Reflection No. 278 on Q 9:36 – Justice to the soul in the sacred months
Falā tuzlimū fīhinna anfusakum
So do not wrong yourselves during them
(Sūratut Tawbah, No.9, Āyat 36)
In this verse Almighty Allah talks about the four scared months which are Dhul qa‘dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. In these months fighting is prohibited except when it is necessary to defend yourself.
After mentioning the number of months and their sanctity Allah says: So do not wrong yourselves during them. Those who do not respect the sanctity of these months are only wronging themselves. Shaykh Abbas Qummī says in Mafatīhul Jinān quoting respected Shaykh Ali Ibrāhīm al-Qummī: ‘Surely, the evil deeds are multiplied in the sacred months and so are the good deeds’.
To respect the sanctity of these months is to increase good deeds during them and stay away from sins. It means to recite the recommended supplications and salāt for those months and to do deeds that are special at that time. The month of Dhul qa‘dah for example is a month in which people begin traveling for Hajj. Try to help them in whatever way possible. Pray for them and send your salutations to the Holy Prophet (s), Bibi Fatima (a) and the Imams buried in al-Baqī’. The Holy Prophet (s) has said: One who comes to the Ziyārat of my grave after my passing away is like one who has migrated to me during my lifetime. So if you cannot come for my Ziyārat, convey your salutation to me, for it is sure to reach me. There are also many a‘māl (acts of devotions) containing of specific Du‘ās and salāt recommended for the month. This is true for the other sacred months.
The four scared months are a time in which the human being should fight his inner enemies and learn to discipline himself. To be oblivious of the enemies that prevent him from reaching perfection is to do injustice to the self. The emphasis on worship during these months is to help the human being free himself from the clutches of his Nafs al-‘ammārah and the shaytān. Amīrul Mu’minīn Ali b. Abī Ṭālib (a) used to supplicate in the mornings: My God . . . if Your help should forsake me in the battle with soul and shaytān, then Your forsaking will have entrusted me to where there is hardship and deprivation (Du‘ā al-Sabāh, line 30).
Recite this verse during the sacred months to motivate yourself to respect their sanctity. It is justice for your soul that you allow it to blossom during these special times and move forward faster in the journey towards God.
Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;
Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr-e Nūr;
Shaykh Abbas Qummī, Mafatīhul Jinān