RAJAB & MAIRAJ
When Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to ask his companions any question, they used to reply:
“ Allah and His Messenger know best”
Indeed only Allah and His Prophet know best.
So lets have a look at the importance of month of Rajab and Shab e Mairaj, The Night of Ascension in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
Rajab is one of the four sacred months of the Islamic Calendar. Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:
“The Year is of twelve months, out of which four are sacred. Three one after the other Ziqad, Zulhajjah and Muharram and (the fourth) Rajab which comes between Jamadiul Akhir and Shabaan." (Sahih Al Bukhari)
In Arabic “Rajab” means “to respect” or “to revere”. Rajab was also known as “Rajab Mudr” Mudr was a name of an Arab tribe. This tribe had taken special steps to sanctify and revere this month, thus this month came to be associated with this tribe.
Killing and waging wars was very rampant in the pre Islamic Arabia, but when the sacred months came upon them, they would stop all the wars and killings and put their weapons aside. Therefore regarding Rajab,the ignorant Arabs used to say “ Rajab is that in which arrows and weapons are kept aside.”Ignorant people used to sanctify these months, especially Rajab and would not wage wars and they would sacrifice animals in the name of their idols. (Bayhayqe)
But Islam did not command any special worship in this month, however with the passage of time certain acts of worship came to be associated with this month, which are discussed in the section “False Rituals”
1. Sacrifice (qurbani) in the month of Rajab
In this month some people offer sacrifice, however sacrifice in this month is a custom of the times of “Jahiliya” (Ignorance). Ignorant Arabs used to offer a goat for sacrifice in this month called “Al-Atirah” and the skin of the sacrifices goat was then hung on a tree and called “Rajabiyah” (Sacrifice of Rajab)
In Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Hurairah (ra) has narrated that Rasool Allah Salallahu Alayhe Wasallam said:
"'Fara' is nothing and 'Atirah' is nothing."
Fara was the first born calf of a camel which was sacrificed in the name of idols.
2. Special Prayer:
Another special mode of worship attributed by some people to this month is the Salat of Raghai'b. According to the custom of such people, this Salat is performed in the night of first Friday of the month of Rajab. The Salat of Raghaib is said to consist of twelve rak'ats to be performed in pairs with six salams, and in each rak'at the surah al-qadr is recited three times followed by the Surah-al-ikhlas. This type of Salat is also not based on any sound source of Shari'ah. This innovatied form of Salat initiated in the 4th century and has no basis in it. Imam Taymiah (ra) writes in his book that all the scholars have unanimously declared this salat to be fabricated and made up.
Therefore, almost all the jurists and scholars of Shari'ah have held that the Salat of Raghaib is a baseless practice and it is not permissible to treat it as a recognized practice of this month. It is true that there is a tradition, narrated by Razin, the author of a book of hadith, which attributes the origin of this practice to the Holy Prophet but almost all the scholars of the science of hadith have held it to be absolutely unauthentic. Therefore, no importance can be attached to it.
3. Observing Fasts
Some people observe special fasts in this month. From Authentic hadiths we know that Rasool Allah used to keep special voluntary (nafil) fasts on certain days during the year, such as Ayam e bead i.e. 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month, every Monday and Thursday, the first ten days of Zul Hajjah, 9th Muharram and he intended to keep the fast of 10th Muharram as well. He also used to keep frequent fasts in the month of Shabaan. We have numerous authentic hadiths about all of the above mentioned fasts, however regarding the fast of 27th Rajab, there is not a single hadith.
So if anyone observes the fast on the 27th Rajab, it should be very clear that thi is not 'Masnoon' i.e. Prophet Muhammad (s) never did such a thing and neither this fast has any special reward.
Allah Subhana Watala says in the Quran:
"Oh you who believe! Do not go beyond Allah and His Rasool"(Al-Hujraat:1)
Umar radiallahu anhum used to forbid people to fast in Rajab and he also used to compel the people to break their fasts because the exagerrated reverence of Rajab and observing fasts in this month was an act of the period of ignorance. (Jahilya)
However if somebody regularly observes the masnoon fasts of 13th , 14th and 15th of every month and the masnoon fasts of Monday and Thursday then he may also continue to observe these fasts in Rajab as well.
