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Significance of the Holy Months Rajab and Sha`baan

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

20 May 2016 Burton, Michigan

Jumu`ah Khutbah at As-Siddiq Institute & Mosque (ASIM)

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. [Dua of Khutbah.]

O Muslims, Believers! Every moment and second of our life is counted and we are only servants, without power, weak and helpless, to be a good and sincere `abd to Allah (swt) and that’s why we cannot raise our heads and say, “We are here.” There is only Allah (swt), The Creator. He brought us to dunya and is taking us to Akhirah on a journey in which there are obstacles, difficulties and problems, and all kinds of serious miseries confronting the whole Muslim world. But Allah (swt) is Merciful and wants to help us in our worshipness and to be accepted by Him.

The best worshipper, and we can say the Unique One, is Sayyidina Muhammad `alayhi afdalu ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaam, that Allah (swt) raised him under His Gaze and brought him in order to be the Master of the Messengers, from Adam (a) until the Day of Judgement; after him there are no messengers.

Sayyidina Muhammad, alayhi afdalu salaatu wa salaam, tried not to burden his Ummah too much.

عن عبد الله بن بسر رضي الله عنه أن رجلا قال: يا رسول الله إن شرائع الإسلام قد كثرت علي فأخبرني بشيء أتشبث به؟ قال لا يزال لسانك رطبا من ذكر الله" الترمذي.

A man came to the Prophet (s) and said, "O Rasoolullah! The rules of Islam became heavy on me, so give me news of something which I can maintain." Prophet (s) said, "Make your tongue wet with dhikrullah." (Tirmidhi)

When a Bedouin came to the Prophet (s) and said, “There are too many laws in Islam, give me something I can do,” Prophet (s) said, Ij`al lisaanaka ratban bi-dhikrillah, “Keep your tongue wet with dhikrullah.” Dhikrullah is the Holy Qur’an, so it means be friendly with Holy Qur’an, keep it as your friend in order that Allah will save you! Prophet (s) didn’t give him more than he can carry, but in the reality of its meaning and interpretation, the Holy Qur'an can carry the whole universe! Allah wants to save Ummat an-Nabi (s) so He gave them precious times in their lives, like today we are in the three holy months that are very dear to the Prophet (s) where he said in his Hadith:

رجب شهر الله، وشعبان شهري، ورمضان شهر أمتي

Rajab is Allah's month, Sha`baan is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.

(Abul-Fath ibn Abi Fawaris in his `Amalee from al-Hasan)

When Prophet (s) says, Rajabun shahrullah, “Rajab is Allah’s month,” Allah doesn’t need that, it is for us! He is offering us on a golden plate a month that if you do `ibaadah in it you will be successful. When he said, Rajabun shahrullah, it means any `ibaadah you do in that month will be raised by Allah (swt) directly, not by the angels, as it is Allah's month.

wa Rajabun thalathatu ahrufin fa ar-Raa rahmatullah, the first letter is Allah’s Mercy on us; wa ‘l-jeem jooduhu `alayna, the letter Jeem represents His Generosity on us; wa ‘l-Baa, the letter Baa is birruhu `alayna, to give us birr, favor. Li anna ar-rahmata tasubbu feehi sabban, that’s why it was called ‘Rajabun shahrullah,’ because rahmah will descend directly to us in that month, no angels to carry it; wa ismuhu ‘l-asamm, and Allah called him, “Rajabun shahrullah al-asamm,” which means “does not hear anything,” because fighting in this month is not allowed, not even fighting with your brothers and sisters, relatives and neighbors, forget about wars, even that fighting is not accepted in Shahr Rajab. Allah will ask the month of Rajab, “What has My servant done for me, yaa Rajab?”

