Commentaries on Fasting Rajab

  1. In Abu Dawud and Bayhaqi: From Mujiba al-Bahiliyya who reported that her father or uncle was told by the Prophet three times: “Fast some and leave some in the sacred months.”15
  2. In Ahmad: From Usama ibn Zayd: “O Messenger of Allah… I never saw you fast any month (besides Ramadan) as much as you fast during the month of Sha`ban?” He said: “The people become inattentive during that month between Rajab and Ramadan (i.e. between two great months), and it is a month in which actions are raised to the Lord of the worlds, therefore I like that my actions be raised while I am fasting.”16
  3. In Bukhari and Muslim from `A’isha: The Prophet used to fast the whole of Sha`ban but for a little.
  4. In Muslim from Abu Hurayra: The best month to fast after Ramadan is Muharram.

As for hafiz Ibn Hajar’s opinion it only applies to the pure singling out of the month of Rajab at the exclusion of Ramadan, or Sha`ban, or the sacred months, or the rest of the entire year, which does not have a basis. But his opinion does not provide a basis for the claim of the objectors that fasting during Rajab is forbidden or that it is an innovation: for neither the Imams of the fours schools, nor Bayhaqi, nor Nawawi, nor Ibn Hajar, nor even Sayyid Sabiq have claimed this! Furthermore, there is also no sound hadith from the Prophet forbidding the fast of Rajab or disavowing its merit.

  • As for those who object by quoting the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim whereby the Prophet emphasized that the one who fasts all his life has not fasted, then their understanding of this hadith is diametrically opposed to that of the Companions and the Salaf, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi`i, and Ahmad, who did not dislike perpetual fasting as long as it did not include the days of `Id and tashriq.
  • As for the narration from Ibn `Abbas whereby the Prophet forbade the fast of Rajab, then only Ibn Majah reports it, with a chain containing Dawud ibn `Ata’ al-Muzani concerning whom Buhakri, Ibn Abi Hatim, and Abu Zur`a said: “His hadith is rejected” (munkar al-hadith), and Nisa’i declared him da`if, and Ahmad said: “He is nothing.” The chain also contains Abu Ayyub Sulayman ibn `Ali al-Hashimi about whom Yahya ibn Sa`id al-Qattan said: “His case is not known,” although Ibn Hibban declared him trustworthy, but Ibn Hibban’s leniency in this is known.
  • As for the hadiths in Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Darimi concerning the Prophet’s injunction to refrain from fasting in the second half of Sha`ban, then as Tirmidhi explained it applies to those who would deliberately intend to fast only then: it should not be done in view of the proximity of the month of Ramadan. As for those who were fasting before, then they may fast in the second half of Sha`ban.
  • In conclusion, it is at the very least allowed to fast Rajab and Sha`ban in part or in whole, and we say it is recommended, as the clarity of the intention to follow the Sunna and the knowledge that only the fast of Ramadan is obligatory, preclude the reprehensibility of those who used to honor Rajab in rivalry with Ramadan. Sufficient proof of the month of Rajab’s status as a great month lies in the fact that it is the month of the Prophet’s rapture and ascension to his Lord (al-isra’ wa al-mi`raj), and they are blessed who commemorate this month and that night for the sake of Allah’s favor to His Prophet and the Community of His Prophet. And Allah knows best.17

    Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

    © 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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