of my people". Another assessment of Rajab in relation to other months is reported in a hadith recorded on the authority of Anas b. Malik. The Prophet said: "The superiority of Rajab over other months is like the superiority of the Qur'an over other speech; the superiority of'Sha'ban over other months is like my superiority over other prophets; the superiority of Ramadan over other months is like the superiority of God over (His) believers."55 The scale of qualities is, in this hadith, rather different. The highest rank is, like in the Shi'I tradition mentioned above, given to Ramadan, III One of the most controversial practices of Rajab was the practice of fasting. Just as in the case of the sacrifices of Rajab, the partisans of fasting in Rajab took recourse to alleged utterances of the Prophet56 pointing to the merits of fasting and the efficacy of fasting during some particular days in this month. The antagonists rejected the sanctity of the month altogether, basing their arguments again on alleged utterances of the Prophet and marking the traditions in favour of fasting in Rajab as weak, untrustworthy or even forged. The lines of discussion on fasting resemble those of the discussion about the sacrifices. "In Paradise there is a river called Rajab" - says a tradition attributed to the Prophet. "This river is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. Or. 1971, fol. 38a: wa-qdla rajabun shahru lldhi wa-sha'biinu shahri wa-ramadanu shahru "aliyyin. 55 Al-Samarqandi, Tanbth al·ghiifilin (Cairo 1347 AH), p. 116; Ibn Hajar, Tabyln al-'ajab, p. 14; al-Pattanl, p. 116 inf.; al-Sakhawi, p. 299, No. 740; Ibn al-Dayba', Tamyiz al-tayyib min al-khabtth flma yadiiru 'alii alsinati l-ndsi min al-I;zadith (Cairo 1324 AH), p. 137; alShaukanl, al-Fawii'id, p. 440 sup.; and see an interesting shrt tradition in al-MajlisI's Bi/:liir XXXVII, 53 (newed.): Muhammad among his believers is like Ramadan in relation to other months, the family of Muhammad among the believers is like Sha'ban in relation to other months, "Ali among the family of Muhammad is like the best of the days of Sha "ban, i.e. the fifteenth day of this month. The believers of the family of Muhammad are like Rajab in relation to Sha 'ban. 56 Comp. J. Goldziher, "Neue Materialien zur Litteratur des Oberlieferungwesens bei den Muhammedanem", ZDMG L (1896), p. 482: "allerdings haben die Theologen mit seltener Ktihnheit in jedem auftauchenden Falle, den sie zu entscheiden hatten, ihre eigene Ansicht oder die der Lehrpartei der sie angeherten als Spruch des Propheten ausgegeben, zuweilen Spruche die lange Zeit als Urtheile angesehener Leute aus der Gemeinde des Islam bekannt waren, an den Propheten selbst angelehnt urn dadurch grossere Authoritiit fUr dieselben zu erlangen." 199 M. I. Kister He who fasts one day of the month of Rajab - God will give him to drink from that river."57 "In Paradise" - asserts another tradition - "there is a palace (prepared) for the people fasting in Rajab."58 The obligation of fasting in Rajab is motivated by miracles of God, His aid and deliverance of the righteous after plight and distress and His favour and grace granted to His believers in this month. Fasting is in fact an act of gratitude. God bade Nuh to set out on his ark in Rajab. He fasted this month, thanking God for His grace and ordered the people of the ark to fast this month according to some traditions. 59In Rajab God split the sea for Moses; Ibrahim and 'Isa were born during Rajab. God forgave the people of Yiinus their sins in Rajab; in this month too God forgave Adam.6o Rajab is nicknamed "the Deaf" (al-asammy; because the wrath of God was never heard of during this month; God punished peoples in other months, but never in Rajab.s! Rajab was also nicknamed al-asabb, "the Pouring", because the mercy of God poured forth during this month and flooded His servants; God bestows on them in this month graces and rewards which never an eye has seen, nor an ear heard, nor had it occurred to the mind of a man.62 Special rewards were promised, according to some traditions, for fasting on some particular days in Rajab. One of these especially venerated days is the twenty-seventh day of Rajab. On this day Muhammad was granted his prophethood. "He who fasts on the twenty-seventh day of Rajab will be granted by God the reward (otherwise) due for fasting sixty months", says a tradition reported on the authority of Abii Hurayra and attributed to the Prophet.O In another version of this hadith, he who fasts the twenty-seventh day of Rajab, and spends the preceding night awake (praying) will be rewarded just 57 Al-Jllanl, I, 200; al-Suytitl, al-Jami' al-saghir, I, 91 inf.; aI-'AzizI, I, 513; al-Dhahabl, Miziin al-i'tidiil, IV, 189, No. 8797; al-Bahrani, XIII, 381; Ibn Biibiiyah, p. 52; Ibn l;Iajar, Tabyin al-iajab, pp. 5-8; MuQ.. b. FattiiI, p. 401; al-Muttaql aI-Hindi, VIII, 360, No. 2646; al-Zurqanl, VIII, 128; al-Turttlshl, p. 125; 'Ali al-Qari', al-Adab, fol. 65a; al-Suyntt, alHdwt li-l-fatiiwl, ed. MuQ.. Muhyl l-Dln 'Abd al-Hamld (Cairo 1959), I, 145; and comp, alAsyiiti, al-Kanz al-madfiin (Cairo 1288 AH), p. 74. 58 Ibn 'Asakir, Ta'rikh (Tahdhib), ed. Ahmad 'Ubayd (Damascus 1351 AH), VII, 137; al- 'Azrzr, I, 513; al-Suyutt, al-Durr al-manthiir ,III, 235; al-Muttaql al-Hindl, VIII, 409, No. 2967-2968; al-Dlrlnl, p. 93, line 3; al-Zurqanl, VIII, 128; AbU Shama, al-Bd'ith. 'ala inkari l-bida'i wa-l-hawiidith; ed. Mahmud Fu'iid Minqara al-Tarabulsi (Cairo 1955), p. 55. 59 Al-Jtlant, I, 197; Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- "ajab, p. 17; al-Suyutt, al-Durr al-manthiir, III, 235; and see aI-ShaukiinI, al-Fawii'id, p. 440, line 12; 'All al-Qari', al-Adab, fol. 65a. 60 Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al-'ajab, p. 17. 61 Al-Jiliini, I, 196 info 62 Ibid., I, 197. 63 Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- "ajab, p. 28; aI-Jiliini, I, 205. 200 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " as if he fasted one hundred years and spent the nights of a hundred years awake.s+ According to a tradition reported on the authority of 'Ali b. Abl Talib, the Prophet promised forgiveness of ten years (of sins) to the man who would fast that day and would supplicate at the breaking of the fast (da'ti 'inda l-if!tir).65 It is noteworthy that 'Abdallah b. 'Abbas - according to a tradition reported on the authority of al-Hasan al-Basrl - used to practice the i'tikiif on the twenty-seventh day of Rajab, and recite (among other sura's of the Qur'an) the sura of Laylat al-Qadr.66 This may, of course, point to the continuity of the Jahiliyya practice of i'tikiif during Rajab in the period of Islam and support the proposition of Wagtendonk about the link between the laylat al-qadr and the twenty-seventh day of Rajab.s" The link between laylat al-qadr and the month of Rajab is indicated in some comments on Sura XIII, 39. Mujahid relates this verse to the former, while Qays b. 