4. Umrah in the month of Rajab
Some people used to perform 'umrah’ in the month of Rajab. Perhaps they believed that performing 'umrah’in this month is more meritorious than in other months. No tradition of the Holy Prophet is found to this effect. Conversely Sayyidah 'Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, has expressly negated the presumption by saying that the Holy Prophet never performed an 'umrah in the month of Rajab (Sahih Muslim 1:409)
5. Preparation of special meals (Koonday) in Rajab:
On 22nd Rajab, preparation of special meals called “Koonday” has been established as a well known tradition. In this tradition, on the fulfillment of a vow (mannat) traditional sweet dishes Halwah Puri and Kheer are prepared.
From historical facts we know that this tradition began in 1906 in the family of Ameer Menai who belonged to a city of India. The objective of this tradition was to send reward (Esaal e Sawab) to the soul of Imam Jafar Sadiq although it was never clear if Imam Jafar was born in Rajab or if he died in Rajab.
In Islam, celebrating the birth of a pious man or doing special charity in his name is not at all allowed. Moreover the “Koonda” tradition is neither found in the Quran or Sunnah. Nor do we find any evidence for Koonda from any of the companions of Prophet Muhammad saw, nor the generation after them (Tabayeen) and not even the third generation (Taba tabayeen).
The Real Religion
It should be very clear in our minds what the real religion is. The real religion is that which Allah Subhana Watala conveyed to us through Prophet Muhammad sallaalahu Alayeh Wasallam. So our religion is total submission and obedience to Allah and following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alayhe Wasallam.
Allah Tala Says:
“Today I have completed your religion for you and completed my favor upon you and chosen Islam as a religion for you.” ( Al Maidah 3)
Anything which Prophet Muhammad saw did not do nor ordered us to do, considering it to be a part of Islam and expecting it to be a source of Ajr and Thawab (reward) is Biddat – An innovation.
Prophet Muhammad saw said:
“Indeed every new thing is an innovation and every innovation is deviation and every deviation leads to fire” ( Sahih Jama Assabir)
Regarding the innovator, Prophet Muhammad saw said:
“Allah Tala does not accept the repentance of an innovator until he quits doing the innovated things.” (Sahih At Targhib wa Tarhib)
Prophet Muhammad saw said:
“I will be at my pond from before and some of you will be brought in front of me and then they will be removed from in front of me. So I will ask Oh My Lord, these are my people! But I will be told; you don’t know about the new things they innovated after you” (Bukhari)
Therefore it is very important and essential to avoid and stay away from all such matters which were innovated after Prophet Muhammad saw in the name of Islam because Prophet Muhammad saw said :
“The person who innovated something new in our religion which is not a part of our religion ,will be shunned and rejected .” (Bukhari)
The Mairaj Event
The exact date of Mairaj is still controversial and no common consent has been reached. However, the majority of jurists are in favour of a date between 16-12 months prior to migration to Madinah. The following is a epitome of the details of that miraculous event narrated on the authority of Ibn Al-Qayyim.[Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/49; Tareekh-e-Islam 1/124; Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 1/76]
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was carried in body from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel, the archangel. There he alighted, tethered the horse to a ring in the gate of the Mosque and led the Prophets in prayer. After that Gabriel took him to the heavens on the same horse. When they reached the first heaven Gabriel asked the guardian angel to open the door of heaven. It was opened and he saw Adam, the progenitor of mankind. The Prophet [pbuh] saluted him and the other welcomed him and expressed his faith in Muhammad's Prophethood. He saw the souls of martyrs on his right and those of the wretched on his left.
Gabriel then ascended with the Prophet to the second heaven, asked for opening the gate and there he saw and saluted John, son of Zachariya (Yahya bin Zakariya) and Jesus, son of Mary. They returned the salutation, welcomed him and expressed their faith in his Prophethood.
Then they reached the third heaven where they saw Joseph (Yusuf) and saluted him. The latter welcomed the Prophet and expressed faith in his Prophethood. The Prophet, in the company of Gabriel, then reached the fourth heaven where he met the Prophet Enoch (Idris) and saluted him. Prophet Enoch returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood.
