The Sacred Months

Allah سبحانه وتعالى informed the believers in His Book when He said:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ‌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ‌ شَهْرً‌ا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ مِنْهَا أَرْ‌بَعَةٌ حُرُ‌مٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them” [9:36]

Ibn Kathir mentions in his great book of tafsir:

وقال علي بن أبي طلحة، عن ابن عباس قوله: {إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا} الآية {فَلا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ} في كلِّهن، ثم اختص من ذلك أربعة أشهر فجعلهن حراما، وعَظم حُرُماتهن، وجعل الذنب فيهن أعظم، والعمل الصالح والأجر أعظم

‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas about the statement, “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months” until “so do not commit injustice against yourselves therein” [meaning] in any of them, then He specified four months* from those and he made them sacred, and He emphasized their sacredness, and made sins in them magnified, and righteous actions and the reward (also) magnified.

وقال قتادة في قوله: {فَلا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ} إن الظلم في الأشهر الحرم أعظم خطيئة ووزرًا، من الظلم فيما سواها، وإن كان الظلم على كل حال عظيما، ولكن الله يعظم من أمره ما يشاء. قال: إن الله اصطفى صَفَايا من خلقه، اصطفى من الملائكة رسلا ومن الناس رسلا واصطفى من الكلام ذِكْرَه، واصطفى من الأرض المساجد، واصطفى من الشهور رمضان والأشهر الحرم، واصطفى من الأيام يوم الجمعة، واصطفى من الليالي ليلة القدر، فَعَظِّموا ما عظم الله، فإنما تُعَظم الأمور بما عظمها الله به عند أهل الفهم وأهل العقل.

And Qataadah said about the statement, “so do not commit injustice against yourselves therein“:

Verily thulm (injustice) in the sacred months is a greater sin and burden than thulm committed elsewhere, and even though thulm is terrible under all circumstances, Allah magnifies whichever of his commands He wishes.

He (also) said:

Verily Allah has chosen certain choice portions from His creation. He chose the from among the angels messengers, and from mankind messengers, and He chose from speech dhikr, and He chose from from the earth masaajid, and He chose from the months Ramadhaan and the ashhur al-hurum (sacred months), and He chose from the days yawm al-Jumu’ah, and He chose from the nights Lailah al-Qadr. So magnify what Allah has magnified! For verily those who magnify the affairs which have been magnified by Allah are the people of understanding and the people of sound reasoning.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 4/148-149]

*Translator’s Note: The four Sacred Months (al-Ashhur al-urum) are Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-ijjah, Muarram, and Rajab, which are the 11th, 12th, 1st, and 7th months of the Hijri calendar, respectively. Abu Bakr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

إِنَّ الزَّمَانَ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ، السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا، أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ، ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ ‏

“Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-ijjah and Al-Muarram, and (the fourth is) Rajab (named after the tribe of) Muar, which is between Jumādā (al-thānī) and Sha’bān.”

[al-Bukhari #4708]

At the time of this posting, the month of Rajab is quickly approaching, so this information is presented as a reminder for the reader to magnify what Allah has magnified and to remember Allah and His limits at all times and especially in the sacred months.

Originally posted: 18 Jumādā al-thānī, 1435 (18 April, 2014)

See also: The month of Rajab

See also: Voluntary fasting in Muharram and its virtues: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: Ibn Rajab on the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah

See also: The Ruling on Fighting during the Sacred Months: Ibn Rajab

And view all posts dealing with the different months of the Hijri calendar here.

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12 thoughts on “The Sacred Months

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