'Ubad refers it to the tenth of Rajab.67a Of special merit was also fasting on the first day of Rajab. The Prophet, according to a tradition reported by Abu Dharr, said: "He who fasts the first day of Rajab, will get the reward equivalent to the fasting of a month." The seven gates of Hell will remain closed - continues the tradition - for a man who fasts seven days of Rajab; he who fasts eight days - the eight gates of Paradise will be opened for him. God will turn into good deeds the wrong ones of a man who would fast ten days of Rajab. He who fasts eighteen days - a herald will call from Heaven: "God already forgave you (your sins), so start work (soil, of worship) again".68 Slightly different is the scale of rewards in a Shi'I tradition. Nub embarked on his ark on the first day of Rajab and ordered the people of the ship to fast this day. The fire of Hell will keep a distance of one year's journey from a man who fasted this day. The seven fires of Hell will be closed to a man who fasted seven days of Rajab. The eight gates of Paradise will be opened in the face of a man who fasted eight days of Rajab. The wishes of a man who fasts ten days of this month will be fulfilled. The sins of a man who fasted twenty five days will be forgiven and he will be told: "start again your (Pious) work". He who adds (days of) fasting - his rewards will be augmented.69 A tradition reported on the 64 Ibn I,Iajar, Tabyin al-tajab, p. 27; al·Suyuti, al-Durr al-manthar, III, 235 inf.; al-Jtlant, 1,205; 'All al-Qiiri', al-Adab, fol. 65a. 6S Ibn I,Iajar, Tabyin al- 'ajab, p. 28. 66 Al-Jtlanl, I, 205. 67 K. Wagtendonk, pp. 117-118. 67a AI-TabarI, Ta!sir, ed. Mahmud Mul,l. Shakir, XVI, p. 479, No. 20471 and p. 489, No. 20505. 68 AI·JUiini, I, 201. 69 Al-Bahranl, XIII, 381; al-Suytltl, aI-La'iili I-masnu'aft l-a/,liidlthi l-mauda:« (Cairo n.d.) II, 115; see Ibn I,Iajar, Tabyin al-tajab, p. 23. 201 M.l. Kister authority of Ibn 'Umar records as reward for fasting on the first day of Rajab the equivalent of fasting a year. If the believer would fast seven days, the seven gates of Hell would be closed for him. If we hould fast ten days, a herald would announce from Heaven: "Ask (anything you like) and you will be granted (it)"70. A gradually decreasing list of rewards is given in a tradition reported on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas: God will forgive the sins of three years for fasting on the first day of Rajab, two years for fasting on the second day of Rajab, one year for fasting on the third day of Rajab, then fasting on every following day will be counted with reward of one month."! A considerable reward is promised for fasting on the first day of Rajab in another tradition: God will forgive sixty years' sins to the man who fasts on the first day of Rajab; God will bring a mild judgment upon a man (I;zasabahu hisiiban yasiran) who fasts fifteen days; God will grant His favour to a man (kataba lliihu lahu rir}wanahu) who fasts thirty days of Rajab and He will not punish him.72 Some versions of the traditions quoted above do not mention the first day of Rajab, but mention only the rewards of fasting "a day of Rajab". Unusual in its generosity is a list of rewards reported on the authority of 'Ali. The Prophet said: "The month of Rajab is a great month; he who fasts one day of this month - God will count for him (the reward of) fasting a thousand years. He who fasts two days - God will count for him (the reward of) fasting two thousand years. He who fasts three days of this month God will count for him (the reward of) fasting three thousand years. He who fasts seven days - the gates of Hell will be closed for him ... "73 Among the fourteen nights of the year, which the faithful are urged to spend awake, there are three nights of Rajab: the eves of the first, of the fifteenth and of the twenty seventh of Rajab.74 The eve of the first day of Rajab is counted among the five nights in the year; if its practices are properly observed by the believer he will enter Paradise.T' Of special merit is also fasting on the first Thursday of Rajab (connected with the vigils of the eve of Friday and saldt al-raghd'ib], the fifteenth and the last day of Rajab.76 AI·Muttaqi al-Hindt, VIII, 360, No. 2648. Ibid., VIII, 360, No. 2647; al-Suyutt, al-Jiimi' al-saghir, II, 45; al- 'Azizi, II, 391. 72 Al-Jtlant, I, 201 info 73 See Ibn al-Jauzl, Kit. al-maudu'at, ed. 'Abd al-Rahman MuQ.. 'Uthman (Cairo 1966), II, 206-207. 74 Al-Jllanl, I, 202; AbU Tiilib al-Makkl, I, 93; al-Ghazall, I, 328. 75 Al-Jiliini, I, 202. 76 Ibid., I, 204. 70 71 202 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " A current tradition about fasting in Rajab reported on the authority of Sa'id al-Khudri gives a detailed account of the rewards of fasting on every day of the month. "Rajab is the month of God, Sha'ban is my month, Ramadan is the month of my people" - says the Prophet. Therefore he who fasts one day?? of Rajab out of belief and piety (imdnan wa-htisdbany deserves God's greatest favour (istaujaba ridwdna lliihi l-akbara) and God will lodge him in the upper part of Paradise. He who fasts two days of Rajab will get a double reward; the weight of every single reward will be like the mountains of the world. He who fasts three days God will put between him and between the fire (of Hell) a ditch extending for a distance of a year's journey.78 He who fasts four days of Rajab, will be healed from madness, elephantiasis, leprosy, the trial of the false Messias (fitnat al-masihi l-dajjali) and the chastisement of the grave Cadhiib al-qabr). He who fasts five days, will be protected from the chastisement of the grave (wuqiya "adhiiba l-qabri).79 He who fasts six days, will step out from his grave, his face shining more than the moon at the night of full-moon. He who fasts seven days - God will close for him the seven gates of Hell (closing for every day of fasting one gate). He who fasts eight days of Rajab, God will open for him the eight gates of Paradise (opening for every day of fasting one gate). He who fasts nine days, he will step out from his grave proclaiming lii iliiha illd lliihu and his face will not be turned away from Paradise. He who fasts ten days - God will lay for him at every mile of the path to heaven bedding (fariish) on which he might rest. As for him who fasts eleven days - there will be at the Day of Resurrection no believer superior to him except a believer who would fast the same number of days or more. He who fasts twelve days - God will bestow upon him two garments, one of which would be better than the world and all that is in the world. He who fasts thirteen days - a table will be put up for him in the shade of the Throne (of God) and he will eat from it, while other people will remain in distress (wa-l-niisufi shiddatin shadidatin). He who fasts fourteen days - God will grant him a reward which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and which has not occurred to the mind of men twa-ld khatara 'alii qalbi basharin). He who fasts fifteen days - God will raise him on the Day of Resurrection in the stand (mauqif) of the believers.w He who fasts sixteen days - he will be among the "Youman" omitted in Ibn al-Jauzt's Maur!u'iit and in Suyfitf's La'iili. Compo MuQ.. b. al-Hasan al-'Amili, al-Jawiihir al-saniyya fi I-al)iidith al-qudsiyya (Najaf 1964), p. 140. 