Allah (swt) says “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein, and fight against the Mushrikin idolaters collectively as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who have Taqwa.” (Surah At-Tawbah: 36)
The sacred month
The blessed month of Rajab (seventh month of Hijri) is now here. This reminds us that the blessed months of Shaaban and especially, Ramadhan are nearing. In the Holy Qur’an, there are four months recognized as Arba’atun hurum (four sacred months), Rajab being one of them, as stated in a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari.
In conjunction to the abovementioned Ayah, “so wrong not yourselves therein”, Imam Qatadah said that “Injustice during the Sacred Months is worse and graver than injustice in other months. Verily, injustice is always wrong, but Allah makes things graver than others as He will.”
The month of Rajab is honored by Allah (swt) and The Prophet (s.a.w). Hence, we should refrain ourselves from being involved in either unbeneficial activities or sinful acts by putting in our best effort to fill in our time with things that benefit our selves and others. As a start, we could look into Sirah Ar-Rasul and contemplate on the key events occurred in Rajab.
Sirah Ar-Rasul: Key event in Rajab
The most known event is Isra’ Mi’raj which took place in the night of 27th Rajab. Isra’ refers to The Prophet’s Night Journey in the form of body and soul from Masjidil Haram in Holy Mecca to Masjidil Aqsa in Baitul Maqdis, Palestine. Mi’raj refers to The Prophet’s Ascension from Masjidil Aqsa to the Highest Sky (Sidratul Muntaha) where The Prophet (s.a.w) received the command of solah from Allah (swt) at a distance of two bows or closer still.
This miraculous event highlights points for us to ponder upon:
1. The Prophet (s.a.w) has a special status. He is Habibullah, Allah’s Most Beloved. The Prophet, with Allah’s Will was able to experience Isra’ Mi’raj body and soul at once. This clearly shows us that The Prophet’s physical body as well as spiritual status is way above us and the earlier prophets. The Qur’an which is The Kalam (Speech) of Allah is sent to The Prophet (s.a.w) and it is said in Surah Al-Hashr: 21, “Had We sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would assuredly have seen it humbled, split asunder for fear of God. And We strike these similitudes for men that perchance they may reflect.”
Not only that, The Prophet (s.a.w) is sent to all mankind, to the people in his time till the Last Day. And we, being the Ummah of The Prophet (s.a.w), wajaba shukru ‘alaina (we must offer thanks) because The Prophet’s presence brings unity to all mankind regardless of tribes, clans and ethnicity, under one testimony that “There is no God except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.
Without our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w) be placed at his proper place, unity among Muslims will be shaken and become loose. The adolescent, middle-aged and the old will have different values while the women and men are finding their ‘identity’ according to their gender. The surfaced issues of “generation gap”, “gender” and “identity crisis” show that we no longer know our Prophet (s.a.w), his role and acknowledging him by placing him in his proper place. Instead, there are Muslims who regard The Prophet (s.a.w) as just an ordinary man.
2. As Muslims, we must believe in The Prophet’s Night Journey (i.e. Isra’ Mi’raj) as well as The Prophet’s special status. In order to believe that, one is required to have knowledge on certain things such as the nature of revelation which is the highest authoritative source informing us about this event in first Ayah of Surah Al-Isra’, the attributes of The Prophet such that it is impossible for him to lie and also the role of Jibrail. This tells us that the creed of Islam (aqidah), is composed of cognitive content and not to follow blindly.
Aqidah comes from the root word “al-‘aqdu” or A-Q-D (عقد)which means to tie or bind. Similarly, the seat for cognitive content is the spiritual entity, al-‘aql which means to bind. ‘Aql (intellect) binds words which contain meanings and further branch out to form concepts and conceptions. This is the second proof to emphasize that the creed of Islam (aqidah) must be based on knowledge and cognitive content. Interesting to note that just by contemplating on Isra’ Mi’raj, the six articles of faith (arkanul iman) are covered.
3. The Prophet (s.a.w) received the gift of solah from Allah (swt) through a direct communication with Him in his (s.a.w) form i.e. physical body and soul. And, in similar way that we are to perform the solah, transcending the physical world to commune with Him. Indeed, solah is a gift especially for the Ummah of The Prophet.
