The Islamic calendar year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. All the four months were divinely designed to allow pilgrims safe passage to and from Makkah. Dhul-Qa‘dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Al-Muharram come in succession and are considered the Hajj season. The fourth sacred month is Rajab, which comes in between Jumada (ath-Thani) and Sha‘ban’, the seventh month of the lunar year and stands apart from the other sacred months. It is called ‘Rajab al-Fard’ or ‘Rajab the Separate One’ and Allah (swt) made it sacred in order to preserve people’s safety during ’Umrah, the minor pilgrimage. The sacred month of Rajab has been chosen by Allah Subhanahu wa Tala above other months to be sacred, so it is important that we get acquainted with its virtues, and make the most of this time. Rajab has three main virtues: 1)month of Allah. - The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha‘ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah’. [Suyuti] 2)miraculous Night Journey and Ascension, 27th night of Rajab, three divine gifts during Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj: a) five daily prayers b) last two ayat of Surah Baqarah c) Allah’s announcement to the believers: Whoever dies believing in Allah and not associating anything with Him, will enter Paradise. [Nasa’i] d) also known as Rajab al-Asamm, meaning silent Rajab as fighting is prohibited in this month. seeking forgiveness from Allah, Rajab is a great opportunity. The Prophet said Rajab is the month of absolution, so seek forgiveness from Allah. This month is also called ‘Rajab al-Asabb’ or ‘the Pouring Rajab’ in Islam, referring to the flood of divine mercy. Anyone who prays to the almighty during this time with a pure heart and asks for mercy is pardoned. e)observing fast during this month brings rewards and virtues. It is believed that the great Prophet said any person who fasts for a day during Rajab will be rewarded from Ridwan, an angel in heaven. For such people, the doors of hell will close, and from them, the wrath of God will be distanced. Rajab is a month of cultivation, so plant your seeds: Abu Bakr b. al-Warraq al-Balkhi used to say: “In the month of Rajab, you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban, you irrigate them, and in Ramadan, you reap the harvest.” - ready for Ramadan and to maximise on its blessings and virtue. a) Set personal goals for Ramadan b) Reflect on last year and explore what you need to do differently c) Start fasting on the Sunnah days d) Increase your Dhikr and re-kindle your relationship with Allah e) Recite the Quran f) Increase your acts of charity Doing this now will allow you to fully reap the benefits of the blessed month of Ramadan, Insha’Allah.