There is considerable disagreement among people about this month called Rajab. Unfortunately, it seems that few of those who are engaged in the dispute have the requisite knowledge to discuss the matter properly. Some people claim that there is special virtue in fasting in Rajab during the day, while others say that there is special virtue in praying during this month in the late watches of the night. Some people, without knowing the significance of what they are saying, have elevated Rajab in preference over all other months, even the four sacred months whose preference is established by the sacred texts. The general Muslim public has become understandably confused. Because of this, it is the duty of the people of knowledge to explain the truth about this month.
The guidance brought by our Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning the months of the year has been carefully preserved and passed down to us. The Companions committed this knowledge to memory and related it faithfully to those who came after them. This has come to us in the form of numerous authentic hadîth in the many hadîth anthologies that we have.
In all of this Prophetic guidance, no mention is made of the special virtues of Rajab. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said anything about it, the Companions would certainly have conveyed it to us, just like they conveyed to us what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said regarding other months of the year.
Alas, the tale-weavers among the preachers and storytellers could not resist adding to the Sunnah what is not part of it. They contributed hadîth of their own manufacture extolling the virtues of the month of Rajab, and particularly the special merits or prayer and fasting during within that month. However, those storytellers were unaware of the fact that the Sunnah had erudite scholars ready to champion it and defend its frontiers.
What is most startling is to hear those who have some acquaintance with the knowledge of the Sunnah fall victim to such hadîth, relating them and acting upon them, unaware that those hadîth are false and rejected. Indeed, every hadîth about fasting in Rajab and offering prayers during certain nights in Rajab is a fabrication, as has been mentioned by not a few scholars.
Ibn Rajab writes in al-Latâ’if (1/194):
There is nothing authentic regarding any special prayer to be performed in Rajab. The hadîth that are related about the virtue of the Raghâ’ib Prayer to be performed on the first Thursday night in Rajab is a lie, a falsehood of no authenticity. This prayer is an innovation, as attested to by the majority of scholars. Among the prominent later scholars who have mentioned this are al-Hâfiz Isma`îl al-Ansârî, Abû Bakr al-Sam`ânî, Abû Fadl b. Nâsir, and Abû al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzî.
There is nothing authentic regarding any special virtue for fasting the month of Rajab related from the Prophet (peace be upon him) or from his Companions.
Ibn Taymiyah writes in Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (25/29):
As for fasting Rajab in particular, all the hadîth about it are weak; indeed they are fabricated. People of knowledge do not rely upon any of them. They are not of the kind of weak hadîth that might be related regarding the virtues of deeds; they are all fabrications and lies.
Ibn Qayyîm says, in al-Manâr al-Munîf (96) before mentioning a number of these spurous hadîth:
All of the hadîth that mention fasting in Rajab or praying certain nights therein are deliberately fabricated lies.
Ibn Hajar writes in Tabyîn al-`Ajab (23):
There is nothing found regarding any virtue for the month of Rajab, nor for fasting it or fasting any particular part of it, nor for praying on any particular night of it, that can be regarded an authentic hadîth that can hold up as evidence. The greats scholar Abû Ismâ`îl al-Harawî al-Hâfiz came to this same conclusion before me.
He also writes (33):
The hadîth found concerning the virtues of Rajab or for fasting it or any part f it are of two categories: weak and fabricated.
There are found regarding the virtues of Rajab such false hadîth that there is nothing wrong with pointing them out so that no one will be deceived by them.
Many eminent scholars have said that not a single hadîth regarding the virtues of Rajab is authentic, including Ibn Dahiyyah al-Kalbî and Abû al-Fadl b. Nâsir.
The following are some of these hadîth:
1. “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`bân is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my nation.”
This statement has been related as coming from two Companions: Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî and Anas b. Mâlik.
As for the narration attributed to Abû Sa`ûd al-Khudrî, Ibn al-Jawzî mentions it in al-Mawdû`ât (2/576) and Ibn `Irâq in al-Tanzîh al-Sharî`ah (2/151) with a chain of transmission from Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Naqqâsh.
The hadîth’s text is given at length, including a discussion of the virtues of fasting the month of Rajab. Ibn al-Jawzî then comments: “This hadîth is fabricated. Al-Kassâ’î is unknown and al-Naqqâsh is accused of lying.”
Ibn Hajar says in Tabyîn al`Ajab (23): “This chain of transmission has been put together…The responsibility of this hadîth belongs to al-Naqqâsh. He is the author of the book Shifâ’ al-Sudûr , a book which he fills chiefly with lies and calumnies.”
Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî writes in Târîkh Baghdâd (2/602) regarding al-Naqqâsh: “His hadîth are rejected with well-known chains of transmission. Talhah b. Muhammad b. Ja`far al-Hâfiz says: ‘al-Naqqâsh used to lie regarding hadîth and mostly told stories.’”
The hadîth has another chain of transmission going back to Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî that al-Sahmî records in Târîkh Jurjân (225). Al-Sahmî then comments: “It is a hadîth with a succession of unknown and weak narrators.”
The hadîth from Abû Sa`îd has other spurious chains of transmission mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Tabyîn al-`Ahjab .
As for the attribution of this hadîth to Anas b. Mâlik, Ibn al-Jawzî mentions it in al-Mawdû`ât (2/436) with a chain of transmission that comes to us by way of the narrator Abû al-Hasan `Alî b. `Abd Allah b. Jahdam.
The text of this hadîth mentions the Raghâ’ib prayer.
Ibn al-Jawzî says: “This hadîth is fabricated against Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Ibn Jahdam has been accused of fabricating hadîth and he has been called a liar. I heard our sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Hâfiz say that the narrators in this chain of transmission are all unknown. I have searched for them in all of the books and have not found them.”
Al-Dhahabî adds: “Perhaps those narrators were never even born.”
Al-Bayhaqî narrates the hadîth in Shu`ab al-Îmân (7/396) by way of another chain of transmission, then comments: “Its chain of transmission is rejected. It is a hadîth with a succession of weak and abandoned narrators.”
2. It is attributed to `Alî that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed the month of Rajab is a great month. Whoever fasts a day of it will have it written to his credit as if he had fasted for a thousand years…”
This hadîth is mentioned by Ibn al-Jawzî in al-Mawdû`ât (2/578) with a chain of transmission coming by way of Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî and including the narrators `Alî b. Zayd al-Qarrâ’î and Hârûn b. `Antarah. Ibn al-Jawzî comments: “This hadîth is not authentically related from the Prophet (peace be upon him).”
This hadîth has a chain of weak and rejected narrators. To start with, Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî is extremely weak. [al-Dhahabî, Mîzân al-I`tidal (1/180)]
`Alî b, Zayd al-Qarrâ’î is referred to by al-Dhahabî as being “ruinous”.
As for Hârûn b. `Antarah, Ibn Hibbân says about him: “His hadîth are explicitly rejected. He narrates a good number of rejected hadîth, so much so that one’s heart upon hearing these hadîth starts to believe that he did so deliberately because of the great number of things that he relates which are baseless. His narrations can not be used for evidence in any capacity.”
Ibn Hajar mentions this hadîth in Tabyîn al-`Ajab wherein he accuses Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî of lying.
Similar comments about this hadîth are given by al-Suyûtî and al-Shawkânî.
3. “In Paradise there is a river named Rajab, and whoever fasts a day in the month of Rajab, Allah will give him to drink from this river.”
This hadîth is mentioned by al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-Îmân (8300), al-Asbahânî in al-Targhîb wa al-Tarhîb (1847), Ibn al-Jawzî in al-`Ilal al-Mutanâhiyah (2/555), al-Dhahabî in Mîzân al-I`tidâl (4/189) and by others by way of the narrator Mansûr b. Zayd al-Azdî.
Ibn al-Jawzî comments: “It is unauthentic and contains unknown narrators whom we cannot identify at all.”
Al-Dhahabî says: “Mansûr is unknown and the report is false.”
Al-Albânî declares the hadîth to be weak in his Silsilah al-Da`îfah (1898).
4. “Whoever fasts three days in the month of Harâm will have written to his credit the worship of seven hundred years.”
This hadîth is mentioned by al-Tabarânî in al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (1789), al-Bayhaqî in Fadâ’il al-Awqât (308), al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî in al-Muwaddih (1/118). Ibn `Asâkir in Târîkh Dimashq (19/116).
Ibn al-Jawzî relates it in al-`Ilal al-Mutanâhiyah (2/554) as “Whoever fasts three days in the month of Harâm – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – will have written to his credit the worship of seven hundred years.”
Al-Tabarânî relates it as being “the worship of two years”. It is related with other wordings as well.
Its chain of transmission contains Maslamah b. Râshid.
Abû Hâtim al-Râzî says about him: “His hadîth are contradictory.”
Al-Azdî says: “His narrations cannot be used as evidence.”
Al-Albânî declares the hadîth to be weak in his Silsilah al-Da`îfah (4611).