1) The sacred months.
2) There is no virtue for the month of Rajab.
3) Pessimism about the coming of the month of Safar.
4) Cursing time is cursing The One Who decrees.
5) The trickery of Arabs and postponing the restriction within the sacred months.
6) Remembering the bounties of Allaah and thanking Him for them.
Slaves of Allaah! Allaah says, which means, “Indeed, the number of months with Allaah is twelve (lunar) months in the register of Allaah (from) the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion (i.e. way), so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous (who fear Him)” (At-Tawbah: 36). The sacred months are the ones we live through now which start from Thul-Qi’dah which linguistically means in Arabic ‘the month of sitting’, because the Arabs use to sit and refrain from fighting during this month after fighting for the three months before it (Sha’baan, Ramadhaan and Shawwaal) and as soon as the crescent of this month, Thul-Qi’dah, would appear, they would stop fighting for three months, i.e. this month, Thul-Hijjah and Muharram. After these months they would resume fighting killing and robbing until Rajab, which is the fourth of the sacred months.
There is no authentic narration from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam concerning the virtues of the month of Rajab or fasting during it, and Imaam Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, wrote a study proving that there is nothing authentic regarding the virtues of the month of Rajab, and that all that was narrated were either weak or fabricated narrations which cannot be used as evidences for this issue, and based on these non authentic Ahaadeeth the proverb ‘nothing pleases him, not even fasting during the month of Rajab’, became common between people, to reflect the great virtue of this month. (They meant by this proverb that in spite of the great virtue of fasting Rajab this person is not pleased, which implies that he is very difficult to please).
The polytheists used to be pessimistic regarding the coming of the month of Safar and considered it ominous because people used to resume killing, fighting and robbing whenever this month started, after refraining for the three sacred months. That is way the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam negated this pessimism saying, “No Safar” (Muslim), because the One who decrees and makes things occur is Allaah, and months have nothing to do with what takes place in the universe whether good or bad. One who curses time or one of the months, years, days, hours is as if he believes that they were the cause for what happened to him. Thus, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam negated this pessimism saying, “Do not curse time, because it is like cursing Allaah, since it is He Who alternates time between days and nights” (Muslim)…meaning, you have attributed things to time while in reality it is Allaah Who has decreed and created things, so the one who curses time because of harmful decrees which afflicted him during this time would be like one who curses Allaah, Who has decreed for these things to happen. Therefore, whenever a person becomes angry with others, he should not curse the hour you came to know him. Likewise, when you become angry with your wife, do not curse the time you married her. Also, if you become angry with your partner, do not curse the time you became business partners, because all of this falls under cursing time.
The Arab polytheists used to play tricks regarding the restrictions during the sacred months. They used to delay the restrictions of the month of Muharram until the month of Safar and they would call it Nasee’ (which is delaying the restrictions) so Allaah prohibited such an act, and clarified that is disbelief and misguidance as He says that which means, “Indeed, the postponing (of restriction within sacred months) is an increase in disbelief by which those who have disbelieved are led (further) astray. They make it (fighting during a scared month) lawful one year and unlawful another year to correspond to the number made unlawful by Allaah” (At-Tawbah: 37). This meant that they would keep the number of sacred months as four months, but shift around the months, so one year they would have Muharram as a sacred month, next year they would fight during it and not consider it as sacred, and by doing so, they would deem lawful what Allaah prohibited.
Allaah says, which means, “The evil of there deeds was made pleasing to them; and Allaah does not guide the disbelieving people” (At-Tawbah: 35). What an evil deed to deem lawful what Allaah prohibited!
Allaah says, which means, “Say: 'Have you seen what Allah has sent down to you of provision of which you have made (some) lawful and (some) unlawful?' Say: 'Has Allaah permitted you (to do so). Or do you invent (something) about Allaah?'” (Yoonus: 59) and also “And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, 'This is lawful and this is unlawful', to invent falsehood about Allaah. Indeed those who invent falsehood about Allaah will not succeed” (An-Nahl: 116). The polytheists played around with the sacred months so much, that they changed the months from what Allaah decreed it to be when He created the Heavens and earth, and had things continued to go according to their trickery, then there would have been no certainty regarding the times to fast or perform pilgrimage, but from the favor of Allaah that He made the pilgrimage of His messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam during the tenth year of his migration an initiating point to fix the months. He stood on the mount of ‘Arafah on the ninth day of Thul-Hijjah, and ‘Eed is on the tenth of the same month, and he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam announced right then saying, “Time has gone back to the form Allaah created it when He created the Heavens and earth”. Thus, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam nullified by this announcement all types of Nasee’ (postponing) the polytheists practiced, and fixed the date by his stance on the mount of ‘Arafah. The crescent regulates time and fixed months to be either twenty nine or thirty days as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “Fast collectively, stop fasting (at the end of the month) collectively, perform pilgrimage collectively, and offer your sacrifice collectively”.
All vows, timings and Islamic rulings should be based on these lunar months and not anything else. Allaah says which means, “They ask you, (O Muhammad) about the new moons. Say: 'They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj.' And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is (in) one who fears Allaah. And enter houses from their doors. And fear Allaah that you may succeed” (Al-Baqarah: 189).
It is from the great favors of Allaah upon us that the months came back to the original form they were on when He created the Heavens and earth, and then Muslims fixed it following the steps of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam. Let us rejoice the fact that we are sure of the timings of our sacred months, when we initiate our fast and when we finish it, when we perform pilgrimage and when we offer our sacrifice; let us be grateful to Allaah that He guided us while others went astray.
Slaves of Allaah! The One Who made these four months sacred forbade us from transgressing against our own selves by saying that which means, “Four of which are sacred so do not transgress against your own selves” (At-Tawbah: 35).
If transgressing against oneself is prohibited during all times, then it is more so during the sacred months. Although the intended meaning is the transgression practiced by the polytheists postponing the restrictions and fighting during these sacred months, transgressing against oneself has a more comprehensive indication. It is transgression against yourselves not to know, nor ask about the rulings pertaining to your religion, while Allaah says that which means, “And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed (Our Message). So ask the people of the message (i.e. former scriptures) if you do not know.” (An-Nahl: 43) and also “And when there comes to them something (i.e. information) about (public) security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who (can) draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favor of Allaah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.” (An-Nisaa’: 83).
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “They should have asked when they were unaware, because ignorance is only cured by investigating”.
It is transgression against yourselves, if you indulge in destructive acts, and shun what you learned from your religion; you know what is prohibited, yet you commit it, and know the obligation, yet abandon it.
It is transgression against yourselves, when you live without having the concern of your religion, and without calling people to it, nor support it and its followers.
It is transgression against yourselves, when seasons of virtue pass by without it being utilized, except spending the time collecting money while being heedless of how many good deeds you have set forth.
It is transgression against yourselves, to receive the favors from Allaah and be ungrateful. The favor of the sense of sight which Allaah granted is used to look at what He prohibited; the favor of the sense of hearing is used to listen to what Allaah prohibited; the favor of the tongue for talking is used to backbite, tale bare, lie, and make false claims against others.
Slaves of Allaah! Let us think how much of a great favor Allaah has bestowed upon you and me, then look how each one of these favors has been utilized. Did we utilize it in that which pleases Allaah, or was it used as a means to disobey Him? Allaah says that which means, “And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor (i.e. blessings) of Allaah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is (generally) most unjust and ungrateful” (Ibraaheem: 34), and also “Is the reward for good (anything) but good?” (Ar-Rahmaan: 60), and also “And whatever you have of favor –it is from Allaah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help” (An-Nahl: 53).