The following has been excerpted from ‘Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth’ by Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a); translated from the Arabic by Haaji Muhtar Holland.
When Allah Almighty created the world He made time into 12 months and designated four of them as sacred, i.e. months which were to be treated with great reverence, and one in which sin is to be avoided more than ever and its benefits to be reaped through supererogatory worship. Rajab is the 7th month of the Islamic calendar and is one of the four sacred months, the other three being Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, the 11th, 12th, and 1st months of the Islamic lunar calendar, respectively. Rajab is distinct in that it is the sacred month that stands alone whereas the other three fall in succession. The word “Rajab” by definition means one that is honored. It’s Arabic roots are “Ra” which stands for the “Rehmat” or Mercy of Allah Almighty; “Jeem” which stands for “Jood” which is the Generosity of Allah Almighty; and “Ba”
which stands for “Bir” which is the Goodness of Allah Almighty. The sacred month of Rajab is therefore filled from beginning till end with benefits for the believer from his or her Lord: Mercy without punishment, Generosity without restraint, and Goodness without harm. Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a) mentions in his ‘Ghunya’ that Rajab is the month for forsaking sins, Sha’baan is the month for action and fulfillment of one’s oath, and Ramadan is for truth and purification. He furthermore writes that Rajab is the month for repentance, Sha’baan is the month for hard work, and Ramadan is the month to gain nearness. Furthermore he writes that Rajab is for sanctity (hurmat), Sha’baan is for service (khidmat), and Ramadan is for blessings (ni’mat).
Rajab is a great month as is evident from the following Hadeeth of the Holy Prophet as related by Abu Hurayra (r.a):
“Sha’baan is my month, Rajab is the month of Allah Almighty, and Ramadan is the month of my Community. Sha’baan is the expiator, while Ramadan is the purifier.” [Found in al-Jarrahi’s Kashf-khafa wa-muzil al-ilbas, al-Suyuti’s al-Jami’ al-saghir II.2, Ibn Hajar’s Tabyin al- ‘ajab, Ali al-Qari’s l-Adab, al-Bayhaqi’s Fadail al auqat]
When the Companions (r.a) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) asked the meaning of “… Rajab is the month of Allah Almighty…”, He explained that this month has been made special for the Mercy of Allah Almighty, that fighting and killing is strictly forbidden in this month, and that Allah Almighty has accepted the repentance of Prophets in this month [on behalf of their communities as Prophets are sinless (ma’soom)]. Furthermore, Allah Almighty has protected His Friends (Awliya) from the mischief of the His enemies [i.e. the evildoers]. If a person fasts in this month, Allah Almighty blesses them with three things:
• Forgiveness of past sins
• Protection against future sins
• Protection against the thirst of the Day of Judgment
An old man asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) what he could do as he was not physically capable of fasting the entire month. Upon this the Holy Prophet said that if he fasted on the 1st, 15th and last day of Rajab he would be rewarded as though he fasted the entire month because each good deed is rewarded in ten folds. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) went on to exhort to not be heedless of the first Friday eve of Rajab as the angels have named this night “Laylatul Raghaib”. The reason for this is that during the third portion of this night all the angels of the earth and skies gather around the Holy Kaba in praise of Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty asks them what it is that they desire upon which the angels respond that they pray that Allah Almighty forgives all those who fast during the month of Rajab.