79 The reward of five days is not mentioned in Ibn Jauzi's Maur!u'iit and in SuyiitI's La'iili. 80 Here the tradition stops in Ibn al-Jauzl's Maur!u'iit II, 206, in Ibn Hajar's Tabyin p. 12 and in Suyiitt's La'ali II, 115, line 2 (there is however an additional phrase in Jnani's Ghunya I, 198: fa-ld yamurru bihi malakun muqarrabun wa-ld nabiyyun mursalun iIIii qdla ruba laka anta min al-iiminin); it is continued in Jllanl's Ghunya with the remark: wa-ft lafzin dkhara ziyiidatun 'alii khamsata 'ashara wa-hiya ... ; and see Ibn l;Iajar, Tabyin al- 'ajah, p.12 info 77 78 203 M. J. Kister first who would visit the Merciful, look at Him and hear His speech. He who fasts seventeen days - God will arrange for him at every mile of the path to Heaven a resting place.s! He who fasts eighteen days - God will build for him a palace opposite the palace of Ibrahim and Adam; they would greet him and he would greet them. He who fasts twenty days - a herald will proclaim for Heaven: "God has forgiven you what passed, begin thus anew your (Pious) work."82 Some descriptions of the rewards of people who fasted the whole month of Rajab are of the type of stories of the qu~~ii~ describe the palaces in Paradise, and the meals and the /:tiiris awaiting these people in Paradise.83 A Shi'I tradition gives the following vivid description of the Day of Resurrection. "At the Day of Resurrection - says the tradition reported on the authority of Ja'far al-Sadiq - a herald will call from the interior of the Throne: "Where are the Rajabis (people fasting in Rajab) 1" Then will stand up people with faces shining for the gathered (crowds), on their heads will be crowns of kingdom inlaid with sapphires and pearls. On the right side of every man of them will be a thousand angels and on the left side a thousand angels. They will say: "0 servant of God, mayest thou enjoy the grace of God". Then will follow the call from God, the Exalted: "My servants and My maidens, I swear by My majesty and power: I shall honour your residence and I shall bestow upon you gifts in bounty. I shall introduce you into apartments in Paradise under which rivers will flow and you will be for ever in it. How good is the reward of the pious. You volunteered to fast for Me a month which I sanctified and whose observance I bade. My angels, Introduce My servants and maidens into Paradise". Then Ja'far b. Muhammad said: "That concerns also people who fasted a part of Rajab, even one day at the beginning of the month, in its midst or at its end". 84 One of the most discussed topics involving the Rajab fast was fasting during the whole month.8s The opponents of fasting in Rajab based their argument See above the reward for fasting ten days. AI-Jiliini, I, 198-199; al-Suyutl, al-La'iili, II, 114-115; Ibn I;Iajar, Tabyin al-lajab, pp. 10-12,29-30; comp. Ibn Biibiiyah, pp. 52-57 sup. (continued until the thirtieth of Rajab); Muh. b. Fattiil, 396-400 (continued until the thirtieth of Rajab); and see al-Sahml, pp. 56 inf., 302 info 83 J. Goldziher, Muh. Studien (Halle 1890), II, 160; al-Babrsnr, XIII, 400; al-ZajjiijI, Amiili (Cairo 1935), p. 134. 84 Al-Bahranl, XIII, 401 (and see ibid., pp. 381, 396 about rewards for fasting of the first and the fifteenth of Rajab). 8S See K. Wagtendonk, p. 121. 81 82 204 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " on the well-known hadith reported on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas: "The Prophet forbade fasting in Rajab".86 Later scholars transmitted this tradition with the addition of the word "whole" (nahii 'an saumi rajabin kullihi).87 Partisans of fasting in Rajab criticized this tradition, emphasizing that two of its transmitters were "weak". The two weak transmitters were Da'ud b. 'Ata'88 and Zayd b. 'Abd al-Hamtd.s? They argued further that the word "nahii" was erroneously inserted into the text, as the tradition referred originally to the actions of the Prophet; it was the transmitter who changed erroneously the word into prohibition twa-innamd l-riwdyatu fihi min fi'Ii I-nabiyyi salld lliihu 'alayhi wa-sallama fa-harrafa l-riiwi l-fi'la ilii l-nahyi). If this version (i.e. nahii) is correct, the interdiction indicates merely a preventive measure (thumma in $abIJafa-huwa mahmidun 'alii I-tanzihi). It has to be interpreted according to the opinion of al-Shafi't. AI-Shari'i stated that he would disapprove of fasting a whole month like the fasting of Ramadan, or fasting on a peculiar day. He was afraid that some ignorant person might imitate such practices considering it obligatory.w This opinion of al-Shafi'I is quoted by al-Subki (d. 771 AH),91 (like by Ibn Hajar), from al-Bayhaqi's (d. 458 AH) Fa(lii'il al-auqdt. Al-Bayhaqi records the opinion of al-Shafi'I with a remarkable phrase: "wa-in fa'ala fa-hasanun", and comments that as it is common knowledge among the Muslims that the only obligatory fast is Ramadan, the idea of reprehensibility (connected with fasting a whole month, in this case Rajab) is accordingly lifted (fa-'rtaja'a bi-dhdlika ma'nd /kariihiyyati). Consequently it can be deduced from the arguments of al-Bayhaqi that the tradition of Ibn Majah merely expresses disapproval of fasting the whole of Rajab if this fast is put on an equal footing with Ramadan as obligatory. As the Muslim community is aware of the fact that the only month of mandatory fasting is Ramadan, there is no reprehensibility in fasting a whole month (in this case Rajab); if the believer fasts this month - it is a good deed. Although al-Subki could not find the additional phrase wa-in faala jabasanun in other sources - he accepts the version recorded by al-Bayhaqi 86 Ibn Miijah, I, 531 (anna I-nabiyya ~allti lldhu 'alayhi wa-sallama nahd 'an saumi rajabin); aI-Shaukiini, Nayl, IV, 210; comp, about the interdiction of fasting of the whole month of Rajab: Ahmad b. l;Ianbal, I, 231, No. 181; al-Turtushi, p. 130; ai-Khatib al-Baghdiidi, II, 227; K. Wagtendonk, p. 121 (and note 4). 87 Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- 'ajab, p. 33; al-Dhahabl, Miziin al-i'tiddl, II, 104, No. 3015. 88 See on him Ibn l;Iajar, Tahdhib, III, 193, No, 370; al-Dhahabi, Mizdn, II, 12, No. 2631. 89 See on him Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib, III, 417, No. 764. 90 Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- 'ajab, p. 31 inf.-32 sup.; and see al-Shaukani, Nayl, IV, 210, line 8 from bottom. 91 Tabaqdt al-Shdfi'iyya al-kubrii, ed. al-Hilw, al-Tanahl (Cairo 1966), IV, 12-13. 