22 September 2018 / 12 Muharram 1440
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Reconciling Rajab and preparing for the great month
- Written by Shafiq Morton
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RAJAB, the seventh month of the lunar Islamic calendar, is as the Qur’an [9:36] tells us, a holy month. “On the day Allah created heaven and earth, He decreed that the number of months should be twelve. Of these, four (Rajab, Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram) are sacred…”
Rajab was a month when fighting was prohibited, and during the days of jahiliyya – pre-Islamic ignorance – the Arab tribes would alter the dates to prolong their conflicts. One tribe that desisted from this was the Mudar, and Rajab became known as the Rajab of the Mudar.
Rajab was also known as Rajab ul-‘Asam (the silent month), Rajab ul-Asab (the month of gifts) or Rajab ul-Murajjab (the exalted Rajab). The Prophet [saw] told his Companions that Rajab was the month of Allah, and that Ramadan was the month of the community.
The significant date in Rajab is believed to be the night of the 27th, when the Prophet [saw] performed his Night Journey to Al-Aqsa, prayed in front of 124,000 prophets and conducted his Mi’raj – ascension into the heavens – from the Dome of the Rock.
Ibn Qayyim reports that no specific worship was recommended for Rajab, except for the usual acts of goodness and piety. It was also reported that the Prophet [saw] did not fast excessively during this month, as he did in others such as Sha’ban or Shawwal.
And whilst most of the ummah – the Islamic community – quietly acknowledges the sanctity of the month, for NGOs such as SANZAF, it means the initial build up to Ramadan, the busiest month of the year.
Already, the organisation has rolled out its new branding and re-focused on its wide scope of projects. These range from bursaries, food aid served for Ramadan and ‘Eid, educational programmes in masajid, media programmes, educational mentoring, welfare and Qurbani benefiting thousands in poverty-stricken places such as Malawi and Mozambique.
Indeed, with 43 years on the clock, SANZAF has a reputation for delivery and public conscience to uphold. But, with social media and digitisation, it has become a rapidly changing world. There is a younger market; potential donors are tech-savvy, media wise. In a crowded NGO market, they look for value and quality.
To this effect, SANZAF launched its #GIVEHOPE campaign, something we mentioned in our previous blog, to revitalise and re-energise the brand, without losing the timeless values of the core product – Zakah and social upliftment.
As SANZAF general manger in the Western Cape, Yasmina Francke, said in a recent radio interview on Voice of the Cape, “we have to send a clear, credible message that hope is fully embedded in our Islamic ethos. There is just so much pain and despair everywhere today. We feel sad, yes, but we have to show there’s light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a better future.
“Indeed, in the Qur’an in Surat ul-Nasrah (the Chapter of Comfort) we are promised that after every hardship, there comes ease. So we have to believe in, and relate to, a message of hope.”
So it is with hope that SANZAF’s staff have already begun to prepare for Ramadan. There may be a new branding and vision, but the hard work still continues, deep into the night.
It is with this in mind, that we should also begin readying ourselves for the socio-economic giving of Ramadan, whether it be sadaqah (voluntary charity), Zakah (obligatory alms) or ‘Eid ul-Fitr (the Ramadan charity).
For as Yasmina Francke said in her interview, we cannot underestimate the impact of even the small acts of kindness. It is for this reason that we should begin to prepare our pockets to help transform our society – especially in Ramadan when hearts are softened and the senses heightened.
To this end, the Prophet [saw] once said that Allah will surely aid a servant as long as the servant aids his brother (or sister)…and, “whosoever removes the distress of a believer, Allah will remove one of their difficulties on the Final Day.”
Caption: Giving hope is giving colour to people's lives.