What are sacred months in Islam? Why are they sacred? Should we do special acts of worship in them?
- The four sacred months are Rajab, Dhul Q’ada, Dhul Hijjah, and Muharram.
- The fact that they’re scared means that no fighting, transgression or injustice should be done in those sacred or forbidden months.
- Also, being sacred/forbidden means they heighten one’s sense of presence and mindfulness of Allah in order to help one be more disciplined holistically and God-conscious.
Thank you for your questions. We’ll address each one of your questions with references from the Quran and Sunnah.
What are The 4 Sacred Months in Islam?
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) says in the Quran:
“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, so do not wrong yourselves during them […]” (Quran 9: 36)
So there are four sacred months, and the Prophet taught us what they are.
Narrated AbuBakrah: The Prophet (ﷺ) gave a sermon during his hajj and said:
“Time has completed a cycle and assumed the form of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year contains twelve months of which four are sacred, three of them consecutive, Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and also Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’ban.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
Why are they sacred?
Because Allah said they are sacred and Allah is The One who gives meaning, purpose, value and the laws to what He creates in the heavens and the earth and then teaches us what benefits us.
“It is He Who made the sun a radiant source and the moon a reflected light, with precisely ordained phases, so that you may know the number of years and calculation ˹of time˺. Allah did not create all this except in truth [for a purpose]. He makes the signs clear for people of knowledge.” (Quran 10: 5)
The fact that they’re scared means that no fighting, transgression or injustice should be done in those sacred or forbidden months.
What special acts to do in the sacred months?
The most special thing to do in the sacred months is to not wrong oneself, and that is by avoiding committing sins because sins committed in the sacred months are worse and more severe in the Sight of Allah. He said:
“[…] so do not wrong yourselves during them” (Quran 9: 36)
Those months are intended to heighten our state of God-consciousness as both the rewards and sins are magnified in the Sight of Allah in those months.
Accordingly, one must monitor and purify his/her internal thoughts as well as actions to avoid wronging the self by committing hidden or manifest wrongdoings. And if one slips, they must hasten to do sincere tawba (repentance).
Being conscious of the sacred months in Islam and honoring them at heart is a sign of piety and brings goodness from Allah. As Almighty says:
“…and whoever honors the sacred ordinances of Allah – it is best for him in the sight of his Lord.” (Quran 22: 30)
“…and whoever honours the symbols of Allah, it is certainly out of the piety of the heart.” (Quran 22: 32)
Reap the fruits
Additionally, one must seize the high rewards of special acts encouraged in some days of those months. For example:
- There is no other time wherein doing good deeds is more beloved to Allah than the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying: There is no virtue more to the liking of Allah in any day than in these days, that is, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. They (the Companions) asked: Messenger of Allah, not even the struggle in the path of Allah (Jihad)? He said: (Yes), not even the struggle in the path of Allah, except a man who goes out (in the path of Allah) with his life and property and does not return with any of them. [ Sunan Abi Dawud]
- Hajj is performed in Dhul Hijjah, and the reward of an accepted Hajj is nothing less than Paradise. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “(The performance of) ‘Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (accepted Hajj following the Prophet’s way) is nothing but Jannah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
- Fasting the Day of Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah) – for one who is not in Hajj- expiates the sins of the year before it and the year after it. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” [Muslim]
- One is also encouraged to fast in the month of Muharram, as the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said: “and the most excellent fast after (fasting) in the month of Ramadan is the fast in God’s month al-Muharram.” [Sahih Muslim].
- The Day of Ashura that occurs on the 10th of Muharram also has a major reward. As the Prophet (PBUH) was asked about observing As-Saum (the fast) on the 10th day of Muharram, and he replied, “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.” [Muslim].
So, there are many opportunities for major rewards in those months.
Also, being sacred/forbidden means they heighten one’s sense of presence and mindfulness of Allah in order to help one be more disciplined holistically and God-conscious.
And Allah knows best.
Hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.