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On fasting in Shaban & Rajab - the BIG MESS by Hadith and the imams!

July 29, 2023, 03:02:07 am Zainab_M: Yesterday was Ashura, Muharram 10, 1444 (July 27, 2023).  Read about this very tragic day and details of the world's greatest 7th century revolutionary: WHO WAS HUSSEIN.
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JazekAllah khair my sister Ruhi.  This du's is exhilerating.  SubhanAllah.
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Thank you for the excellent du'a sister Ruhi.  May Allah reward you.
April 17, 2023, 11:55:15 pm Ruhi_Rose: Night of Leilatul Qadr of Ramadan 1444 officially held on Monday night (Apr.17).

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Author Topic: On fasting in Shaban & Rajab - the BIG MESS by Hadith and the imams!  (Read 1783 times)
Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: September 20, 2010, 08:39:00 am »

Shaban is the name of the 8th month of the Islamic calendar, and it is so called because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (sha’aba or branch out / emerge) in search of water.   To learn more on the various Islamic months, check the this post.

Fasting in Shaban:

(1)  ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allaah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’baan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1833; Muslim, no. 1956).
The above Hadith no.1 flatly contradicts the following Hadith no.2.   Hadith no.1 says that the Prophet observed fast in Shaban and Ramadan.  Now read the following Hadith no.2.   It states that the Prophet instructed to fast only in Ramadan.
(2)  Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "Do not observe Saum (fasting) before the advent of Ramadan. Observe Saum at sighting of the crescent of Ramadan and terminate it at sighting the crescent (of Shawwal). If the sky is overcast, complete (the month as) thirty (days).'' [At-Tirmidhi].
Hadith apologists would probably tender their excuse, something to the effect that Hadith no.1 says that the Prophet personally observed fast in Shaban and Ramadan, but told others to fast only on Ramadan.   But according to the practices of our imams, even this is contradicted.   Their fatwas are full of orders to fast in Shaban and Rajab.  
Then again, I've heard many imams telling us to fast the whole of Rajab, but to fast only some days of Shaban and to especially stop fasting during the last few days of Shaban so that it's not continuous with Ramadan.  That means, giving a short break before starting the obligatory fasts of Ramadan.  But the following Hadith no.3 contradicts that advise.  
(3)  (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, see Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, page 425). According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood (no. 2076) she said: “The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to fast in was Sha’baan, and his fasting in Sha’baan was continuous with his fasting in Ramadaan.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, see Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 2/461).

Now comes the story of fasting in Rajab which is the 7th month of the Islamic calendar.   Its dictionary definition is "to respect."

Please read the following Hadith no.4.    Isn't it senseless to the core?
(4) `Uthman ibn Hakim al-Ansari said: "I asked Sa`eed ibn Jubayr about fasting in Rajab, and we were then passing through the month of Rajab, whereupon he said: "I heard Ibn `Abbas saying: "The Messenger of Allah  used to observe fast so continuously that we thought he would not break it, and did not observe it so continuously that we thought he would not observe fast." Muslim and Abu Dawud relate it in Kitab al-sawm, respectively in the chapter on fasting at times other than Ramadan, and in the chapter of fasting during Rajab.
Even though Allah does not command us to fast in Rajab, yet the above Hadith narrator is trying to make fasting in Rajab obligatory, and on the basis of that, he is trying to accuse the Prophet (SAW) of not being constant about fasting in Rajab.

Allah Almighty plainly states in the Noble Quran only to fast in Ramadan, but Hadith no.5 below, hints that fasting for the entire month of Rajab has a special reward in Paradise.    Allah never instucted to fast in Rajab in the first place,  yet these story tellers have not just concocted Rajab as a fasting month but have also constructed its reward, as if they have the power to distribute the rewards in the Hereafter.  Their arrogance is shameful.    
(5)  Bayhaqi relates in Shu`ab al-iman (#3802):
Abu Abdallah al-Hafiz and Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Hamid al-Muqri said:
from Abu al-`Abbas al-Asamm,
from Ibrahim ibn Sulayman al-Barlisi,
from Abdallah ibn Yusuf,
from `Amer ibn Shibl,
who said: "I heard Abu Qilaba say:
"There is a palace in Paradise for those who fast the month of Rajab."

And here's Imam Nawawi's explanation on this Hadith no.4.  He first explains it and then tries to reconcile with a contradictory information in Sunan Abu Dawud.  Embarrassing moment for poor Imam Nawawi.
Imam Nawawi says: "It would appear that the meaning inferred by Sa`eed ibn Jubayr from Ibn `Abbas's report is that fasting in Rajab is  neither forbidden nor considered praiseworthy in itself, rather, the ruling concerning it is the same as the rest of the months. Neither prohibited nor praised has been established for the month of Rajab in itself.  However, the principle concerning fasting is that it is praiseworthy in itself, and in the Sunan of Abu Dawud the Prophet  has made the fasting of the sacred months praiseworthy, and Rajab is one of them. And Allah knows best." Sharh Sahih Muslim Kitab 13 Bab 34 #179.


Now read the arguments on Rajab fasting between al-Muslim and Nawawi - two sources saying two different things.  So, what is a person supposed follow if he is stupid enough to take such talks as guidance?

