Wa`alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Hadith scholars reported no authentic hadith on the virtue of Rajab in particular, except for one hadith. This hadith states that Prophet Muhammad used to observe fasting repeatedly in Shaban. When the companions asked him about the reason, the Prophet (peace be upon him) answered, “It is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadan.”
There are many reported hadiths that clarify the excellence of the month of Rajab, but very few of these are authentic.
Muslim scholars, imams, and da`iyahs (Arabic for: callers to Islam) should warn Muslims about the false and weak hadiths that people attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
A Muslim should be always keen on never attributing any untrue or false saying to the Messenger of Allah.
No stated hadiths are reported on the virtue of the month of Rajab other than being one of the Sacred Months to which Almighty Allah referred in the glorious Quran, [of them [i.e. the twelve months] four are Sacred] (At-Tawbah 9:36).
However, hadith scholars reported no authentic hadith on the virtue of Rajab in particular, except for one hasan (Arabic for: classified as “good” in terms of Hadith methodology) hadith. This hadith states that Prophet Muhammad used to observe fasting repeatedly in Shaban. When the companions asked the Prophet about the reason, he answered, “It is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadan.”
This hadith indicates that Rajab has a virtue. However, the hadith stating, “Rajab is Allah’s month, Shaban is my month, and Ramadan is my nation’s month,” is a munkar (Arabic for: classified as “falsified” in terms of Hadith methodology) and very weak hadith that many scholars deem it mawdu (Arabic for: classified as “fabricated” in terms of Hadith methodology) which means that it has no religious or practical value.
There are some other hadiths on Rajab that delve on the reward for praying or for asking forgiveness at particular times. In fact, all these hadiths are mere exaggerations and lies.
Among the indications of the falseness of such hadiths are the exaggerations they contain.
In this regard, scholars state that the promise of great rewards for insignificant deeds or the threat of painful punishment for committing a minor sin indicate that such a saying is a fabricated hadith.
An example for this is the false hadith attributed to the Prophet as saying, “A morsel in the stomach of a hungry person is better than building a thousand mosques.” The falsity of this hadith is quite clear, as it is not logical that the reward of a morsel is greater than that of building a thousand mosques.
The hadiths related on the virtue of Rajab are of the above-mentioned kind, so scholars should warn people and draw their attention to the falsity of such fabricated hadiths.
Imam Muslim reported in the introduction of his book Sahih Muslim that Prophet Muhammad said, “Whoever narrates a hadith knowing it is false, is one of the liars.”
However, if someone does not know that he or she is in fact narrating a fabricated hadith, then he or she should learn hadiths from reliable books, which are well-known.
In addition, there are books on weak and fabricated hadiths, among which are Al-Maqasid Al-Hasanah by As-Sakhawi, Tamyeez At-Tayyeb min Al-Khabeeth lima Yadur ala Alsinat An-Nas min Al-Hadith by Ibn Badi, and Kashf Al-Khafa’ by Al-Ajluni.
There are many other books that preachers should be familiar with in order to narrate hadiths that are reliable. Fabricated and weak hadiths are among the most dangerous burdens in our Islamic culture, especially when they are so common among people in sermons and books.
We have a duty of purifying our Islamic culture from such hadiths. To achieve this aim, we should make use of the efforts of previous scholars who have managed to distinguish between authentic and fabricated hadiths and narrations.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.