Is the month of Safar considered unlucky?
Islam is a complete way of life that is free from misguidance and ignorance and is adorned with evidence and proofs. All the teachings of Islam have reached the pinnacle of perfection. In this clear religion, there is no place for superstitions and innovations. However, it is unfortunate that Satan and his followers have not spared this pure religion from misinterpretation and contamination with misguidance and superstitions. Like other months, in the month of Safar, some ignorant customs are also observed. Safar is the second pearl of the Islamic months. To dispel false beliefs about this month, it is referred to as “Safar Al-Muzaffar.
The reason for naming Safar
Imam Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Din Al-Sakhawi, (رحمة الله عليه), said:
سمي بِذَلِكَ لِخُلُو بُيُوتِهِمْ مِنْهُ حِينَ يَخْرُجُونَ لِلْقِتَالِ وَالْأَسْفَارٍ، يُقَالُ : صَفِرَ الْمَكَانُ: إِذَا خَلَا
The people of Arabia used to depart from their homes for battles and journeys during this month, leaving their houses empty. This is why this month was named “Safar.” When a place becomes empty, it is said to be “Safar Al-Makan.” (Ibn Kathir, verified by Abdul Razzaq Al-Mahdi: 347/3)
What is superstition and bad omen called?
Superstition and bad omen refer to considering something or someone, other than Allah, as the controller of benefit and harm. For example:
- Believing that seeing a black cat before a journey signifies that the trip will be unlucky.
- Thinking that if someone else opens a shop before you, your business will face difficulties.
- Avoiding starting any good work during the month of Safar just because it is considered inauspicious.
In the light of the beliefs of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance), two false practices were associated with the month of Safar among the Arabs. They used to postpone journeys during this month and announce that Safar would come before and Muharram would follow it in the calendar year. Disapproving of these practices and considering them as disbelief, Allah Almighty stated:
إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّسِىٓءُ زِيَادَةٌۭ فِى ٱلْكُفْرِ ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ يُحِلُّونَهُۥ عَامًۭا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُۥ عَامًۭا لِّيُوَاطِـُٔوا۟ عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّوا۟ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوٓءُ أَعْمَـٰلِهِمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ ٣٧
Nasī’ (i.e. postponement of months) is nothing but a further excess in infidelity, whereby the disbelievers are misguided. They allow it one year and disallow it another year, so that they may conform (only) to the number of what Allah has sanctified, and allow what Allah has disallowed. The evil of their deeds has been beautified for them (by Satan). And Allah does not lead the disbelieving people to the right path. (9:37)
They used to consider the month of Safar as unlucky. Disapproving of this belief, the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ), said:
وَقَالَ عَفَّانُ حَدَّثَنَا سَلِيمُ بْنُ حَيَّانَ، حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ مِينَاءَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ لاَ عَدْوَى وَلاَ طِيَرَةَ وَلاَ هَامَةَ وَلاَ صَفَرَ، وَفِرَّ مِنَ الْمَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ ”.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “(There is) no ‘Adwa (no contagious disease is conveyed without Allah’s permission). nor is there any bad omen (from birds), nor is there any Hamah, nor is there any bad omen in the month of Safar, and one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion.”
Note: The majority of scholars interpret this to mean that these things in and of themselves do not transmit or cause harm through supernatural or hidden means but that Allah is ultimately in control and any fearful superstition around these is false. (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The belief in bad omens is becoming increasingly prevalent, as stated by the scholar Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali, may Allah have mercy on him, during his time.
وكثير من الجهال يتشاءم بصفر وربما ينهى عن السفر فيه والتشاؤم بصفر هو من نجنس الطيرة المنهى عنها
Many ignorant people consider the month of Safar as inauspicious, and sometimes they refrain from traveling during this month due to this belief. Considering the month of Safar as inauspicious falls under the category of superstitions, which is discouraged. (Lata’if al-Ma’arif fi ma al-Mawasim al-Aam min al-Waza’if, page 74)
Is the month of Safar considered unlucky?
Regarding this month, various customs and innovations are prevalent among people, which are not supported by the teachings of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad, (ﷺ), disapproved of such practices, as mentioned in the following Hadith:
لا عدوى وَلَا طِيَرَةَ وَلَا هَامَّةً وَلَا صَفَرَ
The Hadith states: “There is no contagious disease, no (evil) omen, no hama, nor any bad omen in Safar.” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 5757, Sunan Abi Dawood: 3911)
Imam Ibn Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, comments on this Hadith: “In this Hadith, both the negation and prohibition are possible meanings, but the negation carries a stronger rhetorical emphasis because negating tayyara (bad omens) and its effects renders it entirely invalid. In contrast, the Prophet merely prohibits it. The aim of this Hadith is to invalidate all the practices that the people of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) used to engage in.”
Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy on him, adds: “This Hadith prohibits considering the month of Safar as inauspicious, which falls under the category of superstitions. Similarly, the belief of the polytheists who considered Wednesday an unlucky day is also wrong. The people of Jahiliyyah used to consider the month of Safar as inauspicious, and the Hadith refutes their belief and statement.”
Imam Malik, may Allah have mercy on him, stated: “The people of Jahiliyyah considered the month of Safar as inauspicious and said it was an unlucky month. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ), rejected their belief and statement.”
Disappointment and the Islamic Theory
In this regard, a few points are noteworthy:
It is essential to believe that whatever actions a person is to undertake have already been ordained by God. There is no connection to any specific thing seen or any particular day or month, as Allah has guided in the Quran:?
مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍۢ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍۢ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَآ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌۭ ٢٢
No calamity befalls the earth or your own selves, but it is (pre-destined) in a Book before We bring it into being, -Indeed it is easy for Allah. (57:22)
For a person, if any hope is in something other than God, then those actions are inherently wrong, as per the guidance of the Almighty Allah.
وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍۢ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُوا۟ عَن كَثِيرٍۢ ٣٠
Whatever hardship befalls you is because of what your own hands have committed, while He overlooks many (of your faults). (42:30)
He said at another place:
قُل لَّن يُصِيبَنَآ إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَىٰنَا ۚ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ٥١
Say, “Nothing can ever reach us except what Allah has destined for us. He is our Master. And in Allah alone the believers must place their trust.” (9:51)
At another instance, He stated:
مَّنْ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحًۭا فَلِنَفْسِهِۦ ۖ وَمَنْ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۗ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّـٰمٍۢ لِّلْعَبِيدِ ٤٦
If someone acts righteously, he does so for the benefit of his own soul, and if someone commits evil, he does so against it. Your Lord is not unjust to His servants. (41:46)
At a fourth instance, He proclaimed:
ظَهَرَ ٱلْفَسَادُ فِى ٱلْبَرِّ وَٱلْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِى ٱلنَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ ٱلَّذِى عَمِلُوا۟ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ٤١
Calamities have appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of the people have earned, so that He (Allah) makes them taste some of what they did, in order that they may return (to the right way). (30:41)
وَعَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم: ” قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: يُؤْذِينِي ابْنُ آدَمَ يَسُبُّ الدَّهْرَ وَأَنَا الدَّهْرُ بِيَدِيَ الْأَمْرُ أُقَلِّبُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ ”
Abu Huraira reported that God’s messenger declared that God said, “The son of Adam injures me by abusing time, whereas I am time. Authority is in my hand. I vary night and day.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
It is evident from this Hadith that it is prohibited to speak ill of time. If there were any unluckiness associated with a month or otherwise, Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and His Messenger (peace be upon him) would have clarified it, as they did when they emphasized the sanctity of the four sacred months over the other months. The consequence of one’s actions, whether good or bad, lies with the individual, and Allah does not wrong His servants.
The fourth thing:
No matter what the circumstances are, strengthen your trust in Allah, and establish the belief that worldly external actions cannot harm me unless it is the will of Allah. Without Allah’s command, not even a hair on my head can move. This is what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained to one of his companions, saying:
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ مُوسَى، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ، أَخْبَرَنَا لَيْثُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، وَابْنُ، لَهِيعَةَ عَنْ قَيْسِ بْنِ الْحَجَّاجِ، قَالَ وَحَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو الْوَلِيدِ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، حَدَّثَنِي قَيْسُ بْنُ الْحَجَّاجِ الْمَعْنَى، وَاحِدٌ، عَنْ حَنَشٍ الصَّنْعَانِيِّ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ كُنْتُ خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَوْمًا فَقَالَ “ يَا غُلاَمُ إِنِّي أُعَلِّمُكَ كَلِمَاتٍ احْفَظِ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ احْفَظِ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ إِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلِ اللَّهَ وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوِ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ رُفِعَتِ الأَقْلاَمُ وَجَفَّتِ الصُّحُفُ ” . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ .
Ibn ‘Abbas narrated: “I was behind the Prophet(s.a.w) one day when he said: ‘O boy! I will teach you a statement: Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah, and when you seek aid, seek Allah’s aid. Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you- you would never get any benefit except that Allah had written for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you- you would never be harmed except that Allah had written for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried.'” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)