Allah will ask the month Rajab, "What My servant has done for me?" and the answer is, Inna Rajab yurfa`u ila ‘Llahi ta`ala idhaa anqada fa-yas'aluhu ‘Llahu ta`ala `an `amali `ibaadihi fa yaskut. Allah will ask the month of Rajab when it has finished, "What were My servants doing? Tell me." Allah doesn't know? He knows, but He wants us to know because in Rajab our `amal goes directly to Him. And Allah said to him (Rajab), "Tell me about what are they doing?" Fa yaskut. Look at the adab, He doesn't answer. Thumma yas’aluhu thaaniyan fa yaskut, then He asked him another time and He kept quiet. Thumma yasa’luhu thaalithan, then He asked him a third time and he kept quiet, thumma yaqool, because three times he didn't say anything, then he wants to defend us: “Yaa Rabb, Anta amarta `ibaadaka an yastura ba`dahum ba`da, "You ordered Your servants not to expose each other, to veil each other if they do something wrong,” wa sammaanee nabiyyuka Muhammad sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallama al-asamm, fa anna ‘l-asamm, "and Prophet (s) called me ‘The one that doesn't hear,’ and I don't hear, fa anna ‘l-asamm sama`atu ta`atahum, "but I heard their worshipness." Doona ma`aaseehim, "I didn't hear their sins, I heard only their good side, I don't want to hear the bad side." Fa yaghfiru ‘Llah `azza wa jall li ‘l-ummat al-Muhammadiyya, Allah will forgive because of Shahr Rajab, shahrullah, wa qeel rajabun li-istighfaaru ’dh-dhunoob, Allah has made Rajab for forgiveness from sins in order to prepare us for Sha`baan and Ramadan, wa qeel rajab shahru ‘t-tawbah, wa sha`baanu shahru ‘l-mahabbah wa ramadanu shahru ‘l-qurbah. It is said that Rajab is the month of tawbah, forgiveness, and Sha`baan is the month of love and Ramadan is the month of nearness. That's why the Prophet (s) used to say, Sha`baanu shahree, he loves that month, wa ramadanu shahru qurba, “and Ramadan is the month of nearness,” when the `abd will be near Allah (swt) as He says:

Prophet (s) said that Allah (swt) said:

« كل عمل ابن آدم يضاعف الحسنة عشرة أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف. قال الله عز وجل: إلا الصوم، فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به. يدع شهوته وطعامه من أجلي. للصائم فرحتان: فرحة عند فطره، وفرحة عند لقاء ربه. ولخلوف فيه أطيب عند الله من ريح المسك» رواه مسلم

All the deeds of the Children of Adam are multiplied so that there are ten rewards for each good deed increasing up to 700, and Allah said, “Except fasting, for it is done (purely) for Me and I reward for it. He gives up his food and his drink and his sexual desire for My Sake. There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: a joy when he breaks it and a joy when he meets his Lord. And the breath (of one who fasts) is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.” (Muslim)

Now fifteenth Sha`baan is coming. It is said by many scholars that the Prophet (s) said:

عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم من صلى أول ليلة من شعبان اثنتي عشرة ركعة يقرأ في الركعة الأولى فاتحة الكتاب مرة وقل هو الله أحد خمس مرات أعطاه الله تعالى ثواب اثنى عشر ألف شهيد وخرج من ذنوبه كيوم ولدته أمه ولا يكتب عليه خطيئة إلى ثمانين يوما

Whoever prays twelve raka`ats on the first night of Sha`baan and reads the Fatihah once and Qul Huwa ‘Llahu Ahad five times in the first raka`ah, Allah will give him the reward of 12,000 martyrs and he will come out of his sins like the day his mother gave birth to him and no sin will be written for him for the following eighty days. (Nuzhat al-Majalis by as-Safuri)

So that's Rahmatan li ‘l-Ummah, Allah (swt) is giving us a chance to do that. I will mention a story from the books Nuzhatu ‘l-Majalis and in Rawdatu ‘l-Afkaar:

مر عيسى بن مريم عليه السلام على جبل فرأى فيه صخرة بيضاء فطاف بها عيسى وتعجب منها، فأوحى الله إليه أتريد أن أبين لك أعجب ممارأيت، قال: نعم فانفلقت الصخرة عن رجل بيده عكازة خضراء وعنده شجرة عنب، فقال: هذا رزق كل يوم، فقال: كم تعبد الله في هذه الحجر، فقال: منذ أربعمائة سنة، فقال عيسى: يارب ما أظن أنك خلقت خلقاً أفضل منه، فقال: من صلى ليلة النصف من شعبان من أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ركعتين فهو أفضل من عبادته أربعمائة عام، قال عيسى: ليتني من أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم

Sayyidina `Isa passed by a mountain and saw in it a white rock. He walked around it and was astounded by it. Then Allah (swt) revealed to him, “Would you like for Me to show you something more wonderful than what you saw here?” He said, “Yes.” Then the rock split open. (Nuzhat al-Majalis by as-Safuri)

Like all prophets, Sayyidina `Isa (a) liked to go into the desert or jungle for siyaaha, journey. He was in his journey, fa ra'aa feehi sakhratun baydaa’ “When he found a huge white and very clean stone.” Fa-taafa bihaa `Isa, “He circumambulated [walked] around it, turned around, looked and thought, ‘How nice this stone is.’ Wa ta`ajjaba minha, “He was stunned at this white, beautiful rock that sat there in the middle of nowhere.” Fa-awha ‘Llahu ilayh, “Allah revealed to him: a-tureedu an ubayyina laka a`jaba mimmaa ra’ayt, ‘Do you want Me to show you more, to be more astonished and surprised?’Sayyidina `Isa said, qaala na'am, ‘Yes, I would like to see that.’”

