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 tree were yellow.
Many people have erroneous beliefs regarding this month i.e. it is a month of misfortune and calamities. The teachings of Allah (SWT) and His beloved Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam gives us clear guidelines on such incorrect beliefs.
Allah (SWT) says in the Quraan:
“No kind of calamity can occur, except by the will of Allah.” (Surah 64-Ayat 11)
These erroneous beliefs have also been condemned in the context of the following Hadith:
1. There is no superstitious owl, bird, no star-promising rain, no bad omen in the month of Safar.
2. There is no bad omen in the month of Safar and no Ghouls (evil spirits) (Sahih Muslim).
3. There is no evil omen, no superstitious owl, bird and no bad omen in the month of Safar (Bukhari).
The above Hadith clearly refuses all incorrect beliefs and superstitions regarding the month of Safar. These incorrect beliefs flow from the pre-Islamic period of Jahiliyyah (Days of Ignorance).
The Month of Safar during the Days of Ignorance:
The Muhaddithin have recorded many of the superstitions harboured by the Arabs during the Days of Ignorance. A few are mentioned below:
1. The pre-Islamic Arabs believed Safar to be a snake which lives in the stomach of a human being and when hungry, bites the person. This is the discomfort one experiences when gripped by the pangs of hunger.
2. Some said Safar are worms which originate in the liver and ribs due to which the colour of the person becomes yellow, a condition we know today as jaundice.
3. According to some, the month of Safar followed by Muharram and Rabi ul Awwal is full of calamities and misfortune.
With the advert of Islam and the teachings of Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam, all evil and incorrect beliefs common in pre-Islamic times were discarded.
Today too, there are some Muslims who hold incorrect beliefs regarding the month of Safar.
1. A nikah performed in this month would not be successful.
Sayyidina Ali radhiyallahu anhu married Sayyiditina Fatima radhiyallahu anhu, (the daughter of Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the latter days of Safar 2 A.H.
2. This month is full of misfortunes and calamities.
3. To commence any important venture, business, etc, during this month will bring bad luck.
4. The first to the thirteenth of Safar is ill-fortune and evil.
5. The person who distributes food or money on the 13th of Safar will be saved from its ill-fortune.
6. To celebrate the last Wednesday of Safar and regard it as a holiday.
What to do:
1. To shun all types of erroneous beliefs regarding the blessed month of Safar.
2. To understand that the most unfortunate person is he who disobeys Allah (SWT)’s commandments eg. Does not perform the five daily salaah etc.
It is narrated in a hadith that Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam said:
“Pray, O Allah! Cause not anyone of us to be a wretched destitute.” He then asked: “Do you know who is a wretched destitute?” Upon the request of the Sahabah radhiyallahu anhum he replied, “A wretched destitute is he who neglects his salaah.” (Hadith)
3. We should understand that all conditions which befall us, good or bad, favourable, or unfavourable are from Allah (SWT), (as a result of our actions).
Allah (SWT) says:
“Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is due to the things your hands have wrought, and He forgives many a sin.” (Surah 42 – Verse 30)
This can also be confirmed by the following Hadith:
Sayyidina Jabir radhiyyallahu anhu has said that, “I have heard Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam saying, the descending of illness and evil superstition befalling in the month of Safar is untrue. (Muslim).