Having completed the first week of the blessed month of Rajab, we are approaching time of more lengthy recommended acts of worship. By doing the shorter invocations and truly pondering over their meanings during the first couple of weeks, focusing on the longer prayers during the second half of the months should be easier.
Prayer of Umm-e-Dawood
Dawood was the foster brother of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him), and the great-grandson of Imam Hasan (peace be upon him). The ruler of the time had taken Dawood prisoner; Dawood's mother, Fatima, was distraught at having no knowledge of her son's condition. When she fell ill, the Imam visited her and learned of her worries. The Imam told Umm-e-Dawood about this special a'mal which grants quick relief from troubles. Sure enough, the very next day after she performed the a'mal, there came a knock at her door: it was her son, Dawood, who had been spontaneously released! (Misbah al-Mutahajjid)
As a preamble to the a'mal, fast on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of Rajab. The rest of the a'mal takes places after midday on the 15th. It is better to perform it privately so as to focus only on the One whom we are working towards. After performing the major ablution at midday and doing the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, specific chapters and verses from the Qur`an are to be read.
Finally, there are two more invocations. One is a lengthy prayer in which we praise the Most High, pledge our submission to Him, ask for His help and forgiveness, and for Him to send blessings upon the angels, the Prophets, the Imams, and upon all other noble personalities. The second prayer is a short one that is recited with the cheek on earth while in prostration; while in such a humble position as prostration, we restate our faith in Him and ask for His mercy. Throughout this a'mal, we are making apparent how much we rely on Allah for anything and everything.
Prayer of the Bright Days
The Bright Days, also known as Ayyaam-e-Baydh, refer to the 13th, 14th, and 15th nights of Rajab, Sha'ban, and Ramadan (Shab-e-Bara'at or the "night of dissociation"). In reference to the recommended acts for those days, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said, "Anyone who offers these prayers will be awarded the merits of these three months and will have all their sins – except polytheism – forgiven."
Fasting and performing a particular form of prayers are recommended on these three nights. Perhaps to help us prepare for the night of the 15th, the prayers start off with just two rak'ats on the first day and eventually increase to six rak'ats on the third night.
Specifically on the 15th night, Shaikh Mufid gives a special ziyarat of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) that should be recited by those who happen to be blessed with being in Karbala that night, as well as from far away. (Al-Mazar)
The details of the a'mal for the three nights can be found here.
Prayer on the Day of Ascension & the Beginning of the Prophet's Mission
Mab'ath marks the day when Angel Jibra'il revealed the first verse of the Qur`an to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny). Therefore we celebrate the day since it was the official beginning of the holy mission of the Best of Creations.
Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (peace be upon him) has said: "There is a night in Rajab which carries for people the goodness that is more preferable than all that which may be subjected to sunlight. It is the 27th night of Rajab. The next morning was the beginning of the Holy Prophet's prophethood. Verily, one who does acts of worship at this night will have the reward of he who has worshiped Almighty Allah for 60 years." (Misbah al-Mutahajjid)
The Imam went on to describe what the night's acts of worship are, including 12 rak'at prayers in sets of two, recitation of specific chapters and verses of the Qur'an, and an invocation in which we testify our belief in the Oneness of Allah. Of course, the Prophet's mission cannot be commemorated without remembering Imam Ali's (peace be upon him) sacrifices in keeping it alive – there is also a special ziyarat for the Imam on that day in which we recognize his noble virtues and holy status.
As for the day of Mab'ath, there are two ziyarats of the Holy Prophet – one is for those who have been graced with the chance of visiting his shrine on that day, and the other is for those devotees who still remember the Prophet but are unable to go to the shrine that day. There is also an invocation that should be recited in which we state our own lowly status and beseech our Sustainer to help us in reaching Him.
The 27th of Rajab was also when the Prophet ascended to the heavens and conversed with the Almighty Lord. The relationship between Allah and His most beloved surpasses all others, and the event of Mi'raj – or "Ascension" – is a day of celebration for the Prophet's followers. It is recommended to fast and do the major ablution on the 27th day as well, and to constantly invoke Allah's blessings upon the Prophet and his family (peace be upon them).
Farewell to Rajab
On the last day of Rajab, perform the major ablution and recite the last 10 rak'ats of the prayer of Salman al-Farsi.
Although the honored month will end, another special month will be ushered in. Having performed these acts of worship during Rajab, we will have prepared ourselves for the coming months so that we may worship the Almighty with even greater strength. But while the last rest of this month is still here, let us make the most of it before it ends – because only Allah knows whether we will have the opportunity of worshipping Him in the noble month of Rajab again.
The sayings and narrations quoted in this article are taken from the booklet "The Rites of Rajab, Sha'ban, Ramadan: Supplications, Prayers, and Ziyarahs", prepared and translated by Badr Shahin.