It is a prelude to the month of Ramadan, which comes after the intervening month of Sha’aban. It is reported that whenever the Holy Prophet sighted the new moon of Rajab, he would pray to Allah (SWT) saying: “O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’aban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan,” (i.e. give us long life to witness Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings). This dua is recommended by scholars for Muslims to recite regularly in the months of Rajab and Sha’aban.
It was in the month of Rajab (27th night of the month) that one of the remarkable occurrences of Islam – Lailatul Miraj – was recorded; it was the night that the Holy Prophet (SAW) tavelled from Makkah to Baitul-Maqdis and from there ascended to the heavens through the miraculous power of Allah. That was when he had direct contact with his Creator where even the angels had no access. Without doubt, Rajab is a time for stocktaking for the ummah; a time to redirect their focus and attention. Indeed the sacred month is coming at a time Muslims are seeking the intervention of Allah (swt) in the challenges confronting them and Islam the world over.
The Sahaba (companions of the Prophet) used to wait for the arrival of Rajab as one awaits the arrival of a dear one. Allah (SWT) tells Muslim to guard their actions during the sacred months: “O you who have believed, do not violate the rites of Allah or [the sanctity of] the sacred month […]” (Qur’an, 5:2). He reminds the faithful not once to be careful of what they do during any of the sacred months: “[…] so do not wrong yourselves during them (i.e., the sacred months) […]” (Qur’an, 9:36). These draw the attention of Muslims to the importance of being conscientious believers. Allah has given the faithful these sacred months to turn back to Him and to take account of themselves.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “There are five nights on which du`a is not rejected: the first night of Rajab, the 15 night of Sha`ban, Thursday night, the night before Eid al-Fitr and the night before Eid al-Adha).”
Worthy of note is that although the month of Rajab has numerous merits, the Shariah does not prescribe any specific way to observe the month, or any specific mode of worship or ritual on any one of its days. The validity of certain narrations or specific acts of worship for the month are disputed. Recommended, though, are that Muslims can keep nafl fasts (Mondays and Thursdays, etc) like in other months, bearing in mind that the reward for good actions is multiplied for the faithful in the sacred months. The Prophet (pbuh) recommended fasting at least some days in each of the sacred months. We as average Muslims can use this month to seek Allah’s pleasure, protection and blessing and to also mentally and physically prepare for Ramadan.