Category: Holidays » Islamic holidays
Safar (Arabic: صفر) is the second month in the Islamic calendar. Literal meaning: Empty. During this month the houses used to be empty and deserted because the ban on going to war in the month of Muharram came to an end and everyone proceeded towards the battlefield.
Safar also means to be yellow. When the names of the months were being given it was the season of autumn and the leaves of the trees were yellow. Some people have superstitious beliefs regarding this month i.e. it is a month of misfortune and calamities.
This word means "whistling of the wind". When this name was assigned to this month, it was probably a windy time of the year. Most of the Islamic months were named according to weather conditions at the time. However, since they are based on the moon, the months shift about 11 days every year. So, the seasons do not necessarily correspond to the name of the month anymore.
The Arabs were a warring nation. Small arguments and disputes would turn into feuds and wars that lasted not only for years, but sometimes spanned over even generations. However, even in the days of jahiliyya (Pre-Islamic ignorance), the Arabs observed the sacred months of Rajab, Dhul Q’ada, Dhul Hijja, and Muharram, wherein there was a ban on fighting and battles. However, as soon as the month of Muharram would end, the Arabs would resume their feuds and the men would proceed to settle scores with their rivals, thus leaving their houses empty, while they headed out to battles or skirmishes. Hence, the month of Safar derives its name from this event of Safar-al-Makaan (or empty houses). The literal meaning of the word ‘safar ‘ is empty or vacant.
Another opinion holds that fighting the enemies and leaving them empty handed after taking away their possessions, may have been another reason for the name Safar (Sifran-min-Almata’) – i.e. they would leave their enemies’ coiffeurs empty and take all their belongings away. (Reference: Lisan Al-‘Arab)
Famous muhaddith (writers of hadith) and historian Sakhawi states in his book, Al Mashoor Fi Asma-il Ayam Walshahoor that due to this resumption of killings and fighting in the month of Safar, many people started regarding it as a month of ill-fate and bad luck.
Sadly, history has revealed that man has never been able to accept what he has done himself as the cause for his own unhappiness, and instead has always blamed others for his misfortune. Safar was no exception. Instead of realizing that they themselves were responsible for the lootings and killings in Safar, the Arabs blamed the month itself to be that of misfortune and despair.
Although specific ibadaat (acts of worship) for certain months of the Islamic calendar have been defined for us, there is no such special instruction given regarding the month of Safar. However, we must realize that every minute given to us on Earth is a blessing in which we can gain Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)’s Pleasure and amass good deeds for our hereafter. Whether it is the month of Safar or any other, we must do our utmost to do as many good deeds as we possibly can.
Due to the association of Safar with superstitions, we as Muslims, should also make it a point to shun all superstitions that we come across and direct others to do so too. We should shun all superstitions not only regarding the month of Safar but also otherwise. We must understand that all conditions which befalls us, good or bad, favourable, or unfavourable are from Allah (سبحانه وتعالى).
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