‘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.’At-Taubah, 9:36
The ending of the above verse is a warning from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ to emphasize the sanctity of these months with the instruction of not engaging in sins during them. Engaging in sins in any month, at any time is wrong but Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ made sins during these months severe. Likewise, righteous deeds have more reward so a person should choose which group they want to belong and strive towards attaining it.
Ibn Kathir رَحِمَهُ ٱللّٰهُ writes in His Tafsir of Suratul At-Taubah vs 36 that Qatadah رَحِمَهُ ٱللّٰهُ explained the phrase ‘so do not wrong yourself during them’ He said: ‘Injustice (injustice in this context refers to committing a wrongdoing against yourself by sinning) during the Sacred Months is worse and graver than injustice in other months. Verily, injustice is always wrong, but Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ makes things graver than others as He will.’ He added ‘Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ has chosen some of His creation above others. He chose Messengers from angels and from men. He also chose His Speech above all speech, the Masajid above other areas of the earth, Ramadan and the Sacred Months above all months, Friday above the other days and Laylatul-Qadr (The night of Qadr) above all night. Therefore, sanctify what Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ has sanctified, for doing so is the practice of people of understanding and comprehension.’
How can we sanctify these months? By doing what we are commanded and refraining from SINS.
The Prophet ﷺ informs us of the 4 Sacred Months: It was narrated from Abu Bakrah رضي الله عنه, from the Prophet ﷺ : “The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah ﷻ created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, out of which four are sacred: three are in succession Dhul-Qa‘dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada (Ath-Thaniyah) and Sha‘baan.” Sahih Bukhari.
Allah choose these months to be sacred and we should maximise them by engaging in good deeds in them. It is from the mercy of Almighty Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ that we have seasons to earn more rewards for acts of worship. So, capitalizing on these months should be our goals.
Moreover, there are historical reasons why the Arabs in the period of jahiliyyah (ignorance) considered these months to be sacred before it was confirmed by Allah ﷻ in the Qur’an. It was sacred to the Arabs due to the Hajj pilgrimage and they refrained from fighting in them. This was to allow pilgrims perform Hajj and Umrah with ease. Dhul-Qadah, the month before Hajj was made sacred because they avoided fighting during that month. Dhul-Hijjah because it is the month of Hajj during which Hajj rituals were performed. Muharram the month after Dhul-Hijjah was made sacred so that the pilgrims can return safely after engaging in Hajj. Rajab which is in the middle of the lunar year was made sacred so that those coming from the farthest area of Arabia are able to perform Umrah and visit The House (Kabah) and then return to their areas safely.
Besides, when the Prophet ﷺ and the Muslims from the tribe of Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib were boycotted by the Quraysh in Makkah. They resorted to withdraw and live in Shib-e Abu Talib (the valley of Abu Talib) He ﷺ used to go to the Kabah and preach during the Sacred Months to the Pilgrims because violence was considered sacrilege during them. The Muslims were also allowed more freedom in their movements during them. This shows the reverence the Arabs had for this month in the pre-Islamic era. If the Arabs can give reverence to what is due before they became Muslims, we as Muslims should revere it further by refraining from sins and intensifying acts of worship during them. This should be our goal in these month and May Almighty Allahﷻ make us obedient slaves who obey His command and worship Him.
PS: we are still in a sacred month (Dhul-Hijjah) and another (Muharram) is coming in few days.
I hope you have learnt something new from this post about the Sacred months in Islam? Is there any other information you know about the Sacred months? If you do I’d love to hear your thought in the comment section below.