205 M.J. Kister as sound. As the interdiction of fasting of the whole month of Rajab is not a sound one - it has to be considered, states al-Subki, as mustahabb, desirable (wa-idha lam yakun al-nahyu 'an takmili saumihi $abiban baqiya 'ala asl! l-istihbiib); the utterance of al-Shafi'I indicates that fasting the whole month of Rajab is good (hadha l-nassu lladhi rawiihu l-Bayhaqiyyu 'an alShaji'iyyi fihi daliilatun bayyinatun 'ala anna sauma rajabin bi-kamdlihi hasanuny. This, al-Subkl states, confirms the opinion of 'Izz al-Dln b. 'Abd al-SaHim92 that he who forbids to fast in Rajab is ignorant of the principles of the Law (man nahii 'an saumi rajabin fa-huwa jdhilun bi-ma'khadhi ahkdmi l-shar'Ii. Al-Shaukanl (d. 1250 AH) discusses the problem of fasting in Rajab in connection with fasting the whole month of Sha 'ban and concludes that the traditions enjoining fasting during the holy months (al-ashhur al-burum) include the recommendation of fasting of the month in Rajab. There are no traditions stating that fasting in Rajab is reprehensible (makruh).93 Al-Qastallani discusses the contradictory traditions about fasting during the whole month of Sha 'ban.94 The reference to fasting on Sha 'ban is indicated in the hadith reported on the authority of Usama b. Zayd in which the Prophet said: "That (i.e. Sha'ban) is a month neglected by the people, (a month) between Rajab and Ramadan, It is a month in which the deeds are brought before the Lord of the Worlds, and I want therefore that my deeds be brought before Him when I am fasting."95 Al-Qastallani remarks that many people think that fasting in Rajab is preferable to fasting in Sha 'ban, because Rajab is one of the holy months (al-ashhur al-hurumy; but it is not so (i.e. fasting of Rajab is not preferable to the fasting of Sha 'ban). Al-Zurqani supports the opinion of al-Qastallani, quoting the hadith reported on the authority of 'A'isha, that when people fasting Rajab were mentioned to the Prophet, he said: "How (poor are) they (in their reward compared to those fasting in) Sha 'ban."96 Nevertheless al-Qastallanl admits that some of the Shafi'tyya considered fasting of Rajab as more meritorious than fasting of other months. Fasting in Rajab is recommended as Rajab is one of the holy months; the fast of these months is indicated in the tradition recorded by AbU Da'ud. 'Abdallah b. See below, p. 207. Al-Shaukanl, Nayl, IV, 209-210. 94 Al-Zurqanl, VIII, 124-125. 95 Ibid., VIII, 126; and see al-Shaukanl, Nayl, IV, 210 sup.; al-Haythaml, Majma' alzawa'id, III, 192. 96 Al-Zurqanl, VIII, 126; this tradition is recorded by Ibn Hajar, Tabyfn al- 'ajab, p. 33 with the following story: "A woman entered the home of 'A'isha and mentioned that she fasted Rajab. 'A'isha said: fast Sha'ban, as the merit is in (fasting) Sha'ban." She then quoted the utterance of the Prophet. 92 93 206 "Raiab is the Month of God ... " 'Umar stated that the Prophet used to fast in Rajab and honoured this month. Although the hadith of Ibn Majah forbidding the fast of the whole month of Rajab is a weak one - the Hanbalis considered it as valid. They concluded on the basis of this tradition, says al-Zurqani, that it was reprehensible to single out the month of Rajab as a month of fasting (yukrahu ifrdduhu bi-l~aumi).97 A significant passage quoted from a book of al-Damlri (d. 808 AH) by 'Ali b. Ahmad al-'Azizi (d. 1070 AH)98 records the favourable opinion of two scholars of the seventh century of the Hijra towards fasting in Rajab. Abu 'Amr b. al-Sala1;t99was asked whether fasting the whole month of Rajab was a sin or whether it was a rewarded practice. He answered that there was no sin in it at all. None of the Muslim scholars, argued Abu 'Amr b. alSalah, considered it as sin. It is true that some scholars of hadith stated that there were no sound hadiths about the merits of fasting Rajab; that does not however imply any sin in fast; traditions about fasting in general and about fasting in the holy months in particular indicate that this fasting (i.e. in Rajab) is meritorious. The tradition of Ibn Dihya claiming that the fire of Hell is kindled every year for the people fasting Rajab is not sound and its transmission is unlawful.100 Tzz al-Dln b. 'Abd al-Salamlv! was asked about the opinion of scholars who denounce the fast of Rajab and its observance and whether fasting the whole month as a vow was lawful. 'Izz al-Dln gave permission to vow fasting the whole month arguing that none of the scholars of Islam included Rajab among the reprehensible periods of fasting (fima yukrahu saumuhuy; on the contrary: it is a pious deed (qurba) as indicated by sound traditions and it is recommended. He who honours Rajab in a different way than the people of the Jahiliyya, the argument says, does not imitate them. Besides, not everything practised by the people of the Jahiliyya is forbidden to follow (in Islam), unless it is interdicted by the Law (wa-laysa kullu md fa'alathu l-jdhiliyyatu manhiyyan 'an muldbasatihi illii idhii nahat al-shari'atu 'anhu wadallat...). Truth should not be abandoned on the ground that people of falsehood practised it, says 'Izz al-Dln. Furthermore, he gives his statement about the ignorant scholar who forbids fasting on Rajab as quoted above from Subki's Tabaqat. Al-Damirl sums up the two fatwds in a poem of ten verses, concluding that Al-Zurqanl, VIII, 127. Al-Sirii] al-munir, II, 391-392. 99 See on him al-Dhahabl, Tadhkirat a/-l;lUffa?, IV, 1430, No. 1141. 100 See this fatwd in Fatdwd Ibn a/-Sa/ab (Cairo 1348 AH), p. 21. 101 See on him al-Kutubl, Fawat al-wafayat, ed. Muh. Muhyl I-Din 'Abd al-Hamtd (Cairo 1951), I, 594, No. 234. 97 98 207 M.J. Kister fasting the whole month of Rajab is recommended. A vow of fasting in the month is binding (wa-bi-l-nadhri yajib). In the opinion of Ahmad (b. Hanbal) singling out the month for fasting is reprehensible, but the opinion that forbids it should be rejected. The prohibition of fasting was reported by Ibn Majah, but the badith. proved to be weak because of its (weak) isndd. The shaykh 'Izz al-Din stated that he who forbade fasting in any case is heedless. He strongly rejected the opinion of scholars who forbade fasting, and stated that they should not be consulted for fatwii. The transmitters of the Shart'a did not reprehend fasting the whole (month). The recommendation of fasting (in this month) is included in the recommendation of fasting in general and there is no sin upon the fasting (person). Ibn al-Salah stated that the haditb about punishment for fasting in Rajab was not a sound one, and it was not permissible to attribute it to the Prophet. The merits of fasting in general, as stated in (valid) texts, indicate that it is even desirable (mustahabbi in particular - this is how al-Damirl concludes his poem. Ibn 'Asakir (AbUI l-Qasim 'Ali b. al-I;Iasan)102 devoted a special chapter in his Amiili to the merits of Rajab. He composed some verses in which the river Rajab in Paradise is mentioned: a drink from Rajab in Paradise, If you desire it - fast for God in Rajab And pray the prayer of the longing103 and fast Because everyone who exerts himself in (deeds of) obedience will not be disappointed. 