Muslim relates in the first chapter of Kitab al-libas:
Abdullah, the freed slave of Asma' the daughter of Abu Bakr, the maternal uncle of the son of `Ata', reported: "Asma' sent me to Abdullah ibn `Umar saying: "The news has reached me that you prohibit the use of three things: the striped robe, saddle cloth made of red silk, and fasting the whole month of Rajab."
Nawawi says: "`Umar's reply concerning fasting in Rajab is a denial on his part of what Asma' had heard with regard to his forbidding it, and it is an affirmation that he fasted Rajab in its entirety as well as fasting permanently, i.e. except the days of `Id and tashreeq. This is his madhhab and the madhhab of his father `Umar ibn al-Khattab, `A'isha, Abu Talha, and others of the Salaf as well as Shafi`i and other scholars. Their position is that perpetual fasting is not disliked (makruh)."


Now comes another story.  This one says to fast in all sacred months.

Ibn Majah and Ahmad have written in a  hadith where a man repeats to the Prophet: "I can bear more," (meaning supererogatory or nafl fasting), to whom the Prophet  says: "Fast during the sacred months."
It is established that Ibn `Umar fasted during the sacred months: Musannaf `Abd al-Razzaq 4:293, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 1:125.

In Abu Dawud and Bayhaqi:
From Mujiba al-Bahiliyya who reported that her father (or uncle) was told by the Prophet (s) three times: "Fast some and leave some in the sacred


Now comes Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal's broad hints on fasting all year round!!

"Whoever fasts all year round may fast all of it [i.e. Rajab]. Otherwise, let him not fast all of it but only some of it so that he will not liken it to Ramadan."

My question to Imam Ahmad is -  Allah has said in the Noble Quran that He has not placed any hardships in religion.   Thus, Allah wants us to fast only in Ramadan.   Fasting all year round is difficult.   So, why must Imam Ahmad presume that anyone would fast "all year round?"  Do any of you know of anyone who fasts all year round?


And finally, a particular school of Hadith is against fasting in Rajab altogether, which would mean Shaban too is out.

According to the views of Shaikh Muhammad Al-Munajjid, a modern scholar I quote:
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’baan and Ramadaan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month.

In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah it states: with regard to fasting specifically in Rajab, we do not know of any basis in Shariah for doing that.


The Shaikh further mentions on bid’ah and Innovations in the month of Rajab ..

Innovation in religion is one of the serious matters which go against the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not die until after the religion had been perfected. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [Al-Maa’idah 5:3]

It was reported that ‘Aa’isha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Agreed upon).

According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does an action which is not a part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”

Some people have innovated a number of practices in Rajab, including the following:
One of the innovations that take place during this month is the recitation of the story of the Mi’raaj, and celebrations to commemorate it on the twenty-seventh of Rajab, or singling out this night to perform extra acts of worship such as Qiyaam al-Layl or fasting during the day, or rejoicing and celebrating.

Salaat al-Raghaa’ib. This prayer became widespread because some liars fabricated this prayer, which is done on the first night of Rajab. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Salaat al-Raghaa’ib is bid’ah according to the consensus of the scholars of religion, such as Maalik, al-Shaafa’i, Abu Haneefah, al-Thawri, al-‘Oozaa’i, al-Layth and others . The hadeeth that is narrated concerning it is a lie according to the consensus of the scholars who have knowledge of hadeeth.
The du’aa’s which are recited specifically during Rajab are all fabrications and innovations.

Visiting graves specifically in Rajab is bid’ah.


Your head must be reeling by now, after reading all these different views and ideas, one contradicting the other.  Indeed, there seems to be no end to the squabblings.   And don't forget, the bickerings of different imams as given above is only the tip of the iceberg.  There are dozens of more such conflicting stories through Hadiths and the jabberings of imams on this topic.   You must be thinking, how to escape this mess?

Well, the best and only way to quit it and the only obligatory requirement is - dump the imams and return to Allah Almighty, the Quran alone.

Also read the Shiia tradition of Rajab:
What exactly is Leilatul Raghaib?

And, to read more on the Sunni perspective:
How far would you agree with this perception of Rajab & Shaban?

Also related links:
Leilatul Barah (Shab-e-Barah).
Custom of Shab-e-Barah (or Leilatul Barah) having its roots in orthodox Christianity.
The hoax about Eid Ma'Bath.

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N. Truth Seeker
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2010, 12:31:40 am »

lol  Grin Cheesy Grin ,, what the ulemas are doing is playing a game of words.   And notice one thing.   It's amusing.  Compare hadith no.1 with hadith no.4 allegedly narrated by Aishah and Usman bin Hakim, respectively on Shaban & Rajab fasting.  Aishah and Usman bin Hakim were two very different personalities.  Yet the ahadith they both have allegedly narrated have exactly the same style and much the same words.  What a classic evidence of cheating by writing false hadiths.  The only thing we aren't sure of is, whether the cheating was done by Bukhari & Co. or by Abu Hurairah & Co. 
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2010, 01:00:10 am »

My husband and I had read this yesterday.   Both of us were left stupified by the MESS!    Grin   It's really a big one!  We were wondering, how do the Hadithers of different branches & sects reconcile with this stuff.   They surely don't follow the Quran by observing fasts only in Ramadan.  So, it's just anyone's guess as to which version of the imams they choose. 

And br. PT, u picked an interesting point.  lol ,, loooooool.  It nabs the Bukhari / Huraira collaboration with their hands stuck inside the cookie jar!
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