Determining Shab e Miraj, its Virtues, Acts of Worship, Fast of 27th Rajab & Reality of Koonday, By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
Many misunderstandings are current among the people about the month of Rajab. It is necessary to understand the true facts about this.
The Practice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ on sighting the Rajab moon
What is proved about this month on the basis of authentic Ahadith from the Holy Prophet ﷺ is that on sighting the Rajab moon he used to recite the following Du’a(supplication):
اللہم بارک لنا فی رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان
This means: O Allah grant us blessings in the months of Rajab and Sha’ban and take us to the month of Ramadhan.
In other words, extend the days of our life that we may overtake the month of Ramadhan during our lifetime. Thus the believers anxiously waited for the arrival of the sacred month of Ramadhan. This Du’a is proved from the Holy Prophet ﷺ on the basis of authentic Hadith, so it is an act of Sunnah. If anyone did not recite this Du’a in the beginning, he should do so now.
There is no place in the Shari’ah for the many customs that have become vogue among the people, during this month.
Is the superiority of Shab e Miraj equivalent to Shab e Qadr?
It has been widely circulated about the night of 27th Rajab that it is the night of Mi’raj which should be passed like the Night of Power. They believe that the virtues of the night of Mi’raj are more or less like those of the night of Power. I have seen a board with writing thereon mentioning that the night of Mi’raj is more virtuous than the Night of Power. For this night people have invented certain forms of prayer to be offered with specific recitations and styles. It should be well understood that all these are baseless practices having no place in the Islamic Shari’ah.
Is 27 Rajab the definite date of Shab e Miraj?
First of all, it is not certain that the 27th of Rajab is the night in which the Holy Prophet ﷺ performed the celestial ascension. There are various narrations on this point. According to some of these, the Holy Prophet ﷺ performed Mi’raj in the month of Rabi’ul-awwal and according to some others in the month of Rajab. Still, some other narrations mention other months. So there is no certainty about the exact date of the night of Miraj.
Why was the date of Miraj not preserved?
You may think for yourself that if the night of Mi’raj had been a special night with special injunctions about it like the night of Power, the month and date of its occurrence must have been preserved. As this was not done, it is not right to specify with any certainty the 27th of Rajab as the night of Mi’raj.
Whatever the date of its occurrence, it cannot be denied that it was a splendid night in which Almighty Allah conferred on the Holy Prophet ﷺ the unique honor of inviting him to His Elevated Court. Indeed, very splendid was that night about whose magnificence no Muslim can feel the slightest doubt.
The night of Miraj occurred 18 times during the Prophet’s ﷺ life.
The event of Mi’raj took place in the fifth year of his Prophethood. This means that after this unique event, the Holy Prophet ﷺ lived in this world for 18 years. During this long period of 18 years, there is no evidence that he ever issued any special injunctions about the night of Mi’raj or made arrangements for its celebration, or advised the Muslims to keep a vigil on this night in devotion carries more reward. There is no evidence of any such injunction of the Holy Prophet ﷺ nor did he himself do anything to celebrate this night nor did he even ask the Noble Companions to do so, nor did the Companions arrange in this night any celebration on their own account.
Who has greater knowledge of Deen than the Companions ?
After the sad demise of the Holy Prophet ﷺ his Noble Companions lived in the world after him for about one hundred years. During the entire period of this one century, there is no proof of even a single incident in which the Noble Companion took care to celebrate the night of the 27th Rajab. It is an innovation (Bid’at) to declare something as part of religion, as an act of Sunnah or to treat it as Sunnah which neither the Holy Prophet ﷺ nor the Companions ever did. There is not a greater fool than he who says: Never mind, I shall do that; because I know more (God forbid) than the Holy Prophet ﷺ which night carries greater virtue, or I have greater enthusiasm for devotion and that I shall do what the Companions did not do.
So far as Deen (faith) is concerned, it is a fact that the Companions, then the Tabi’een, then the Taba’ Tabi’een knew and followed Deen (faith) more thoroughly and sincerely than all others, He is really a madman who claims to know more of Deen, to have greater enthusiasm for it or to be more worshipful than these reverend personalities of Islam.
What is the ruling regarding classifying special acts of worship in Shab e Miraj and keeping fast on 27th Rajab?
It is, therefore, Bidah to arrange for special forms of worship on this night. Worship and devotion are good; there is no harm if one keeps vigil for the purpose of worship in this night and in other nights but no special emphasis should be laid on worship on this particular night because this night of the 27th Rajab has no distinction over other nights.
