The month of Rajab is one of the Arab and Islamic Hijri lunar months. The word rajab is derived from the word tarjib, which, in Arabic, indicates glorification. The reason behind this name may be the high esteem Arabs used to confer upon this month.
The Sacred Rajab
The month of Rajab is also called Rajab Al-Haram (the Sacred Rajab), because it is one of the four Sacred Months, during which fighting is prohibited. This was a customary and traditional practice used to be observed for ages. The glorious Qur’an referred to the Sacred Months in Surat At-Tawbah, in which Almighty Allah says what means:
Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein. (At-Tawbah 9:36)
These Sacred Months are Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab. That is why Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Time has come back to its original state, which it had when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred: Three are in succession, namely, Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the fourth one) Rajab (of the tribe of) Mudar, which is between Jumada (the second) and Sha`ban.”
The Solitary Rajab
The month of Rajab is also called Rajab Al-Fard (the Solitary Rajab) because it is separated from the other three successive Sacred months, namely, Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram; Rajab comes five months after them.
Rajab has another name, which is Rajab Mudar, according to a hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “And (the fourth one) Rajab (of the tribe of) Mudar, which is between Jumada (the second) and Sha`ban.”
Mudar is an Arab tribe and Rajab is named after it, because that tribe used to give much respect to this month and protect its sanctity.
Month of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj
Rajab witnessed the occurrence of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj, the miraculous night journey and the Prophet’s ascension to the heavens, with which Almighty Allah honored Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
In reference to this journey, Almighty Allah states:
Glorified be He (Allah) Who took His servant (Prophet Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Mecca) to the farthest mosque (Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem), the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our signs. Verily, He (Allah) is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (Al-Israa’ 17:1)
The Qur’an refers to Al-Mi`raj (Prophet’s Muhammad ascension to the heavens),
While he (Angel Gabriel) was in the highest part of the horizon. He approached and came closer and was at a distance of two bows’ length or (even) nearer. So did (Allah) convey the Inspiration to His servant (Prophet Muhammad). The (Prophet’s) heart lied not (in seeing) what he (Muhammad) saw. Will you then dispute with him about what he saw (during Al-Mi`raj). And indeed he (Muhammad) saw him (Angel Gabriel) at a second descent (i.e. another time). Near Sidrat Al-Muntaha (lote-tree of the utmost boundary (beyond which none can pass). Near it is the Paradise of Abode. When that covered the lote-tree, which did cover it! The sight (of Prophet Muhammad) turned not aside (right or left), nor it transgressed beyond (the) limit (ordained for it). Indeed he (Muhammad) did see, of the Greatest Signs, of his Lord (Allah). (An-Najm 53:7-18)
The miracle of Al-Israa’ was intended to honor the Messenger, strengthen his heart, and to show him the kingdom of heavens and earth. It was also meant to comfort the Prophet after the deaths of his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Khadijah in the Year of Sadness, and after the suffering he had experienced in At-Ta’if where its people assaulted him.
The miracle of Al-Israa’ reminds us of the usurped and occupied land of Palestine, Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and Al-Aqsa Mosque. This event should also remind us of our duty toward librating this land and its people from tyranny and oppression.
We should always remember the Prophet’s hadith stating, “Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques: Al-Masjid Al-Haram, this mosque of mine (in Madinah), and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.”
Fasting during the month of Rajab is recommended as it is recommended in other months, but there is no authentic hadith that indicates that fasting certain days of Rajab, for example the first day, entails a special reward.
Taken with slight modification from Onislam.net.