Fa anfalaqat as-sakhrah, “The stone opened,” like [in the story of] the three men in the cave, Prophet (s) mentioned that Hadith: the cave had been closed by a rock and everyone was telling his best story of how he worshiped Allah, then the stone opened and they were able to come out. So when Allah told him, "Do you like Me to show you more than that, to be surprised?" He said, “Na`am yaa Rabbee.” Fa anfalaqat as-sakhrah `an rajulin bi yadihi ukaazah khadraa. “The stone opened and a man was sitting there with a green cane.” Wa `indahu shajaratu `inab, “and beside him a tree of grapes.”

It is more astonishing how a tree of grapes and that man were alive inside the stone, because he said, infalaqat, “It broke and they appeared.” The man said to Sayyidina `Isa, “Yaa `Isa,” by his name directly. Sayyidina `Isa (a) was more and more surprised, and thought, “How does he know my name?” Fa qaala hadha rizqu kulli yawm, “This is mine, Allah sent it to me. I don't care for dunya, I care only for Akhirah, and those who care for Akhirah, Allah will give them rizq [even] from inside a stone.”

We are running after dunya as if we don’t see it, wanting to get it all in our pockets. We are not thanking Allah (swt) that He gave us a head, eyes, ears, a nose, to say “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah.” He gave us a tongue to keep dhikrullah, He gave us a heart to keep dhikrullah! That man was worshiping Allah inside a stone and Allah sent his rizq there. Don't be astonished, these are anbiyaa, prophets. Allah gives them signs, because their lives are for Allah (swt); but our lives are for ourselves, we are not living for Allah (swt), we are weak and helpless servants. We try, but we cannot be like them. Still, we can take examples from their stories.

Hadha rizq kulli yawm, fa qaala kam ta`budullah fee hadhihi ‘l-hajar, “For how many years have you been worshiping in this stone?” Fa qaala, mundhu arba`a mi'ata sannah, “I have been in that stone for four hundred years.” Before Ummat an-Nabi (s) and Ummat Bani Israeel up to Sayyidina `Isa (a), they [people] used to live long, now it's not like that. Faa qaala `Isa, yaa Rabb, he was surprised that man is depending on Allah completely; Allah is sending food for him. Sayyidina `Isa (a) said, yaa Rabb, ma azhunnu annaka khalaqta khalqan afdhala minhu, “I don't think you have created anyone better than him, as a creation, as a human being.”

Allah (swt) revealed to him, laa yaa `Isa, “Don't say that.” Fa qaal, yaa `Isa, man salla Laylat al-nisf Sha`baan min Ummati Muhammad sall`Allahu `alayhi wa-sallam bi raka`tain fa huwa afdal min `ibadatihi arba`a mi'ata `aam, “Because it is the month of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), whoever prays two raka`ats in Sha`baan, especially on the fifteenth of Sha`baan it is better than his worship of 400 years.”

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ

You were the best of Nations evolved for Mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah. (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:110)

“You were the best Ummah that has been sent to humanity, Ummat an-Nabi (s).” Allah granted us all kinds of mercy and forgiveness, even though we are not doing enough, Allah is granting the Ummah everything for Akhirah, ready for us inshaa-Allah in Paradise. That doesn't mean that we have to be proud of ourselves, Allah (swt) is giving us that because He made us from Ummat an-Nabi (s), that the honor for Prophet (s), Allah is honoring Prophet (s) for his Ummah, to pray two raka`ats and giving them `ibadaat saa'ir al-umam bi arba`a mi’ata `am.

He honored Ummat an-Nabi more than He honored any other Ummah because of Sayyidina Muhammad (s)! That's why, Bismillahi ‘r-Rahmani ‘r-Raheem, wa law annahum idh zhalamoo anfusahum jaa'ooka fa astaghfaroollah, "When they are oppressors to themselves, the only gateway out is to come to you, yaa Muhammad (s)," as Allah said in the Holy Qur'an.

وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآؤُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا

If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisaa, 4:64)

So the honor is for Prophet (s) as Allah forgives us through him! May Allah (swt) forgive us.

Many shuyookh said, kaana as-saalihoona yuhafizhoona `alaa salaati ’t-tasaabeeh fee shahri sha`baan: On the Day of Judgement, Allah will ask us, "Did you pray Salaat at-Tasaabeeh?" as Prophet (s) has mentioned when he showed Salaat at-Tasaabeeh to his Sahaabah (r), even if you pray it once in your lifetime you will get Paradise inshaa-Allah.

[Closing du`a of khutbah.]



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