Sha’bān, the eighth Islamic month is second only to Ramadān in virtue, blessings and greatness. It is due to this virtue and greatness that the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to emphasise its importance not only verbally but practically too.
‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā narrates, “Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to fast till we would say that he would never stop fasting and he would abandon fasting till we would say that he would never fast. I never saw Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadān and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha’bān.” (Bukhārī, Muslim, Abū Dāwūd, Nasa’ī)
‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā narrates, “Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to fast the (whole) month of Sha’bān except for a few days.” (An-Nasa’ī)
Usāmah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu asked, “O Rasūlullāh! I do not see you fasting in any month as much as in Sha’bān.” He replied, “It is a month people are negligent of between Rajab and Ramadān. It is a month in which deeds are raised towards the Lord of the worlds. Therefore, I like my deeds to be raised whilst I am fasting.” (An-Nasa’ī)
Fifteenth of Sha’bān
Amongst the days and nights of Sha’bān, there is one night called Laylat-al-Barā’at or Shabe Barā’at, a night noted for its great blessings and virtues. The Glorious Qur’ān describes it as the blessed night.
Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night. (44:3)
According to ‘Ikrimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu and a group of mufassirīn, the ‘blessed night’ referred to in this verse is the fifteenth night of Sha’bān.
Fortunate indeed are those who attain the full blessings and benefits of this night by spending it in performing good and refraining from evil. One must strive his utmost to attend to ‘ibādah (worship) in this auspicious night as this night indeed is a great favour of Allāh ta’ālā for the believers. There are a number of ahādīth in regard to this night.
(1) ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “When it is the fifteenth of Sha’bān, then stand (in worship) at night and fast during the day. Because Allāh ta’ālā 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.” (Ibn Mājah)
(2) Abū Mūsā Al-Ash’arī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that the Messenger of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “In the fifteenth night of Sha’bān, Allāh ta’ālā manifests and forgives all His creation except for the Mushrik (idolater) and the spiteful.” (Ibn Mājah)
(3) ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā narrates: “The Messenger of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam came to me (one night) and took off his clothes, but he had hardly sat down when he got up again, put on his clothes and left. A strong ghayrah (sense of honour and self-respect) overtook me as I thought he was going to one of his other wives. I followed him and found him in the graveyard of Baqī’ seeking forgiveness for believing men and women and the martyrs. I said (to myself), ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you. You, (the Prophet) are in want of your Lord and I am in want of the world.’