104 Orthodox scholars denied any merit to fasting in Rajab, basing their argument on the tradition reported on the authority of Sa'id b. Jubayr.l05 When Sa'Id b. Jubayr was asked about the merits of fasting in Rajab, he said: "I was told by Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet used to fast (to an extent) that we thought that he would never break his fast, and he used to break his fast (so often) that we thought that he would not (start again to) fast." 106 Al-Qastallani remarks rightly that this tradition indicates that fasting in Rajab is neither forbidden nor recommended (wa-l-zdhiru anna murdda Sa'idin - i.e. Sa'Id b. Jubayr bi-hiidhii l-istidldlu 'alii annahu Iii nahya 'anhu wa-lii nadbafihi, bal lahu hukmu biiqi l-shuhftri).107 The opponents of fasting in Rajab argue that this tradition See on him C. Brockelmann, GAL, SI, 566. "Saldt al-riighibtna": the ~aliit al-raghii'ib is here, of course, alluded to. 104 AbU Shiima, pp. 55-57. 105 See on him Ibn Khallikan, Wafayiit al- a'yiin, ed. Ahmad Fartd Rifii'i (Cairo n.d.) VI, 127-136. 106 Al-Turtiishl, p. 128; Ibn l;Iajar, Tabyin al-tajab, p. 32. 107 Al-Zurqanl, VIII, 127; and see al- 'Azizi, II, 392, line 23 (the opinion of aI-Nawawi). 102 103 o he who wants 208 "Raiab is the Month of God ... " points clearly to the fact that the Prophet used to fast during different months of the year. It is accordingly evident that the Prophet did not single out any month for fasting, and therefore no special merit can be attached to the fasting of Rajab; the only meritorious month of fasting is Ramadan, There is a version of the tradition of Sa'Id b. Jubayr quoted above, reported on the authority of 'A'isha. "The Prophet used to fast (to an extent) that we thought... etc." This hadith has however a significant addition: "And I did not see the Prophet, states 'A'isha, completing the fast of any month at all except Ramadan, and I did not see him fasting more (in any month - K) than in Sha'ban."108 Two points in this tradition are noteworthy: the one stressing that the Prophet did not complete fasting in any month except Rama<;lan. his implies that it is not permitted to fast a whole month except in RamaT <;lan. he other point emphasizes that he used to fast in Sha 'ban more than in any T other month. One may not be surprised to find a contradictory tradition, reported on the authority of 'A'isha, stating that the Prophet used to fast the whole month of Sha'ban ( yasianu sha'biina kullahu).109 Another tradition, reported on the authority of Abu Hurayra, gives a different version: "The Prophet did not complete the fast of any month besides Ramadan except for Rajab and Sha'ban "(anna rasiila lldhi ~alla lldhu "alayhi wa-sallama lam yutimma sauma shahrin ba'da ramaddna illd rajaba wa-sha'biina).110 Ibn Hajar classifies the tradition as "munkar",l11 because of the transmitter Yusuf b. 'Atiyya,112 who is considered as "very weak".113 It is not surprising, however, that the hadith on which opponents of fasting in Rajab based their argument is also reported on the authority of 'A'isha: "The Prophet did not single out any month of the year for fasting" (inna l-nabiyya sallii lldhu "alayhi wa-sallama mii kana yakhussu shahran min al-sanati bi-saumin ).114 Opponents of fasting in Rajab attempted to prove that the Companions, like the Prophet, disapproved of fasting Rajab, did not attach any sanctity to the month and considered fasting during Rajab as adherence to Jahiliyya observ- 9949), II, 77 ult., No. 711. 108 Muh, Fu'iid 'Abd al-Baql, al-Lu'lu' wa-l-marjdn fimd ttafaqa "alayhi l-shaykhdn (Cairo 1949), II, 22 ult., No. 711; Ibn Haiar, Bulugh al-mariim, ed. Muh, I;Iiimid al-Fiqql (Cairo 1933), p. 137, No. 701. 109 Al-Haythaml, Majma' al-zawii'id (Cairo 1352 AH), III, 192; and see ibid.: kiina yasiimu sha'bana wa-ramaddna yasiluhumd. 110 Al-Haythaml, III, 191 penult.; Ibn Hajar, Tabyln al-tajab, p. 9 info .111 See about the definition of "munkar" Muh, 'Abd aI-I;Iayy al-LuknawI, al-Raf" wa-l-takmil, ed. 'Abd al-Fattah AbU Ghudda (I;Ialab, n.d.), pp. 92-99. 112 See on him al-Dhahabt, Miziin al-i'tidal, IV, 488, No. 9877. 113 Ibn I;Iajar, Tabyin al-' ajab, p, 10, line 1. 114 A1-TurtiishI, p. 128. 209 M.l. Kister ances. 'Umar, says the tradition, used to beat the hands of people fasting in Rajab when they lifted them from (dishes of) food and compelled them to put them into it. He used to say: "Eat because Rajab was merely adored by the people of the Jahiliyya."llS In another version of this tradition, 'Umar used to flog people who fasted the whole month of Rajab.116 Another tradition states that Ibn 'Umar disliked to see people prepare for fasting Rajab. He told them: "Fast (some days) of it (i.e. of the month) and break the fasting; it is merely a month which the people of the Jahiliyya revered" .117 According to these traditions fasting on some days of Rajab, just as fasting some days of other months, is not forbidden; but fasting for the whole month and attaching sanctity to the month itself are not lawful. The adoration of Rajab might endanger the position of Ramadan, This is reflected in a story about Abu Bakr. When he saw his people prepare for fasting Rajab he said: "Do you make (i.e. observe) Rajab like Ramadan 7" (a-ja'altum rajaban ka-ramat/ana).1l8 Ibn 'Abbas insisted that Rajab be not established as an obligatory feast ("id) like Ramadan, Al-Turtushi concludes that these traditions indicate that "the honouring of Rajab by some people is a vestige of the bonds of the Jahiliyya" (dallat hddhihi l-dthiiru 'alii anna lladhi fi aydi l-niisi min ta'~imihi innamii hiya ghabariitun min baqdyii "uqiidi l-jiihi/iyyati).119 In summary al-Turtushi states that fasting in Rajab is not obligatory, it is not a sunna of the Prophet and is not meritorious; it is reprehensible.120 A special treatise against fasting in and veneration of Rajab, named Adii'u mii wajab min bayiini wad'i l-waddd'Ina fi rajab, was compiled by Ibn Di1;tya,121 From this treatise the following hadith is with all probability quoted: "The Prophet said: 'Hell is kindled from year to year for the people fasting in Rajab'. "122 One of the main arguments of the opponents of the Rajab fast was the tenet us Al-Shaukant, Nayl, IV, 210 (here the tradition is quoted from Ibn AbI Shayba's al-Musannaf. The remark of Wagtendonk, p. 121, note 3 that "these are late traditions" can hardly be accepted.); al-Turtusht, p. 129; Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al-tajab, p. 32; al-Haythaml, Majma' al-zawii'id, III, 191; Jamal al-Dln al-Qasiml, I#ab al-masdjid min al bida'i wa-I'awa'id (Cairo 1341 AH), pp. 76-77; al-Muttaql ai-Hindi, VIII, 409, No. 2966; AbU Shama, p. 38; al-Manbijl, Kit. al-samii'i wa-l-raqs in Majmu'at al-rasii'il al-kubrd It-Ibn Taymiyya (Cairo 1323 AH), II, 360 inf, 116 Al-Turtusht, p. 129. 117 Ibid., p. 129. 118 Ibid., p. 129; al-Qasimi, p, 77; AbU Shama, p. 38. 119 Al-Turtnsht, p. 129 ult.