Sunday, August 15, 2004
Concerning the Special Merit of Fasting on the First Day of Rajab, and of Keeping Vigil Throughout the First Night of that Month
Whenever the month of Rajab came around, as Shaikh Imam Hibatu'llah ibn al-Mubarak as-Saqati (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) has informed us on good traditional authority, Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to say:
O Allah, bestow Your grace upon us in Rajab and Sha'ban, and allow us to live on into Ramadan!
As Shaikh Imam Hibatu'llah (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) has also informed us, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:
If someone has fasted on the first day of Rajab, his fast will be counted as the equivalent of a month-long fast.
If someone has fasted for seven days in Rajab, the seven gates of Hell [Jahannam] will all be locked to keep him shut out.
If someone has fasted for eight days in Rajab, the eight gates of the Garden of Paradise will all be held open for him.
If someone has fasted for ten days in Rajab, Allah will replace his bad deeds with good deeds.
If someone has fasted for eighteen days in Rajab, a crier will call out from heaven above: "Allah has already forgiven you, so make a fresh start and do good work!"
Shaikh Imam Hibatu'llah (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) informs us that the following saying has been attributed to the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and give him peace):
If someone has fasted for one day in Rajab, Allah will pardon him for the sins of sixty years.
If someone has fasted for five days in Rajab, Allah will put him through as easy reckoning when He calls him to account [at the Resurrection].
If someone has fasted for thirty days in Rajab, Allah (Exalted is He) will register His approval [ridwan] of him, and He will not punish him.
According to a traditional report, [the pious Umayyad Caliph] 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) wrote to al-Hajjaj ibn Artah, who was then in charge of the city of Basra: "You must pay special attention to four nights in the year, for on those nights Allah (Exalted is He) pours forth Mercy [Rahma] in great abundance. They are: The first night of Rajab; the night of the middle of Sha'ban; the night of the twenty-seventh of Ramadan; and the night of the Fastbreaking [lailat al-Fitr]
Khalid ibn Ma'dan (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) is reported as having said:
There are five nights in the year during which it is most important to maintain an extraordinary degree of vigilant awareness, for if someone observes them properly, hoping to receive their spiritual reward and believing in their promise, Allah (Exalted is He) will admit him to the Garden of Paradise. These nights, and the rules for their observance, are as follows:
(1) The first night of Rajab; one must keep vigil throughout that night, and then fast during the following daytime.
(2 and 3) The two nights of the two Festivals [lailatai 'l-'Idain]; one must keep vigil throughout each of those two nights, and break fast during the following daylight hours.
(4) The night of the middle of Sha'ban; one must keep vigil throughout that night, and then fast during the following daytime.
(5) The night of 'Ashura'; one must keep vigil throughout that night, and then fast during the following daytime.
Traditional Prayers of Supplication [ad'iya ma'thura] that are Particularly Appropriate on the First Night of Rajab
When the worshipper has duly performed his ritual prayer [salat] on the first night of Rajab, he is recommended to offer the following prayer of supplication [du'a]:
"O Allah, to You the applicants apply this night, to You the aspirants aspire, and for Your gracious bounty and beneficence the seekers look in hope. You have special favors [nafahat] to bestow this night, and prizes and gifts and presents. You will bestow them upon whomever You choose from among Your servants, and You will withhold them from those who are not ready to receive Your providential care ['inaya]. Well, here am I, Your servant who is sorely in need of You, hoping for Your gracious bounty and beneficence! If it pleases You, O my Master [ya Mawlaya], to bestow Your grace this night upon one of Your creatures, and if You will be so generous as to grant him a favor out of Your kindness, then bless Muhammad and his family, and let me enjoy Your superabundance and beneficence, O Lord of All the Worlds [ya Rabba'l-'Alamin]!"
'Ali ibn Abli Talib (may Allah be well pleased with him) would devote himself entirely to worship during four nights of the year, namely: The first night of Rajab; the night of the [Festival of] Fastbreaking [lailat al-Fitr]; the night of the [Festival of] Sacrifices [lailat al-Adha]; and the night of the middle of Sha'ban. Here is the prayer of supplication [du'a] he used to offer on those nights:
"O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family, those lanterns of wisdom [masabih al-hikma], masters of grace [mawali 'n-ni'ma] and mines of virtue [ma'adin al-'isma]! Let them be my protection against all evil. Do not take me by surprise or unawares. Do not cause the outcome of my life's work to be nothing but disappointment and regret. May it please You to view me with favor, for Your forgiveness is granted to the wrongdoers and I am one of the wrongdoers. O Allah, forgive me that which cannot do You any harm, and grant me that which cannot bring You any benefit. [that is to say: "because You are Immune to all injury, and because You are the Self-Sufficient Benefactor."]
"You are the One whose Mercy [Rahma] is all-embracing, the One whose Wisdom [Hikma] is incomparable, so grant me the blessings of comfort and composure, security and good health, thankfulness, well-being, and devotion to duty [taqwa]. Instill patience and honesty in me and in your saintly friends [awliya']. Let ease [yusr] be Your gift to me, and do not let it come with difficulty ['usr] attached. Extend these same blessings to my wife and children, to my brothers in You, and to all those Muslim men [Muslimin] and Muslim women [Muslimat], those believing men [mu'minin] and believing women [mu'minat], who have helped me to become the man I am today."
- Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Sufficient Provision for the Seekers of the Path of Truth (Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq)
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter. (The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things." (Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake. (Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief; The ego is worse than seventy devils. (Arabic Poem)
I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires,
egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour?
I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful.
O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware!
I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.