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The Month of Safar

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Special Months & Times

source: Islam-QA.com

reads: 17851

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Praise be to Allaah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah.

The month of Safar is one of the twelve Hijri months, and it is the month which comes after Muharram. Some of the (scholars) said that it is so named because of the emptying (isfaar) of Makkah (i.e., its people would all leave) when they travelled during this month. It was also said that this month is named Safar because they used to raid other tribes at this time, and they would leave those whom they encountered bereft of their possessions (sifran min al-mataa’) – i.e., they would take all their belongings away and they would leave them with nothing. (See Lisaan al-'Arab by Ibn al-Mandhoor, part 4, p. 462-463)

Our discussion of this month will cover the following points:

  1. What has been narrated concerning it from the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah.
  2. What has been narrated in Islam that contradicts the views of people of the Jaahiliyyah concerning this month.
  3. Innovations and corrupt beliefs concerning this month that exist among people who claim to be Muslims.
  4. What happened in this month of military campaigns and important events in the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
  5. False ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning Safar.

What has been narrated concerning it from the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah.

The Arabs were guilty of two serious wrongdoings concerning the month of Safar. Firstly, they played about with it, bringing it forward or postponing it, and secondly, they had superstitions concerning it.

It is known that Allaah created the year and the number of its months is twelve, four of which Allaah has made sacred, in which it was forbidden to fight, out of respect for these months. These months are: Dhu’l-Qi’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab.

This is confirmed in the Book of Allaah, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…" [al-Tawbah 9:36]

The mushrikeen were aware of that, but they used to postpone it or bring it forward according to their whims and desires, such as putting Safar in place of Muharram!

They used to believe that 'Umrah during the months of Hajj was one of the most evil of actions. There follow some of the comments of the scholars on that.

It was narrated that Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: "They used to think that 'Umrah during the months of Hajj was one of the most evil of actions on earth. They would make Muharram Safar, and they used to say, 'When the wounds of the camel's back heal up (after they return from Hajj) and the footprints of the camels vanish and the month of Safar passes away then (at that time) 'Umra is permissible for the one who wishes to perform it.'" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1489; Muslim, 1240)

Ibn al-'Arabi said: "The second issue: how postponing (al-nasiy) was done:

It was narrated from Ibn 'Abbaas that Junaadah ibn 'Awf ibn Umayyah al-Kinaani used to come on this occasion each year, and he would call out that no one could criticize Abu Thamaamah or reject what he said, and that Safar in the first year would not be sacred, then we would make it sacred one year and not the next year. They were with Hawaazin, Ghatafaan and Bani Sulaym.

According to another version, he used to say, "We have brought Muharram forward and postponed Safar." Then the next year he would say, "We will make Safar sacred and delay Muharram." This was the postponement.

Adding. Qutaadah said: Some of the people of misguidance deliberately added Safar to the sacred months. Their spokesman would stand up on this occasion and say, "Your gods have made Muharram sacred this year," and they would regard it as sacred that year. Then the next year he would stand up and say, "Your gods have made Safar sacred," so they would regard it as sacred that year. And they would say (that there were) two Safars. Ibn Wahb and Ibn al-Qaasim narrated something similar from Maalik, who said: the people of the Jaahiliyyah used to have two Safars, hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "(There is) no Safar." Ashhab also narrated something similar from him.

Changing the time of Hajj. Mujaahid said with a different isnaad: " 'The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief’ [al-Tawbah 9:37 – interpretation of the meaning] – they would perform Hajj in Dhu’l-Hijjah for two years, then they would perform Hajj in Muharram for two years, then they would perform Hajj in Safar for two years. They would perform Hajj in each month for two years until, when Abu Bakr performed Hajj that was in Dhu’l-Qi’dah, then when the Prophet performed Hajj it was in Dhu’l-Hijjah. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his sermon, according to the saheeh hadeeth:

"Time has completed a cycle and assumed the form of the day Allaah created the heavens and the earth." Narrated by Ibn 'Abbaas and others. This version was narrated by him. And he said:

"The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

'O people, listen to what I say, for I do not know whether I will meet you again after this day in this place. O people, your blood and your wealth are sacred until the Day when you meet your Lord, as sacred as this day of yours in this month of yours in this land of your. You will meet your Lord and He will question you about your deeds. I have conveyed (the message). Whoever has had something entrusted to him, let him fulfil that trust.

All riba is abolished. You shall have your capital sums, deal not unjustly and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. Allaah decreed that there should be no riba. The riba of 'Abbaas ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib is abolished. All claims for blood-vengeance belonging to the jaahiliyyah period have been abolished. The first of those murdered among us whose blood-vengeance I remit is Ibn Rabee’ah ibn al-Haarith ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib, who was suckled among Banu Layth and killed by Hudhayl." He was the first one whose blood-vengeance of the jaahiliyyah was abolished.

"O people, the Shaytaan has despaired of ever being worshipped in your land, but he will be pleased to be obeyed in any matter other than that, in matters that you may think of as insignificant. So beware of him in matters of your religion. The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief, by which the disbelievers are led astray… Time has completed a cycle and assumed the form of the day Allaah created the heavens and the earth. The number of months with Allaah is twelve, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan…" and he mentioned the rest of the hadeeth. (Ahkaam al-Qur’aan, 2/503-504)

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