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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Month of Sha'ban: A Preparation for Ramadaan

Adapted from an article by Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib (DB)



Usamah ibn Zaid reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha'ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad, replied: "That (Sha'ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting."



We have just entered in to the eighth Islamic month i.e. Sha'ban, a meritorious month for which we find particular instructions in the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).



FASTING IN THIS MONTH

It is reported in authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad used to fast during most of the days of the month of Sha'ban. A few ahadith are cited here regarding fasting in the month of Sha’ban:



1. Anas reports that Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Sha’ban in honour of Ramadan." 2. Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah says: "Prophet Muhammad used to fast the whole of Sha'ban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Sha'ban your most favourite 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." 3. In another tradition, she says: "Prophet Muhammad would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha'ban."



These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha'ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not like to miss them.



In our context, it will not cause undue difficulty on most of us if we were to observe only a few fasts in Sha’ban so as to get accustomed to the idea of fasting after a whole year. In Ramadaan, everyone finds observing the first few fasts difficult, but if we are accustomed to it already, we will be able to embrace Ramadaan better.



LIST OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS, ETC PRESCRIBED

The Ahaadeeth mentioned above also make mention that “in this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year”. Some scholars hold that this takes place on the night of the 15th Sha`ban. Scholars also mention that together with the list of the dead, lists of births and other events are also prescribed.



DEEDS PRESENTED TO ALLAH

The Ahaadeeth also mention that “it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting”



THE NIGHT OF BARA'AH

Another significant feature of the month of Sha'ban is that it contains a night which is termed as "Laylatul Bara'ah" (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha'ban. There are certain traditions of Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by Divine mercy:



1. Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah is reported to have said, "Once Prophet Muhammad performed the tahajjud salah and made a very long sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in sajdah: 'I seek refuge in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.' Thereafter, when he raised his head from sajdah and finished his salah, he said to me: 'Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?' I said, 'No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your sajdah was very long.' He asked me, 'Do you know which night is this?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'This is the night of the half of Sha'ban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).'


2. In another Tradition Aishah has reported Prophet Muhammad to have said, "This is the middle Night of Sha'ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. …" Kalb was a huge tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.


3. Mu'adh ibn Jabal reports that Prophet Muhammad 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)".



WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN THIS NIGHT?

In order to achieve the blessings of the Night of Bara'ah, one should remain awake as much as one can. If it is possible, one should spend the whole night in worship. However, if one cannot do so, one can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably the second half of it, and perform the following acts of worship:(a) Salaah (b) Tilawah. (c) Dhikr & Durood. (d) Du‘a. (e) Those Muslims who cannot perform any additional worship should at least perform the Maghrib, 'Isha' and Fajr in congregation in the Masjid.


Anonymous Abdullah said...
Alhamdulillah. Jazkallahu Khair. Very important piece of information. Making efforts to Spread the Light of Islam is a matter of Great Tawfiq.

I cannot help my tear
I cannot at all bear
when i see lovers of Allah strive
They are truely forever alive....  

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