Then he was carried to the fifth heaven where he met the Prophet Aaron (Harun) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood.
In the sixth heaven he met Moses (Musa) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Muhammad [pbuh] on leaving, saw that Moses began to weep. He asked about the reason. Moses answered that he was weeping because he witnessed a man sent after him as a Messenger (Muhammad) who was able to lead more of his people to the Paradise than he himself did.
Then Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham (Ibrahim)[AWS] and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood.
Then he was carried to Sidrat-al-Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma'mûr [(the much frequented house) which is like the Ka'bah (Sacred House) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection].
He was then presented to the Divine Presence and experienced the thrill of witnessing the Divine Glory and Manifestation at the closest possible propinquity. There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him.
On his return, he spoke to Moses that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses addressing the Prophet [pbuh] said: "Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number."
The Prophet [pbuh] turned to Gabriel as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel nodded, "Yes, if you desire," and ascended with him to the Presence of Allâh. The All-Mighty Allâh, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses, who again urged him to request for a further reduction.
Muhammad [pbuh] once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further. He went again and again in the Presence of Allâh at the suggestion of Moses for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: "I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will." When Muhammad [pbuh] went farther, a Caller was heard saying: "I have imposed My Ordinance and alleviated the burden of My servants."
Some significant suggestive incidents featured the 'Night Journey' of the Prophet, of which we could mention:
1.The Prophet's breast was cleft by Gabriel, his heart extracted and washed with the water of Zamzam —a sacred spring in Makkah.
2.In the same context, there were brought to him two gold vessels. There was milk in one, while the other was full of wine. He was asked to choose either of them, so he selected the vessel containing milk and drank it. He (the angel) said: "You have been guided on Al-Fitrah or you have attained Al-Fitrah. Had you selected wine, your nation would have been misled." [It is a symbolic way of saying that good and evil in the form of milk and wine were brought before the Prophet and he instinctively made a choice for the good. It is very difficult to render the Arabic term 'Fitrah' into English. It denotes the original constitution or disposition, with which a child comes into this world, as contrasted with qualities or inclinations acquired during life; besides it refers to the spiritual inclination inherent in man in his unspoilt state].
3.The Prophet [pbuh] told that he saw two manifest rivers, — the Nile and the Euphrates — and two hidden ones. It appears that the two manifest rivers, the Nile and the Euphrates, symbolically describe the area in whose fertile valleys, Muhammad's Message will settle, and the people whereof will always remain the adherent bearers of Islam that will be passed on from generation to another. They can by no means suggest that they well up from the Garden.
4.He had the opportunity to see Malik, the guardian of Hell, with a cheerless frowning face. Therein, he saw the Hell dwellers, of whom were those who unjustly eat up the property of the orphans. They have flews similar to those of camels, swallowing red-hot stones and then issuing out of their backs. There were also the people who take usury with bellies too big to be able to move around; they are trodden by the people of Pharaoh when these are admitted into Hell. In the same abode, he saw the adulterers offered tasty fatty meat and rotten smelly one but they make option for the latter. The licentious women were also there hanging from their breasts.
5.The 'Night Journey' raised a good deal of stir among the people and the sceptical audience plied Muhammad with all sorts of questions. He told them that he saw the camels of Makkan merchants to and fro. He also guided them to some of their animals that went astray. He informed them that he had drunk some of their water while they were fast asleep and left the container covered.
For the true Muslims, however there was nothing unusual about the Night Journey. The All-Mighty Allâh, Who is Powerful enough to have created the heavens and the earth by an act of His Will, is surely Powerful enough to take His Messenger beyond the heavens and show him those signs of His at firsthand which are inaccessible to man otherwise. The disbelievers on their part went to see Abu Bakr on account of this event, and he readily said: "Yes, I do verify it." It was on this occasion that he earned the title of As-Siddiq (the verifier of the truth). [Ibn Hisham 1/399]
The most eloquent and most concise justification of this 'Journey' is expressed in Allâh's Words:
"... in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, signs, etc.)" [Al-Qur'an 17:1].
Source( Ar RAheeh Al Makhtoom: The Sealed Necter by Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri)