The month of Shaban is one of the meritorious months in the Islamic calendar. It’s the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mentioned in a hadith,
“Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of the Muslim Ummah”
Significance Of The Month Of Shaban:
So much is the significance of Shaban, that it’s said; Sha’ban is expiator, while Ramadan is the purifier.
Sha’ban is a month between Rajab and Ramadan.Most people tend to neglect it, because they have all their attention towards Ramadan but the Prophet (PBUH) used to celebrate this month by multiplying the number of his nafil,ibadah and fasts.
It is also quoted by our Prophet (PBUH) that,
“The excellence of Rajab over other months is like the excellence of the Quran over all other books, while the excellence of Sha’ban over other months is like my excellence over the rest of the prophets, and the excellence of Ramadan over other months is like the excellence of Allah [Exalted is He] over all His creatures”.
Fasting In The Month Of Shaban
Its noted that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to fast in the month of shaban and his blessed companion, HazratAnas, reports that Prophet (PBUH) was asked,
“Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?” He replied, “Fasts of Sha`ban in the honor of Ramadan.”
The companions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH used to observe that the Messenger of Allah (SWT) used to fast more frequently in this month than in any other month of the year.
UmmulMu’mineen ‘Aishah, (Radi-Allahuanha) says,
“Prophet Muhammad, Sall-AllahuAlayhiWaSallam, used to fast the whole of Sha’ban. I said to him, ‘Messenger of Allah, is Sha’ban your most favorite month for fasting?’ He said, ‘In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.”
So, as evident above, it’s good that we also observe fasts,& gather sawab because of performing this sunnah and gear up for the month of Ramadan.
The essence of the above-quoted hadith is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), himself used to fast most of the month of Sha’ban, because he had no fear of developing weakness before the start of Ramadan. As for others, he advised not to fast after the 15th of Sha’ban ifthey fear that they could lose their strength and freshness before Ramadan, and hence would not be able to welcome the month of Ramadan with much enthusiasm.
Shab E Barat Or Lailat-UL-Bara’t
The Holy month of Sha’ban also contains a very important night which is termed in Shariah as
“Laylatul-bara’ah” (The night of freedom from Fire).Or more commonly as “Shab-e-Barat”
This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha’ban. Allah Almighty said:
“Ha-Meem.By this luminous Book. Undoubtedly we sent it down in a blessed night, verily We are to warn. There in every affair of wisdom is divided.”[44:1-3]
Here the mention of “Blessed night” means this very night in the mid of Shaban. In this night, every wise and important work is decided by the Almighty and is made distinct. This is also called the night of absolution.
What Should Be Done On This Blessed Night?
Among the various Muslim rituals, one of the most prominent is the celebration of Shab e Barat in the month of Shabaan. Muslims all across the globe celebrate Shab e Barat with religious zest and make special preparations for this night in the form observing this night by standing up in prayers all night and keeping fast during the following day.
The hadith is narrated by Hazrat Ali (RA) in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“When it is the fifteenth of Shaban, then stand (in worship) at night and fast during the day. Because Allah descends in this night at sunset to the first heaven and says: ‘Is there any seeker of forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there any seeker of sustenance, that I may sustain him? Is there anyone in affliction, that I may remove his affliction? Is there anyone like this, like that (and so on)’. This continues until Fajr.” (IbnMajah)
As per this hadith, we can do the following to make the most of this big night.
Special nafil(Salah) prayers can be carried out on this night. People can sit from maghrib till isha in the mosque and then come home later. In this way they can spend more time in mosques and seek forgiveness.
The Holy Quran should be recited with all the family members to seek pleasure and to attain the divine blessings of this night.
Various Ayaat’s and Azkaar are recommended for this night. All of them have their own special importance. We should praise Allah as much as we can and also tell our children about the importance of this night.
The Shab e Barat night is one in which a Muslim can repent on his previous mistakes and sins with a true heart and receive forgiveness from Allah Almighty. All Muslims pray sincerely with the belief that they will be forgiven on this blessed night. People should make dua’s separately and collectively in their homes.
Mu’adhibnJabal, (RA) reports that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said:
“Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Sha’ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)”.
Fast of the 15th Sha’ban:
In order to seek maximum benefits from this night, it is mustahab (advisable) for Muslims to keep a fast on the following day i.e the 15th of Shaban to gain more rewards.
Although some scholars have doubts on the authenticity of this report, saying that the Prophet (PBUH) kept fast during the first half of Sha’ban and it has more special merits, butmost scholars and elderly people have been observing the fast of the 15th of Sha’ban. Therefore, it’s best to keep a nafil fast (roza) on this day.
Seeing the above mentioned quotations and hadith, we can see the importance of shaban as compared to the other months. Most importantly it comes with the night of forgiveness. Fortunate are those who worship and seek forgiveness from Allah Ta’la on this night and are forgiven.Instead of sleeping in this blessed night, we can spend this night worshiping,weeping, repenting for our sins and asking for forgiveness from our creator.