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On the excellent qualities of the month of Rajab
(PART 3)

Traditional reports in which great emphasis is placed on the special merit of fasting on the first Thursday in Rajab, and of performing the ritual prayer [salat] during the first Friday night of that month.

The following report has been conveyed to us by Shaikh Imam Abu'l-Barakat ['Father of Blessings'] Hibatu'llah ibn al-Mubarak as-Saqati (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him), who cites good traditional authority in support of its authenticity: Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:

Rajab is Allah's month, Sha'ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Community [Ummati].

Someone then asked him: "O Messenger of Allah, what do you mean exactly, when you say that Rajab is Allah's month?" So he explained (Allah bless him and give him peace):

" [I call it Allah's month] because it is specifically associated with forgiveness, because in it the shedding of blood is brought to a halt, because in it Allah (Exalted is He) relents toward His Prophets [anbiya'], because in it He rescues His saints [awliya'] from the hands of their enemies, and because anyone who fasts during this month becomes entitled to receive three things from Allah (Exalted is He). The first and second of these are forgiveness for all the sins he has previously committed, and impregnable virtue ['isma] for the remainder of his life. As for the third, he will be safe from thirst on the Day of the Greatest Review [Yawm al-'Ard al-Akbar]."

At this point a feeble old man stood up and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I am physically incapable of fasting through the whole of the month," so Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) went on to say:

"Fast during the first day of the month and during the day that comes in the middle of it, and also during the very last day of the month, for then you will be given the same reward as someone who has fasted through the whole of the month, since one good deed is equal in value to ten of the same kind.

" It is most important, however, that none of you should neglect the fFirst Friday in Rajab, for it is the night that the angels call the Night of [the Granting of] Wishes [Lailat ar-Ragha'ib]. This is because, by the time the first third of the night has elapsed, there will not be a single angel still at large in the heavens, nor in any region of the earth bar one. They will all be gathered together in the Ka'ba and the area immediately surrounding it. Allah (Exalted is He) will condescend to notice that they have assembled there, and He will say: "My angels, ask Me for whatever you wish!" Their response to this will be: "Our Lord, the request we wish to make is that You grant forgiveness to those who faithfully keep the fast in Rajab," whereupon Allah (Exalted is He) will tell them: "That I have already done!"

Then Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

" No one will go unrewarded if he fasts during the daytime on Thursday, the first Thursday in Rajab, and if he then performs twelve extra cycles of salat-prayer during the period between sunset [maghrib] and late evening ['isha'], i.e., during the first segment ['atama] of the night of Friday. In each cycle [rak'a] he must recite the Opening Sura of the Book [Fatihat al-Kitab] one time only, then the Sura that begins with "Behold, We sent it down on the Night of Power" three times, and the Sura that begins with "Say: 'He is Allah, One'" twelve times. The twelve cycles must be divided into sets of two, with a salutation [taslima] to mark the conclusion of each pair."

When he has completed his salat-prayer, he must invoke blessings upon me, by repeating seventy times:

O Allah, bestow blessings anda peace upon Muhammad, the Holy Prophet, and upon his family. He must then bow down low in an act of prostration [sajda], repeating seventy times while he is in the posture of prostration [sujud]:

All-Glorious, All-Holy,n Lord of the Angels and of the Spirit! Then he must raise his head and repeat seventy times:

My Lord, forgive and have mercy m pardon that which You well know, for You are the Mighty, the Supreme. f Then he must bow down low for the second time and repeat the words he uttered during the first prostration [sajda]. Finally, while he is still in the posture of prostration [sujud], he should ask Allah to grant his personal request, for that request will surely be fulfilled.

Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said:

" By Him in whose Hand is my soul [wa 'lladhi nafsi bi-yadih], I assure you that no servant [of His], whether manservant ['abd] or maidservant [ama], will ever perform this particular salat-prayer without Allah forgiving all the sins of which that individual has ever been guilty, even if they are like the flecks of foam upon the ocean, as numerous as all the grains of sand, as heavy as the mountains, and as many as the drops of rain and the leaves on all the trees. On the Day of Resurrection [Yawm al-Qiyama], he will be allowed to intercede on behalf of seven hundred members of his family."

On the first night that worshipful servant spends in his grave, the reward for this salat-prayer will come to visit him [in the shape of a human being], with a cheerful face and an eloquent tongue. "O my dear friend," it will say to him, "rejoice in the good tidings, for I am here to tell you that you have been delivered from every severe affliction!" This will prompt the servant to exclaim: "Who are you? By Allah, I swear that I have never seen a man with a better-looking face than yours. Never have I heard a form of speech more charming than your way of speaking, and never have I smelled a fragrance more delightful than that of your perfume." So then it will tell him: "O my dear friend, I am the reward for that salat-prayer, the one you performed on whichever night it was, in whichever month it was, in whichever year it was. I have come here tonight in order to fulfill your request, to entertain you in your solitary state, and to banish your loneliness from you. Later on, when the trumpet is sounded, I shall provide you with shade to protect your head from the scorching heat on the Fields of the Resurrection ['Arasat al-Qiyama]. So rejoice in the good tidings, for you will never be deprived of the blessing that comes from your Master [Mawla]."