Solah is definitely special as compared to other ibadahs (such as fasting, zakat, hajj) where such commands were given through revelation i.e. wahyu. Based on Surah Qaf: 16 “It was We who created man and We know what dark suggestions (whispers) his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein” (translated and note by Yusuf Ali). 
With such close proximity with God, one would always be conscious of Him, feeling His presence at all times thus seeking solace and consolation, directing hope only to Him. It is only through solah that one can experience this closeness, reawaking each time the utter feeling of indebtedness to one’s Creator. It is only then, will one able to totally and willingly submit to His will (i.e. Islam) and fulfill the real purpose of creation, “I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the Creation so that I may be known” (HadithQudsi).
Important events in Rajab
Besides the miraculous Isra’ Mi’raj, other important events include conquest of Tabuk in 9H, the conquest of Baitul Maqdis by Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi in 27th Rajab 583H (1187CE) and the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate. Another event in the month of Rajab, forgotten by many and not widely known, is the correct date of the Terengganu Inscription (Batu Bersurat) which falls on 4th Rajab 702H (1303CE).
Victory in the battle of Tabuk which was led by The Prophet (s.a.w) and the recapture of Baitul Maqdis under the leadership of Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi are manifestation of the individual Muslim’s iman, relationship with God and the success of subordinating his lower (animalistic) self to his true self, who witnessed Allah’s Lordship. The notable battle of Tabuk was under the commandership of the Prophet (s.a.w) himself, leading 30,000 Muslims through the desert’s vastness under scorching sun, during one of the worst drought seasons. The unexpected strategy employed by the Prophet forced the Byzantine (Roman) army under the leadership of Hercules to rethink and withdraw without any face-to-face combat or bloodshed at all. Reading this page of history one cannot help but wonder (and muhasabah) upon the strength of character, the unyielding sprit and the steely determination of the Sahabahs in the cause of Allah (swt).
Towards the end of Rajab 1342H (3 March 1924), the most depressing event took place in Turkey when the Ottoman Caliphate collapsed with the appointment of Mustafa Kemal Pasha as the first President of the Republic of Turkey. This marks the end of Khilafah Islamiyyah and the start of colonization. Two questions to ponder: Nearly nine decades have passed, are we still grasping on the same baton passed from the first three generations of Muslims since the time of The Prophet (s.a.w)? Do we understand the Qur’anic key terms such as ‘ilm, hikmah, adab and ‘adl just as how they understand these?
Another forgotten date is the completion of the Terengganu Inscription. The historical puzzle involving knowledge on astronomy in finding the correct date was finally solved by Prof. Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas. Even though the Inscription was completed 700 years ago, the high level of accuracy enabled contemporary historians to figure out the date on the Inscription. This signifies that the Muslim Community in Terengganu back then, 1303CE, had sophisticated and accurate knowledge on astronomy, way before the birth of great Western Scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo and Newton.
In conclusion, the events that took place in the month of Rajab have many learning points for us to reflect upon. On our relationship with God, the cognitive content which is part of our Aqidah, the exemplary models of the Sahabahs and the three earliest generations after the time of The Prophet (SAW). And somewhere nearer home, is the great Muslim community in Terengganu, model of the Muslim community internalizing Islam as the way of life. Wallahu A’lam.
O Allah, Make the months of Rajab and Shaaban blessed for us, and Let us reach the month of Ramadhan. Ameen.
 Allah created man, and gave him his limited free-will. Allah knows the inmost desires and motives of man even better than man does himself. He is nearer to a man than the man’s own jugular vein. The jugular vein is the big trunk vein, one on each side of the neck, which brings the blood back from the head to the heart. The two jugular veins correspond to the two carotid arteries which carry the blood from the heart to the head. As the blood-stream is the vehicle of life and consciousness, the phrase “nearer than the jugular vein” implies that Allah knows more truly the innermost state of our feeling and consciousness than does our own ego. (http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsiraya/050qaf.htm)
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