-130 sup. 120 Ibid., pp. 130-131; Ibn Hajar, Tabyin al- 'ajab, pp. 34-35; al-Qasiml, pp. 77-78; AbU Shama p. 38 (all quoting al-Turtusht). 121 See on him al-Dhahabl Tadhkirat al-buifa? (Hyderabad 1958) IV 1420 No. 1136. 122 Al-'Azizi, II, 391, line 6 from bottom; and see abovep. 207. 210 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " that the believer is not entitled to establish days or months of religious practices to which particular merits may be attached; this privilege is exclusively reserved for the Lawgiver (fa-l-/:zii~i/u anna l-mukallafa laysa lahu mansibu l-takhsisi bal dhiilika i/o. l-shari'i).123 As the tradition reported by Sa'Id b. Jubayr (stating that the Prophet used to fast through the whole year) refutes the traditions about fasting in Rajab, as the Companions repremanded this fasting, as the traditions about fasting in Rajab are weak and untrustworthy - the view that the Rajab fast may be included into the category of good deeds has to be rejected. Good deeds necessitate the approval of the Prophet, which the fasting of Rajab did not get. As the traditions about fasting in Rajab are lies, the fast is, of course, unlawful (fa-in qila- a-laysa hddhii huwa isti'mdla khayrin? qila lahu: isti'miilu khayrin yanbaghi an yakima mashrii'an min al-nabiyyi salld lldhu "alayhi wa-sallama; fa-idhii "alimnd annahu kadhibun kharaja min almashru'iyyati).124 Opponents of Rajab tried to show the weakness or the forgery of the proRajab traditions, revealing the weakness of the isndd. AbU Shama (d. 665 AH), who devoted a good deal of his Bii'ith to the rebuttal of pro-Rajab hadiths, and Ibn Hajar (d. 852 AH) in his Tabyin al-lajab, a treatise with the same aim, both used the same method of scrutinizing isniids. The tradition about the Rajab river in Paradise was rejected by AbU Shama125 on the ground that Musa al-Tawil126 was a liar. The hadith: "Rajab is the month of God, Sha'ban is my month etc." was discarded because the transmitter was al-Naqqash al-Mausilt.t-? a famous liar and forger of hadith. The hadith: "kana rasiilu lliihi salla lliihu "alayhi wa-sallama idhd dakhala rajabun qdla lldhumma biirik lana Ii rajabin wa-sha'biina ... etc."128 was rejected on the ground that Ziyad b. Maymun129 was considered as "discarded" (literally: "abandoned", "matriik"). Ma'mun b. Ahmad al-Sulamlrw and Ahmad b. 'Abdallah al-Juwaybari,l3l transmitters of pro-Rajab hadiths, were known as notorious liars; 132Ibn al-Jauzi counts both Ma'mun b. Ahmad and Ahmad Abu Shama, p. 37. Ibid., p. 38. 125 Ibid., p. 55 penult. 126 See on him al-Dhahabl, Mizdn al-i'tidiil, IV, 209, No. 8888. 127 See on him al-Dhahabl, Miziin al-i'tiddl, III, 520, No. 7404. 128 See Ibn al-Sunnl, 'Amal al-yaum wa-l-layla (Hyderabad 1358 AH), p. 178; al-Suyutt, al-Jiimi' al-saghir, II, 105; ai-Khatib al-Baghdadl, Miir!i/:l auluim, II, 473; al-Jarraht, I, 186, No. 554; 'Ali al-Qari', al-Adab, fol. 65a, inf.; al-Majlisl, Bibtir, XX, 338 (lithogr. edition). 129 See on him al-Dhahabl, Mizdn al-i'tiddl, II, 94, No. 2967. 130 See on him al-Dhahabl, Mizdn al-i'tiddl, III, 429, No. 7036. 131 See on him al-Dhahabl, Mizdn al-i'tiddl, I, 106, No. 421. 132 AbU Shama, p, 55. 123 124 211 M. I. Kister b. "Abdallah in the list of "big liars" .133Both are accused of the transmission of the forged hadith, in which the Prophet foretold: "Among my people will be a man called Muhammad b. Idris; he will be more harming for my people than Iblis"; one of them invented the badith.134 By Muhammad b. Idris, the imam al-Shafi'I is meant. It is quite plausible that al-Shafi'I's assessment of the personality of Ma'mun b. Ahmad was concise: Ma'miin ghayru ma'mun.135 The hadith: "He who fasts the twenty seventh day of Rajab, God will write for him a reward of sixty months; it is the first day when the angel Gabriel brought the Prophet the Message" is marked by AbU Khattab (i.e. Ibn Dihya) as a spurious tradition. The tradition that the date of the Isrii' was the twenty seventh day of Rajab is marked as "the essence of lie". 136One of the transmitters of the tradition: "He who fasts three days of Rajab - God will count for him (the reward of) fasting of a month ... etc." was Aban (b. abl 'Ayyash).137 Ibn al-Jauzl rejects the tradition as unsound because of Aban, He quotes negative opinions of scholars about Aban, and records the saying of Shu 'ba138 that he prefers adultery to transmission of the traditions reported by Aban.139 The scholars opposing the fasting of Rajab faced the hostile attitude of the common people who practised fasting and special devotions in some nights of Rajab. They faced the pressure of the rulers as well. A peculiar case of this kind is reported in connection with the activities of Tzz al-Djn b. 'Abd alSalam, whose favourable opinion about Rajab fasting was mentioned above. In the year 637 AH 'Izz al-Dln acted as preacher and imam of the mosque of Damascus; he was a very learned and pious man, strictly following the sunna. Just before the beginning of Rajab, he preached in the mosque on Friday, and stressed that the $aliit al-raghd'ib was a bid'a and that the badtth. enjoining the practice of this prayer was a lie. 'Izz al-Din compiled a treatise in which he expounded his view and warned the people against the practice of this bid'a; he named it "al-tarhib 'an saldti l-raghii'ib". He was however compelled by the common people and the sultan to change his mind and to compile a treatise which contradicted his former treatise. In his second treatise he issued a favourable judgment about the $aliit al-raghii'ib.140 The orthodox permission of the popular Rajab fast in the tenth century of the Hijra is fairly exposed in the treatise of the HanafI scholar "Ali al-Qari' 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 Al-Shaukanl, al-Fawd'id, p. 426. Ibid, p. 420; see al-Dhahabl, Miziin, III, 430; al-Suyutl, al-La'iilt, I, 457. Abu Shiima, p. 55, line 5 from bottom. Ibid., p. 56 sup. See on him al-Dhahabl, Miziin I, 10-15, No. 15. See on him al-Dhahabt, Tadhkirat al-/.Iuffiiz, I, 193, No. 187. Ibn al-Jauzl, al-Maur!u'iit, II, 206. And see his assessment of isndds, ibid., pp. 207-28 AbU Shiima, pp. 32-33. 