The Prophet Muhammed SAWS spoke of the Sacred months in Islam. The following hadith is translated as:
“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein”
Dear brothers and sisters, it is a shame that for many born in this country, we can’t recall the Islamic months of the calendar. This is an unfortunate by-product of our learning here.
However, for the sake of this khutba, we are going to expand upon the four mentioned in the hadith above. These are the first, 7th, 11th and 12th months which are Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qa’dah and Dhul Hijjah.
Firstly, a quick summary of the Islamic Calendar for those of us wishing to refresh our knowledge.
The Islamic calendar is based upon the year our beloved Prophet Muhammed SWS and his companions emigrated to the city of Medina from their home town of Mecca.
This took place in 622 according to the western calendar and so there is a difference between the western calendar and the Islamic calendar in terms of years passed. We see that in the dates that are printed on things like our monthly prayer timetable.
The emigration that took place was as a result of 13 years of persecutions from the disbelievers residing in Mecca.
This event marked the second phase of the Islamic movement and it is the phase when Medinah became centre of an Islamic state.
Besides the year difference, there is also a fundamental difference in the calculation of the Islamic calendar. Unlike the western calendar, it is lunar.
Each month in the calendar begins when the new moon is sightable by the unaided naked eye. As Muslims, we are obligated to sight the new moon in every country.
Allah SWT mentions the importance of these months in the Glorious Quran in Sura At-Tawbah, ayat 36:
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 (i.e. way), so do not wrong yourselves during them.
Dear brothers and sisters, from this ayat, it is clear to see that the Islamic calendar is more than just a form of timekeeping. Allah SWT clearly outlines the objectives He places upon each and every one of us during certain times of the year.
As we look through the Quran and Teachings of Prophet Muhammed SWS, we are taught to respect and honour what Allah SWT and his messenger SWS honoured. These sacred months are a time for us to reflect on our lives refrain from sin and ask Allah SWT for His forgiveness.
As mentioned in the khutba from last week, this month of Rajab that we are now in, is also synonymous with innovations that are placed on actions during this month.
For example, extra fasts, prayers or Umrah’s are considered innovations if done specifically for the month of Rajab are considered innovations by the scholars and should therefore be avoided.
So what does one do when presented with the knowledge of a sacred month such as this? Well, the answer lies not so much in what one does extra on top for the sake of the month, but what one does less when presented with the knowledge of the month.
For example, one should use the month as an opportunity to quit bad habits or sins. We are now approaching the month of Ramadhan so what better way to prepare for such a blessed month than by removing bad habits or sins from our lives?
The month being sacred also presents ourselves with an opportunity to perform a self-audit and seek forgiveness from Allah SWT for the mistakes we have made.
Dear brothers and sisters, the sacred months are an opportunity for us all to refresh our characters and manners, let’s utilise it in the correct way so that we can be of those who are successful in these sacred months.
May Allah SWT make us remember the sacred months. May Allah SWT make us better slaves of His in the sacred months. And may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts during these months.