Months and More

Sabahat Anwar discusses the significance of 8th-10th months of the Islamic calendar

Shaban – the 8th month

‘Shaban’ means ‘to spread,’ ‘to distribute’. It is so named because in Shaban:

  • Arabs used to disperse (Tashaba) in search of water;
  • Arabs would set out to make raids and sudden attacks.

A Hadeeth states: “There is a month between Rajab and Ramadan called Shaban. People are very ignorant towards this month, even though the reward of each deed is greater within it, and the deeds are presented to Allah.” (Baihaqi)

Thus, the fasts of Shaban are the most meritorious after those of Ramadan. The Prophet (sa) would fast during Shaban, and make up any missed fasts from the previous Ramadan. However, fasting the whole month of Shaban or during its last few days is Makrooh (disliked), unless outstanding fasts or a vow or an act of Kaffarah (expiation) have to be fulfilled.

Ahadeeth about the 15th night of Shaban (Lailat Al-Barat – the night of forgiveness), when Allah forgives sins and showers mercy on those who repent, are weak. Specifying nights for worship is against the Sunnah.


  • 2 AH – the Qiblah changed from Bait Al-Muqaddas (Jerusalem) to the Kabah (Makkah)
  • 2 AH – fasting in Ramadan made compulsory

Ramadan- the 9th month

‘Ramadan’ derives from the Arabic word ‘Ramadha,’ which means ‘intense heat.’ Ramadan is named so because:

  1. When the months were given names, it coincided with the hot summer months.
  2. Fasting causes the stomach to feel ‘hot’.


The Quran was first revealed in Ramadan. Abstaining from food and drink not only teaches us compassion for the poors, but also gives the chance to reconnect with Allah and focus on increasing our Eeman and Taqwa. By constantly doing Dhikr (remembrance), we thank Allah for guiding us and giving meaning to our existence. Lastly, the nightly Taraweeh prayers establish a great unity among Muslims.


  • Revelation of Quran started
  • 2 AH – battle of Badr
  • 3 AH – birth of Hasan (rta), the Prophet’s (sa) grandson
  • 3 AH – marriage of the Prophet (sa) to Zainab (rta)
  • 8 AH – conquest of Makkah
  • 11 AH – death of Fatima (rta)

Shawwal – the 10th month

‘Shawwal’ derives from the following meanings:

  1. ‘to be light and vigorous’ – Arabs used to be active and hunt often during Shawwal;
  2. ‘raise’ – during Shawwal, she-camels would raise their tails, when they would become pregnant;
  3. ‘uplift or breakage’ – in the days of Jahiliyah, Arabs believed that any marriage held in Shawwal would be unsuccessful (these superstitious beliefs were later abolished).


Eid-ul-Fitr – the 1st of Shawwal marks the end of Ramadan and is a day of celebrations.

Ash’hurul Hajj – Shawwal is the first among the three months of Hajj. The other two are Dhul Qa’da and the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.


Many Ahadeeth praise the virtue of fasting 6 days in Shawwal. In one, the Prophet (sa) says: “A Saim (fasting person) is regarded as if he fasted perpetually” while in another, that “The Saim is purified of sins, as if he was just born that day.” (Muslim) These fasts may be observed any day after Eid-ul-Fitr.


  • 2 AH – fight between Banu Qaynaqa
  • 3 AH- battle of Uhud
  • 4 AH – Hussain, (rta) the Prophet’s (sa) grandson, was born
  • 4 AH – the Prophet (sa) married Umme Salamah (rta)

5 AH – death of Khadija (rta) and Abu Talib

Months and More

Sabahat Anwar explores the meanings, significance and historical background of Islamic months

Jumâda-ul-Awwal- 5th month of the Islamic calendar


Jumad means ‘freezing’. When the months were being named, this month fell during winter – when water freezes; hence it was named Jumadal Ula.

Jumâda-ath-Thani- 6th month of the Islamic calendar


This month occurred towards the end of winter – when water freezes, hence it was named Jumadal Akhir.


No ibadat has been specified for the above two months, but as mentioned before, fasts on Mondays and Thursdays, when gates of Paradise are opened and on Ayaam-e-Bidh (13th, 14th and 15th of each month) should be observed as per Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) practice.

Rajab – 7th month of the Islamic calendar

Allah with His perfect wisdom and knowledge has chosen and preferred some days and months to others. He states in Quran: “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” (At-Taubah 9:36)

The names of these four months, of which Rajab is one, are mentioned in the following Hadeeth:

Abu Bakrah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) gave his Farewell Sermon and said: “Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months – Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’ban.” (Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari)


Rajab has the following meanings:

  1. To ‘respect’: Since the Arab tribe of Mudar respected and venerated this month a lot, they named it ‘Rajab’ (of Mudar).
  2. It is the name of a river in Jannah in which exceptionally sweet water, whiter than milk, flows. Fasting in this month will, Insha’Allah, enable us to have the honour of drinking from this river.