212 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " "al- Adab fi rajab". Although he follows strictly the path of orthodox assessment of the hadith concerning fasting Rajab, he nevertheless gives his consent to fasting Rajab and regards it rewardable. The interdiction of fasting Rajab in the hadith of Ibn Majah - argues 'Ali al-Qari' - has to be considered as an interdiction of its obligatory character, as it was in the period of the Jahiliyya (wa-ammii md rawiihu Ibn Miijah. annahu 'alayhi l-saliimu nahd 'an siyiimi rajabin fa-mahmidun 'ala "tiqiidi wujiibihi kama kdna fi l-jahiliyyati).141 Except that (i.e. this reason for the reprehensibility of fasting) none of the scholars said that fasting in Rajab was reprehensible (wa-illii fa-lam yaqui ahadun min al- 'ulamd' bi-kariihati ~aumihi).142 The opinion that every hadith about fasting Rajab and prayers in some nights of Rajab is a forged one deserves to be re-examined. It is true that there are some forged traditions, but traditions about fasting in Rajab are numerous and they, although weak, strengthen each other.143 Scholars agree, argues al-Qari', that it is permissible to perform pious deeds having recourse to "weak" traditions (wa-ajma'a 1- 'ulamd'u bijawiizi l- 'amali bi-l-abddithi l-da'ifati l-wdridati fi farjii'ili l-a'mdli). The interdiction of fasting Rajab by some scholars and considering it a bid'a is therefore not plausible (wa-lii ma'nii li-nahyi...). What is required from the believers is worship and obedience according to their ability. Rajab, as can be deduced from tradition, is a month surpassing other months in merits.144 Radical and uncompromising scholars rejected all the traditions about the virtues of Rajab and the merits of its fast. Ibn Taymiyya states that all the traditions about fasting in Rajab, fasting on the first Friday of Rajab and other merits are lies according to the consensus of the scholars. The best hadith on this subject is, of course, the hadith recorded by Ibn Majah, stating that the Prophet forbade the fast of Rajab.14S IV Among the distinctive features of Rajab are the special prayers and supplications connected, of course, with the fasting. These special prayers, devotions and supplications were the subject of fervent discussions and were strongly reproved by orthodox scholars. Rajab is a month of repentance, of refraining from sin and of doing pious 'Ali al-Qari', al-Adab, fol. 65b. 'Ali al-Qari', al-Al;uidith al-maudu'a, fol. 61a. 143 Ibid., fol. 61a. 144 Idem, al-A dab, fol. 65b. 145 Al-Manbijl, II, 306; Ibn al-Jauzl, al-Maudii'iit, II, 208 (mii ~aMa ft fadli rajabin wa-ft #yiimihi 'an rasidi lliihi ~allii lldhu 'alayhi wa-sallama shay'un); al-Jarrahl, II, 421. 141 142 213 M.l. Kister deeds. This idea of Rajab is expounded in a tradition attributed to the Prophet. In a speech delivered a week before Rajab, the Prophet stated that the rewards for good deeds in this month were doubled, supplications responded to by God and distress relieved by Him. The Prophet bade the believers to fast the days of Rajab and to keep vigilance in its nights. He who prays during some days of Rajab fifty prayers, reciting in every rak'a passages from the Qur'an - God will grant him rewards for his good deeds as much as the number of his hairs. He who fasts one day - God will reward him with the reward of fasting of a year. He who keeps his tongue (from bad speech)God will tutor him in arguments of his defence when the two angels Munkir and Nakir would come to question him (in his grave). He who would give some alms - God will save his neck from the fire of Hell. He who does good deeds to his people - God will treat him kindly in this world and in his life to come, and will help him against his enemies during his lifetime. He who visits a sick person - God will order the noble of His angels to visit him and greet him. He who prays in a funeral ceremony during this month, is as one who revives a buried girl-child. He who gives food to a believer - God will lodge him on the Day of Resurrection at a table where Ibrahim and Muhammad will be sitting. He who clothes a believer during this month - God will put on him a thousand of the suits of Paradise. He who bestows a favour upon an orphan and strokes his head - God will forgive him as many of his sins as the number of the hairs (scil. on the head of the orphan) upon which his hand passed. God will grant forgiveness to the believer who asks it. He who praises God once - will be counted in God's presence among the people mentioning God many times. He who completes in this month the reading of the Qur'anGod will crown him and his parents with crowns inlaid with pearls and he will be assured not to be inflicted with the horrors of the Day of Resurrection. 146 'Abdallah b. al-Zubayr is said to have stated: "He who comforts a believer in his hardship during the month of Rajab, 'the Deaf', the month of God God will grant him a palace in Paradise as big as his gaze can reach. Therefore, urges the tradition, venerate Rajab and God will bestow upon you a thousand graces."147 He who gives alms once in Rajab - says a hadith attributed to the Prophet - God will keep him away from the fire of Hell, at a distance equivalent to that which a crow flies during its lifetime (literally flight of a crow since flying as a chick until its death in decrepitude - a crow lives five hundred years).148 A hadith reported on the authority of Salman al-Farisi records the following utterance of the Prophet: 146 Ibn Hajar, Tabyin, pp. 25-26; al-Shaukanl, al-Fawd'id, p. 439, lines 9-12 (the beginning of the tradition). 147 'Abd al-Qadir ai-JUan!, I, 200. 148 Ibid., I, 200. 214 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " "He who fasts one day of Rajab is (considered) as if he had fasted a thousand years. He who grants alms (once) is (considered) as if he would give alms of a thousand dinars and God will credit him for every good deed with a number of rewards equal to the number of his hairs. God will raise him a thousand steps, erase a thousand of his sins and credit him for every donation of alms with (the reward of) a thousand pilgrimages and of a thousand 'umras and build for him in Paradise a thousand courts and a thousand palaces and a thousand apartments; in every apartment there will be a thousand enclosures, in every enclosure a thousand /:zUris, who are a thousand times more beautiful than the sun.149 According to a Shi'i tradition, an angel called al-Da'I proclaims every night of Rajab from the seventh Heaven on the order of God: "Blessed are those who remember (Me), blessed are the obedient." God the Exalted says: I am the Companion of (the believer) who would sit by Me, I obey him who obeys Me, I forgive (the believer) who asks My forgiveness; the month is Mine, the servant is Mine, the mercy is Mine; he who would call Me - I shall respond to him; he who supplicates Me - I shall give to him, he who will ask my guidance - I shall guide him. I made this month a rope between Me and My servants; he who will hold fast by it will reach Me.1so Al-Shaukani points out as a reprehensible innovation in Rajab and Sha 'ban, that people use to exert themselves in acts of obedience and adhere to religious prescriptions during these months, but neglect these actions during the rest of the year.1S1 Of interest is an Isma'ili exhortation stressing the sanctity of Rajab (called al-asamm, al-fard, al-asabb) and summoning the faithful to practise fasting, repentance and submission to God. The rewards of good deeds in this month are multiplied.tss The main point in the fervent discussion about Rajab devotions is the topic of sald: al-raghd'ib, a prayer performed on the eve of the first Friday of Rajab.1S3 To this saldt al-raghd'ib the Prophet referred in a /:ladith reported on the authority of Anas b. Malik. The Prophet, when asked why the month of Rajab was nicknamed "the. month of God", answered: "It is because it is singled out (makh$u$) with (the quality of) forgiveness. In this month bloodIbid., I, 201. Al-Majlisl, XX, 338 (lithogr. ed.). 