The second month in the Islamic calendar, Safar is by and large a neglected month even though it is regarded in Islam as one of the four sanctified months. Coming right after the blessed month of Muharram, Safar may not have any specific religious dates to look out for, yet over time it has reduced in significance.
There is a reason for this. Historically, many have engaged themselves in tainting the sanctity of the month by referring to it as an unlucky or unfortunate month. In fact, some would even go as far as believing that celebratory occasions such as marriage ceremonies should not be held in this month entirely.
This, of course, is a point that has no basis in Islam and was a view that was originated by Arabians in the pre-Islamic era, which sadly has remained with us to this day. The only true way to understand the significance of this month is by delving into learning more about it in order to discard the incorrect and inaccurate preconceived notions related to the month.
What is Safar?
Safar is the second month according to the Islamic (Hijri) lunar calendar. Whilst there are no religious significance or prescriptions, Safar has an interesting history. Safar means to empty, which was translated thus, as it was in this month Makkans would leave Makkah to travel and leave their homes empty.
When is Safar This Year?
This year, the month of Safar began on the 17th of August 2023. Coming straight after the month of Muharram, it is the second month in the Islamic calendar.
So, What Happened in the Month of Safar?
Whilst Safar does not have any special dates to keep in mind, it is important to note that it was significant due to several key prophetic moments taking place in the month.
According to many Muslim scholars, Safar was the month in which the Prophet Muhammad PBUH migrated to Madinah from Makkah. After a strenuous two months, he finally reached Madinah in the month of Rabi al-Awwal. During his exit, a group of people from Quraysh intended to assassinate the Prophet PBUH to prevent the carefully planned migration he was about to embark on. However, after thorough planning, the Prophet PBUH requested the courageous Ali RA to lie in his bed in place of him, which confused the Quraysh when they eventually came to assassinate the Prophet PBUH.
The month was special for other reasons too. It was also in this month that the Prophet PBUH married his first wife, Khadijah RA. What’s more, many years later, the daughter of the Prophet PBUH, Fatima RA also married Ali RA in the same month.
The major events that unfolded in this month are indicative of the fact that the month of Safar was just like any other month. It was not a month of misfortune or bad luck, but a month in which the Prophet PBUH behaved the same as in any other month.
In one prophetic tradition, the Prophet PBUH mentioned, “(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.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Muslim scholars interpret this to mean that the month of Safar – or any of the things mentioned in the hadith above – are not intrinsically harmful and that Allah is the one who is ultimately in control.
Performing Umrah in Safar
Muslims around the world travel to Makkah in Safar to take advantage of the smaller crowds. As many have returned home after the month of Hajj, many choose Muharram and Safar for Umrah, as costs are usually lower and the place experiences less congestion. This way, pilgrims have the chance to take it slow as they devote themselves entirely to Allah.
British Nationals Can Now Perform Umrah With Saudi’s New E-Visa Waiver
If you plan to perform Umrah this year, the good news is that you can save quite a bit of money by applying for the newly announced Saudi E-Visa Waiver (EVW).
According to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the waiver is granted to British nationals, who intend to visit Saudi Arabia for a variety of purposes such as business, tourism, study and treatment. And yes, this does include visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah to perform Umrah.
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]