A year before migration, in the month of Rajab, the Prophet (sa) made a miraculous journey on a white winged animal, ‘Al-Buraq’, up through the seven heavens and into the presence of Allah – all in one night. This journey is known as ‘Mairaj’. Allah gave the Prophet (sa) three gifts on this occasion:

  1. The ending Ayats (last Ruku) of Surah Baqarah.
  2. The good news of salvation to those of his Ummah who do not commit Shirk.
  3. The compulsory five times Salâh. This is the only act of worship, from among the pillars of Islam, which was made obligatory before the Hijrah. It’s a miraculous gift for Muslims – a chance to be near Allah as the Prophet (sa) was on that miraculous night.


Despite beliefs to the contrary, learned scholars say that nowhere in the Sunnah do we find that the Prophet (sa) fasted on the twenty-seventh of Rajab. No Ibadah has been specified for this month.

The Prophet (sa) also did not fast for three consecutive months (i.e., Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan) as some people do, and he never fasted Rajab at all, nor did he encourage people to fast this month. (related by Imam ibn al Qayyim)

Sacrifices should not be made because of the month of Rajab either. The Prophet (sa) said, “Offer sacrifices, no matter which month is it…” (Abu Dawood, Al-Nasai and Ibn- Majah)

Months and More

Image months and moreSurprising, as it may seem, the Islamic era did not start with the victories of Islamic wars. It did not initiate with the life or death of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) either. Nor did it commence with the revelation of the Quran in the cave called ‘Hira’.

It started with the Hijrah, the migration of the Prophet (sa) from Makkah to Madinah. This event was not just a migration. It stood, and stands even today, for a sacrifice for the cause of truth and for the preservation of the Revelation and for the preservation of a way of life and Sunnah. Allah (swt) wanted to teach man that struggle between truth and evil is eternal. The Islamic year reminds Muslims every year not of the pomp and glory of Islam, but of its sacrifice. It prepares them to do the same till the end of the world when our Creator will resurrect all on the Day of Judgement, Insha’Allah!

Here, the significance of the current three Islamic months has been briefly described:

Safar – 2nd month of the Islamic calendar


Safar is referred to as ‘empty’: In those days, after the lifting of the ban on fighting in Muharram, everyone would proceed to the battlefield leaving his or her house empty and deserted.

It is also referred to as ‘yellow’: At the time the months were being named, Safar fell during autumn and the leaves of the trees were yellow.

Modern day incorrect beliefs

Many people have erroneous beliefs regarding this month i.e., it is a month of misfortune and calamities:

A Nikah performed in Safar will not be successful. It might be surprising to know that the Prophet’s (sa) daughter Fatimah (rta) got married to Ali (rta) in Safar, 2 AH.

Any important venture, business etc. started in Safar is ill fated and will bring bad luck.

To regard any day as a holiday when it is not decreed so.

The teachings of Allah (swt) and His beloved Prophet (sa) gives us clear guidelines on such incorrect beliefs.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “No kind of calamity can occur, except by the will of Allah.” (At-Taghabun 64:11)

In Saheeh Muslim and Bukhari, we find Ahadeeth condemning erroneous beliefs and superstitions in Safar, or indeed in any other month, which were prevalent in the days of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance).

Rabi Al Awwal – 3rd month of the Islamic calendar


Rabi means ‘spring’. At the time the months were being named, spring was being heralded, hence, this month was named Rabi Al Awwal.


The Holy Prophet (sa) was born in Rabi Al Awwal, in the city of Makkah, in the year 570 CE. He died at the age of 63 in Madinah in Rabi Al Awwal in the year 11 AH.

Modern day innovated celebrations

Islamic history holds no valid record of the exact birth date of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Allah’s Messenger (sa) never celebrated his birthday. Secondly his companions (Sahabahs) and their next generation (Tabaeen) didn’t do so either.

Furthermore, we have two festivities only, which are Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha with their relevant spiritual significance. Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi is a recent addition to celebrations.

Rabi Ath Thani – 4th month of the Islamic calendar


At the time the months were being named, this month fell as spring was ending hence; it was named to denote this.


The Shariah does not specify any Ibadat (worship) explicitly for this month. However, as per the Sunnah of our Holy Prophet (sa), we should try to fast on the Ayam-e-Bidh i.e. 13th, 14th and 15th (middle days) of this month, as we should for every month. The Prophet (sa) also used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, when the record of our deeds is presented before Allah (swt).