151 Al-Fawd'id, p. 440. 152 Al-Majdlis al-mustansiriyya, ed. MuI.).. Kamil Husayn (Cairo, n.d.), p. 112. 153 But saldt al-raghd'ib was formerly called the prayer of the midst of Sha'biin; see Abu Shama, p. 29, line 8 from bottom. 149 150 215 M. J. Kister shed is prevented. God forgave his prophets in this month and rescued his saints (au/iya') from the pains of punishment." The Prophet further counted the rewards of fasting in Rajab and recommended to an old man, who had complained that he would not be able to fast the whole month, that he restrict his fasting to the first day of Rajab, to the middle day of Rajab and to its last day. "Do not be heedless - continued the Prophet - about the eve of the first Friday of Rajab; it is a night called by the angels al-rahgii'ib, "the large (desirable) gifts"." This (is so) because after passing of the first third of this night no angel on Earth or in Heaven remains who does not gather in the Ka'ba or around it. God the Exalted has a look (at them) and says: "My angels, ask Me whatever you want", and they answer: "Our need is that Thou mayest forgive the people fasting Rajab". Then God the Exalted says: "I have done it already". The Prophet enjoined the believers to fast the day of the first Thursday of Rajab and to pray in the first third of this night (i.e. the eve of Friday) twelve rak'as reciting in every rak'a the fali/;la once, the sura "innii anzalndhu fi laylati l-qadri" three times, the sura "qui huwa lldhu ahadun" twelve times; between every rak'a a taslima has to be recited. After this prayer the believer has to recite seventy times "lliihumma salli 'ala l-nabiyyi l-ummiyyi wa-'ala iilihi". Then he has to perform a prostration during which he has to say seventy times "sabiihun, quddiisun, rabbu l-mald'ikati wa-l-riihi", Then he would raise his head and say seventy times "rabbi ghfir wa-rham wa-tajdwaz "ammd ta'lamu, innaka anta t:'azizu l-a'samu", Then he should prostrate a second time repeating the supplication quoted above (in the first sajda). Then he pleads for his needs and his plea will be responded to by God. Every servant of God with no exception - says the tradition - praying this prayer, God will forgive him all his sins even if they were (as much) as the foam of the sea and numbering the number of leaves of the trees, and he will intercede for seven hundred of his people at the Day of Resurrection. At the first day of his stay in his grave, he will be visited by the Reward of this prayer. The Reward will greet him with a bright countenance and tell him: "0 my beloved, rejoice because you were delivered from every woe". He will then ask: "Who are you, as 1have not seen a face finer than yours and 1 have not smelled a smell more fragrant than yours". Then Reward will reply: "0 my beloved, 1 am the Reward of the prayer, which you prayed that night of that and that month; 1came this night to you in order to fulfil the obligation towards you and to cheer you up in your loneliness. When the Horn will be blown, 1 shall be the shade above your head. Rejoice, because you will receive bounty from your Lord."154 154 Ibn l:Iajar, Tabyin, pp. 19-21; AbU Shama, pp. 29-32; 'Abd al-Qadir al-mani, I, 204205; al-Suyutt, al-La'ali, II, 55-56; al-Shaukant, al-Fawa'id, pp. 47 inf.-50; al-Majlisi, XX, 344 (lithogr. ed.); Ibn al-Jauzt, al-Mau4u'at, II, 124--125. 216 "Rajab is the Month of God ... " Al-Nawawi classifies the saldt al-raghii'ib as a shameful bid'a (hiya bid'atun qabihatun munkaratun), which has to be abandoned, reprehended and prevented. In his fatwd he points out that although many people observe this prayer and that the hadith about the merits of the prayer was recorded in AbU Talib al-Makkt's Qut al-quliib and in al-Ghazall's Il;zya'155- it is nevertheless a futile bid'a tbid'atun biitilatun).156 Ibn Hajar classifies this hadith as forged. 'Ali b. 'Abdallah b. Jahdam is accused of the forgery of this l;zadith,157Al-Turtusht mentions as the $alat alraghii'ib the prayer of fifteenth Sha'ban158 and Rajab. The prayer of Rajab was introduced for the first time in Jerusalem: it happened after 480 AH,159 AI- "Abdari refutes in a special chapter, 160the opinion that the $alat al-raghd'ib is meritorious or even lawful. He records the fatwd of 'Abd al-Aziz b. 'Abd al-Salam161 strongly condemning this prayer. It is evident that this fatvii is the firstjatwa of 'Izz al-Dln mentioned by AbU Shama. 'Izz al-Din was compelled, as quoted above, to compile a fatwd with a contradictory opinion about this prayer. Beside the detailed refutation of the lawfulness of this prayer in the special chapter - al-'Abdarl stresses the reprehensible features of the performance of the prayer: men and women mix together in the mosque during the $alat al-raghii'ib. If somebody claims that there exists a I;zadith recommending this prayer quoted by al-Ghazall - then the prayer has to be performed by the believer privately (fi khiissati najsihi), not as a common prayer in the mosque. Further it is reprehensible to tum it into a continuous and obligatory sunna (sunna da'ima Iii budda minjrliM). The traditions about "merits of actions" (faqa'il al-a'mdl) have weak isndds - argues al-" Adbart; although Muslim scholars permitted believers to act according to these hadiths, they allowed it on the condition that the practice would not be a continuous one. Thus if the believer acts according to such a tradition even once in his life, he would be considered as obeying the (recommendation of) 155 I/;Iya' (Cairo 1289 AH), I, 182 (al-Ghazall remarks that the people of Jerusalem are eager to perform this prayer). 156 Al-Nawawi, Fatiiwd al-imdm al-Nawawi (al-masii'il al-manthiira), ed. 'Ala l-Dln b. al-'Attar (Cairo 1352 AH), p. 28; aI-'AbdarI, IV, 259. 157 See AbU Shama, pp. 30-31; al-Shaukani, al-Fawii'id, p. 49, n. 1; al-Suyiltl, La'ali II, S6inf.,aI-Dhal;labi,Miziin al-i'tidiil,III,142,No. 5879; Jamal ai-Din al-Qasiml, pp. 105-106; al-Pattanl, pp. 43 ult.-44; 'Ali al-Qari', al-A/;Iiidith al-mauda'a, fol. 61 a. Ibn Jahdam is said to have confessed to the forgery of this tradition before his death; cf. Sibt Ibn al-Jauzl, Mir'at al-zamdn, Ms. Karacelebi 284, fols. 272b-273b. 158 See above, note 153. 159 Al-Turtusht, pp. 121-122; and see ibid., note 4 of the editor, M. Taibi. 160 Al-Mudkhal IV, 248-282. 161 Ibid., pp. 277-282 (he is, however, mentioned as Abii Muhammad b. 'Abd aI-'Aziz 'Abd al-Salam b. Abi Qasim al-Sulami al-Shafi't). 217 M. J. Kister tradition - if it is indeed a sound one; if, however, the tradition has an isniid which is dubious and open to dispute (wa-in yakun al-hadithu fi sanadihi mat'anun yaqdahu fihi) - his action (performed according to this !)adfth) would not harm (him) as he performed a good deed (li-annahu fa'ala khayran) and did not turn it into a publicly performed rite (sha'iratun ?