Wednesday 17 October 2018

Dispel Superstitions attributed to Month of Safar

Yesterday someone WhatsApp me a message saying that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been quoted as saying that in month of Safar maximum calamities and troubles come down, so for protection against these we should recite certain prayers. But I just rubbished it for I know that the Prophet of Allah never talked negative of any month for all good or bad comes from Allah and is not related to any specific month or day of the year. Therefore I decided to write this post to dispel any superstitions attributed to the month of Safar.

Safar, the second month of Islamic calendar, is considered by many as a heavy month, a month in which comicalities strike, people get ill or well brokered contracts and marriages break or fail and contagious diseases spread. The list is very long, so I looked around dozens of sites to find out anything said bad of month of Safar, but I found none. In fact it is the superstitions dating back from the pre-Islamic era that newly converted Muslims inherited too as part of the cultural heritage and make this month stand out from the rest as a hard one and called for special supplications and alms to ward away the heaviness in the air.

Superstition is a pejorative term for any belief or practice that is considered irrational: for example, if it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic, or fear of that which is unknown. "Superstition" also refers to actions arising from irrationality.[3]
  • The word superstition is often used to refer to a religion not practiced by the majority of a given society regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains alleged superstitions. It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific (apparently) unrelated prior events.
  • People are more likely to attribute an event to a superstitious cause if it is unlikely than if it is likely. In other words, the more surprising the event, the more likely it is to evoke a supernatural explanation. When no natural cause can explain a situation, attributing an event to a superstitious cause may give people some sense of control and ability to predict what will happen in their environment.
  • People are more likely to attribute an event to a superstitious cause if it is negative than positive. This is called negative agency bias. More commonly, people are more likely to perceive their computer to act according to its own intentions when it malfunctions than functions properly.
The Roman Catholic Church considers superstitions to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in God and, as such, is a violation of the Ten Commandments. Same is the case with Islam; it prohibits following such beliefs that are not in accordance with Quran and Hadiths. Islam refers such false beliefs as the way of Shaitan (Satan or Demon).

Specifically talking of the month of Safar, it is regarded by many, specially in the Muslim world, as a month that is too 'heavy' specially by  the women folk. Literally, Safar means empty or a house that is empty from items and goods. It also means empty handed or blowing winds, referring to the fact of desolateness when everyone is gone away. The pagan of Makkah believed in the sacredness of the holy months. They did not indulge in war or any other crime in some months like Muharram. No sooner did such holy months were over, they would indulge in sorts of evils ways of livings like robbery, theft and war. Thus after the end of Muharram and start of the month of Safar, they would start committing crimes, theft, robbery, fighting other tribes, leave their homes vacant and it is therefore this month named Safar. [4]

But instead of us believing in Allah, we inherited these fears and superstitions and incorporated into our daily lives. Even today, in our real life we have translated these superstitious beliefs and attribute it to month of Safar and:
  • Avoid Contracting Nikâh of our children for a fear of it ending into a bad luck or divorce or full of miseries and ups and downs.
  • Avoid Contracting business deals for fear of money being sunk or business to collapse.
  • Postponed taking a journey for fear of accidents.
  • Taking the first thirteen of Safar is ill-fortune and evil. Many people break their earthen utensils with the belief that these are the targets of evil spirits in the first thirteen days of the Safar.
  • Distributing food or money on the 13th of Safar thinking it will save from its ill-fortune.
  • Celebrating the last Wednesday of Safar, called "akhri chahar shanmba," and regard it as a holiday.
  • Some even wear charms to dispel the bad omens attributed to the month of Safar.