Some people fast on the 27th of Rajab and believe that fasting on this day has the same virtues as fasting on the days of ‘Aashoorah and the ‘Arfah. There is one or two weak narratives about this but none is proved by authentic evidences.
Some persons started fasting on the 27th of Rajab during the Caliphate of Hazrat ‘Umar Farooq When he came to know that some persons take special care to fast on the 27th of Rajab, he went out to stop this Bid’at, as he could not tolerate the slightest deviation from the true path of the Faith. He approached everyone suspected of fasting and asked him to eat something before him to ensure that the man was not fasting. He did this to impress upon the people that the fasting on that day had no special virtue and was a Bid ah. Fasting on this day was just like fasting on any other day. He took this care and trouble to eradicate from among the people the practice of Bidah, so that they may not add to or take from Deen anything of their own free will.
What wrong have we done by waking up in Shab e Miraj?
Some people ask: What sin did we commit if we kept night vigil to worship and fasted during the day? Did we commit theft, drink wine or commit dacoity? We only devoted ourselves to worship during the night and fasted during the day. What harm is there?
Deen (Faith) is the name of obedient following (of injunctions)
Hazrat Umar Farooq told the people that Almighty Allah did not prescribe fasting on that date and the real vice lies in self-invented practices. I have explained many times that the essence of the Deen (Faith) consists in the obedience to the injunctions of the Shari’ah. Allah demands absolute obedience. Prayer, Fasting, etc., are worships only when Allah commands His servants to perform these acts of worship. It is also worship and devotion when Allah commands to shun them. It will be going against Deen if one does something as the worship of his own free will which Allah has not prescribed. The essence of Deen is the obedient following of Deen. If Allah lets people know this truth, then the practices of Bidah shall be uprooted.
Self-made excesses in religion
Now if anyone gives special importance to fasting on this date he is willfully committing an excess in the matter of Deen and is thus inventing a fake Deen of his own. To fast on this date from this point of view is not lawful. There is, however, no objection to fasting on this date by a man who fasts as he does usually on other days. It is, however, a Bid ah to fast on the 27th of Rajab under the mistaken impression that it is more virtuous; it is an act of Sunnah (which it is certainly not) and that it is desirable and it carries a greater and better reward.
The Reality of the Self-Invented custom of the Koonda
The night of Mi’raj has importance in being the night on which the Holy Prophet # performed his celestial journey. A custom made more important and binding in our days is that of the Koonda so much so that if a person does not observe this baseless custom he is looked down upon as though he were not a Muslim. He must observe this custom, notwithstanding that he may be missing his prayers, fasts, and maybe committing sins. The person who does not observe this custom or advises others against this is cursed and hated. God knows how this irreligious and disgustful custom sprang up. It is traceable neither in the Qur’an nor in the Traditions, nor among the companions, their immediate and next followers, nor among the Muslim saints and Ulama. Its advocates say that it must be observed even if the obligatory and essential duties of Deen are being ignored. It may be attributed, like many other Bidat, to the pleasures of eating and drinking and extracting fees from the ignorant public. In observing the custom of the Koonda and such other customs there is shown, gaiety, exchange of nicely cooked dishes, and merry-making. As these are joyous customs, full of fun, Satan has engaged the people in them and seduced them from other compulsory duties.
This Ummah is lost in Nonsense
These nonsensical customs and activities have involved the Muslim Ummah in frivolities:
حقیقت روایات میں کھو گئی
یہ امت خرافات میں کھوگی
The truth is lost in false stories and this (Muslim) Ummah is lost in nonsense and frivolities.
Such useless, rather harmful, practices and activities are regarded to be binding. It is necessary to train and instruct the unwary public in these matters. Most people have fallen victim to such nonsense only owing to their ignorance and not to any hostile tendencies towards religion. They think that just like the occasions of the Eid Festivals, this too may be a festivity allowed in the Qur’an and the Traditions, as so many people observe it. It is necessary, therefore, to teach such persons with love and sympathy the true spirit of religion and by avoiding attendance in such baseless and harmful practices.
What has been explained above may be summarized by saying that the month of Rajab is an introduction to the holy month of Ramadhan. It is, therefore, necessary to keep yourself prepared in advance for this month. The Holy Prophet # has prayed for His Ummah and drawn attention to the blessings of Ramadhan three months before its advent so that they should be able to amend their usual program of life, in order to devote to piety and righteousness in this sacred month to the best of their capacity. May Almighty Allah have mercy on us and help us to understand and follow the path of Islam. Aameen.
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