The month of Rajab is one of the four months declared in Qur’an 2:194 and Qur’an 2:217 as sacred within which fighting is prohibited. It is the seventh month in the Muslim lunar calendar. The other three sacred months are: Muharram, Dhul Qa’dah and Dhul Hajj. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’alah, SWT) states in Qur’an 2:217 “When they ask thee concerning fighting in the prohibited month, say: fighting therein is a grave (offence): But graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny him, to prevent access to the sacred mosque and drive out its members. Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter….”
Rajab derives from the Arabic word “rajaba”, which literary means “to hold something in awe”. It is stated that this month is named “Rajab” because of the high esteem in which it is held. the prohibition of fighting in Rajab makes it holy. Every holy moment is a special occasion for believers to connect and expressly remain in touch with Allah (SWT). As a sacred month, it provides opportunities for engaging in devotional acts of worship. Although the month is already halfway today, the remaining half is ample time for advancing acts of devotion in order to reap greater rewards in this sacred period.
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It is reported on the authority of Annas bn Malik that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, SAW) said, “Whoever offers twenty raka’ats of nafilat prayers after observing the Maghrib obligatory prayer on any day within the month of Rajab shall be protected by Allah (SWT) against the calamities of this world and from punishment in the grave. A worshipper who intends to do this should recite Surat ul-ikhlas after Surat ul-fatiha in each of the twenty raka’ats”. The twenty raka’ats shall have a total of ten pronouncements of the termination of prayer (taslim), which means a taslim would be made after every two raka’ats.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reports that the holy month in which the Prophet (SAW) fasted beside Ramadan are the months of Rajab and Sha’aban. Imam Bukhari and Muslim both report that there is a river in Al-Jannah, which is snowier than milk with a taste that is sweeter than honey. This river is said to be preserved for believers that fast for at least a day in the month of Rajab. Aisha (RA), wife of the Prophet (SAW) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Every soul would be hungry on the Day of Judgment except prophets, their families and believers who fasted in the month of Rajab, Sha’aban and Ramadan.
Let us strive to observe voluntary fast even if it were going to be for a day from the few days left before the end of Rajab. Mondays and Thursdays are traditionally two days of the week in which the Prophet (SAW) observed voluntary fast. It is better to be late than never. Rajab is followed by another sacred month, Sha’baan. We therefore have another spiritual opportunity in Sha’baan to do more. All the six authentic compliers of hadith report on the authority of Aisha (RA) that “The Prophet never fasted for more days in any given month than he did in the month of Sha’baan because he used to fast for the whole of Sha’baan”. In another narration of the same hadith, the Prophet (SAW) was reported not to have fasted for the whole of Sha’baan but for most part of the month.
Since believers get closer to their creator when fasting just as their supplications at the time of breaking the fast are guaranteed of being accepted, observing voluntary fast in the remaining days of this month (Rajab) could lead us to find a long-lasting solution for the country’s security challenges, which seems to have become so complex as much as it is defying human solutions. From a recent surge in the spate of kidnappings, banditry, insurgency and cybercrime, to COVID-19, inflation, economic recession, and ethnic profiling.
Leaders, heads of security agencies and all those who have constitutional mandate to secure the country appear to be overwhelmed and even confused. Many Nigerians especially in vulnerable rural communities in parts of the country now survive in perpetual fear and anxiety. Nowadays, the sun rises in Nigeria with one security challenge and sets with another. A lot of people are being caught up in the web of despair. Except Allah answers our calls for intervention, the country may only be waiting to be consumed by the raging fire ignited by leadership failure. Subhana-llah!
As we observe voluntary fast to seek Allah’s pleasure and mercy in the remaining days of Rajab, let us use part of the time we spend in devoution to seek His divine intervention in all the challenges confronting us as a nation, community, family and as individuals. Our security challenges keep deteriorating by the day. The tongue of a believer becomes sharp in prayers each day he observes voluntary fast. Let us use the sharp tongue to remorsefully, repentantly, passionately and sincerely call on Allah (SWT) to redeem us from all our collectively and individual challenges. Let us take advantage of the sacredness of this month to seek Allah’s intervention on insecurity, which is the most unfortunate situation of the country has found itself in recent times.
Now, let us pray: O Allah, forgive our sins and wrongdoings; the intentional as well as the unintentional. O Allah, overlook our brazen transgressions against your injunctions. O Allah, forgive our institutional, collective and individual injustices including those carried out against national, community, family or personal interests. For the sake of your beloved servants among us, ignore our animalistic tendencies. O Allah, we sincerely repent from our evil deeds. O Allah, we fervently ask for your divine intervention in all the challenges bedeviling Nigeria particularly as they pertain to security of lives and property. O Allah, touch the hearts of kidnappers, bandits, insurgents, terrorists, militants, gunmen, robbers, vandals, arsonists, ethnic and religious bigots across Nigeria. May Allah (SWT) bring us out of our present predicaments in the shortest possible time, amin.