Now let us see how the month of Safar is viewed in Islam. Safar also known as Safar ul Muzaffar or Safar ul Khayr, which means, prosperous , successful, good fortune etc. This is to eradicate the corrupt beliefs of some people who say, the month of Safar is bad-luck, evil, ill-omened, unfortunate etc., so marriages, major transactions etc. must not be conducted in this  month. [2]

We as a Muslim should have firm belief that whatever good or bad happens to us is from Allah and we should not label any time of the year for its so happening, specially when it comes to bad luck: and this is very clearly written in the Holy Qur'an:
“No misfortune befalls except by Allah’s command...” [Surah Tagabun, Verse 11]
Prophet Muhammad is oft quoted has been saying about the month of Safar and any ills attached to it: [1]
لا عَدْوَى وَلا طِيَرَةَ وَلا هَامَةَ وَلا صَفَرَ
“No adwaa [transmission of infectious disease without the permission of Allah], no tiyarah [superstitious belief in bird omens], no haamah [refers to a Jaahili Arab tradition described variously as: a worm that infests the grave of a murder victim until he is avenged; an owl; or the bones of a dead person turned into a bird that could fly], and no Safar [the month of Safar was regarded as “unlucky” in the days of ignorance - so No Safar here means that it is not to be regarded as inauspicious].” 
There is no superstitious owl, bird, no star-promising rain, no bad omen in the month of Safar.[Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 5707] 
There is no bad omen in the month of Safar and no Ghouls (evil spirits). [Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2222] 
It may be added here that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) has at many times given us the tidings of good times that happen at various times and days of the lunar year. There are days when doing good has its rewards multiplied. At the same time the Prophet has cautioned us of certain times during day when offering prayers are prohibited, such as at the time of sun rise and a time just close to the sunset. Yet, there have been no references available from the Holy Quran or the sayings of the Holy Prophet about any time or day or month of  the Islamic year bad for someone. And thus we do not find any specific references with regard to anything bad or adverse happening in the month of Safar, because nothing adverse has been authentically transmitted from those sublime sources of guidance and truth. Therefore, Muslims should refrain from carrying on the traditions of days of ignorance of the pre-Islamic era and have full faith in Allah for He alone is the decider of good or otherwise for the mankind. It is up to us to strive to do good, for anything bad that we do would certainly bring Alla's displeasure. 
“Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is due to the things your hands have wrought, and He forgives many a sin.” (Surah Shura 42:30).
And when talking of not marrying one's children or taking upon any important task, be wise to know that:
  • The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) married Ayesha, who once commenting on ill fortunes related to month of Safar proudly said what better thing could happen in one's life marring the Prophet of Allah.
  • The Beloved daughter of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Fatima (R.A) married Ali (R.A) in this month.
  • Battle of Khyber took place in the same month - a major victory over the Jews that subdued them
  • Battle of al-Abwa’ also took place in month of Safar - This was the first campaign that the Prophet of Allah led himself. It took place twelve months after His migration to Madinah. 
  • Prophet Muhammad fell sick in the end of this month and died in the same sickness in the next month in 12th of Rabiul-Awwal.
As for those wearing charms, beads and amulets to dispel the bad omens and so called ills of the month of Safar, the Holy Prophet said: "May Allâh not fulfill the hopes of the one who wears a charm; may Allâh not protect the one who hangs seashells (used as a charm in those days)." (Ahmed)

A few words about the last Wednesday ritual which is widely "celebrated" by many specially in the Indian-Pakistan Subcontinent: It has been quoted by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abd as-Salaam ash-Shuqayri in Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (2/354) that: [5]
The ignorant have the custom of writing the verses of salaam, such as “Salamun (peace) be upon Nooh (Noah) (from Us) among the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)” [as-Saaffaat 37:79] and so on, and on the last Wednesday of the month of Safar, then they put them in vessels and drink (water that has been poured on them), and seek blessing thereby, and exchange them as gifts, because they believe that this will remove evil.
This is a corrupt belief and is blameworthy superstition and an abhorrent innovation; everyone who sees it must denounce the one who does it. 
Thus my belief solidifies in the light of above commandments of Allah and says of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) that time is not related to one's bad luck, nor any place or people are to be called bad or to bring bad luck to us. It is Allah who brings us good will and testing times to test our faith and belief so that we do not fall prey to imposers, soothsayers or  magicians and remain steadfast.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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very well written, clarifies a lot of misconception that engulfed all of us for years!

Thank you for going through this post and finding it informative

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