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Fasting in the month of Rajab

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding fasting in the month of Rajab?

Answer:

It is permissible to fast any day in the month of Rajab. The evidences for keeping a voluntary fast do not restrict the fasts to a specific time of the month. Nor are there any evidences which prohibit fasting in the month of Rajab. It is an accepted principle in shari’ah that a amr mutlaq (generic command) gives the benefit of generality in the time, place, people, and states related to the command. A generic command cannot be restricted in any of these ways without a further supporting evidence, otherwise this will result in a bid’ah (innovation) taking place. As a command which was left open by Allah ﷻ and the Prophet ﷺ is now being restricted.

There are several narrations which mention the virtues and blessings of fasting in the month of Rajab. It has been reported by Abu Qulaba, “There is a palace in paradise for those who fast in Rajab.” Imam Bayhaqi has recorded this in his book Shu’ab al-Iman and further mentions, “Even though this narration is mawquf upon Abu Qulaba who is from the tabi’in, these great people only narrated such statements if they heard it from their elders who in turn heard it from the Prophet ﷺ.”

Another reason why fasting is mustahab in the month of Rajab can be seen from the following hadith. Usamah ibn Zayd reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as you fast during Sha’ban.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “It is a month people neglect between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds and I like for my deeds to be raised whilst I am fasting.” In commentary of this narration, Imam Shawkani has mentioned in Nayl al-Awtar, ‘The words of the Prophet ﷺ, “It is a month people neglect between the months of Rajab and Ramadan,” indicate in its apparent meaning that it is mustahab to fast in the month of Rajab. The hadith implies that the way people honour the month of Rajab and Ramadan by fasting, they do not do the same in the month of Sha’ban, rather they neglect fasting in this month.

Both these narrations indicate that keeping voluntary fasts in Rajab is mustahab and a means of great blessings.

And Allah ﷻ knows the best

This fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari