Despite the fact we came to know when Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity, that time is relative, and that our understanding of time is far from true, yet time is all we truly have in this life. From the moment we are born, a “Countdown” is put into action by Allah, that only He has the knowledge of its actual numbers. Time is precious; it’s our very own sand spiraling down our very personal hourglass.
Despite the fact that Allah is Just, and that Justice requires equality, yet individuality and variance are cosmic facts, proving Allah’s Might and Power. Allah says in Quran,
“انظُرْ كَيْفَ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ”
“Look how We have favored some of them over others.” So, Allah favors things over others due to wisdom only He knows.
Of the entire universe, Allah chose to favor Milky Way galaxy, of all the solar systems in it He chose this Sun’s solar system, of all the planets He chose Earth, to be home to humanity, and of the twelve months of the year He chose those four to describe as sacred,
“إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَات وَالأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُم”ٌ “Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred…”
So, what are “The Four Sacred Months”?
Muhammad, the messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him said, “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’da, Dhul-Hijja and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumad (ath-thani) and Sha’ban.” (Al-Bukhari)
Those months appointed to us are:
- Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
- And, the three consecutive months of: Dhu al-Qa’dah (the eleventh), Dhu al-Ḥijjah (the twelveths) and Muḥarram (the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar).
Each of those moths was also honored by Arabs even before Islam as they were the ones using this lunar calendar.
Rajab, month of inundation (remove in Arabic) was given this name because Arabs used to remove the heads of their spears and refrain from waging war.
Dhu al-Qi’dah (sitting in Arabic) was given this name because it was the month during which Arabs would sit and stop fighting in wars.
Dhu al-Hijjah (which refers to Hajj in Arabic) was given this name because it was the month during which they performed Hajj.
Muharram (forbidden or sanctified in Arabic) was called that because Arabs used to forbid waging wars during it.
But, what does it mean “Sacred Months”?
Arabs before Islam knew of Hajj and did commit to it, and as all travel was on foot or camels and horses, they needed time to reach the Sacred House in Makkah. So, they all would agree to cease fighting to guarantee safe travel to the pilgrims during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah on which Hajj is. They also sacrosanct a month before and a month after Dhu al-Hijjah in order to safely travel to Makkah to perform pilgrimage. While Rajab was sacrosanct to make it safe for people to perform minor pilgrimage (Umrah), Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar and not consecutive with the other three.
In Islam, Muslims refrain from initiating wars as Arabs did but certainly defend themselves once aggressed. Added to the Arabs sanctification, Muslims also strive to do more good deeds and further refrain from committing sins and miss deeds in obedience to the divine commandment of Allah in that verse,
“إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَات وَالأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُم ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ فَلاَ تَظْلِمُواْ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُم”ْ
“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…” (quran.com/9/36)
For example, the recommended extra voluntary good deeds are; fasting, reciting more Quran, more Dhikr (making remembrance of God), Tahajjud (Late Night Prayer), charity, helping others in need, helping others to settle their debts, seeking and disseminating religious knowledge, speaking kind words and advice to others, being extra courteous, and exhibiting the best of manners to the example of Muhammad peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.
Allah favored those four months over the rest of the twelve months of the “Lunar Islamic Calendar” and has mercifully guided us to them on the tongue of His messenger Muhammad PBUH; for us to strive to please Him and gain His Mercy and Forgiveness. May He accept all our good deeds and forgive us all.